From the train station, it’s a walk of only about 5 minutes to the waterfront (follow Corso Italia to Piazza Canessa and the adjoining Piazza Cavour, and from there, Via Cairoli to the harborside Piazza IV Novembre). Dominating this perfect half-circle of a harbor is a castle built on a rocky outcropping reached by a causeway; it is open only for special exhibitions, but the boulders around its base are usually teeming with sunbathers. Nearby, two other buildings reflect the fact that Rapallo enjoyed a long and prosperous existence before it became known as a retreat for pleasure seekers. The Cathedral of Santi Gervasio e Protasio, on Via Mazzini, was founded in the 6th century, and the leper house of San Lorenzo across the street dates from the Middle Ages. You can go inside the church but not the leper house: It’s just a medieval building to look at from the outside.
For striking views over the town and surrounding seacoast, make the ascent to the Santuario di Montallegro ([tel] 0185-239-000). You can take a bus from the train station (1€) or an aerial cableway (funivia) from Via Castagneto on the eastern side of town. The funivia ([tel] 0185-273-444) operates daily every 30 minutes from 8am to sunset; the trip takes 7 minutes and costs 5.50€ one-way or 7.75€ round-trip. Inside this 16th-century church are some interesting frescoes and a curious Byzantine icon of the Virgin that allegedly flew here on its own from Dalmatia. The views over the sea and surrounding valleys are the main reason to come up here, though, and they are even more grand from the summit of Monte Rosa, a short uphill hike away.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.