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21 best italian riviera towns for amazing holidays

Italian Riviera is a land full of beautiful places to visit, live and explore. There are many villages and towns that have very different characteristics and attractions.

If you take a look at the Italian Riviera Map you will realize that it is really difficult to choose a place to visit, especially if it is the first time you come here.

If you then have to create an itinerary to travel with your family or friends, there is a real embarrassment of choice!

There are very famous places that you can visit in a day. The are also more hidden and interesting corners that you will take days to discover.

So, what are the 21 best Italian Riviera towns for amazing holidays?

You are in the right place to find your answer!

I finally decided to create a mini-guide to help travelers explore Italian Riviera in order not to miss the best of this region.

With this guide you will know exactly which are the places of Italian Riviera that deserve to be included in your travel itinerary and, at the end of the article, you will be able to have a clear idea of all that Italian Riviera has to offer and all the fantastic 22 City of Italian Riviera for unforgettable holidays.

Are you ready? Let’s start!

Riviera di Ponente

Bordighera is a city of Italian Riviera Ponente not to be missed: beautiful and elegant Bordighera is also known as Perla del Ponente Ligure and it is the city of palms.

Its strategic location, just 20 minutes from Nice airport, makes it the perfect destination to spend a week or two discovering the western Italian Riviera and Côte d’Azur.

Bordighera offers a lot to its visitors: spotless Sea, excellent restaurants of every price range but especially the breathtaking sunsets during the in winter.

Once visited it is easy to understand why it is said that the famous artist Claude Monet, who lived in this Italian Riviera city, fell madly in love!

Besides the naturalistic shows, another thing not to be missed is the extraordinary hinterland with medieval villages, perfect for lovers of history, art and culture.

In the hinterland of Bordighera, between the mountains, Italian Rivieran rises an ancient principality. Seborga is a unique place to breathe an atmosphere of yesterdays, a real little world with its traditions, its prince and even a coin of its own.

Its historical center is rich in history and churches that represent real small architectural jewels such as the parish church of St. Martin and its splendid baroque façade.

Another reason to visit Seborga? Definitely the beautiful view on Monte Carlo from a very unique perspective and its surrounding nature.

Seborga, in fact, has a deeply rural soul linked to its land rich in olive trees that surround the principality. Although much loved by tourists, intrigued by the history of this Italian Riviera city, Seborga remains faithful to itself preserving its roots and traditions that make it so different from other cities.

Beloved by Prince Albert of Monaco, Dolceacqua is also located in the hinterland of Bordighera.

a visit to Dolceacqua immerses you in ancient atmospheres thanks to the extraordinary medieval village dominated by the Doria castle. But there’s more than this! Its beautiful botanical gardens and its old Romanesque bridge enriches the surrounding scenery, made of ancient constructions and nature, creating fairy-tale glimpses.

The famous painter Monet, deeply fascinated by the Italian Riviera scenery, found in Dolceacqua the subjects for many of his paintings. If a day in Dolceacqua can be enough to explore the small but rich center, not to be missed is certainly the opportunity to use it as a starting point to visit the other 10 medieval villages that surround it.

A tour to others medieval villages offers you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in the local history and it is also a way to get out of the usual tourist itineraries and discover hidden gems unknown to the most.

Apricale is a small gem hidden in the hinterland of Bordighera that reserves a few surprises to its visitors.

Charming medieval village, Apricale is a quiet and suggestive Italian Riviera town for an extraordinary trip.

Already its name, which means “exposed to the sun”, loads the city of charm and makes us understand its main characteristic: thanks to its strategic position, when kissed by the sun, it creates beautiful effects of colors and reflections really breathtaking.

Although small, its main square is often a place of events and demonstrations related to local traditions while, Castello della Lucertola and the Teatro della Tosse are the main attractions related to the culture and history that make, even today, Apricale The city most loved by the artists.

For lovers of Mystery, folklore and magic Triora is definitely the ideal place. One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, its history has ancient roots and the city has been the scene of pages of history even rather dark and obscure.

Triora, in fact, in 1500 was the scene of a witch hunt that led to the inquisition of as many as 20 women accused of witchcraft and having, with their own magical arts, caused famines.

Today you can visit the Ethnographic and sorcery museum, the “Monte della Forca”, where the witches found death, but also the Cabotina, place where witches were doing rituals and offerings to the Devils. In short, if witchcraft and its history fascinate you Triora is perfect to discover the mystery of the saddest pages in the history of the city.

The perfect time for a visit? Halloween, of course!

Sanremo is certainly the most famous and largest city of Italian Riviera on the list!

The capital of Italian music, where every year the famous Italian song festival is held, it is also known as the City of Flowers thanks to its beautiful variety of carnations, roses and other flowers which makes it a fantastic sight for the eyes.

Sanremo is one of the cities on the list that most offers its visitors entertainment and attractions closer to those of the Côte d’azur with the presence of luxury hotels, casinos and shopping signed for a carefree and enjoyable holiday.

Sanremo as one of the largest and most populated cities of Western Liguria offers its visitors many entertainment and attractions as well as luxury hotels, the casino, and fashion shops. All the ingredients for exclusive and fun holidays.

It is not very well known, however, that Sanremo also has a more historical and ancient soul: The Pigna, the ancient village of the city that was used for defensive purposes.

An extraordinary activity to do in Sanremo It is whale watching with organized tours to see the cetaceans in the Ligurian Sea.

Another thing to try is the typical Italian Riviera cuisine, thanks to the many restaurants where you can taste local foods like the famous red prawns.

Alassio is a Italian Riviera city famous for its beaches, its sea but also its nightlife and its shopping.

Alassio is historically born as a fishing village But over the years it has become an exclusive destination for those looking for fun and relaxation…

Although known mainly for its beaches and its promenade, of course, like all the other beautiful cities of Italian Riviera present on the list, Alassio also has small cultural and artistic gems to offer to its visitors.

First of all? The famous Muretto di Alassio, where every year a beauty contest takes place
Wide space also to the history with its churches and the Saracen Tower Bastion which, from the sixteenth century dominates from the high village.

In short, Alassio is the perfect destination for a holiday made of relaxation, sea and fun.

Noli is a perfect Italian Riviera city for a short stay as a weekend at the seaside. It is a town of Italian Riviera Ponente, 30 km from Savona, where nature, the sea and the beaches are the protagonists

What makes Noli so fascinating is the fact that it is a fishing village with a deep tradition linked to the maritime republics.

Noli preserves its traditions and its beauty even though today it is a very popular summer tourist destination on the Italian Riviera.

Its many naturalistic paths like the “Pilgrim’s path” and its coves that surround the coast, are perfect ideas for a holiday that becomes a perfect mix between relaxation and adventure.

East Coast

This small village of Italian Riviera Levante is a corner of paradise for lovers of the sea and relaxation.

Its characteristic are the colourful picturesque constructions that, looking out over the sea, create glimpses of postcard for their swimmers that, every year, are more and more numerous.

A short stay in Camogli, however, can become the perfect escape from the city or the ideal excursion for a day different from the usual with small gems all to discover as Castel Dragone or as the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso that rises on the seashore in a cove Reachable only on foot or by sea.

If you love scuba diving you can not miss the Christ of the Abyss a bronze statue that can be admired at 15m depth.

Camogli is not directly reachable by the highway. You can choose the train with the line Pisa-La Spezia Genoa, or the car reaching one of the nearby centers as Ruta.

Between Portofino and Camogli is San Fruttuoso, a small bay reachable only on foot or by sea and that houses a charming abbey right on the beach.

A trip to discover San Fruttuoso is a unique experience to be able to live a peaceful, relaxing and almost untouched scenery where the sea and nature are the undisputed protagonists.

All around the complex of San Fruttuoso of Capodimonte and the bay, the regional park of Portofino acts as a green frame to the fantastic Panorama for a perfect mix between sea and mountains.

Its history has ancient origins and full of fascinating legends still today and that load the place of magic and mystery.

Arrival by sea is definitely the most evocative choice to admire the bay from a unique perspective with the colors of the buildings that, reflecting on the sea, create a photo-proof show!

Portofino is a real pearl of Italian Riviera, a fishing village that has become with the years homeland of VIP, luxury and fabulous yacht that crowd its port.

Although small, it is perfect for a small stay, Portofino knows how to surprise thanks to its striking pastel-coloured houses, its small port, collected and characteristic but also thanks to the rich presence of nature and history to be discovered.

If the marina and its nearby streets are full of shops and restaurants where you spend a few hours of carefree and shopping, the heart of Portofino resides in the walks to its promontory that make discover churches and buildings from ancient history Like the XV century Brown Castle and the lighthouse of Punta Capo for truly breathtaking views.

Currently Portofino is reachable only through the paths naturalists, as regards the options by land, otherwise by sea from the ports of the neighboring cities.

Between Portofino and Rapallo you will find Santa Margherita Ligure, another Italian Riviera pearl to live. Known for its sea and its nature rich in maritime pines and olive groves to this day is one of the favorite destinations among all those who intend to make an Italian Riviera holiday of luxury and refinement.

Santa Margherita Ligure is, in fact, rich in luxury hotels, bathing establishments, and noble houses but, even if it became a tourist, it still points much on its artisan roots with a production of lace and macramé still very firm nowadays.

Obviously, the strong tourist flow and the presence of a consolidated jet set makes Santa Margherita Ligure every year a stage of important events and exhibitions of art and culture.

In the heart of Italian Riviera rises Sestri Levante, a small but charming seaside town and ideal for a relaxing weekend.

The city is famous throughout Italy for its many cultural events that take place throughout the year but also for its nature.

From the historical center, for example, a walk leads to the top of the beautiful Punta Manara, for a view of the Gulf really not to be missed as well as an excursion to the rocche of Sant’Anna or a quieter one through the streets of the city exploring its beauties, its suggestive Churches like that of San Nicolò and that of the Capuchin friars.

One of the most interesting things to discover about the place is the local traditions between flavors and crafts with its old roots that offer the opportunity to appreciate this land in a unique way.

Sestri Levante is also a seaside town that, with its two bays, offers picturesque and peculiar places with its colourful houses on the sea and crystal clear water. A haven for lovers of relaxation!

The Cinque Terre do not need any introduction as they are among the most famous tourist destinations in Italy

It is a conglomerate of small villages that are located along Italian Riviera Ponente each with its particular beauty all to discover. Each of these villages can be visited even in one day and are therefore perfect for a trip on the road or for small day trips.

the most convenient way is convenient to visit the Cinque Terre is to use the railway network saving time and avoiding having to park the car.

Let’s see now, more in detail, to discover something more about each of the Cinque Terre.

Monterosso

It is the largest and oldest village in the Cinque Terre. Divided into a new area and an older one, Monterosso focuses on its big beach and the nightlife that offers entertainment for all tastes just a stone’s throw from the sea.

Among its main cultural and historical attractions are the Gothic church of St. John the Baptist, the Aurora Tower and the sculpture of the Giant.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore, compared to other lands, offers more ideas for a cultural excursion with its ancient churches to visit such as that of San Giovanni Battista but also for its castle, a fascinating place for its history but also for the romantic atmosphere that you can Live from his terrace.

Vernazza

Vernazza is the most famous village (and the most photographed!) of the Cinque Terre.

Its peculiarity and its charm lies in the colourful houses that surround the small marina and its two beaches. For those who want to immerse themselves in the local history and the ancient roots of Vernazza can visit the tower of Belforte, symbol of Vernazza and the castle of Doria.

Corniglia

Corniglia is the only one of the Cinque Terre not to have a marina.

Its historic center is very small and also like the other villages of the Cinque Terre is characterized by colored buildings that break the surrounding vegetation for a truly impressive show.

The great Gothic church of St. Peter is definitely worth seeing.

Manarola

Manarola is also very famous and focuses on the particularity of its constructions overlooking the sea.

Although beautiful in the summer months, but when it becomes a crowded destination of tourists and bathers, Manarola is famous for its crib, the largest in the world, which is inaugurated every year on December 8 and remains open to the public until the end of January.

Porto Venere, although often confused as one of the Cinque Terre, is a beautiful and complete Hamlet to visit.

Caves, islands, the ancient ruins, the castle and the mills are just some of the attractions that make it a perfect place for a day at the beach or for some cultural hour, retracing its history.

Lerici is a pearl in the heart of Italian Riviera Levante. Set in a natural cove, Lerici is perfect for a day of nature, the sea but also for those who want to discover its millenary history that has ancient and variegated roots.

Its strategic position on the sea, in fact, has made it a target of interest on the part of various peoples and cultures over the centuries. These influences are still visible on its territory with monument of interest like its castle, uncontested symbol of the Italian Rivieran city.

For its flora, its fauna and the beauty of its bay, Lerici has charmed artists from all over the world who stayed here to find inspiration and creativity, letting themselves be lulled by the romantic and fascinating spirit of Italian Riviera city.

Conclusion

Here we are at the end of this guide to the 21 best Italian riviera towns for amazing holidays.

Thanks to this information you will now know which cities to visit during your stay in Italian Riviera and what each of them has to offer.

In General, as you may have noticed, the cities of the Levant, like Portofino, are well known and are perfect for short stays, for a day trip or for a weekend while the Western Italian Rivieran offers villages and more hidden and mysterious countries to go to Discovery for a week or two for rich, versatile and interesting itineraries.

Both West and East Italian Riviera is a region that surprises every time for its charm and its differences and really does not matter what type of holiday you like the most or that most suits you , your interests and your needs.

Italian Riviera offers a lot of different options for all tastes between sea, history, culture but also fun and adventure.

Did you like the guide? Did I miss something? Have you already visited any of these places? Any of the cities I mentioned you have particularly fascinated and think of inserting it in your next itinerary of travel to discover Italian Riviera?

Write it in the comments and share with me and other readers your personal experiences!

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