Rapallo is a gem of the Ligurian coast and a fun place for a holiday with the kids. The seaside town’s historic centre features breathtaking landscapes, alternating between the intense blue of the sea and sky and the green of headlands and hills. Take a relaxing stroll along the seafront promenade or a walk surrounded by the protected nature areas of the nearby Parco Regionale di Portofino (Portofino Regional Park).

    Located on the eastern side of the Ligurian Riviera, known for its restaurants and lively nightlife, Rapallo is also ideal for a family holiday. Its parks, beaches and walks form the perfect backdrop for making picture-postcard memories. Ready to get lost in its street and go on adventures in beautiful surroundings? Here are 7 fun ideas for holidays with kids in Rapallo.

    1

    Carnival for kids

    Masks, streamers and explosions of colours

    • Families
    • Budget

    Rapallo's Carnevale dei Bambini (Kids' Carnival) offers confetti, floats and countless masks colouring Rapallo's streets during the most exciting celebration of the year. The carnival is a light-hearted parade starting from the middle of Via Mameli all the way to Chiosco della Musica (Music Pavilion) in Piazza Martiri della Libertà. The procession between these 2 points consists of a crowd of masks, floats, music and entertainment which you can watch along Lungomare Vittorio Veneto, all the way to the hilarious Fiona la Pentola Brontolona (Fiona the Grumpy Pot).

    Got a great costume idea? Be sure to wear it. Every year the most original and enjoyable mask is picked from the children and adults at the event. To celebrate, there are frittelle (doughnuts) for all!

    Location: Via Bolzano, 16035 Rapallo GE, Italy

    Map
    2

    Hair dryer museum

    Discover the bizarre history of the hair dryer

    • Unusual

    The Museo del Phon (Hairdryer Museum) is unique and tells the untold story of an everyday item that we often take for granted. Perfect for a rainy day or an unusual outing, this independent museum is in a hairdresser's shop window at the Vittorio Mariano Hair Designer outlet close to the city centre.

    Inside is an exhibition of hair dryers and curling tongs from the owner's own collection. Discover the full history of hairdryers, hair-styling and hair-care accessories, and admire an interesting and original collection of models. In window after window, it ranges from wooden handles to the dawn of the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment.

    Location: Via Trento, 15, 16035 Rapallo GE, Italy

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +39 0185 273 000

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    3

    Luigi Casale Municipal Park

    The green oasis surrounding a locomotive

    • Families
    • Couples
    • Budget

    Parco Comunale Luigi Casale (Luigi Casale Municipal Park) is a green space that offers plenty of pastimes to make your family day out unforgettable. Located in the east of the city, a pleasant walk along the seafront away, the park offers endless outdoor activities for the whole family. 3 historic buildings are nestled between the benches and leafy avenues: Villa Porticciolo, Villa Riva and Villa Tigullio, home to Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum) and Biblioteca Internazionale (International Library).

    There's also mini-golf. But the thing that makes it exciting for little ones are the play areas where they can let loose, and the surprising encounter with an early-20th century steam locomotive between the trees. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a unique view of the Promontorio di Portofino (Portofino Promontory).

    Location: Via Paolo Zunino, 8, Rapallo GE, Italy

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +39 0185 68 01

    Map
    4

    San Michele di Pagana

    Where village and beach meet

    • Families
    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Budget

    San Michelle di Pagana is a historic seaside village with a beach and local shops and cafes. After walking about 2 km through unforgettable views of Parco di Portofino you'll reach the village where time stands still. You'll see Ligurian characteristics mingled in with sea and sky on one side and distinctive houses perched on the bay of Pomaro on the other.

    The centre of San Michele overlooks the spiaggia dei pescatori (fishermen's beach), a popular hub for visitors thanks to the local shops and cafes, perfect for snacking on Ligurian focaccia by the sea. It's a picture-perfect spot so don't forget your camera!

    Location: Via Privata Bertullo, 12-4, 16035 Rapallo GE, Italy

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    5

    ‘Le Nagge’ and the Frog Fountain

    A quirky fountain on the seafront

    • History
    • Budget

    Le Nagge district, known as Ê Nagge by locals, is a historic neighbourhood with resorts, shops and a park with a famous frog fountain. To live like a local, why not grab an ice cream and enjoy it as you walk? Stroll through the public garden dedicated to the poet Ezra Pound, one of the famous names connected to Rapallo.

    Inside is a quirky fountain with 4 frog statues, bound to arouse children's curiosity. If you can, stay until after sunset. In the evening the fountain lights up with changing colours and becomes a hangout for locals.

    Location: Via Paolo Zunino, 9, 16035 Rapallo GE, Italy

    Map

    photo by Twice25 & Rinina25 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Confuoco

    An ancient Ligurian good omen for the new year

    • Photo
    • Budget

    Confuoco is a medieval Ligurian tradition that wishes luck for the new year. A quirky activity that's fun for all the family, the ceremony of lighting the bonfire during the confuoco is a fun way to take in the local culture. In Rapallo, it takes place in the heart of the historic centre.

    In the square outside the Auditorium delle Clarisse, a procession of people in historic costume gather to light the fire. As a good omen, locals and visitors bring laurel branches to burn in the fire. Legend has it that the fire's direction allows you to guess how the next year will go. It’s a magical, must-see display for young and old.

    Location: Via Bolzano, 16035 Rapallo GE, Italy

    Map

    photo by Davide Papalini (CC BY-SA 2.5) modified

    7

    U Giancu

    Enjoy Ligurian cuisine surrounded by comic strips

    The U Giancu restaurant is a family-oriented restaurant that serves Ligurian cuisine. There's nothing better than rounding off your day in Rapallo with a traditional, local dinner in a fun and relaxed setting. Set in Rapallo's green hills, a few minutes from the motorway toll, is U Giancu restaurant. Its Ligurian and Piedmont dishes and family-friendly atmosphere make it a real crowd pleaser.

    The walls are decorated with panels, pages and pencil illustrations by the most famous cartoonists, so it's a winner for comic strip-enthusiasts. It's also great for kids, and the tables under the arbour make it ideal for an outdoor dinner in the summertime. Don't miss the mushroom-based dishes which connoisseurs can enjoy with a beer or glass of wine.

    Location: Via S. Massimo, 78, 16035 San Massimo GE, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 7.30 pm to 10 pm; Sunday from noon to 3 pm and 7.30 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +39 0185 260 505

    Map

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