Hiking all year round without hurrying
The gulf of Ospedaletti, protected from the north cold winds in the winter and refreshed by brisk breezes in the summer, is perfect for hiking all year round. Of course, it’s better to avoid the hottest hours of the day during summer and bad weather days in winter, but the trails and paths can always provide with unique views and perfumes, surrounded by fragrant Mediterranean bush or by woods of pines or holm oaks.
All the itineraries here mentioned are easily accessible by any hiker who is used to walk in the mountains. Some of them are paths, sometimes pretty steep, marked with an “E”; other ones are easier tracks with short stretches of pathway, marked with a “T”. Always take into account the height difference and the fact that indicated walking times refer to a trained hiker, even if walking at slow pace. Paths are marked with red and white signals and path signs on the main junctions; if you are on the wrong path, you’ll find some red and white cross signals, but be careful, new tracks could have been drawn.
Hiking boots are recommended, and also long trousers, since the vegetation grows quickly, and thorns, spiny broom and prickly ivy can be inconvenient. Finally, remember that this is a droughty region: always leave with a good supply of water!
1) Ospedaletti – Coldirodi
Height difference: 270 m – Walking time: 1 h (one way) – Difficulty: T
Start from Piazza Europa and follow the promenade towards Sanremo up to the crossing with Via Matteotti, cross the road and take the pedestrian street going up by the side of Regina Residence and leading in front of the beautiful Villa Laura; keep your left going up along the “circuito” (Via Cavour) then take the staircase rising on your right (Scalinata Madonna Pellegrina), cross Via Garibaldi and keep going up along the ridge on a lane climbing among cultivated terraces. When the lane ends, continue on the path that will shortly lead to the Madonna Pellegrina Sanctuary, from which you can enjoy a wide view over the gulf of Ospedaletti. From here, you can follow the road that will bring you, almost on level ground, to the centre of Coldirodi.
1A) Coldirodi – Mt. Carparo
Height difference: 650 m – Walking time: 2 h (one way) – Difficulty: E
From Piazza San Sebastiano follow Via Castello (you can see the old plates of the Italian Touring Club) exiting the village, continue uphill along Strada del Bosco almost until the end of it; when you reach the gate of n°16, turn on your right following the rise, pass on the left of another gate and follow the path going up to Padre Poggi Peak. Further on, you will find a dirt road, to be followed up to a crossroad (valve), take the right on the path to the “Giro del Marzocco”, a panoramic U-bend on the way to San Romolo; from here, go up on a narrow path until you meet a level one (but you have to ignore it); keep rising straight to the top of Mt. Carparo.
From up here you have a perfect 360° panoramic view, you overlook the sea and see the top of the Maritime and Ligurian Alps. On the top of the mountain there’s a beautiful boundary stone, engraved with the “S” of Seborga and the “C” of Coldirodi, with an “8” which is the number of the stone.
1B) Coldirodi – Costa Terrin
Height difference: 350 m – Walking time: 1 h 15’ (one way) – Difficulty: E
Same as the previous itinerary, follow Via Castello, but as soon as you exit the village turn on the left in Via Fontana Vecchia; pass under the motorway and continue up to a fork, go up on the right following the asphalt road and then keep the left until you reach a house on the left. From here, do not follow the road that rises steeply, but take the level path proceeding among cultivations of flowers and vegetables, and in a short time you will be amid the Mediterranean bush. The path continues almost flat up to a stream (place called “9 vene”, “9 springs”), then rises a bit and soon descends slightly to the next ridge, where it meets a path rising from below. Go up on the path until you reach a dirt road, follow it on the right and after a few dozens metres keep on rising on the track you find on your left, cutting through the slope up to the ridge, where the view opens up towards the Alps. Here you will find a dirt road (Itin. 4).
2) Ospedaletti – Porrine Sanctuary
Height difference: 180 m – Walking time: 30’ (one way) – Difficulty: T
From Piazza Europa go towards Via De Medici and, soon after you take it, climb the stairs of the Scalinata delle Mimose (on your left), which crosses a couple times the road and ends at the beginning of Strada Porrine; follow that road up to the Sanctuary.
2A) Ring: Porrine Sanctuary – Mt. Nero
Height difference: 430 m – Walking time: 2 h 30’ (one way) – Difficulty: E
Pass on the left of the Sanctuary and follow the road going towards the motorway, proceeding upward to a fork; turn on the left and after 50 m turn right, pass alongside the hamlet “Case Rosetta” and then follow the mule track. At the junction (path sign) keep rising straight, the path will then flatten and is to be followed up to the junction with a dirt road; turn on the left and follow the path that will lead you to the ridge (be careful, the last part is pretty steep), where you will find a second dirt road. To get to the mountain top, turn on the left and climb the steep slope, where you can find a wide track easy to follow but quite abrupt; at the end the track flattens and you will be on the top, which is not very panoramic because it’s flat and rich in vegetation. Next to the top there is a distinctive depression, which turns into a pond in the rainy season; that, according to the local legend, was Mt. Nero’s “volcanic crater”.
After carefully climbing down, instead of taking the same path of the way up, too steep, at the sign follow the level path going towards the sea; when you reach a panoramic point, leave the level path and go down along the ridge (only the first part is steep); when you arrive at the pylon, turn left continuing to go down and eventually you will be back at “Case Rosetta”.
2B) Porrine Sanctuary – Seborga
Height difference: 550 m – Walking time: 2 h 30’ (one way) – Difficulty: E
Follow the Itinerary 2A up to the second dirt road, then turn right and, after 200 metres, at the Ronco Pass (“Passo del Ronco”- path sign), turn left following the “Liguria trail” (Itinerary 5).
3) Arcobaleno Trail: Ospedaletti – Sasso
Height difference: 600 m – Walking time: 3 h (one way) – Difficulty: E
This track was opened in 1995 to connect Ospedaletti to Ventimiglia; this itinerary describes it up to Sasso. The starting point in is Piazza Europa, from the path sign on the west side; rise on the mule track up to the “circuito” (Corso Marconi), turn on the left and, after 100 m, go up on Strada Termini, and then on Strada Porrine. From here the itinerary overlaps itin. 2 first and 2A later, until the junction over Case Rosetta; here, at the path sign, turn left and follow the path that rises until the next fork under the pylon (path sign). Continue, going downward at first, then follow the line of pylons up to the ridge, where you will find the dirt road. Turn on the left and go down up to a small lake (path sign), turn right and follow the dirt road for few minutes, then keep your left and go down on a path that turns into a mule track; further on, this track crosses and follows other tracks (pay attention to the signals) and then reaches the valley floor, where you meet an asphalt road and cross a stream; soon after, leave the road and climb up the path that will shortly lead to the hamlet of Sasso.
4) Bordighera – Mt. Carparo
Height difference: 950 m – Walking time: 3 h 30’ (one way) – Difficulty: E
From the square of Santa Maria Maddalena’s church in Bordighera Alta (the old town) follow the directions for the “Beodo” (ligurian dialect for “channel”- it was the old aqueduct of the town) and then follow it up to a fork (path sign); from here, go down the steep staircase, cross the stream and climb the opposite slope, both following or crossing the asphalt road until the level of the motorway. Continue rising up on the dirt road, keep the left at the following fork and you will come out next to a firefighting water tank; go up on the dirt road leading to a paragliding take-off point (beautiful view over Ospedaletti), keep rising until the top of Mt. Nero, then continue going down towards the Lisega pass (careful, steep descent!) and you will meet the itinerary 2A (if you want, you can avoid the rise to the top and the steep descent – see itin. 4var).
Continue along the ridge following the dirt road that will cross the itinerary 1B first and the dirt road coming from Seborga later; keep rising until the track levels, go on until the end of it and then go up on the path on your right, that will shortly lead on the top of Mt. Carparo.
4var) Right after the paragliding take-off, follow the path on your right that cuts the slope with beautiful views of the sea; further on, the path meets the itinerary 2A and stops at the Lisega pass, where it crosses the itinerary 4.
5) Liguria Trail
This trail connects the whole Liguria passing close to the sea. From Sanremo, it reaches Coldirodi and then goes down to the Porrine Sanctuary, partially on the road and partially on a path; it then coincides with the Arcobaleno Trail (itin. 3) up to the small lake, and finally reaches Seborga passing by the Ronco pass.
6) Strada dei Francesi (Frenchmen’s road)
Height difference: 600 m – Walking time: 2 h (up to itin. 1A) – Difficulty: T/E
This trail is called like that because the road was made in the Napoleonic era to let the French troops pass away from the cannons of the English warships.
Follow the itinerary 2A up to the first dirt road and then, instead of turning left, keep rising following the road until the third U-bend, where you meet the itinerary 1A; from here you can follow it upwards to reach Mt. Carparo (1 hour), or go down towards Ospedaletti (1h 30’).
7) Trail of the fallen Foresters
Height difference: 400 m – Walking time: 1 h 30’ (one way) – Difficulty: T/E
This trail has been drawn to remember the sacrifice of two Foresters who died in 1996 fighting a wildfire.
Start from Piazza Europa and follow the Via Aurelia towards Bordighera for 2 km up to a junction with Strada Vallone Castagna; do not climb on the mule track, but take the asphalt road (barrier) and after a few dozens metres turn on the right, following the mule track going up among terraces cultivated with bridal broom and other shrubs; further up you will find an asphalt road, to be followed uphill. Pass under the motorway and soon you will reach the memorial; pass behind it, where a path winds leading to a memorial stone and then comes out on a dirt road; from here, turn right and follow said dirt road up to a widening where a ridge path starts, leading (pretty steeply in some points) to the Arcobaleno Trail (itin. 3).
If you want, you can come back to Ospedaletti following this trail.
Discovering the region
From Ospedaletti you can easily reach paths and roads surrounded by greenery and wild nature, viable both by foot and by mountain bikes. Fascinating itineraries, both for the spectacular panoramic views on the sea and the Alps, and the environmental and landscape value of the region.
To the north the eyes sweep the Ligurian and Maritime Alps, to the west you can see all the French Riviera and to the south you overlook the woody valleys, the ridges covered with Mediterranean bush and cultivations of flowers and ornamental plants, you can enjoy the wide view over the sea and even see the island of Corsica on clear days.
Ospedaletti, the perfect gulf for hiking
Thanks to the mountains almost plunging into the sea, it takes a short climb to have stunning views and venture into the wild nature. For the most trained ones, it’s possible to reach a height of 900 metres in a three-hour walk, or try some mountain bike trails.
Also, thanks to the mild climate, it’s possible to hike all year round, finding in every season different flowers and fruits: oranges and strawberry tree fruits in winter, loquats and plums in spring, blackberries in summer and chestnuts in autumn.
Mountain biking trails
Some of the itineraries here described are suitable also for mountain biking. Two are easy (n° 4 and 6), one of medium difficulty (1B) and one difficult (1A); for all of them, it’s better to take them in the opposite direction.
For itineraries 4 and 1B, you have to reach Coldirodi and then follow the road towards San Romolo; when you arrive at the panoramic U-bend (Giro del Marzocco) pass it and, after 100 m, take the track going up steeply. After a rise of 50 m, the track becomes good for cycling, and then meets the ridge dirt road. Further on you’ll find on the left the 1B downhill path. Itinerary 4, instead, keeps going straight up to the saddle under Mt. Nero; here, you can avoid the final climb turning right (easy dirt road) or left (nice medium difficulty track – see itin. 4var).
For itineraries 6 and 1A, follow the previous instructions but, 100 m before the U-bend, turn left going down the dirt road. On track 6, if you want, at the second water tank you can turn on the left to avoid the last 500 m of path, which is a bit difficult, and come back to Ospedaletti using just dirt roads and roads.