Alta Via Baia del Sole: Albenga - Colla Micheri

The high via Baia del Sole (AVBS) is a very suggestive itinerary that leads from Albenga to Laigueglia . An overhanging path between the Ligurian Sea and the Ligurian Alps, immersed in scents and colors. Suitable for expert bikers.


Type: mountain bike + trekking
Difference in altitude: 846 meters
Distance: 20.5 km (one way, return by public transport)
Time: 5 and a half hours
Difficulty: medium
Maximum altitude: 110 m
Recommended period: from September to May
Useful tips: water points in the church area of the Sanctuary of NS di Fatima, San Bernardo in Alassio and Colla Micheri

Download GPX


Starting from Piazza del Popolo we head towards the church of NS di Fatima in the Vadino Region (photo opposite). After the crossroads for the Julia Augusta road, take the asphalted road for about 200m. This is where our journey begins. The path is marked with two red dots. The climb, which runs alongside a small house, is immediately very steep but subsequently connects to a dirt road (photo 2).

Neglecting the paths that we find on our right that lead to the village of San Fedele, after a few minutes of walking we arrive at a votive pillar (photo 3).

Keeping to the left (photo 4) and after a short climb, we take the sea variant called "path of the wave" . The path, not really suitable for those who venture into the hiking world for the first time, presents itself with slight ups and downs, sometimes gravelly, rocky and, in some points, exposed.

The breathtaking panorama that opens up before our gaze is entirely surrounded by two intense colors: the blue of the sea and the green of the pines and the thick Mediterranean scrub present (see following photos).

In this part of the route you can admire the cistus (photo 7), a perennial shrub that blooms in spring giving us flowers with pink "wrinkled" petals, the myrtle, the brooms (photo 8) with their intense scent and yellow flowers, and the strawberry tree (photo 9). The latter is considered a symbol of Italy from the distant nineteenth century during the Risorgimento for its colors that recall the Italian flag: the green of the leaves, the white of the flowers and the red of the fruit. Continuing along the path, you can see rosemary and wild lavender plants (photo 10), all surrounded by the view of the Gallinara island and the port of Alassio (photo 11).

At the end of the wave path, the itinerary continues towards the AVBS junction. This leads to the Sella del Bignone, a plateau that extends under the summit of Mount Bignone (520m above sea level) (photo 12). The view extends to 360 °. Thus you can see the Albenga plain and the surrounding mountains (photo 13), the Ligurian coast, Alassio, Laigueglia and Capo Mele (photo 14). You can't help but notice Monte Castellaro, just behind the main path. From the top of the mountain, about 516m high, you can admire the peaks of Monte Galero and, more distant, of Monte Monega.

We then proceed towards Monte Pisciavino , a destination for paragliding enthusiasts (photo 15). From here the path becomes very pleasant, especially in the summer months where the thick canopy of trees provides shade and refreshment. You cross a forest of holm oaks and chestnuts, completely immersed in silence. The itinerary continues towards the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Guardia (photo 16), a Baroque-style church located at 586 meters above sea level on the top of Mount Tirasso, the highest hill in the area from which it dominates the entire Gulf of Alassio. From here you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the city, the coast and, to the north, the chain of the Ligurian Alps.

From the parking lot of the church a path unravels to the left, sometimes steep and steep. After a first rocky part immersed in the thick wood of maritime pines, you descend along the ridge that leads to the road to Caso, a hamlet of Alassio. From here you can take a very beautiful and panoramic short variant, passing through the Pisana tower, built in the 17th century (photos 17-18). After a stretch of asphalted road, the path resumes in front of the ruins of San Bernardo, a place of worship from the first twenty years of the 17th century, damaged by the 1887 earthquake. From the adventure park, located in front of the church, take the path along the educational path . After a first climb and flat stretches, you reach the highest point on the Laiguegliese side, Poggio Brea (photos 19-20). Although the hill is located at 371m, the wonderful view of the coast of Laigueglia opens shortly after, on the so-called “panettone”, a hill overlooking the sea (photo 21).

Behind us you can see the highest peaks of the Ligurian Alps. Proceed along the Alta Via Baia del Sole path where you can meet the ruins of old windmills, all surrounded by maritime pines (photo 22), cyst shrubs, brooms, myrtle and thyme. During the spring you can admire some types of flowers, such as pyramidal orchids (photo 23), honeysuckle (photo 24) and in summer the beautiful and fragrant helichrysum (photo 25). The route is also suitable for mountain bikes for its single tracks. You then arrive at the funniest and fastest stretch, the so-called "labyrinth of the grove", characterized by a compact terrain surrounded by a dense pine forest.

At the end of the main path, the itinerary continues along the asphalted road towards Colla Micheri , the transit point of the Roman Via Julia Augusta. Very suggestive is the small church erected in the main square of the small village, and the epigraph placed in 1814 on the facade testifying to the passage of Pope Pius VII while returning to Rome from his French exile (photos 26-27-28-29-30 -31-32).

From the small village, restored in the 1950s by a famous Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, the last part of the route begins. Beautiful uphill and very shady path. On the right side you can see the city of Andora while on the opposite side you can admire Laigueglia . After passing the Saracen tower, you arrive at the most panoramic point of the route. The wonderful view that extends is breathtaking, a postcard to admire. You can see the magnificent Laiguegliese gulf, the Ligurian coast, the Gallinara Island and, on clear days, Corsica. A little paradise. A combination of colors and scents, a corner of peace and tranquility (photo 33).