Italian Riviera Seaside Towns

Martha Bakerjian's guide to towns on the Italian Riviera

Add This

Jules Pearson

Martha Bakerjian
HomeAway travel expert


Cinque TerreOne of Italy's prettiest and most popular stretches of coastline is the coast of the Liguria region in northwestern Italy, known as the Italian Riviera. Liguria starts at the Gulf of Poets, or the Bay of La Spezia, just beyond Tuscany, and continues to the border of France.


The Riviera is divided into two sections with the city of Genoa between them – Riviera di Ponente (closest to France) and Riviera di Levante. Part of the Riviera di Ponente is called the Riviera dei Fiori and is known for its greenhouses growing flowers and especially mild temperatures. All along the Riviera, you'll find beautiful towns, often with the typical Ligurian trompe l'oeil decor – and great seafood. 

 

Martha's tips for visiting the Italian Riviera

 Avoid driving as much as possible. Parking is limited in most Italian Riviera towns and the roads can be very congested. Trains stop in many towns and from late spring through early fall, ferries run between towns, too. Except for Portofino, my recommended towns to visit are all on the rail line.


 Sundays are the most crowded days on the coast, when Italians often spend the day by the sea.

 Fresh basil is grown along the Riviera and pesto originated in Genoa, so be sure to eat some with your pasta. 

 Spend a day exploring inland towns and villages that are less touristy and have a much different feel than the coast. The large port town of Genoa is also worth a visit and if you're traveling with kids they may enjoy Genoa's Aquarium, the second largest in Europe.

 If you're going to spend a day at the beach, consider paying to use one of the beach establishments that have changing rooms, umbrellas, chairs, a WC, bar, and lifeguard.

 
 
 

Martha's picks for Italian Riviera seaside towns


   

The picturesque Cinque Terre The picturesque Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre, a group of five picturesque villages set amidst terraced olive groves and vineyards, is one of Italy's most popular destinations and a highlight of a visit to Liguria. You can travel between towns by train, ferry, or on trekking paths (sometimes closed because of bad weather, so check status of paths here). Because the vilages are in a national park, you'll have to buy a pass if you want to walk on the trails connecting them. There are good hiking trails in the hills above the villages as well. White wine and Sciacchetra', a dessert wine, is produced from the vineyards on the slopes of the hills and the town of Monterosso is famous for its anchovies.

View holiday rentals in Cinque Terre

 
   
 

   

Portofino harbour Portofino harbour

Portofino is a colourful town on a half-moon shaped harbour ringed by pastel houses, restaurants, cafés, and shops. Portofino was a favourite of the rich and famous in its 1950s heyday and you'll still probably see lots of yachts in the harbour. Castello Brown sits on the hill overlooking the town, reached by a pathway near the Botanic Garden. It became the residence of Yeats Brown, the British consul to Genoa, in 1870, and inside are furnishings and pictures belonging to the Browns as well as photos of many famous visitors to Portofino. The train doesn't go to Portofino so you'll have to take a ferry or bus from Santa Margherita Ligure or another nearby town.

View holiday homes in Portofino

 
   
 

   

Rapallo resort Rapallo resort

Rapallo is one of the largest resort towns on the Riviera but it has what's probably Italy's smallest castle, sitting in the sea by the harbour. There's a seaside promenade skirting the harbour and the historic centre has pedestrian shopping streets and a Lace Museum. From Rapallo, take the spectacular ride up the hill on the funivia, or cable railway, with fantastic views of the coast (leaves every half hour from 9am to 12pm, and 2pm to 5pm with later hours in summer). At the top you arrive at Montallegro, where there are hiking paths, the 16th-century Sanctuary of Montallegro, and a couple of restaurants with views of the sea below.

For more information, check out this site and video – it shows the dramatic ride down to Rappalo.

View holiday lets in Rapallo

 
   
 

   

Camogli fishing village Camogli fishing village

Camogli, a charming fishing village on a rocky outcrop, is a more laid-back town with a small harbour, where you'll see fishing boats rather than yachts, and a nice beach. Pastel buildings with trompe l'oeil decor line the seaside walkway and streets, and there's a small historic centre. From Camogli visit the pretty San Fruttuoso Abbey, accessed by ferry or trekking path only, and the surrounding marine wildlife protected area. You can also rent kayaks in Camogli.

View lettings in Camogli

 
   
 

   

Sanremo Sanremo

Sanremo, almost to the border of France, is known for its casino and large, pretty harbour but it also boasts one of the most unusual historic centres I've seen. Tiny pedestrian streets and alleyways wind up the hill in the old centre called La Pigna, the Pine Cone, arriving at Madonna della Costa Sanctuary, reached by a pretty cobblestone mosaic walkway, and the Gardens of Queen Elena with great views of Sanremo and the sea. Sanremo holds a European music festival in June, Rock festival in July, and Jazz in August. Shows and concerts are held throughout summer.

View lets in San Remo

 

Images

Main image by Gail Lipson
Cinque Terre by Gail Lipson
Sanremo by James Martin   
All other images by Martha Bakerjian

Italian Riviera Beach Accommodation

Italian Riviera, Excelsior Self Catering Apartment On Portofino Coast. Sea View

A fantastic apartment in the original building of the Grand Hotel Excelsior, completely restored and decorated with frescoes from the 20s. Stunning view of Portofino with own private terrace a great opportunity for romantic dining. 3 bedrooms, ...

A typical Ligurian house with roof terrace and stunning sea views .

Casa Bella Vista is a typical Ligurian House with stunning sea views .The village of Manarola is situated within the unique landscape of the Cinque Terre National Park. The property has been renovated to a high standard to include WiFi, and accomm...

House / Villa - Noli

Noli is one of the most beautiful village of Italy, in the Middle Ages was a maritime republic, today has a fascinating and well conserved pedestrian historical center. The villa is in a green, fresh and calm zone, but really very near from the...

Apartments in villa 800 with garden and stunning views of the Gulf of Noli

From every room in the house and the gardens you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Gulf of Noli, and the villa is surrounded by a typical Ligurian garden, on several levels; each apartment has its own private garden and private (the characteristic...

Idyllic architect designed garden apartment by the sea

This delightful, modern, quiet garden flat is in the historic heart of San Terenzo, 150 meters from the sandy beach, on a pedestrian street. Made up of 3 main areas: a fully equipped (microwave, dishwasher, washing machine) eat in kitchen leading...

A wonderful mini flat in the quiet of countryside with an open view on the sea

Our accommodation has been recently completely renewd and it is the ideal accommodation for your stay in the Tigullio Gulf. You will enjoy quietness anda at the same time in ten minutes you'll be able to reach the beaches and Chavari, the main cen...

Villa SAL ULI - Portofino villa overlooking the harbor and village.

The village of Portofino is world famous for its renowned piazzetta, its haute couture shops, and the amazing yachts anchored in its harbour at all times of the year. The property we very proudly present on this page is situated in a unique positi...

Villa BRV BAR - Portofino family estate on 12 acres high above the coast.

Located in Portofino, villa BRV BAR is an exquisite 12-acre estate in the hills high above the coast, with wide open views of the sea and the lights of the port at night. It offers total privacy and seclusion, yet is just a few minutes walk to the...

Holiday Complex in Riomaggiore

Your vacation object: In total In 26 accommodation facilities. The holiday apartment is located in a holiday village. To use available: reception, internet (WLAN), restaurant, terrace, children's playground and barbecue possibilities. Table tennis...

Beautiful Apartment in The Center & The Sea

Particular two-room apartment, nice, luxury condominium, just steps from the beach and in the center, a few meters from the Casino and the Ariston theater, bike path and convenient to airport, tennis, sailing, golf, 25 minutes from Monte-Carlo 4 t...
italyFrance Valle d'Aosta Piedmont Lombardia Lombardy Emilia Romagna Switzerland Trentino Alto Adige Austria Veneto-Venice Friuli Venezia Giulia Slovenia Slovenia Croatia Tuscany Marche Umbria Lazio Sardinia Abruzzo Molise Puglia Campania Basilicata Calabria Sicily Europe Stati Uniti World

 


Search for holiday rentals
Search for holiday ideas
 

WIN £10,000 FOR YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox

Advertise with HomeAway

Related Articles



Other Categories



Popular Articles