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The thin strip of Liguria, or the Italian Riviera as it is more often known, is an enticing introduction to Italy if you’re traveling overland from France. It’s a classic Mediterranean stretch of coast, dropping steeply into the sea from low mountains speckled with olive trees and lemon groves to broad sandy beaches and a series of busy yet quintessentially Italian resorts. At the center of the region is Genoa, a bustling port city whose warren-like old center is absolutely not to be missed; it’s also a great introduction to the food of the region – basically pesto, lots of seafood, and farinata, a savory chickpea pancake that is ...

The thin strip of Liguria, or the Italian Riviera as it is more often known, is an enticing introduction to Italy if you’re traveling overland from France. It’s a classic Mediterranean stretch of coast, dropping steeply into the sea from low mountains speckled with olive trees and lemon groves to broad sandy beaches and a series of busy yet quintessentially Italian resorts. At the center of the region is Genoa, a bustling port city whose warren-like old center is absolutely not to be missed; it’s also a great introduction to the food of the region – basically pesto, lots of seafood, and farinata, a savory chickpea pancake that is unique to Liguria.

To the east of Genoa, the so-called Riviera di Levante is perhaps the quieter and more scenic stretch of coast, with small, picturesque resorts like Camogli, Sestri Levante, Santa Margherita Ligure, and most famously Portofino. These are marvelous places to sun yourself for a while, and the spectacular coastline of the Cinque Terre provides some great walking country. West of Genoa, the Riveria di Ponente is busier, and its main resorts, such as Alassio and San Remo, are more commercially developed, but there are still pockets of peace, particularly up in the mountains behind, and great family resorts too, like Finale Ligure.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

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Martin Dunford for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May, June, September, October