Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso is one of the best things that I did during my trip around the Italian Riviera. These two towns are some of the most beautiful towns in the Italian Riviera and I am already plotting how and when I can return.
The wonderful thing about San Fruttuoso is that there are only two ways to get there – either by foot or by boat. There are no roads that lead to this beautiful little beach, so you need to work a little bit to get there.
I hope that sharing my experience about hiking to San Fruttuoso and subsequently taking the ferry from San Fruttuoso to Camogli helps you with planning your trip to this beautiful part of Italy.
Where the San Fruttuoso Hike Starts in Camogli
If you are hiking to San Fruttuoso from Camogli, you can start right in the center of town.
If you are looking at the beach, you will want to walk to the left along the boardwalk so that the ocean is on your right side. Keep walking all the way until you reach a parking lot and at the far corner, you will see a large sign with information about the trails.
I navigated to this point on Google maps and found my way pretty easily from there.
From here there is a map that shows you the different trails that you can take through the entire Portofino Peninsula. If you want to do more hiking besides just to San Fruttuoso, you can see more on the Portofino park website here.
If you’re an experienced or very fit hiker, you can actually hike all the way from Camogli to Portofino.
This article, however, will only cover hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso with a stop in San Rocco along the way.
Camogli to San Rocco
The hike from Camogli to San Rocco is the first part of the hike to San Fruttuoso.
San Rocco is a tiny little town which you can actually see from the beach in Camogli. It’s pretty high up and you’ll definitely be climbing to reach it.
This trail is paved all the way and has quite nice steps leading up to the town. You could simply take a walk up to San Rocco and then head back to Camogli and it would take you about an hour and a half in total.
To reach San Rocco from Camogli, you will follow the trails that are marked by two red circles. This trail is incredibly well marked and will lead you straight into the town of San Rocco in about 45 minutes.
I stopped to take in the views along the way and to drink some water. I did this hike in early April and started at about 9am, by the time I reached San Rocco I was peeling layers off despite the early morning cool air.
It is a tough uphill and you’ll definitely want to make sure you dress for a workout, especially if you are doing this hiking during the summer months.
Once you get to San Rocco, there is a church to see and a viewing space just in front of the church where you can look back out over Camogli.
There is also a small cafe here. The coffee is exceptional and they also have a full bakery. If you are hiking mid-week during the off-season, I highly recommend grabbing a slice of torta or some focaccia (or both!) to take with you because nothing will be open when you get to San Fruttuoso.
If you are hiking on the weekends or during peak season (May-August), then you will have several restaurant options once you arrive in San Fruttuoso.
Hiking San Rocco to San Fruttuoso
From San Rocco, the trail splits and you have two options for getting to San Fruttuoso. These are not the official names of the trails but rather the images that you will see marking each of the two trails.
You can continue to follow the “Two Red Circles” trail which takes you along the coastline. These red circles are filled in (rather than just being a red line like you’ll see on the other trail).
Both trails start to the right of the church and the “Two Red Circles” trail is the far right option. This is recommended only for experienced hikers and climbers.
The “Two Red Circles” trail has a very tricky part of the trail where you have a very small footing area and you need to slide along the cliff’s edge holding onto a metal chain.
The other option is the trail that forks to the left (still on the right-hand side of the church). This is the “Single Red Circle” which is not colored in like the other trail.
This trail goes inland and while it doesn’t offer views of the bay like the other trail, it does offer firm ground and a relatively straightforward hike to San Fruttuoso.
This is the trail that I followed and it takes you deep into the forest of the Portofino national park. It is really a beautiful and lush place to hike and from San Rocco to San Fruttuoso, it took me just under two hours.
Things to Do in San Fruttuoso
Once you are in San Fruttuoso, there are a few things to do and see.
If you are hiking in the summertime, be sure to take your bathing suit. The beach here is absolutely stunning and you’ll want to rinse off from what no doubt was a very sweaty hike up and then back down into the bay of San Fruttuoso.
Getting to the beach is a little bit confusing.
You’ll need to get to the back of the monastery where you see the entrance to enter the ticket office. If you keep walking past the door to the ticket office, you’ll see a set of stairs that go down to what looks like a basement. This is the way to the beach.
From here you’ll walk down the stairs and under the stone building straight out onto the beach.
Besides the beach, the Benedictine Monastery known as the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso. The complex was first built by Greek monks in the 10th century. You can now enter the complex and tour around it for €5.
The final thing you’ll want to do in San Fruttuoso, especially after a 2.5-hour hike, is eat! The most popular and top-rated spot is da Giovanni. They have local pasta dishes like pesto lasagna as well as incredible seafood dishes.
This was the place on my list that I had hoped to have lunch, alas, I went hiking on a Monday in April and everything except the monastery was closed.
Taking the Ferry to San Fruttuoso
If you are planning to hike in one direction and take the ferry in another, I highly recommend checking at the ferry port in Camogli before you start your hike so that you know what the ferry times will be.
In April when I visited, there were only three ferries per day from San Fruttuoso back to Camogli and the last one was at 12:30 in the afternoon.
Thankfully I was done with my hike by then, but if I had started the hike an hour later, I would have completely missed the ferry and had to hike back to Camogli.
The ferry one-way costs €8, however, it is only €14 for a roundtrip ticket, so slightly cheaper if you plan to visit San Fruttuoso that way.
The ferry terminal in Camogli is located here. Visit the day before your hike to learn about the timetables.
If you are visiting during the off-season, you may very well want to take the ferry in the morning and then hike back instead of the other way around so that you don’t have to worry about the timetables.
I do recommend taking the ferry in at least one direction, not only because those hills are so steep, but also because the views of San Fruttuoso and Camogli from the water are absolutely stunning.
What to Wear Hiking in Portofino National Park
The trail between Camogli and San Rocco is very well-kept and doesn’t really require any special footwear. It’s a tough uphill climb, but you could do it in flip-flops.
However, the hike between San Rocco and San Fruttuoso definitely warrants something a bit sturdier. If you are planning to do the more difficult coastal trail, you’ll definitely want hiking boots with a good grip.
If you do the inland single red circle route like I did, sneakers are fine. Some people say that you can do it in hiking sandals like Tevas, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The trail is very rocky and one slip means you will definitely stub your toes.
You’ll want to bring a full bottle of water. There is a fountain to refill your bottle at the split in the trail in San Rocco, but after that, there are no more places to refill your water inside the national park.
So bring enough to keep yourself hydrated for the 2.5 hours (especially if hiking in the summer months).
I also highly recommend packing snacks, and like I mentioned above, lunch if you are hiking during the off-season.
I brought some fruit which was a great snack during the hike, but when I got to the beach and realized the restaurants were all closed I was glad to get back on that ferry and home to Camogli to eat focaccia and gelato.
Staying Overnight in San Fruttuoso
There is only one place to stay in San Fruttuoso and that hotel has only one room. You can imagine it is quite difficult to book that room, but it is possible.
The hotel is called Casetta nell’Antico Mulino and it’s actually a little house. A very little house.
It is an absolutely stunning little stone house and while it’s certainly not luxury, it would be a wonderful place to spend a few nights away from it all.
I imagine having the beach in San Fruttuoso all to yourself at night or first thing in the morning before any of the ferries arrive is a pretty magical experience.
The casetta is an incredibly affordable €130 per night for two people.