Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso: Everything You Need to Know

This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Our favourite day trip on the Italian Riviera is the Camogli to San Fruttuoso hike in the Portofino Regional Park.

The day includes pretty seaside villages, a forest hike, good food, a swim in the turquoise sea of an isolated bay, an ancient abbey, and a ferry ride along the beautiful Ligurian coastline.

There is no road to the abbey and beach at San Fruttuoso so you can only visit on foot or by ferry. If you have the time and energy, I highly recommend hiking in and taking the ferry out.

In this post, I share all the practical details of the hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso including transport links at each end plus what to expect on the trail and at the spectacular San Fruttuoso bay.


Camogli to San Fruttuoso Hike Details

  • Location: Camogli in Liguria, Italy – 40km/25 miles from Genoa
  • Length: 5.3 km/ 3.3 miles one way
  • Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 528 metres (1732 feet)
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
  • Highlights: Forest, Coastal Views, San Fruttuoso Abbey

These are the stats for the easier walk to San Frutttuoso that we did. There’s also a longer, harder coastal route (details below).

We visited Camogli and San Fruttuoso from Rapallo, which we think is the perfect base for the Italian Riviera.

See our Rapallo Italy travel guide for more details as well as our post on the best things to do in the Italian Riviera.

Back to Contents

Camogli: The Start of the Hike

Our day began with the train ride from Rapallo to the fishing village Camogli, just nine minutes away.

We got the 8.18am train so we could start before it got too hot (our hike was in mid-September when it was still warm) and have plenty of time in San Fruttuoso before the last ferry out.

It’s an easy walk from the Camogli train station down to the waterfront where we ate slices of focaccia in the warm morning light overlooking the harbour of pastel coloured villas and fishing boats.

Camogli, Italy
Camogli, Italy
Camogli beach, Italy

Camogli is much smaller than Rapallo and Santa Margherita with a quieter, laid-back vibe.

The pebbly beach is a more pleasant place to relax as there’s no busy road running along the seafront like there is in the larger towns.

We’d like to have had more time to explore this cute village, but we wanted to get started on the hike to San Fruttuoso.

Back to Contents

San Rocco Church

From the seafront, we could see our next destination—the church of San Rocco perched disturbingly high above the cliffs on the wooded peninsula.

At least we knew which direction to head, so we followed the harbour road until we reached a parking lot and police station where there are signs for the trail to San Rocco.

Look for the “Via San Rocco” trail marker on Google Maps to find the start of the trail. The trailhead is only 500 metres (a 6-minute walk) from Camogli San Fruttuoso train station.

The trail marker is two red dots and a red ring—at San Rocco, those two trails will divide for alternative routes to San Fruttuoso.

We walked for 30 minutes up many steps to San Rocco Church. This was probably the hardest part of the San Fruttuoso hike.

At the top we found views back down to Camogli, a cafe for an espresso boost, toilets, and a water tap at the start of the trails to refill your bottle.

The view from San Rocco, Camogli on the way to San Fruttuoso
The view from San Rocco

Back to Contents

The Trail to San Fruttuoso

From San Rocco, the trail divides and there are two options to get to San Fruttuoso.

The Coastal Trail to San Fruttuoso

The coastal trail via the Batterie with its World War II bunkers has the best views, but it is harder and only recommended for expert hikers.

It includes a section where you have to use chains to navigate the slippery rocks above steep drop-offs. Many describe it as terrifying. Shoes with good traction are essential.

This trail is supposed to take 2.5 hours from San Rocco (although some people report longer) and the trail marker is two red dots. 

From Camogli the coastal route is about 7.5km (4.7 miles) one way and takes at least 3 hours.

The Inland Trail to San Fruttuoso

We were scared off by the horror stories of the coastal trail and took the easier inland trail through Pietre Strette.

The 5.3km (3.3 mile) trail is marked by a red ring and is well-marked and easy to follow.

It’s supposed to take two hours from San Rocco, but the entire hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso (including a break at San Rocco) took us two hours.

We found it quite easy—the steepest bit is up to San Rocco.

The trail took us through chestnut and olive groves and pine forest. It was a mix of ups and downs until we reached the middle of the peninsula and cut down towards San Fruttuoso.

From there it’s 50 minutes downhill all the way along many switchbacks.

The trail is rocky, so decent shoes are needed. We were fine in hiking sandals.

Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso
Simon and our friend Dunstan on the trail
Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso
Most of the trail is through forest
Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso
There are occasional sea views

Back to Contents

San Fruttuoso Beach and Abbey

Arriving in San Fruttuoso is such a treat.

San Fruttuoso monastery, Italy
Our first look at San Fruttuoso

The hamlet consists of a few restaurants, a 10th-century Benedictine monastery of golden stone, and a 16th-century watchtower that overlook the small pebble beach and vibrant turquoise sea.

With the dramatic mountain backdrop, it feels secluded and far from the real world, despite the crowds on the beach.

The remote abbey and beach of San Fruttuoso is one of the highlights of the Italian Riviera in Liguria. The hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso and the ferry back to Rapallo was the perfect day trip. Click through to read all about it.

We enjoyed the view as we ate a tasty pesto lasagne lunch with local white wine at Da Giovanni.

There are a few other restaurants in San Fruttuoso, but they close in winter so check ahead or bring your own snacks (there’s no shop).

Pesto lasagne lunch with a view at Da Giovanni, San Fruttuoso
Pesto lasagne with a view at Da Giovanni

After lunch we relaxed on the beach. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas or half the beach is free.

Floating in the clear water looking back at the abbey and the mountain we’d descended was a special experience.

San Fruttuoso beach
San Fruttuoso beach

You can also visit the 10th century monastery, the Abbazia di Fruttuoso. It’s open every day from 10am – 5.45pm from June to mid-September with slightly shorter hours in the shoulder season months. In winter it closes at 3.45pm and on Mondays.

Entrance is €8.50 for adults and €5 for children.

The Abbey closes if weather conditions cancel the ferry to San Fruttuoso.

Back to Contents

San Fruttuoso Ferry

The only way to leave San Fruttuoso is on foot—back to Camogli or on to Portofino—or by ferry.

When we were there in mid-September, the last ferry was at 3.30pm, even though the online schedule said 5.30pm, so it’s best to get an early start.

More ferries are scheduled on weekends and in peak season (June to August). Be sure to check the timetable in advance.

Bear in mind that the ferries do get cancelled if the sea is rough. We called them before our hike to check they were running so we wouldn’t be forced to hike out as well.

To get from San Fruttuoso to Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Rapallo, take the Line 1 ferry with Servizio Marittimo del Tigullio.

In the summer they leave San Fruttuoso once an hour from 11.30am until 5.30pm. The journey to Rapallo (which we did) costs €15 one way and takes one hour.

You might want to stop in Portofino (15 minutes from San Fruttuoso) if you haven’t visited yet. Or do as we did and walk there another day from Santa Margherita on the easy coastal walk—our Italian Riviera travel guide has more details.

We really enjoyed the ferry trip. The coastline is spectacular, and we were able to get the best views of Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Rapallo from the sea.

You could also take the ferry back to Camogli. Check the Golfo Paradiso schedule for the Blue Line.

Leaving San Fruttuoso by ferry
Leaving San Fruttuoso
The other side of Portofino from the ferry
The other side of Portofino from the ferry

Back to Contents

Camogli to San Fruttuoso Hike Map

Back to Contents

Portofino to San Fruttuoso Hike

Another way to access San Fruttuoso is to hike there from Portofino (or vice versa).

The one way trip is about 4.5km (2.8 miles) and takes around 1.5 hours with some steep climbs at either end.

See the AllTrails San Fruttuoso to Portofino trail page (note the distance given is for the return journey).

If you are feeling very energetic, you could even skip the ferry and do a Camogli to Portofino hike with a break in San Fruttuoso. Allow at least 3.5 hours (not including breaks) for this 10km walk.

Back to Contents

Is Hiking to San Fruttuoso Worth It?

San Fruttuoso is one of the most special places on the Italian Riviera, and I highly recommend you visit, even if you take the ferry rather than hiking in.

Nothing beats the feeling of having earned your lunch and swim after a hike, though, so if you can hike it’s well worth it.

It really was the perfect day.

Back to Contents

More Italy Posts


Elsewhere in Italy

If you enjoyed this post, pin it!

The remote abbey and beach of San Fruttuoso is one of the highlights of the Italian Riviera in Liguria. The hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso and the ferry back to Rapallo was the perfect day trip.


  1. Thanks for all the great detail Erin. How long would you say the ferry ride back is? I’ve found online over two hours and another only thirty minutes lol.

    Reply ↓

  2. Took the inland route.
    Met my wife who came by ferry from Comogli.
    Had a swim
    Also had the pesto pasta ( twice ).
    Ferry back to Comogli.
    A perfect day.
    During a later trip to Italy I highly recommended the hike to friends.
    They at that stage were travelling separately .
    Unfortunately it did not occur to me to warn them of the difficulties of the coastal route.
    They are usually carry out their own research.
    They got to San Fruttuoso eventually, but they probably still harbour a grudge.

    Reply ↓

  3. I wish I had read this post before we did the coastal work from San Rocco to San Fruttuoso. I have done big walks before (e.g. NZ great walks) but was absolutely petrified when I had to use the chains, and absolutely no warning that there are sections like this on the walk. There are several sections where you are holding on to a chain while you rock climb, each more scary than the last :-(. I was in tears by the end of it. I was walking with my partner and teenage daughter – they coped well, but honestly, it is scary having a cliff drop underneath you while you are moving feet along a cliff face while holding a chain. Absolutely terrifying – and there should be sign at the beginning of the track warning people. I saw a couple of families hiking with small children and even babies in a backpack, who had to turn back once they got to the sections of the track with the chains.

    But – it is a very beautiful part of Italy – so sounds like taking the inland track is the way to go.

    Reply ↓

  4. I am a seasoned hiker, albeit a quite old one, and I would not recommend the coastal side of the two trails; for me it was scary. The hike down to San Fruttuoso and out (three times) is one of my favorite experiences in Italy, having traveled to different parts of Italy every year since forever ago. Enjoy the many chestnuts along the way! It’s important to check the ferry schedule and to respect all signs, etc.
    I promise you: The memory of this hike will remain with you, with every aspect of your being.

    Reply ↓

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published. By clicking the Submit button, you give consent for us to store your information for the purposes of displaying your comment and you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.