Liguria: A Must See European Destination this Summer

Welcome to Liguria, home to the Italian Riviera and an absolute must see European destination. I have been visiting this part of Italy for years now after falling in-love with it on a city break to Genoa back in 2018, it is a great alternative to the Amalfi Coast or Puglia if you are looking for somewhere new.

The pretty coastal towns of Liguria in Italy
A pretty coastal town on the Italian Riviera

Where is Liguria?

Liguria is a region on the north west coast of Italy, located between Piremont, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany. The capital of the region is the port town of Genoa, bordered by the Ligurian Sea.


The area is characterised by beautiful fishing villages, port towns, pretty beaches, and clear water. Inland you can fine green valleys and hills, perfect for hiking and exploring.

Olive groves and vineyards spread across the countryside, another helping hand towards Italy’s gastronomic delights.

When is the best time to visit Liguria?

Like most places in the Mediterranean, summer is the best time to visit the Ligurian Coast. However, the months of July and August in particular can get extremely hot and busy, so I would recommend visiting just outside these peak times in June and September instead. The months of May and October will see a further drop in tourists and benefit from lovely warm days with the risk of some rain showers here and there.

November-March can be pretty stormy in this region and many of the hotels and restaurants remain closed of these months so it is not somewhere I would recommend travelling to in winter. stormy during winter.

April is shoulder season and a good time to visit Liguria if you want to make the most of cheap hotel rates and flights, the weather at this time can be a mixed back so pack for all occasions!

Getting there

By air: Genoa has a decent international airport with many European flights there are year round flights to London with 1-2 flights per day. For those in the north of the UK, there are also flights from Manchester to Liguria.

By train: The towns and villages are well connected by rail and this is how I would recommend to get around. Genoa has the largest terminus with direct trains to Milan, Nice (in France), Rome, and many other large cities in Italy. From Genoa you can connect to the coastal line, serving towns such as Santa Margherita, La Spezia, Camogli, and the Cinque Terre villages.

By road: If you are looking for a road trip in Italy, I couldn’t think of anywhere better. Wind your windows down as you enjoy the warm breeze whilst driving down beautiful coastal roads, across mountains, over hills, and through picture perfect villages. The autostrada that runs from east to west also offers incredible views and is the quickest way to get around.

Must see towns and villages


The largest city in Liguria and where most start their journey, Genoa is Italy’s most important port and the birthplace of the well-known explorer, Christopher Columbus. 

Genoa was once ruled by powerful Doges for 500 years and its legacy has left behind an incredible historic centre with breathtaking architecture and palaces. Narrow alleyways known as carruggi weave their way through the city, lined with trattorias, boutique shops and cafes.

Make sure you explore Via Garibaldi, an opulent street lined with majestic Renaissance and Baroque palaces. Some must visit palaces in Genoa include Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Doria Tursi.

Located on the Waterfront, Locanda da Toto is in a great location to explore the old town. NH Collection Genova Marina, also on the water, is a good base when visiting Genoa.

The medieval bridge crossing the Nervia River in Dolceacqua, Liguria
The medieval bridge in Dolceacqua


Located on the Italy/France border, Dolceacqua in Liguria is a village that not many have heard of.

The village has a picturesque historic centre with alleyways, stone houses, and an original medieval bridge that crosses the Nervia River.

To explore Dolceacqua is to take a step back in time, the Doria Castle is a 12th century fortress located atop a hill, offering panoramic views over the village and surrounding countryside.


One of my absolute favourite Italian towns, Camogli is on the trainline from Genoa towards the southern Liguria villages such as Cinque Terre and Porto Venere.

Camogli is one of the prettiest towns in Italy, known for its colourful houses along the waterfront, charming old town, and popular pebble beach.

One of the best parts of Camogli is how it has retained its authentic charm from when it was once just a small fishing village. The waterfront is still filled with fishing boats and visitors can watch the fishermen at work.

When taking a step back into the town, you will find cafes serving delicious focaccia, mozzarella salads, and ample ice cream. Trattorias are filled to the brim in the evenings by diners who want to admire the sunset with a glass of wine.

Hotel Cenobio Dei Dogi is a great place to stay with breathtaking sea views, alternatively, Sublimis Boutique Hotel is a beautiful adult only hotel facing the beachfront.


Camoglia, Liguria
Camogli's colourful waterfront
The iconic bay of Portofino, an iconic village in Liguria, Italy
The view of Portofino from Castello Brown


The stunning fishing village of Portofino really needs no introduction, this is one of the most iconic places to visit in Italy.

Home to an incredible 5 star hotel, the Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, the village is also home to small designer stores, ice cream parlours, souvenir shops, and great places to eat.

The village does not have its own train station but you it is close to Santa Margherita which provides a regular bus service to Portofino. Other accommodation options in the village include the Splendido Mare, also a Belmond Hotel, and a seaview loft with gorgeous views of the bay.

Due to its reputation, Portofino is an expensive place to stay. It is worth it if you have the money available, but if you want to save some pennies and still visit, I would recommend staying in Santa Margherita.

For decades, Portofino has been associated with luxury and exclusivity. It remains a popular destination for the international jet set and celebrities, filling the bay with super yachts from around the world.

Whilst exploring the village, I would recommend visiting Castello Brown. This ancient fortress is perfectly stood on a hill overlooking Portofino, offering travellers panoramic views. Visitors can also enjoy the landscape gardens and refreshing sea breeze! The interior often hosts art exhibitions and cultural events.

Santa Margherita

Located on the Italian Riviera, between Portofino and Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure is a delightful town, blending history with stunning natural beauty.

Santa Margherita is sandwiched between lush green hills and the sparkling waters of the Ligurian Sea. The iconic waterfront promenade, boasts beautiful sea views and palm-tree lined streets.

Villa Gelsomino, a 19th-century residence, is a truly beautiful place to stay. Travellers also love the Imperiale Palace Hotel, and a little further from the centre is the charming Il Leccio.

The colourful houses of Santa Margherita in Liguria, Italy
The colourful houses of Santa Margherita
The beachfront in Noli, Liguria
The beachfront at Noli


Less developed than many other towns in Liguria, Noli is a lovely medieval town oozing in history and boasting a relaxed seaside atmosphere.

You won’t find the luxurioys 5* hotels here, instead you can enjoy authentic B&Bs and boutique hotels such as Hotel Miramare and Paradiso Di Manù.

Days in Noli are spent on the beach before heading out to lunch under the gorgeous Italian sunshine.

Cinque Terre

Not a town, but a collection of five villages, Cinque Terre has become one of the most popular places to visit in Italy in the last decade.

The name of this designated national park ‘Five Villages’. These beautiful rainbow coloured villages are closely set next to each other along the rocky coastline between Portofino and La Spezia.

Each of the five villages are connected by a regular train service so they are easy to explore. However, if you are fit enough, there are some steep hiking trails around the cliffs that link one village to the next. 

The largest village of Monterosso has a pebble beach, perfect for sunbathing and relaxation. Along the beachfront you will find places that provide rental sunbeds, umbrellas, and beach towels, as well as showers and changing facilities.

Other villages include Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Corniglia.

Hotel Porto Roca is the most established hotel in Cinque Terre, whilst there are some beautiful guesthouses such as Stellio Affittacamere in Riomaggiore and Il Sogno di Manarola with beautiful sea views.

The beautiful Italian village of Manarola in Cinque Terre
Manarola seafront

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