Solo a Sanremo, Sanremo, Italy
Date of stay: May 2018
If you want to get away for some sun, without it costing the earth, this could be the trip for you. I returned to Sanremo last year with two good friends, having briefly lived in there in 2011. Although having gone with friends this time around, I was, of course viewing this through the LGBT+ lens, looking for the places it may fall short, and frankly, it didn’t. Generally speaking Italy’s attitude to the LGBT+ community is on par with the U.Ks – when I’ve travelled there with my girlfriend we’ve found everyone friendly, accommodating and hospitable towards us. You won’t find a queer scene as such in Sanremo, in fact I haven’t located much of one at all, but for a nice quiet getaway it’s perfect.
We did this trip on a budget, taking public transport, booking simple accommodation and cooking some meals at our apartment; we had a brilliant 4 days and it was lovely to remember this hidden gem of a town on the riviera.
How to get there: The best, and cheapest way is a flight to Nice, then to take the train along the Riviera and through Monte Carlo, it’s a beautiful journey and will take you in to the heart of Sanremo, the station being situated deep within the mountain.
Where to stay: We booked Solo A Sanremo through booking.com for the 3 of us, which worked out £42 each for three nights. It was a one room studio with 2 pull out double beds; a bit of a squeeze, but we’re all good friends, so it wasn’t a problem. It would be perfect for a couple though. We barely saw the owners, which for us was perfect as we could just get on with it. There’s a hot plate, fridge and basic kitchen equipment, which we made use of, having lunches and breakfasts at home – and of course the brilliant thing about Italy is that even buying the most simple of ingredients from the supermarket can make for a delicious meal.
What to do: The great thing about Sanremo is its mild climate most of the year round. We went in May this time and it was beautiful. One of my favourite days was when we hired bikes, easily done anywhere along the beach or in the centre and cycled the 11 miles of disused railway heading out of Sanremo and along the coast. It’s an incredible cycle, mostly along the coast, but occasionally through huge tunnels in the rock. It’s flat and bar a couple of places where you have to come up on the the road, it’s traffic-free. There are several places along the way to stop off for lunch or an ice-cream and some nice beaches to stop for a rest. If cycling’s not for you, you could certainly walk some of it.
You can get a good pizza or a la carte meal in many places through the town centre. Our favourite place (in 2011 and again in 2018) was La Maona – a ten minute walk out of town along the beach. It’s a family owned and run pizzeria, with a number of wonderful things on the menu. If you’re a carnivore, like me, I recommend trying one of their meaty starters – Parma ham or the bresaola are both incredible here. It’s reasonably priced and the Dibenedetto’s who run it are very friendly.
If you can, the old town is well worth walking up to and exploring, there are some incredible views from the top, and you could get lost for hours walking through the maze of narrow streets. La Cava is a bar situated in the old town where a lot of locals drink. It was closed this time around, but used to be a firm favourite of ours.
Three-four full days is plenty of time to see and experience all you need to in Sanremo, and can be the perfect getaway for a bit of sun.