Location: Provinces of Savona, Cuneo and Imperia, Italy
Length: 134 km
Wide: minimum 5 m, standard
Surface quality (out of 5): 4 – 5
Operating times: throughout the year
Strada Provinciale 582 del Colle di S. Bernardo (SP 582), Strada Statale 28 (SS 28), Strada Provinciale 154 (SP 154), Strada Provinciale 97 (SP 97), Strada Provinciale 1 (SP 1), Strada Statale 28 (SS 28)
Route: Albenga – Garessio – Ponte di Nava -Viozene – Upega – Valcona Soprana – Monesi – Colle di Nava – Imperia
The Ligurian Alps are a mountain range located in northwestern Italy. Forming the south western extremity of the Alps, they are separated from the Apennines mountains by the Colle di Cadibona and from the Maritime Alps by the famous Col de Tende.
From coastline to countryside, in order to get to know these amazing mountains and really appreciate their beauty, the recommended drive begins from the coastal town of Albenga and then cuts a path through the picturesque region of Piedmont, returning to the city of Imperia on the Riviera di Ponente. Along this scenic route you will be amazed by the changing landscape offering breathtaking views and by the multitude of ancient villages and high mountain passes found along the way.
Starting from Albenga, an old settlement of pre-Roman origins founded around the 4th century BC, this fascinating drive is 134 km long and can be made in approximately 3 hours, although you should take your time and reserve a whole day for this enthralling trip.
Following the Strada Provinciale 582 del Colle di S. Bernardo (SP 582), the first point of interest is the medieval village of Zuccarello. Located on the Nera river, among the wooded valleys north-west of Albenga, Zuccarello is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It’s well worth stopping here and visit the church of San Bartolomeo, built in the 13th century and the chapel of Sant’Antonio Abate, both decorated with interesting, late medieval frescoes.
Continuing North, you will drive over the Colle S. Bernardo at an altitude of 957 m, offering a wonderful view over the Ligurian Alps, and then down towards the small village of Garessio, in the Tanaro Valley. Located mid-way between the sea and the mountains, Garessio is an ideal vacation and Spa resort area.
From Garessio, follow the Strada Statale 28 (SS 28) heading West, towards Ponte di Nava, in the Province of Cuneo. Continue East and you will reach the typical mountain village of Viozene, a popular summer resort dominated by the impressive Monte Mongioie.
The thrilling drive continues until you will reach another high mountain pass: Colle di Nava, with an altitude of 934 m. Although it’s located only 30 km from the Italian Riviera, it has a typical alpine climate with cold winters, cool summers and frequent snowfalls. Famous for the cultivation of lavender, Colle di Nava is also an important tourist center where you will find four hotels and two campsites.
Finally, head South towards Imperia, the end point of our amazing trip through the Ligurian Alps. On your way back to the coast, it’s recommended to make a small detour to the Colle S. Bartolomeo, with a height of 620 m above the sea level, and enjoy the amazing view over the valley of the Impero.