Liguria is better known as the stylish ‘Italian Riviera’ – where the rugged Alps meet the emerald Med. Think picturesque clifftop towns, pastel-coloured houses and chic harbourside living. Throw in delicious food, some amazing beaches and UNESCO-listed heritage sites and you’re in for a real treat. Whether you fancy unwinding by the sea or exploring the rich history of this part of northwest Italy, Liguria holidays offer the chance to really experience that famous ‘dolce vita’.
Liguria is home to everything from vibrant cities to unspoilt scenery, giving you plenty of options during your holiday. Pop to Pisa, relax on the the long beaches of the Cinque Terre or soak up some Italian charm in waterfront trattorias. Where better to sample the region’s excellent wines? We’re packing our bags right now.
Glamorous Portofino has bags of seaside style. From the exclusive hotels to the picturesque harbour, it’s no wonder it attracts Italy’s chic set. But it’s not all swanky shops and restaurants, there’s plenty of historic sights in this little fishing village, as well as some beautiful botanic gardens to explore. Or just drink in those stunning views of the colourful houses, the waves and their mountainous backdrop.La Spezia
Nestled in a bay to the south of Portofino, the lively town of La Spezia has a real nautical vibe. As a busy working port, it has a long naval heritage and the harbour is still busy with boats of all shapes and sizes. The Old Town is all narrow streets lined with museums and trattorias. And there’s the imposing Castle of San Giorgio to explore.Pisa
The popular city of Pisa has much more to offer than that cheesy but unmissable photo opportunity! After you have successfully ‘held up’ the famous Leaning Tower, why not explore the rest of the city? You’ll find impressive cathedrals, lush botanic gardens, grand piazzas and a lively bar scene. Pisa’s many university students give this city a youthful and fun-loving feel.
Exploring LiguriaDay trip to Genoa
The historic port city of Genoa is packed with opulent Renaissance architecture and grand palaces. Stroll through the UNESCO-listed streets to see the magnificent sights of St Lawrence Cathedral, Palazzo Rosso and Teatro Carlo Felice opera house – to name just a few! Families will love the modern aquarium and the submarine at the Maritime Museum. Down by the waterfront, you’ve got bustling cafes and bars, the towering Lighthouse of Genoa and the colourful Boccadesse quarter with its candy-coloured houses.Cycling
The Dolomites are as popular with cyclists as they are with skiers. It’s one of the great cycling areas of the Alps, with mountain passes to climb up and valley paths to plunge down. Don’t worry. If you’re only a casual cyclist, then there are short, flat rides through towns too! You can explore small hamlets in between the valleys and enjoy a hearty lunch when you take a break from the pedaling.La Cervara botanic gardens, Portofino
Travel just outside of Portofino to stroll through these breath-taking Renaissance-style gardens. The beautiful clifftop location couldn’t be more romantic, as winding pathways take you through elegant topiary, exotic palm trees and vivid flowers. All sitting pretty above the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Tigullio. Cameras are a must!Explore Portovenere
On the tip of a rocky peninsula near la Spezia, you’ll find this gorgeous UNESCO-listed village. For a tiny place, it’s crammed with awe-inspiring historic sights. Visit the 11th-century church, the Romanesque art gallery and the mighty Castello Doria. Get some refreshments in the beautiful Spallanzani Square, or head down to the harbour to admire the tall, colourful buildings and the spectacular sea views.Liguria beaches
Much of the Ligurian coastline is made up of steep cliffs that drop sharply into the water and many towns offer harbours rather than beaches. But you’ll also find some fantastic beaches to visit – from tiny rocky coves to long sweeping sands. Some of the most popular are within the popular Cinque Terre national park.
Il Gigante at Monterosso is a favourite, thanks to its long sands and scenic surroundings. Eco del Mare in Lerici is a tranquil choice loved by the glamorous sunbathers, while the Blue Flag sands at Liguria are a hit with families, thanks to the bustling beachfront promenade packed with gelaterias and cafes. Many beaches here are divided into public and private areas, as you’ll find in much of Italy. Private areas are usually attached to a hotel, so you may have to pay to sunbathe there.
Pizza, pasta, ice cream, wine – what’s not to love about Italian food? And while the crowd-pleasing international classics are at their best here in Italy, you’ll also find many delicious regional dishes to try. With its coastal location, Liguria is famous for its seafood and fresh flavours. Try the stuffed squid or ‘totani’, the ‘ciuppin’ fish soup and the salt cod. The area is also renowned for its pesto and its focaccia bread, drizzled in olive oil. They make great white wines too and the pacciugo ice cream sundaes can’t be missed!Liguria restaurants
Liguria is an amazing place to eat out, boasting everything from luxurious fine dining restaurants to cheerful family-run trattorias. There isn’t much of an international flavour to dishes, although you will find some Asian eateries in the cities. Mostly, restaurants serve up excellent Italian food with style. The harbourfront of any Ligurian town is usually the best place to sample the freshest seafood, straight off the boats that day.
Holidays to Liguria couldn’t be more picturesque. From the colourful seaside towns perched on dramatic cliffs to the grand architecture of the cities, the Italian Riviera is a good-looking region. Add in a backdrop of rugged Alps, beautiful beaches and a touch of glamour and Liguria couldn’t be more attractive.
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Not in love with Liguria? Take a look out our other incredible Italian holidays.