The Italian Riviera fronting the Gulf of Genoa has long been one of the most desirable places to sail in the Mediterranean thanks to its mix of stunning scenery, fine beaches and quaint harbours. This attractive resort town of around 14,000 people also has a large harbour with an 800 berth marina in depths of 3.5-6 metres. While it can accommodate superyachts of up to 35 metres length, you’ll also find many modest yachts of only 30ft or less, as well as a small fishing fleet.
There’s plenty of glamour here, whether you’re looking at the lines of immaculate superyachts, the miles of manicured sandy beaches, or a menu. Yet it’s also one of the best places on this coast in which to have work done on a boat. Marine facilities cover the whole gamut from dinghies upwards. The marina, run by the prestigious Azimut/Benetti group includes a boatyard with extensive on-shore space. All marine trades are available, including representatives of major engine manufacturers, At the highest end the old shipyard between the harbour and the town has a new lease of life as a superyacht refit centre of renown. It has capacity for dozens of yachts of up to around 60 metres.
Thanks to the many bars, restaurants and other businesses along the Piazza del Calafati on the waterfront there’s very little no reason to leave the marina. All offer a friendly welcome and food of a standard for which Italy is rightly famed. Nevertheless, the town is a short walk across the swing bridge at the entrance to the superyacht facility, and then along the promenade behind the sandy beach, which is lined with palms. Once there, the narrow traffic free narrow streets, alleys, and small plazas are packed with small cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques that offer a welcome escape from the blistering summer sun. As you head east away from the harbour the traditional architecture becomes progressively more grand, reflecting the town’s long-standing status as fashionable resort.
Varazze is only a 25-minute drive from Genoa’s small international airport, and is on the main train line that runs along the coast here, so both Milan and Nice are within three hours by public transport and considerably closer by road outside of peak hours. Easy cruising destinations include Genoa’s multiple marinas just 15 miles to the east and San Remo, 50 miles to the southwest. Directly to the south there’s a selection of stunning anchorages and harbours on the northern coasts of Corsica within around 100 miles of Varazze.