There are a lot of things to do in Valle Argentina and the surroundings to make your holiday unforgettable. Whatever you choose to do, here're 10 things (in random order) that you must experience while visiting the region:
# 1: Have a Pradio ice cream
Bar Pradio in Badalucco is a lively meeting point for young and old of the village any time of the day. In addition to having one of the best coffees we've ever tasted and the most fun parties , Pradio has the absolute best artisan ice cream in the region. We guarantee you'll be back for more once you've tried this heavenly creamy concotion with many flavors to choose from.
# 2: Take a dip in a river pool
While a day at the sea is quite a thrill, a dip in the fresh, crystal clear water in a secluded river bath that you can have all to yourself is unbeatable. There are several places in Badalucco and Montalto where you can enjoy a swim in the river. All you need to do is ask a local – they won't be too happy to see them mentioned in a guide book.
# 3: Visit Montalto Ligure
Montalto is probably the most photogenic village in the region, fortunately still under the radar of mass tourism. Looking at it from the road well underneath it, you get an immediate sense of utter beauty and medieval mystery. The eleaborate and unpredicatble net of cool caruggi, small meanderinhg lanes that run through the village, are a perfect refuge on a hot summer day. With a bit of luck you might be able to enter in the splendid church of San Giovanni Battista on the main piazza, or San Giorgio, a well-preserved XII century church. Stop at the local bar for a coffee or piece of torta verde and sit on the terrace admiring the breathtaking view to the valley.
# 4: Go to at least one sagra
Sagras are typically summer events in the villages around the region which use celebrating local food as an excuse to party with friends and family. In July and August you would have hard time deciding whether to go to a rabbit and polenta, sea food or pasta sagra in one of the villages. Whatever you choose, fun and great food are guaranteed.
# 5: Have a "workers' lunch"
Workers' lunch in the region is really a code word for delicious home cooked and reasonably priced meal in a lively trattoria, and probably the most authentic eating experience you can get. You don't need to be working on a building site to qualify for a workers lunch. All you need to do is stop by one of the trattorias between noon and 3 PM and join the locals and travellers enjoying a set menu of primo (usually pasta), secondo (meat or fish) and a dolce. Often times wine, water and an espresso are also included in the price (EUR 15-20). One of our favorite trattorias is Trattoria Ligure da Graziella, but you will get a decent meal in any other eatery offering a workers' lunch.
# 6: Wander in Pigna, the old town of Sanremo
Sanremo is usually associated with glamour (though now somewhat faded) , shopping and the Casino. But what makes this town trully magical is Pigna, the medieval part of town. Wandering in the streets of Pigna you'll come across old houses, many small crafts and antiques shops, charming cafes and bakeries and fascinating churches. You shouldn't miss the beautiful Piazza San Sito. Being in Pigna feels almost like being in a different town –go down to Via Matteotti in downtown Sanremo, just few minutes from Pigna, and you'll find yourself in a bustling shoppers' paradise with glitzy shops and fashion conscious people passing by.
# 7: Day Trip to Cote d'Azur
One of the wonderful things about spending your holidays in western Liguria is that you can also visit Cote d'Azur for and add a dash of glamour to your vacation. The French border is some 30 minutes drive from Taggia. It's fascinating how quickly the architecture, the food and to certain extent the mentality of the people changes acrsoss the border. Menton is definitively worth a visit, and if you have more time you shouldn't miss Nice either. If you you want to take a peek in jet setters' lifestyle, head to Monte Carlo, some 15 minutes' drive from Menton.
# 8: Go for a ride on pista ciclabile
This splendid 20 km long bike track along the sea was recently built to replace the old railway. You can choose from several different routes, but we recommend renting a bike at Arma di Taggia and biking all the way to Sanremo (some 20 minutes). The view down to the sea is splendid, the smell of Mediterranean vegetation intoxicating. There are several bikers' cafes along the track, so you may want to stop for a cappuccino and enjoy the view, or go down to one of the beaches for a quick swim.
# 9: Meet the locals
Open minded and warm hearted, the people from the region enjoy meeting travelers. Talking to the locals you can discover some interesting details about the place you're staying or get invaluable tips on places to visit or food to try. For some inspiration check our Meet the Locals page.
# 10: Have a glass of wine at La Banca del Vino
There's nothing quite as thrilling as enjoying a glass of good wine at sunset at Badalucco's main piazza. At La Banca del Vino you'll find a superb selection of the best Italian wines, sample some great snacks and enjoy the lovely atmosphere. Check out our Meet the Locals page to learn more about this unique place and David & Tobias, the two wine & Liguria enthusiasts behind it.