Road trip through Europe – Lake Como to La Spezia, Liguria

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake Como – La-Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On Day 4 of our trip, we spent the morning around Lake Como. After spending the morning taking a boat ride on beautiful aquamarine waters and walking around the town of Como, we had lunch and then headed off on a 3-4 hour drive to La Spezia, where we would be staying for the next two nights. La Spezia has a good rail connection to the famed Cinque Terre, a collection of five colourful villages nestled on cliffs above the sea on the Ligurian coast. As accommodation in Cinque Terre itself was relatively difficult to find, not to mention parking, we decided to stay in La Spezia and visit Cinque Terre on the train. As Cinque Terre is so scenic, it inspired more than enough photos for its own blog post, so I thought I would write a separate post about La Spezia, which was also a nice place to visit.

We arrived in La Spezia in the late afternoon, and as we followed our Google maps directions to our accommodation, we found ourselves rising higher and higher above the sea. It turned out that we were staying in house on top of the hill, with great views out over the bay. It wasn’t within walking distance of the city centre, but it didn’t take so long to get there by car, perhaps 15 minutes. The friendly owner gave us a tour of the house and gave us some tips where to go for swimming and to eat.

We were all keen for our first swim of the trip, so we headed off to the beach he had recommended in Lerici, on the other side of the bay. La Spezia itself is a port with a naval base, and there is no beach. There were a few parking lots and they were all quite busy, but we found a spot because it was so late in the day. Moods a bit frayed by heat improved dramatically after a dip into the cool sea. Feeling refreshed, we lounged around for a while before driving back to La Spezia for dinner.

The restaurant which had been recommended to us was closed for holidays (in August lots of people in Italy take holidays), so we picked a random one and were in for a nice surprise as it was a completely different cuisine we’d never tried before: panigacci, which were small round breads cooked on a griddle, and served with cheese and cold meats. Apparently these come from the town of Podenzano, where the owner was from. He was very friendly, and when we asked to pack the leftovers for breakfast, he even cooked us some extra panigacci to take with us. The restaurant was called Borgo Del Pannigaccio l’enrichetta di podenzana, in case you are ever in La Spezia and want to try something different.

After dinner we went back to our accommodation and enjoyed sitting on the terrace for a while, as the evenings were warm. Unfortunately there were lots of mosquitoes, and we got bitten. A very hot and itchy night then followed, and both my friend and I got little sleep (my husband slept fine, he sleeps through anything). The next day we headed off to the train station to visit Cinque Terre…I’ll write about that in the next post, but here is a sneak preview.

We spent a fantastic day in Cinque Terre and walked about a million steps, so once back in La Spezia, we decided to treat ourselves to a multi-course dinner at L’Osteria della Corte. Following that it was off to bed for another humid night spent scratching mosquito bites (i sprayed myself with repellent, but the few mosquito bites I’d got from the first few minutes got huge and itchy every time I felt hot, and it was a very warm night). The restless nights were however not only a problem of La Spezia, as they were a problem throughout our trip due to the heat. We enjoyed staying in La Spezia as a base. The next morning, we would hit the road again, for more adventures in Italy and France. Here are some more photos of La Spezia.


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