The ultimate escape awaits you in Italy!

The world-famous Italian Riviera is a sliver of coastline cradling the northwestern shores of Italy. This coastal region is acclaimed for its charming seaside towns and resorts, each boasting picturesque views and a distinct Italian allure. While the most famous area of the Italian Riviera is Cinque Terre, there are several enchanting cities and towns worth exploring that are only a bus ride or train station away.

Some highlights of the region are the amazing beaches, the Cinque Terre National Park, and the sea. Just imagine viewing the luxury yachts on a sunset cruise in Portofino. Colorful buildings are everywhere you look. The diverse lifestyle and cuisine. It’s all there for the taking in the Italian Riviera. Here we cover some of the most popular as well as those that fly under the radar.

Cinque Terre

Village in Cinque Terre

Without question, Cinque Terre villages (five towns) stand out as a world-famous destination along the Italian Riviera. Welcoming tourists and even locals to the Ligurian coast, this UNESCO World Heritage site consists of five charming towns and villages.

Best Tours in Cinque Terre

There are so many beautiful places to explore in Cinque Terre. These are some great tours to try to see the best of it all!

Cinque Terre Portovenere Amazing Private Boat Tour

Enjoy a stylish journey to the region with a boat cruise leaving from La Spezia and arriving at Monterosso, the biggest village in this UNESCO-listed region. This cruise provides an enjoyable means of reaching the Cinque Terre but also comes with a delightful pitstop in Portovenere, known for its chic atmosphere often overlooked by tourists. You can book the private boat tour on Viator here.

Relax on the cruise as a skilled skipper navigates the route, offering the chance to take in the picturesque coastal landscape and UNESCO-listed landscapes. Treat yourself to prosecco and delectable snacks while soaking in the natural beauty of the marine protected area, and be sure to look out for dolphins during this unforgettable maritime experience.

Half-Day Private Tour of Cinque Terre with a Traditional Gozzo

Experience the breathtaking glory of the region with a private cruise on a traditional gozzo boat if you prefer a half-day getaway. This scenic journey leaves Monterosso and boasts panoramic views of all five villages, complemented by a selection of complimentary prosecco, beer, soft drinks, snacks, and bottled water. Enjoy the party atmosphere as you cruise along, and take the chance to swim, snorkel, and float at secluded spots in clear blue waters.

A knowledgeable guide will be there to highlight all the famous landmarks and help you tailor the cruise to align with your individual interests. Take in the charm of the Cinque Terre and experience a different perspective. Book your private cruise on Viator here.

The Best of Cinque Terre Tour

An ideal tour for travelers who don’t have as much time can choose this scenic tour that gives you everything you need to feel satisfied with your travels to the Cinque Terre region.

Bask in the enchanting charm of the Italian coastline effortlessly with this private tour. Departing directly from the ports of Livorno or La Spezia, you’ll journey to the picturesque fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Explore Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Corniglia by car, and reach Monterosso al Mare via a scenic train ride. Enjoy ample free time for sightseeing, shopping, and dining, all while benefiting from convenient round-trip transportation.

You can book your private tour here.

Things to do in Cinque Terre and Its Five Towns

A snapshot of Cinque Terre

photo: Pixabay

Boasting a collection of five small villages located within the Italian Riviera in the providence of La Spezia. The five nearby towns on this coastal strip that makeup Cinque Terre are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Stay in the lovely Villa Lardania in Corniglia and soak up the scenery if you like to visit in the Italian region!

One of the best things to do while in the Italian Riviera is just explore the five towns that encompass it. Of course, you can take a tour of the other towns, but it is up to you to decide on a personal favorite. Consider the length of your trip – with adequate time, you might spend an entire day exploring each of the towns, immersing yourself in the singular charm and experiences each has to offer.

Take in the Scenery from the Manarola Scenic Viewpoint

The views from the Manarola Scenic Viewpoint are some of the best you’ll find in and around Cinque Terre villages and in the Italian Riviera. Situated near the town’s harbor, the journey to the viewpoint is fairly direct, though with occasional steep inclines. The breathtaking views in the colorful villages, however, more than makeup for all the difficult journey

Eat at Nessun Dorma in Manarola

While in Manarola checking out the majestic views that are a part of the five Cinque Terra villages in the Italian Riviera, you should treat yourself to one of the best restaurants anywhere in Cinque Terre towns — Nessun Dorma.

Offering its guests authentic Italian cuisine, it’s a top choice among locals and visitors alike when in one of the Italian Riviera cities. And if the locals in the La Spezia region eat somewhere regularly, it’s a sign to expect something worthwhile!

Watch the Sunset from Stella Marina Beach

Manarola is captivating for sure, but there are other Italian Riviera cities to visit in Cinque Terre! Each of the five picturesque towns possesses a unique and distinct charm. One of the highlights during your travels to any of the Italian Riviera cities is catching a sunset at Stella Marina Beach in Monterosso. This spectacular coastline is a wonderful spot to spend the end of the day.

As Punta Mesco stands on the horizon in the distance, relax on the smooth sands of Stella Marina Beach. Witness the sun vanish along the breathtaking coastline. Elevate the experience with a nice local wine and maybe fresh seafood, creating a beachside moment with that special someone.

San Remo

SanRemo, The Italian Riviera, Italy

San Remo, alternatively known as Sanremo, stands as a coastal city situated within the Italian Riviera along the Ligurian Sea. Drawing thousands upon thousands of visitors annually to the five Cinque Terre villages, the Ligurian coast entices with its intricate cultural tapestry, heightened ambiance, and abundance of attractions. Whether you explore the myriad gardens or enjoy a night at the renowned casino or enjoy your private villa in the area, the city offers an abundance of experiences. No matter your preference, this city is a premier destination.

Walk Through ‘The Pinecone’

Known as “the Pinecone” in English, La Pigna is a distinct section of the Ligurian Riviera and is the oldest area in the region. As the historic heart of the town, this neighborhood is scattered with a plethora of vintage Italian architecture, creating a picturesque scene along the Ligurian coast.

Explore the picturesque streets and you’ll pass famous olive groves, and find countless churches, public squares, and other examples of incredible architecture to check out and marvel at. Many of the buildings feature a terrace overlooking the landscape, with signs posted outside describing them to tourists — they know just how intriguing this part of town is!

Spend Some Time at Casino San Remo

A standout site on the Ligurian coast is undoubtedly the renowned Casino San Remo. Before going inside the iconic building, take a moment to appreciate the exterior of the building. It stands as a testament to the captivating historic Italian architecture throughout the region.

Upon entering, brace yourself for an exhilarating adventure! Experience all the classic casino games like slots, blackjack, and roulette. However, the excitement isn’t just for gamblers; non-gamblers can participate in other activities too. Foodies can enjoy one of the numerous restaurants located inside or listen to live music acts.

Check Out the Many Gardens of San Remo

San Remo is the ideal destination in the Italian Riviera for many reasons, and one of them is the gorgeous gardens. While taking your time throughout the city, make it a priority to explore the gardens of nearby villas, including Villa Zirio, Villa Nobeland, and Villa Ormond.

Ranked as the finest garden in town, the Gardens of Queen Elena provide a delightful escape easily accessible after exploring La Pigna. These gardens present visitors with plenty of room to unwind, enveloped in serene beauty.

Explore the Madonna della Costa Sanctuary

The Madonna della Costa Sanctuary is an iconic landmark, an essential destination when visiting San Remo. Cherished by the locals and adored by travelers, this ancient structure is particularly appealing to those who love Italian architecture.

In contrast to other sections of the structure, the dome is relatively contemporary, originating from the mid-1700s. A mosaic crafted from intricately arranged cobblestones from the 1650s serves as a charming guide, leading visitors along the path to the entrance. Once inside, the splendor continues with opulent decorations and artwork embellishing every wall.


Bay in Portofino, Italy

Portofino is one of the most beautiful villages on the Italian Riviera, world-famous for its unique and beautiful harbor. This once small fishing village has remade itself into one of the most beautiful towns on the Italian Riviera.

The majority of the town is clustered around its harbor, and its reputation is built on a string of buildings and villas that grace the waterfront.

While here, you can explore old churches and fortifications, walk the lively streets, take a day trip to San Fruttuoso, visit local wine bars, and even shop for some of the most luxurious brands in the world. Check the listings for ferry schedules and you can enjoy a boat ride and walking tour in Portofino too.

Visit Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta

Nestled in the center of the Portofino harbor, the central public square is none other than Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta. If you’ve ever viewed images of Portofino, chances are you’re gazing at Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta.

This bustling social hub is flanked by an array of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s an ideal spot to dine out or savor a freshly brewed coffee while enjoying the splendid water views. Simply relax and absorb the vibrant atmosphere of Portofino’s bustling culture all around you.

Explore The Church of San Giorgio

An iconic structure steeped in history, the renowned Church of San Giorgio is a must-visit in Portofino. Situated a brief stroll from the main square, this 12th-century Catholic church carries a rich historical legacy. Despite being ravaged during World War II, the Church of San Giorgio was faithfully reconstructed in the 1950s, restoring it to its previous glory.

Marvel at the architecture while immersing yourself in the nearly thousand-year history of this remarkable structure. The journey there provides some of the most breathtaking views in the area, conveniently positioned on the route to our next featured attraction.

Check Out Castello Brown

When exploring Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta, look to the hills, and there you’ll spot the castle majestically perched at the top. Erected in the 16th century as a town fortress, Castello Brown is well-known throughout Italy. Named after the English Counsel Montague Yeats Brown, the castle remained in the ownership of his family from 1867 until 1949.

The climb to the castle involves a rather steep climb, yet the panoramic views during the trek and at the summit make it well worth the effort. Take the chance to explore the castle and you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas.

Shop the World’s Most Luxurious Brands

Portofino, characterized by its charming narrow streets, colorful houses, and covered alleyways, is an ideal destination for a serious shopping spree! Shop to your heart’s content at some of the world’s most luxurious brand stores!

Portofino is a lovely destination to find brands such as Armani, Vuitton, Hermes, and more. Get your wallet ready in this coastal town, because luxury brands come at premium prices!

Walk The Colorful Streets of Portofino

If indulging in world-class luxury brands isn’t exactly your preference, one of the most enjoyable activities in Portofino comes at no cost — strolling through the town’s charming streets. The narrow pathways and vibrant buildings in Portofino offer a distinct and unparalleled experience you can’t get elsewhere.

The seaside promenade is also a wonderful spot to stop and enjoy a bottle of wine. Unlike the French Riviera, where you can enjoy a seat right in front of the harbor with a lovely glass of famous Italian wine.


Ventimiglia town, the Italian Riviera, Italy

Situated on the northwestern tip of Italy within the Italian Riviera, Ventimiglia is a tiny yet vibrant city boasting immaculate apartments and villas. Divided into two distinct sections – the historic Old Town and the more contemporary urban area – Ventimiglia provides tourists with enough activities to satisfy anyone.

Visit The Old Town

For those eager to take the ultimate deep dive into the rich history of Ventimiglia and the Riviera at large, take a journey towards the Old Town. This historical district traces its roots back to the era of the Ancient Romans, situated atop the town with commanding city walls encapsulating its appeal.

While the ascent through the adjacent hills to reach the Old Town may require a bit of legwork, the rewards are well worth it. Once you make it to the Old Town, dedicate time to exploring the historic churches and ancient ruins, all while enjoying unbelievable views of one of the most beautiful towns on the Italian Riviera. It’s an essential experience during your stay in Ventimiglia.

Relax on Le Calandre Beach

Ventimiglia boasts one of the rare sandy beaches along the Italian Riviera, known as Le Calandre Beach. Offering a nice contrast to the rocky shores prevalent elsewhere, this sandy beach is ideal for a day retreat basking in the sun and immersing yourself in the beauty of the Ligurian Coast.

You can also enjoy a seaside view of the city or a relaxing time in an exclusive villa in the area.

Stroll Through the Hanbury Gardens

Beautiful gardens and settings are everywhere along the Italian Riviera, but the Sir Thomas Hanbury Gardens is the most beautiful.

Among these lush gardens, visitors will encounter an expansive mix of exotic flora, from vibrant hibiscus to resilient cacti. Walk through the seemingly boundless pathways that wind through this oasis, offering glimpses of enchanting fountains, ancient sculptures, and more.

Shop the Friday Morning Market

Ventimiglia on a Friday morning is something almost magical, when the bustling boardwalk transforms into a shopper’s paradise. Open-air shops, stands, and stalls line the waterfront, beckoning you to indulge in a shopping spree on your coastal walk.

Discover a treasure trove of delights at this market, including clothing, artwork, homemade desserts, and handmade leather items. Be mindful that the Friday marketplace can get extremely busy, so go as early as possible to enjoy a more leisurely experience.

Visit Biblioteca Civica Aprosiana

For lovers of books, history, and the quintessential charm of ancient architecture, the Biblioteca Civica Aprosiana is a great destination to check out. Ventimiglia is truly a hidden gem, established in 1648, and standing as one of Italy’s oldest libraries, boasting the second-largest collection of 17th-century books in the country. Delve into its rich history and extensive collection, making it a captivating destination well worth dedicating a few hours to explore.


Alassio town, The Italian Riviera, Italy

Nestled in the province of Savona along the enchanting Italian Riviera in the northern part of Italy, Alassio is a charming town known for its ambiance and gorgeous vistas. Boasting a tranquil and welcoming beach scattered with boutique hotels and even a villa, Alassio offers exquisite walking trails, and a mix of some of the finest dining options in the region. This is a town that ensures every visitor traveling here leaves in awe.

Stay at a Boutique Hotel on the Beach

As one of the true coastal gems situated on the Italian Riviera, it’s only natural that the stunning beaches rank among the top activities in Alassio. We highly recommend spending an entire day here instead of just a few hours to fully enjoy the Ligurian coast. There are several boutique hotels located right on the water to maximize the experience.

Hike the Trails of Alassio

For those with an adventurous spirit and a fan of exploration, Alassio stands out as the perfect destination. Enveloping the quaint town are hiking trails where visitors have the opportunity to traverse the enchanting Italian coast.

If stay nearby in one of the beach hotels, the staff provides a detailed map of the area, detailing the many hiking trails in the surrounding hills. Noteworthy among these paths are the routes leading to Santuario and Monte Bigone, each promising astounding vistas among the finest in the Riviera.

Grab Dinner at La Prua

A must for any seafood lovers is visiting Alassio for an evening dining experience at the exceptional La Prua. Well-known for its upscale ambiance, this restaurant is an excellent choice for a romantic night out. With a specialization in seafood from the region, La Prua presents delectable options across every course.

Start your culinary journey with the delicious octopus terrine, followed by a stuffed sea bream fillet as the main course. Delight in the company of your friends and loved ones while savoring a meal on the beach deck of La Prua, offering a breathtaking view of the sun as it sets over the water.

Get Gelato at Alberto Marchetti Gelateria

Following an unforgettable food experience at La Prua and a relaxing time on the beach, indulge in authentic Italian dessert – none more genuine than gelato. For an incomparable experience, head to Alberto Marchetti Gelateria and savor a myriad of flavors. The owner, Alberto Marchetti, takes pride in making gelato the old-fashioned way, and you will enjoy every spoonful.


Portovenere town, The Italian Riviera, Italy

Portovenere, also known as Porto Venere, is an absolute gem situated within the Italian Riviera, comprised of three charming villages and three islands. The charming towns of Fezzano, Le Grazie, and Portovenere are brimming with picturesque villas, and visitors flock here annually to explore the stunning harbor, sail to the nearby islands, and discover ancient structures.

Despite its obvious allure, Portovenere remains to this day a hidden treasure, often overlooked by many tourists traveling to the region. For the full experience, book one of our favorite villas. For luxury travelers, we recommend Villa Castello Portovenere for its luxurious property and incredible views. For something more economical, we recommend this Medieval Villa. It has updated amenities and incredible views for a quarter of the cost!

Walk Along the Town’s Harbor

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Portovenere in the Italian Riviera with a leisurely stroll around the harbor. This experience allows you to take in the scenic views, savor the local scents, and embrace the energetic atmosphere—all for free! The harbor walkways, flanked by the sea on one side and charming, colorful buildings on the other, create a beautiful backdrop that cannot be compared to anything else. Discover the restaurants or cafes offering outdoor seating in Portovenere, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink, and observe the world passing by.

Sail to the Nearby Islands

Captivating island-hopping adventures await travelers and are just off the coast of Portovenere, where three captivating islands—Tinetto, Tino, and Palmaria—beckon exploration. While Tino is typically off-limits due to its military status, the other two islands are still worth the short trek.

Take a boat taxi or ferry to Tinetto and Palmaria, immersing yourself in a day of discovery amid their picturesque beauty. Marvel at Portovenere and the surrounding sea, and be sure to explore the many hiking trails in the area. It’s an enjoyable way to spend a day out and be removed from the bustling town center of Portovenere.

Visit the Villa of Varignano

Venture outside the confines of Portovenere and set your sights on the enchanting district of La Grazie, an absolute gem of a town brimming with unexpected delights. Amidst the winding streets, discover Villa Varignano, a villa steeped in history dating back to the 1st century BC.

Abandoned for several centuries, the villa was repurposed into an archaeological museum, preserving the rich heritage it possesses to this day. From the captivating artifacts and historical narrative of Villa Varignan, this is a compelling must-see destination in the center of La Grazie.

Check Out San Pietro Church

As you walk around and through the charming harbor of Portovenere, your gaze will instinctually be drawn to a fascinating structure in one of Tuscany’s most picturesque towns. More akin to a castle than a religious sanctuary, San Pietro Church must be viewed in person to be believed.

Dedicated to St. Peter, the church features an intricately crafted statue in his honor. The allure of this marvel of a landmark extends beyond its interior, however, captivating viewers with its exterior grandeur. Spare some time to explore both the grounds and the interior of the church, as every minute promises to mesmerize from start to finish.

Explore Doria Castle

As you make your way through the winding streets of Portovenere, you may encounter steep steps that gradually elevate. Should you decide to accept the ascent and conquer the staircases, you will soon find yourself at Doria Castle.

Dating back to the 7th and 9th centuries, Doria Castle is one of the oldest structures in all of the Italian Riviera, boasting centuries of history. Marvel at the architecture and construction that has withstood the test of time at this historic site.


The city of Genoa, The Italian Riviera, Italy

Genoa, or Genova, is the capital of the region of Liguria, which makes up most of the Italian Riviera. If you choose to stay a stone’s throw away in one of the amazing estates around the area, know that you are officially in one of Italy’s hidden gems.

Genoa is one of the lesser-known Italian Riviera cities. It is a port town and much larger than the other cities on this list. It is a great option for visitors who want the ease of a large city as a base town while still enjoying the beauty of the Italian Riviera.

In Genoa, tourists can immerse themselves in city life there, traveling to historical landmarks, exploring Italy’s top-tier aquarium, and taking in the enchanting evening views from a private apartment of your choosing.

You can always visit a nearby town for a day including the towns Riviera di Ponente, Riviera di Levante, and Santa Margherita Ligure. There are also multiple daily boat rides to Portofino, making it a great (and less expensive) base for exploring the coast.

Visit Piazza de Ferrari

Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa, Italy

The central gathering place in Genoa is without a doubt Piazza de Ferrari. This square is well-known for its vibrant cultural ambiance and the striking central fountain. The circular fountain, equipped with streams of water shooting at every angle, is a stunning masterpiece! It serves as an ideal starting point for exploring the city via a guided walking tour.

Beyond the ambiance and architecture, it serves as a social hub, attracting locals and visitors alike who fill the public space from every direction. From this square, it’s possible to admire some of Genoa’s major landmarks, including the Main Exchange and the Teatro Carlo Felice Opera House.

Check Out Porta Soprana Gatehouse

Traveling from the epicenter of the city, go southward along Via Dante until you reach the Porta Soprana Gatehouse. A remnant from Genoa’s ancient fortifications, this building stands as a testament to the city’s rich history, dating back nearly 900 years to the 12th century.

The beauty of Genoa is undeniable

photo: Pixabay

The formidable gates and tower take visitors back to an era when such fortifications were necessary. Nearby, you’ll discover the residence where world-famous explorer Christopher Columbus spent his early years. Exploring this area provides a captivating morning steeped in the detailed history of Genoa.

Learn at the Aquarium

The Acquario di Genoa is considered to be a historical center, a premier aquarium in all of Italy, and one of the biggest ones throughout Europe. You can book a ticket in advance through GetYourGuide to skip the line.

Beyond the aquatic exhibits, the Aquarium boasts a tropical garden that can be explored for hours on end.

Visit Forte Begato

Constructed in the early 1800s, Forte Begato is regarded as a relatively new fortification. While the interior remains closed to the general public, you can hike the surrounding hills and view the structure from outside.

Rich in history, the fort served as a building for prisoners of war during World War II. One compelling reason to travel here is the panoramic views it offers along the coast of the city of Genoa and the surrounding Italian Riviera, in part due to its elevated vantage point.

Catch a View of Lanterna di Genoa When the Sun Goes Down

Witnessing a Genoa sunset is a truly singular experience, and finding a peaceful spot near the ancient lighthouse is a magical experience. As the sun sets, the Lanterna di Genoa illuminates, casting a mesmerizing glow over the charming town.

Recognized as the third oldest lighthouse in the world, the illuminated Lanterna di Genoa is a sight to behold. Its elevated position ensures visibility from every part of Genoa. So, indulge in some gelato from a popular dessert spot, savoring it as you relax underneath the stars.


Camogli town, The Italian Riviera, Italy

Tucked away beside the busy city of Genoa, Camogli is a quaint fishing village that often escapes the detection of many. With just over 5,000 residents, it’s a tiny town jam-packed with fishing boats as well as adventure. It’s not just the local fishermen of this fishing village that are a sight to see.

Walk through some of the streets of Camogli, relax on the beautiful beaches, and eat some delicious Italian cuisine. Enjoy a stay in one of the gorgeous villas in the area to truly appreciate the town!

Walk the Colorful Alleys of the Town

Camogli, too, is characterized by its winding pathways, cobblestone streets, and a barrage of colorful buildings. So while you’re there, just forget about Google Maps – wander around the area and explore the town by foot!

The captivating spectrum of hues displayed in Camogli is among the most amazing features of the Riviera towns. Towering above are multi-colored buildings that line the narrow walkways. Exploring the vibrant towns and villages, such as Camogli, offers a rarefied experience rarely found elsewhere in Europe. Tread carefully through these alleys, however, especially if you’re claustrophobic and not a fan of narrow spaces.

Spend a Day Relaxing on the Camogli Beaches

Camogli and its' shore is a must-see!

photo: Pixabay

While visiting the Italian Riviera, it is almost criminal not to go to one of the many beaches to soak up the sun. While in Camogli, one of the most quaint of Riviera towns, try your luck on the coast here. The beaches around Camogli are some of the best beaches anywhere in the Riviera and are perfect for a day of relaxing and escaping the throng of tourists in the center.

Although the beaches in the region are filled with more pebbles than sand, the relaxing vibes and endless sea views more than makeup for it. Throughout Camogli, you’ll find beaches along the coast – some open to the public and others for private use only. Either way, there are more than enough options to satisfy visitors.

Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of Camogli’s oldest and most revered buildings, capturing the fascination of visitors year after year. Located at the end of Camogli Beach, the 12th-century marvel continues to grace the waterfront, attracting admirers worldwide.

The captivating yellow facade has intrigued for centuries, and once visitors walk inside, the intricate decorations are simply awesome. With splendid artwork adorning the walls and a magnificent altar centerpiece, the mix of stunning architecture and artistic grandeur makes this church on the coast an unforgettable destination that will stay in your memories for many years afterward!

A beach like no other.

photo: Pixabay

Eat Dinner at Ristorante La Piazzetta

As evening approaches, treat yourself to a culinary performance at Ristorante La Piazzetta. Situated along the main promenade of Camogli’s harbor, this chic restaurant has outdoor seating with unparalleled views of the beach.

Renowned for its expertise in pesto and seafood, Ristorante La Piazzetta offers a diverse menu to please every palate. Indulge in a delicious dinner on the beach, accompanied by the scenic backdrop of the sun setting on the Italian Riviera—an idyllic end to a day along the coastal shores.

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Things to do in Genoa, Italy