Ligurian Riviera



Stretching between Monaco and Tuscany and with a dramatic backdrop of the Alps and the Apennine mountains, Liguria is one of the most beautiful coastal regions in Italy. With many parts still relatively undiscovered, visitors find it easy to move off the beaten track and explore hill towns, ancient fishing villages, pastel-coloured villas and beautiful gardens as well as the unspoilt beaches lapped by the clear Ligurian Sea. Noble Genoa, a city with a rich maritime history, stands at the central point of the Riviera, with coastal resorts fanning out to the east and west. There is an extensive network of ferries and trains connecting all points of interest and so the region is perfect for a tailor-made holiday combining several destinations. San Remo Located at the heart of Riviera dei Fiori, on the western end of Liguria, San Remo is one hour from Nice airport and under two from Genoa. It has been a popular seaside resort since the 1800s. There is a long sandy beach and plenty of restaurants and shops, but it also has a fascinating old town made up of steep streets, covered alleys and atmospheric squares. Alassio Lord Byron loved Alassio and many wealthy Britons followed in his footsteps in the 19th century, building splendid Art Nouveau villas, lush gardens and the magnificent promenade which stretches for over three miles to Laigueglia. Alassio has one of the best town beaches in Italy with fine sand and clear water, as well as great seafood restaurants and narrow cobbled streets. The town can be reached by train in less than two hours from both Nice and Genoa and the journey, hugging the Riviera, is one of the most scenic you’ll find. Portofino On Italy’s pine and flower-filled rugged northwest coastline lies Portofino, the prettiest port on the Mediterranean. The Splendido, on the hillside above the village and the Splendido Mare are expensive but when you are sitting on the terrace enjoying your dinner, you will appreciate why the good things in life don’t always come cheap! Camogli This pretty seaside village lies at the base of Monte di Portofino, 30 minutes east of Genoa and is similar in style to ones found further south in Cinque Terre. The town benefits from a preservation order that helps to protect its heritage – it remains under the main tourist radar and is a more down-to-earth alternative to the more glamorous resorts on the Ligurian Riviera. Rapallo Five miles along the coast from Portofino, Rapallo is a pretty harbour town with a distinctive castle on a rocky outcrop in the sea. It is popular for its great swimming, shopping, bars, seafood restaurants and its distinctly Italian atmosphere. The funicular ride up the hill to the large Sanctuary of Montallegro with its marble façade and wonderful views is a must. Santa Margherita Ligure Santa Margherita is a lively, little known resort with an elegant piazza and harbour. It is dominated by its castle which overlooks the port.A train journey in either direction is a must – west to Genoa or east will take you to Rapallo and the magnificent scenery of the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cinque Terre is a rugged stretch of coastline comprising the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area is virtually inaccessible by car and protected from mass tourism. The small, picturesque town of Portovenere is the best base from which to explore the five villages. Although there is a train that heads up the coast from nearby La Spezia (it is often crowded and, in summer, uncomfortably hot), the ferry service from Portovenere allows visitors to experience the beauty of the coastline and disembark at each village along the way. An unlimited day pass costs 25 euros. The town itself is characterised by brightly coloured houses, some dating back to the 12th century, which overlook the marina. If you’d like to stay in one of the Cinque Terre villages, we recommend Monterosso al Mare from where you can explore by train, ferry or on foot.

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