The bicycle path from Levanto to Framura
Once upon a time there was an old railroad track…that became the most beautiful bike path of the Riviera…
The piece of track that goes from La Spezia to Sestri Levante put to the test the architectural competence of the engineers of that era.
It was the mid-1800s and the job must have seemed enormous to the technicians who found themselves confronting mountainous barricades and winding coastlines, both often accessible only by sea.
It was necessary to drill into the hills, empty them out, secure them and provide disposal for the rubble, having access to very little explosives, and therefore, resulting in a lot of manual labor.
It was probably one of the most expensive projects of the railroad industry in Italy at the time.
The tiny stations were finally constructed, each with its own cafe/bar, newstand, luggage storage, and little garden with the inevitable goldfish tank.
It was 1874 when Levanto’s train station was inaugurated. It was beautiful to watch the locomotive dart through, better yet, dive through, the tunnels so close to the water! In the darkness of the tunnel…. then suddenly the bay reappears… over there, a cliff… and, at the end, the beach below the tracks.
There are some that still remember the shrieks of admiration from the astonished passengers, who, blinded by the sun, felt as if they were being catapulted into the waves.
In 1971, the last train passed by the sea; the railroad was moved inland. Many long years of abandonment and neglect followed. The young don’t so much as have a memory of what it once was, maybe because they never heard the whistle of the train get lost in the waves.
The metamorphosis was completed in 2010-2011 when the track between Levanto – Bonassola – Framura became a beautiful trail reserved for cyclists and pedestrians.
It’s about 6 km of straight paved road that alternates between lighted tunnels and open space alongside the sea. An always new panorama, with a play of light and shadows, appears every time you come out of a tunnel.
The trail has been secured and is very popular at any time of the day and any season of the year. There’s room for everyone: cyclists, runners, even skaters, families with kids, and people in wheelchairs! Therefore, be careful and respect others!
Trail: Levanto – Bonassola – Framura
Length: 6 km
Duration: Walking/1 hour; Biking/30 minutes
If you don’t want to walk, take the bicycles, available to the guests of the hotel, and start peddling!
The first part of the trail is characterized by short tunnels and openings alongside the water, perfect for a quick swim!
As soon as you exit the tunnel at Bonassola, park your bikes and take the hiking trail on your left, towards “Punta del Carlino.”
It’s a short hike, just a few minutes, but I assure you, it’s worth it! You’ll find yourself at the top of the cliff overlooking the sea.
Get back on your bikes, ride through Bonassola and continue through the tunnels, until you get to Framura.
Just at the end of the second to last tunnel you’ll find a tiny tunnel on your left – a lair – a bit dark but very short; don’t worry…go through it! It opens up to a charming bay.
If you want to take a swim, this is the perfect place; not crowded, crystal clear water and absolute peace.
If, instead, you prefer a more traditional beach, go down to the little beach of Porto Pidocchio, just before you get to Framura.
Once you get to Framura, park your bikes (don’t forget to lock them!) and use the stairs or the elevator, to go down to the small port.
There’s a little bar just above the port, an ideal place for a little snack or a cocktail.
Framura doesn’t end here, though – it’s broken up into little hamlets that climb up the mountain for about 3 km.
For more about Framura, read the relative narrative in the “Cose da fare” section.
In summary: a trail with unparalleled views and a one and only backdrop where no cars are allowed… where you can exercise, stroll and/or sip a glass of wine at one of the bars along the trail… in a few words: absolute relaxation!
If you’ve hiked the trail and you’re too tired to walk back, you can get back to Levanto in just 10 minutes by train. Or, if you’re a really good hiker, you can hike Trail #1 that climbs up the hill and takes you back to Bonassola and then Levanto in about 3 ½ hours.