13 Places to Visit in Liguria

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Liguria, a strip of land between sea and mountains that is characterized by pastel colors. Liguria has a lot to offer, both in naturalistic terms and as regards wonderful villages to discover. Choosing is difficult, here are some ideas.
Le unmissable locations in Liguria: from the 5 lands, to Portofino to less known places such as Taggia. Prepare your suitcase Liguria is waiting for you!


  1. Genoa
  2. Cinque Terre
  3. Riviera dei Fiori: Imperia, Ventimiglia, Cervo, Bordighera
  4. Sanremo
  5. Riviera delle Palme: Savona, Varazze, Noli, Finale Ligure, Alassio
  6. Caves of Toirano
  7. Camogli, Abbey of San Fruttuoso and Christ of the Abyss
  8. Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure
  9. Dolceacqua and Apricale
  10. Triora, Taggia and the Argentine Valley
  11. Ligurian Alps
  12. Sestri Levante and Lavagna
  13. Gulf of Poets: La Spezia, Portovenere, Lerici
  14. User questions and comments

1 - Genoa

If you want to spend a weekend with children Genoa is an ideal destination. Here you can visit the fun City of Children at the ancient port, a science and technology museum where play and study come together in 3.000 square meters full of multimedia attractions. But the real must-have is undoubtedly theGenova's aquarium, where you can admire the largest exhibition of aquatic biodiversity in Europe (don't forget the priority ticket from € 32,00 per person).

Genoa however it will surprise you with its ancient village, one of the best preserved in all of Liguria. To see absolutely: the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Ducal Palace and the System of the Palazzi dei Rolli.

Genoa is also a destination for gourmands. You can really think of a gastronomic itinerary to do with your children to discover specialties such as Genoese focaccia or pasta with pesto.

2 - Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are a wonderful stretch of coast of the eastern Ligurian Riviera, which the whole world knows and envies us.
Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore; since 1997 they are part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Each of the 5 localities is characterized by its own characteristics. Vernazza it is a wonderful town, an ideal starting point for long walks. In fact it is full of pedestrian paths, including the well-known Blue Path, which connects it to other villages of the Cinque Terre.
Monterosso it is undoubtedly the most touristy, since it offers the largest beach; Riomaggiore and Manarola welcome the visitor as "cribs", made up of a cluster of tall and narrow houses, in pastel shades, perched on the mountains. Cornigliafinally, it is the most particular of the Cinque Terre: at the top of the hill it can be reached via a long staircase of about 400 steps; it is the only one not to have direct access to the sea but, from Viewpoint of Santa Maria, you can enjoy a spectacular view.

You can visit the Cinque Terre through a weekend stay or by taking advantage of one of the many daily tours.

3 - Riviera dei Fiori: Imperia, Ventimiglia, Cervo, Bordighera

The wonderful portion of the Ligurian coast located in province of Imperia, famous for theextremely mild climate, whose beauty was also sung by Eugenio Montale.
The entire stretch that goes from is included in the natural park of the Riviera dei Fiori Cape Mimosa, in the municipality of Cervo, up to the mouth of the Rio San Luigi, in Ventimiglia, on the border with France. A fantastic stretch of coast where sea and nature offer unique panoramic views in the world.
The coast is characterized by wide, sandy and sometimes rocky beaches, as indeed the rest of Liguria, and by a hilly hinterland.
Unmissable is Porto Cervo, a true concentration of unsuspected beauties: the village, perched, dominates the relative stretch of coast, with irresistible beaches and lapped by a luxuriant nature that cloaks the hills and mountains behind.
Do not miss the stately Bordighera, originally a fishing village which in the early 900s became worldly tourist destination.
In November Imperia hosts the New Oil Fair and in September, every other year, the gatherings of vintage sails and yachts.
Ventimiglia is known for the famous "Battle of the Flowers", which takes place in June.

4 - Sanremo

Always part of the Riviera dei Fiori, the city of the famous singing festival, it deserves a space of its own.
The visit of Sanremo starts from its historical heart, so-called La Pigna for the characteristic almond shape, with its typical carrugi and the stairways leading up to the highest part of the city, dominated by theSanctuary of the Madonna della Costa from which it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary panorama that embraces a large part of the Riviera di Ponente.
The heart of the modern center is the elegant via Matteotti, where high fashion boutiques and jewelers are the real attractions. At the end of the road: the famous Casino and nearby Russian Church, both dating back to the early twentieth century.
Symbol of nineteenth-century Sanremo are the splendid Villa Nobel, home of the Swedish scientist of the same name until 1896, and the spectacular ones botanical gardens of Villa Ormond.

5 - Riviera delle Palme: Savona, Varazze, Noli, Finale Ligure, Alassio

That stretch of the Ligurian coast that is part of the Ligurian Riviera of Ponente and coincides with the coast of the coastal municipalities of province of Savona: exactly it extends, from east to west, from the mouth of the Arrestra stream in the municipality of Varazze to the brow point of Capo Mimosa in that of Andora.
The area is characterized by wide and sandy beaches and more frequent rocky stretches and one hilly hinterland.
On the coast, for about 70 km, the Riviera delle Palme presents a great morphological variety. In Andora there is a very long beach with a slowly sloping seabed, while in Alassio, famous for its famous kisses, the seabed is a few tens of centimeters that penetrates the sea for a long time. A little further on the coast becomes rocky at the Caprazoppa promontory and, in Finale Ligure, the beach is sometimes stony and sometimes sandy, while in Varigotti the sand is quite fine, ivory colored. At Capo Noli it becomes even white. Continuing towards Genoa we arrive at Bergeggi, with immediately deep seabeds, while in Varazze here again the ivory tones.
The Riviera della Palme is characterized by two islands: the Island of Bergeggi and the Gallinara Island.

6 - Caves of Toirano

A few kilometers from the homonymous town this develops karst complex formed by many cavities, two of which, the Bàsura cave (or Grotta della Strega) and the cave of Santa Lucia Inferiore, are open and equipped for the public.
The Toirano caves are well known for their beauty, for the wealth of stalactites and stalagmites, but above all for the important archaeological values of the Bàsura cave. This, in fact, preserves numerous remains of Ursus spelaeus, the cave bear, who used it as a refuge for hibernation, as well as multiple testimonies of the entry of prehistoric men during the upper Paleolithic.
The complex was opened to the public in 1953, a few years after the discovery of the Bàsura cave in May 1950 by a group of Toiranesi. The Grotta d Santa Lucia Inferiore was discovered in 1960.
The tourist route is one-way and is about 1300 meters long, with entrance from Bàsura and exit from Santa Lucia Inferiore.
Along the way you pass through rooms with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites but also splendid flows.

7 - Camogli, Abbey of San Fruttuoso and Christ of the Abyss

Camogli, overlooking the splendid Gulf of Paradise, is a typical fishing village which owes its fame to the happy position that makes the climate mild and pleasant throughout the year. Its historic center andancient Castle perched on the sea, make it a romantic town rich in culture and millenary tradition. Camogli is also the starting point for itineraries in the Portofino park.

San Fruttuoso it can only be reached by sea, by private boats or by local boats that leave every 20 minutes from Portofino.
The homonymous one is particularly fascinating Abbey, a monastery that was first a pirate's den, then a fishermen's house; perfect example of how human intervention can be placed in harmony with nature. Do not miss the Christ of the Abyss, 17 meters deep from the sea. It was placed in this bay to protect it.

If it is lovers of nature and trekking you can opt for a walk on the Portofino mountain which boasts several well-trodden and signposted nature trails, therefore ideal for those who love cycling.

8 - Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure

Among the most popular international destinations, the small village of Portofino is the ideal destination in the summer to enjoy a romantic aperitif at sunset.

The village offers naturalistic beauties and glam shops, but also a lot of culture thanks to his monuments. From the frescoed Church of San Martino to the Church of San Giorgio just outside the historic center. And again, the hermitage or hermitage of Sant'Antonio di Niasca of the thirteenth century, the Brown Castle from the th century and the Battery of Punta Chiappa.
Finally, for nature lovers, a stop in the Porto National Park and its protected marine reserve is a must.

In the eastern part of the Portofino Promontory and in the innermost part of the Gulf of Tigullio it rises Santa Margherita Ligure, surrounded by hills covered with Mediterranean vegetation where they are locatedvillas and gardens overlooking the Dolphin Coast. Here it is possible to stroll in the gardens of the seafront or in the streets of the center, along the old "creuses" that rise from the castle to the convent of the Capuchin Fathers, up to the Church of S. Giacomo di Corte. One of the symbols of the city is Villa Durazzo from the th century.

9 - Dolceacqua and Apricale

On the hills of the Ligurian hinterland, between Ventimiglia and Bordighera, stands the delightful medieval village of Dolceacqua, awarded the Orange Flag, prestigious brand awarded by the TCI.
The oldest part of the country is dominated by Doria Castle, the more modern one, strangely called 'Borgo', develops on the opposite bank of the Nervia stream. The symbol of Dolceacqua is the bridge formed by a single round arch of about 32 meters in length. Claude Monet, who visited the village twice, defined it as a "jewel of lightness, a masterpiece of harmony and elegance of forms".

In the hinterland of Bordighera, with the Maritime Alps, Apricale rises, village entirely built in stone. Due to its conformation, Apricale is a perfect example of the Ligurian alleys. Almost all streets lead to the main square, Torracca: here, among the various representative buildings, also stands the Castle of the Lizard, a building of considerable historical and cultural importance.

10 - Triora, Taggia and the Argentine Valley

triora is "The land of witches". Indeed, it was here that the biggest witch hunt in Italy took place in 1587. On top of a mountain of almost 900 meters, Triora was for centuries an impregnable fortress of the Republic of Genoa; today it has less than 400 inhabitants. The village is enclosed in an enchanting valley and will surprise you with its silence.
The ideal time to visit is during theAutumn Black Ghost Tour Triora, an event that will allow you to discover all the secrets of the witches!

An ideal destination in spring, especially if you are a lover of two wheels, is the Argentina Valley, full of itineraries and events for motorcyclists. The valley is rich in woods that also allow other activities such as walking, cycling but also simply a nice siesta!

3 km from the sea, at the entrance to the Argentina Valley, here is the medieval village of Taggia, where the visitor is welcomed by the monumental Ancient Bridge, with 15 arches and a length of 275 meters. In addition to the famous bridge, the old castle Church of Our Lady of the Canneto, Convent of the Dominican Fathers andBasilica of the Miraculous Madonna.

11 - Ligurian Alps

Liguria is not just the sea ... The Ligurian Alps form the initial stretch of the Alps, straddling Piedmont, Liguria and France. In the area there are numerous ski resorts, for a total of 130 km of slopes for downhill and cross-country skiing.
Characterized by a karst nature, the Ligurian Alps are rich in natural caves, many can be visited: in the Riviera di Ponente the caves of Borgio Verezzi and Toirano, in the valleys of the Monregalese the caves of Caudano, in the Val Maudagna the caves of Bossea.

Also in the Ligurian Alps, the Via del Sale, which from Limone Piemonte, through the Colle dei Signori and Monesi, reaches the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente: the route, interesting for the karst landscapes and the flora of the Bosco delle Navette, is also suitable for mountain biking.
In this area the accommodation linked to the enhancement of the landscape beauties and to theHiking and all 'Mountain climbing.

12 - Sestri Levante and Lavagna

In the Gulf of Tigullio, Sestri Levante is nicknamed the "city of the two seas". This is because the ancient historic center, which stands on an islet connected to the mainland only by a strip of land, overlooks two bays, one more beautiful than the other: the bay of silence is that of Fables, so named in honor of the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen.
Sestri Levante has buildings of considerable importance: Durazzo Pallavicino Palace it is one of its symbolic buildings, easily recognizable by the pink facade and the fountain in front. With its tower overlooking the bay and the reddish facade, Palazzo Fascie Rossi it stands almost like a lighthouse controlling all of Sestri.

For a very relaxing stay we propose Lavagna, one of the very few places in Liguria not crowded in summer and full of beaches.
In Lavagna you will find everything you need for a summer holiday: sea, sun and good food. The center of Lavagna is small but full of pretty alleys and streets, shops and small fishermen capable of giving you the scents of old Liguria.
La Cavi beach it is considered by many to be among the most beautiful in all of Liguria.

13 - Gulf of Poets: La Spezia, Portovenere, Lerici

A land loved and described by artists and poets, the Gulf of Poets is home to some of the most picturesque destinations in Liguria.
La Spezia, in the center of the gulf, boasts numerous Liberty style buildings, many museums, churches and public gardens. Let yourself be amazed by Morin walk, on the seafront, with palm trees and flower arrangements. To visit the Castle of San Giorgio Church of Santa Maria Assunta and Lia Museum, in addition to Naval Museum.

Among the many pearls that Liguria offers, Portovenere it is among the most popular. Picturesque fishing village which attracts thousands of tourists all year round. His exciting views and dazzling scenarios over the centuries they have attracted artists such as Montale, Wagner and Lord Byron, who chose it as their destination for their stays. Its beauties, its position, its colors, the ancient churches, the picturesque islands and the numerous caves, have earned it the recognition of Unesco World Heritage Site.

To conclude the triad of the Gulf of Poets, let us recall Lerici, one of the most beautiful seaside villages in Liguria, with golden beaches (for years Blue Flag), medieval castles and villas surrounded by greenery.

Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep

Liguria lends itself to different types of travel. Arriving is simple, the airport reference is the Cristoforo Colombo of Genoa (flights from € 50,00).
If you want to dedicate yourself purely to life by the sea, stay in one of the locations on the coast. We recommend Varazze, Cervo, Bordighera, Sestri Levante ... In short, the various locations that offer more beach (accommodation from € 60,00 per night).
If your passion is i villages, then you will be spoiled for choice.
Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure offer a certain level of accommodation (accommodation from € 151,00 per night); a good compromise could be to stay in cities like Imperia and La Spezia (accommodation from € 39,00 per night) and then move by train or car to places of interest (rental from € 85,00 for 3 days) .
For an itinerary of the Cinque Terre, the place that offers the most choice is Monterosso (accommodation from € 81,00 per night) and the best way to reach the other 4 villages is by train.
For a historical-cultural visit to the Riviera dei Fiori, the ideal base is Sanremo (accommodation from € 38,00 per night), instead for a mountain holiday in the Ligurian Alps, Pieve di Teco is recommended (accommodation from € 47,00 per night).

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