Hotel Stella, Rapallo ***
This charming three-star hotel in Rapallo is conveniently located right in the centre of town. Rapallo is a laid-back, unpretentious seaside town in the middle of the Gulf of Tigullio. Set in a typical Liberty-style building dating from the turn of the 20th century. View hotel
Double rooms from €55
Hotel Europa, Rapallo ****
This attractive three-star hotel in Rapallo, Liguria is situated opposite the ancient castle in the town's historic city centre. The popular coastal resort of Rapallo is the oldest area in the Gulf of Tigullio and is well known for its elegant Marina, excellent golf course, lovely horse riding trails and cultural... View hotel
Double rooms from €67
Hotel Miro, Rapallo ***
Hotel Miro is open all year round and lies on the glorious seafront at Rapallo on the Italian Riviera. This hotel in Liguria was originally built in the 19th century in traditional Liberty Style and abounds with attractive historic detail creating an atmosphere of elegant luxury. View hotel
Double rooms from €69
Set on the Tigullio Gulf between Chiavari and Portofino, Rapallo dates back to (probably) the 8th century BC as an Etruscan settlement, but it was in the 1920s that it first found fame outside Italy, becoming a magnet for writers and artists who moved here drawn by the remarkable beauty of the bay. DH Lawrence, Max Beerbohm, Friedrich Nietzche, Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway were all visitors, though the Rapallo of today wouldn't be recognised by them now. The obscure little town is now home to fancy hotels and restaurants, though there is history aplenty once you travel into the old town.
Little cobbled streets unwind behind the Saline Gate (the only remaining gate of the old town walls). Sights include the Castello sul Mare, built in 1551 to defend against the frequent pirate attacks. There is the Castello di Punta Pagana (1631), the Torre Civica and Torre Fieschi (1473). See the Basilica of Saints Gervasius and Protasius from 1118, and the Church of St Francis of Assisi (1519). Also the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montallegro (1558-1640) and the ruined Monastery of Valle Christi (13th century).
Head out from the town to explore the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino, the quite beautiful and protected Portofino headland. The peak of Monte di Portofino offers stunning views, and other high spots include Passo del Bacio, San Rocco, Portiofino Vetta and pietre Strette. Pretty hamlets include Ruta. There are neatly marked paths through the forests of holm oak, pine and wild thyme. Surprisingly under explored, it's a delight.