The beautiful landscapes of Liguria, the transparent sea among the rocks and secluded bays - there are no equal. And the gentle sun, magnificent nature, sights of different eras, colorful houses and the richness of tastes of local cuisine complement the mosaic. The local resorts are contrasting and colorful! Beaches for every taste! Everyone dreams of such a respectable vacation!
Ligurian coast (Riviera Ligure), photo by riccardo santi
The Ligurian coast (Riviera Ligure) is a resort region of amazing beauty with a rich and diverse nature, clean beaches, picturesque cliffs, colorful settlements. The Italian Riviera, as it is commonly called, is the coast of Liguria, which has a width of 20 km and a length of 200 km along the Gulf of Genoa of the Ligurian Sea during the French Riviera.
When is the best time to go?
The climate on the coast of Liguria is stable and mild. The mountain ranges of the Apennines and the coastal Alps cover this area from the cold northern air currents. Summer is dry, clear, with a temperature of +22 - + 28 ° C. There is no prolonged debilitating heat - sea breezes save. July and August are characterized by the highest temperature (up to + 35 ° C). Water in summer reaches a temperature of + 27 ° C. The maximum rainfall is observed in October - November.
You can enjoy the sea and the sun on the Ligurian coast from April to November. But the best time to relax is from June to September.
Liguria includes 4 provinces - this is the Empire, Savona, Genoa, La Spezia. Genoa is the main city of Liguria (see Genoa guide here). It geographically divides the coast into western and eastern parts: the democratic Riviera di Ponente, and the luxurious Riviera di Levante.
Ligurian coast - Italian Riviera, photo by Genji Arakaki
5 things to do while relaxing on the Ligurian coast
- Take a walk along the paths of the "Five Earths", be sure to walk along the "Road of Love" to admire the natural scenery that is crazy in beauty and recharge your batteries.
- Visit at least a few small villages of the Ligurian coast and feel the beauty of life in them. (All of them are located on the slopes, so it is better to take a bus or train.) Walk along their narrow winding streets, look at shops, sit in cafes, visit observation decks, and explore local sights that have a long history.
- Taste Ligurian cuisine. The most popular are seafood, they are always fresh and they are very deliciously prepared here. Be sure to taste a salad of fresh vegetables with olive oil; famous pasta with traditional Genoese pesto (pineapple seed sauce, local olive oil, garlic and pecorino sheep cheese); focaccia with cheese (wheat cake with soft, melted cheese inside); and, of course, the wine that has been made in these places for hundreds of years.
- Take a boat trip. The beauty of the Ligurian coast is best appreciated from the water. Only from here will the very views that you saw while reading about these places be revealed: rocky shores and sandy beaches, five-star hotels and wild coves, big cities and quiet villages.
- Sunbathe and swim on the best and cleanest beaches in Italy. It's nice on a hot day, after walking several kilometers and getting a sea of emotions, plunge into the cool waters of the Ligurian Sea!
Ligurian Coast Resorts
Cinque Terre Park
Monterosso al Mare
Santa Margherita Ligure
Arma di Taji
Riviera di Levante
Riviera di Levante (Riviera di Levante) is located between the Gulf of La Spezia and Genoa. Here are concentrated elite expensive resorts. The cream of society is gathering on the east coast of Liguria. Local bays were chosen by yachtsmen, climbers train on rocky headlands.
The main resorts of the Riviera di Levante are the extensive Rapallo, the picturesque Sestri Levante, the historical Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, famous for its yachts, the fashionable Portofino, Levanto (Levanto), secluded poetic Portovenere (Porto Venere), La Spezia (La Spezia), Zoagli (Zoagli), Chiavari (Chiavari), Lavagna (Lavagna), Moneglia (Moneglia).
Rapallo, Old Fortress on the Sea (Antico Castello sul mare), photo by Pete Sykes
The best resort of the East Riviera can be called Rapallo - the largest, most beautiful, famous historical events. Here, by the sea stands a fort of the 16th century (Antico Castello sul mare); the central square of Cavour (Piazza Cavour) is decorated with a magnificent parish church of the 19th century (Basilica dei SS Gervasio e Protasio). The oldest temple on the territory of the town is San Stefano (Pieve di Santo Stefano) (11th century). An important monument of Christianity is the chapel of the Holy Trinity. You can climb the cable car to the 16th-century basilica - Madonna di Montallegro (Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montallegro). In the center of Rapallo preserved tower of the XV century. - Torre Civica.
The city beach is located in the central part of Rapallo. It is covered with white sand and is fully equipped - there are even changing cabins with a private key. All Rapllo beaches are small, rocky or pebble. The best place for swimming is the beach in San Michele di Pagana, located on the outskirts of the city.
Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure, photo by Rodrigo Soldon
Santa Margherita Ligure is a former fishing village. The dawn of the resort began after World War II. Today Santa Margherita Ligure is a sea harbor, the pearl of Tigullio, a popular tourist and seaside resort on the Dolphin Coast (Costa dei Delfini). The city is conveniently located: hiking trails start already on the outskirts of the city, buses and trains run to the nearest cities.
Attractions: Church of San Giacomo di Corte (chiesa parrocchiale di San Giacomo di Corte) with a statue of Madonna in a rocky niche; Basilica of St. Margaret of Antioch (Santuario di Nostra Signora della Rosa); Capuchin Monk Church (Chiesa dei frati cappuccini); Abbazia della Cervara Abbey; Castle of Paraji (Castello di Paraggi); Columbus statue (locals are sure that he was born in their city); Villa San Giacomo and Villa Durazzo-Centurione of the 16th century with lush gardens, fountains, statues, playgrounds and walkways decorated with mosaics. The Carlo Negri Cup is held annually in Santa Margherita Ligure, a prestigious international sailing competition. The city is also widely known for its gastronomic tourism, here you can try the best red shrimp.
The beaches of Santa Margherita Ligure are pebble clean, well equipped for a comfortable stay, there are paid and open access, there is even a beach for dogs.
Portofino (Portofino), photo Superchilum
Portofino (Portofino) - an elite resort, especially loved by the "rich and famous", as well as residents of Italy. It is located in a protected area of the national park, stands under a high rocky cape. This is a town with colorful houses on the harbor, luxury yachts, fashionable hotels and designer boutiques.
Portofino is one of the oldest Italian cities. Built in the 12th century, his parish church of St. Martin (Chiesa di San Martino) holds medieval paintings and unique wooden statues. The Church of St. George (Chiesa di San Giorgio), located on a mountain above the city, also exists from the XII century. It was destroyed during the last war and completely restored. Striking in its stern grandeur, the Castle Brown (Castello Brown), built in ancient times and served as a strategic observation tower. A little further, above a light strip of rocks, there is a white lighthouse. The Roman Abbey of San Fruttuoso is located west of Portofino. It is not easy to reach, but can be reached by sea. Tourists and divers enjoy the statue of Christ from the Abyss (Cristo degli Abissi), immersed in water at 17 m. It can be seen in sunny clear weather.
The beaches of Portofino resort are marked with a blue flag. Here, in the purest sea water, dolphins and a variety of fish live; Amazing underwater scenery attract divers. The beach closest to the city is located in the sandy bay of Paraji.
Lerici, photo by luca marchesoni
Lerici (Lerici) is located on the banks of a beautiful bay. It is an ideal place for those who seek peace, silence and reunion with nature. Byron, Shelley, Petrarch, Montale liked to be here. "Bay of poets" - this is also called this place. But at the same time, Lerici is a modern resort.
Among the historical sights of the city is a medieval castle (Castello di Lerici), today it houses the Geopaleontological Museum; the small castle of San Terenzo in the suburbs; Museum of the Navy.
Lerici is located in the Regional Natural Park Montemarcello Magra (Parco naturale regionale di Montemarcello-Magra). The beaches of Lerici have been repeatedly marked with the prestigious Blue Flags and the “Four Sails” sign for the purity of sea water and the quality of service.
Porto Venere, photo by Vincenzo
The resort of Portovenere (Porto Venere - "Port of Venus") has a special romantic atmosphere. The city includes: 3 villages - Porto Venere, Le Grazie and Fezzano, and 3 islands - Tino, Palmaria and Tinetto. It is not easy to book a place in the local hotels during high season. This place has a rich and ancient history. It is confirmed by the ruins of the Villa Varignano (Villa romana del Varignano), built before our era, the Roman Gate, the defensive castle fortress Dorino (Castello Doria). Since the XI century, there has been the Cathedral of St. Lawrence (Chiesa di San Lorenzo); from the XIII century - the Gothic Church of St. Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro) in Piazza San Pietro.
Through the narrow strait from Portovenere is the island of Palmaria, where the resort's most popular beach is located - Pozzale. By boat you can reach the Cinque Terre, with its steep banks and rocky beaches.
Riviera di Ponente
The Riviera di Ponente, stretching on the western part of Liguria from the French border to Genoa, is divided into two zones: Flower Riviera (Riviera dei Fiori) - from the French border to the resort of Cervo, which is decorated with flower fields and numerous greenhouses; and the Palm Riviera (Riviera delle Palme) - from Cervo to Genoa, with endless palm alleys.
There are several popular resorts here: the cozy Arma di Taggia with magnificent sandy beaches; a small and calm Diano Marina, preserving the historical atmosphere; Bordighera, buried in beautiful gardens; Elegant Alassio chic San Remo (Sanremo); authentic provincial Pietra Ligure; modest Arenzano (Arenzano); Finale Ligure, Varigotti, Loano, Imperia, Ventimiglia.
Sanremo by Jim Hart
The Pearl of the Flower Riviera is a festive, vibrant and noisy Sanremo, a favorite resort of Russian aristocrats. It is famous for its flowers. This is an international flower market, it is the flowers of San Rem that are brought at the Nobel Prize ceremony. At the beginning of the year, the city hosts the Parade of Flowers (Sanremo in Fiore), in February-March - an Italian song contest, in July - the international Fireworks Festival. In San Remo, there are retro car races, a sailing regatta, tennis tournaments, and the Milan - San Remo bicycle race.
The "heart" of the city is called the old quarter of La Pigna (La Pigna). In San Remo there is a Russian church - the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Chiesa di Cristo Salvatore), created by architect Schusev. Not far from the temple, at Corso degli Inglesi, operates one of Italy's famous casinos, bringing the city millions of profits. Not one fortune was lost here.
The Palazzo Nota Palace houses the City Museum (Museo Civico), where archaeological finds are exhibited; historical objects of medieval life and personal belongings of Garibaldi; canvases of Italian artists; Political posters and Italian song festival. Villa Hanbury in the outskirts of the city is famous for its luxurious Botanical Garden, in which nearly six thousand species of exotic and rare plants grow and bloom.
Sand and pebble beaches of San Remo can be proud of their thoughtful infrastructure. They are excellently equipped, but they cannot be called elite in terms of the quality of the coast. The beach area is separated from the hotels by a highway. Near the town is the sandy beach of Three Bridges (Spiaggia dei Tre Ponti). It is equipped with everything necessary. Popular with surf lovers.
Bordighera, photo by Flavio C
The city of Bordighera is located near the French border. It was founded in the 4th century BC. and at all times attracted people of creative and noble persons. Claude Monet, conquered by the exotic nature of Italy, completed 79 landscapes in his 79 days in Bordighera!
Over the centuries, the historic city center has not changed much. It is pleasant to stroll on a hot day through the quiet labyrinths of shady streets or along the promenade of Argentina (Lungomare Argentina), the longest on the Ligurian coast. On the vertical terraces along the shore, there is the Garden of Exotic Pallanca Plants (Giardino Esotico Pallanca) with a collection of 3200 species. Spearhead cactus, which is about 300 years old, grows there. Villa Margherita, the former winter residence of Queen Margherita of Savoy, today houses an art gallery. On a rocky cape above the sea rises a small Romanesque church of St. Ampelius (Chiesa di Sant'Ampelio) of the XI century, in honor of the patron saint of Bordighera. Not far from Bordighera there is the Song Museum (Museo della Canzone), which in 1987 was opened by Luciano Pavarotti himself.
The second most famous resort of the West Riviera is Alassio, the romantic city of lovers. It is located at the foot of the Alps, on the shores of the Genoese bay "Gulf of the Sun." The resort is popular because of its convenient location - it stands at the intersection of the most important railways, it is very easy to get to it.
Via Iulia Augusta passed through the city in the Roman era, it connected Liguria with Provence and Gaul. The oldest city building is the Temple of Saint Ambrogio (Collegiata di Sant'Ambrogio). Original paintings and frescoes of famous masters of the XVI-XVII centuries survived in it. The medieval city wall has also been preserved in fair condition. From the 11th century, the Romanesque church of Santa Croce has remained untouched (Chiesa di Santa Croce); from the XIII century - the temple of the Madonna della Guardia (Santuario di Nostra Signora della Guardia). The Muretto wall on the promenade is decorated with colorful tiles autographed by celebrities, here you can see inscriptions made by hand of Adriano Celentano, Sophia Loren, Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Tour Heyerdahl.
Alassio's beaches - the best on the Riviera di Ponente - are luxurious, gentle, covered with white and delicate clean quartz sand. They are equipped with umbrellas, and sunbeds; famous guests of the resort love to visit them. There are only two free beaches in the city.
Not far from Alassio are the resorts of Albenga, Laigueglia, Andora, and also with beautiful beaches.
Pietra Ligure, photo by Davide Papalini
The amazing resort of Pietra Ligure is famous for its special beauty. In the town houses of historical buildings, connected by arcades, have been preserved; old bishop castle founded in the 8th century. The palace of Leale-Frankelli (Palazzo Leale-Franchelli) contains a wonderful collection of porcelain houses. The Church of the Annunziata (Oratorio della Santissima Annunziata) is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Liguria. In the main square is the Basilica of St. Nicholas (Basilica di San Nicolò).
Pietra Ligure is famous for its excellent beaches with a vast coastal zone, strewn with sand and small rounded pebbles, with a seabed covered with pebbles that maintain perfect transparency of the water.
Cinque Terre National Park
Manarola (Manarola), photo Janos Gabor Varga
Cinque Terre Park is protected by UNESCO.This is one of the outstanding and brightest World Heritage Sites, all the best that is in Italy: the blue sea and huge majestic cliffs, incomparable sunsets, over 300 sunny days a year, lovely towns with narrow streets and small colored houses, typical Italian cuisine , preserved fishing and sailing traditions. The name Cinque Terre in translation means "Five lands". The structure of the Cinque Terre included five medieval towns located directly on the rocks. This is Monterosso al Mare (Monterosso al Mare), Vernazza (Vernazza), Corniglia (Corniglia), Manarola (Manarola) and Riomaggiore (Riomaggiore). Between Riomaggiore and Manarola runs the famous "Road of Love", along which lovers hang locks on the railing. Getting to these towns by car will be problematic, and in their centers car traffic is prohibited. Go there by train or by sea.
The Cinque Terre National Park is interesting for its authenticity. The color of the Italian heartland has not changed much over the centuries, despite the surrounding benefits of civilization. The most beautiful of all the "Five Lands" is the village of Vernazza, all the houses in it are single-story. In Monterosso there is one of the best beaches in Italy with soft sand, clear sea and rich sea world. Images of Manarola became the hallmark of the Cinque Terre, the town is known for its tower houses and excellent beaches. The tiniest village is Corniglia, which is located above all; about 250 people live in it. The largest settlement is Riomaggiore, there is a small beach, a harbor and a small port.
Entrance to the Cinque Terre is free. The fee is taken for a walk along a 10 km long hiking trail that runs along the coast and connects all five villages.
Hotels on the coast
Agritourism, photo by Nora Caracci
On the coast of Liguria, many hotels of different comforts have been built - beach and city, fashionable and economy class. You can find a place to stay on any budget, but not every hotel has its own beach. In such cases, tourists have to be content with municipal beach areas paid or free.
Guests of the Ligurian coast are offered family apartments with equipped kitchens.
An interesting modern direction is agrotourism. Tourists are invited to live in boarding houses, small houses or estates on the territory of peasant farming. Such accommodation brings people closer to nature, gives them the opportunity to get acquainted with local customs.
Cuisine and restaurants
Ligurian Pesto, photo by Turismo In Liguria
The cuisine here is traditional, Italian. In any of the local institutions you will be offered several types of pasta (it will certainly be with seafood). Seafood "rule the ball" in most restaurants on the coast. Good seasoning "pesto genovese" with the main component - basil; wonderful local desserts, traditional focaccia flatbread.
Pizzas are baked here in many ways. All dishes in Liguria are prepared only from local, freshest products; of simple ingredients with an exquisite taste. The dishes are based on vegetables, fragrant herbs, olive oil, fruits. The main distinguishing feature of local cooking: dishes are prepared low-fat, almost dietary. To them in any restaurant must be served local wine.
As gastronomic gifts, jars of salted anchovies, black spaghetti, seasonings, ham and cheeses are brought from Liguria.
Railway communication on the coast, photo Kabelleger
The cities of the Ligurian coast stretched a chain over a considerable distance. They are connected by a developed and efficient transport network. Between them the railway communication is established; buses run, trolleybuses go, there are also taxis. You can easily get anywhere in the coast from Genoa Airport. Experts advise a bus, but you can rent a car. In high season, there are often traffic jams on local winding coastal roads. However, standing in traffic jams, here you can admire wonderful landscapes. Traffic jams usually occur after dinner, so it is better to go on excursions in the morning.
What to see in the surroundings
The town of Noli, photo mrotschny
From the coast you can take excursions to Milan, the capital of fashion, to Florence, the city of museums. A trip to Genoa should be combined with a visit to the famous Aquarium. From the Ligurian coast, it is easy to take a train to Monaco and join the life of the elite of society for one day. As part of a day trip, you can drive to Nice.
Many advise to go east - to the open-air museum, the town of Noli. This small town, surrounded by green hills and adjacent to the coast, is officially recognized as one of the most beautiful in Italy. In Noli, medieval buildings and early Christian temples are excellently preserved.