Italian Riviera Holidays are not to be missed! Discover the best attractions for romantic holidays in Liguria among monuments, picturesque villages overlooking the sea, food and wine.
Liguria is a region that is able to offer a lot from every point of view. Breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear sea, monuments and a local cuisine appreciated all over the world are just some of the reasons why you should choose Italian Riviera holidays.
Thanks to the many walking, biking and horse-riding trails through wonderful vineyards and olive groves, beautiful views and unforgettable sunsets, this destination is suitable for nature and sport lovers but also for those who want to spend romantic holidays in Liguria.
Whether summer or winter, autumn or spring, it is always time to visit this fantastic region!
Not sure where to go? Continue reading and I will show you the most beautiful places to see during your holidays in Liguria, from the Riviera di Levante to the Riviera di Ponente.
We will talk about art, nature, sport, food and wine, without forgetting some important events that are organised in this region. Ready to surprise your sweetheart with romantic holidays to Italian Riviera?
Italian Riviera Holidays: here are the ideas!
1. Where to spend your holidays in Liguria, in the Riviera di Levante
The Cinque Terre National Park, the Gulf of Poets and Genoa are just some of the places on the Riviera di Levante that I will describe in the following paragraphs.
Gulf of Poets
The Gulf of Poets (in Italian, “Golfo dei Poeti”) is a large inlet on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, a very popular destination for Italian Riviera holidays. In this splendid space of land there are three important cities, known and appreciated all over the world: Lerici, Portovenere and La Spezia.
Lerici is certainly one of the most famous places of the whole Riviera di Levante, thanks to its crystal-clear sea and the beauty of its village. You will have the possibility to walk through the typical “carruggi”, the alleys of the village, and to observe some of the most important monuments such as the castle, Villa Marigola and the Oratory of San Rocco with its tower. For nature lovers, there is no lack of trekking routes, offering truly breathtaking landscapes and views!
In the Gulf of Poets there is another little gem, Portovenere. This fishing village is a great destination if you are looking for romantic holidays to Liguria. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Cinque Terre, this village has a lot to offer both from a cultural and scenic point of view. In the heart of the village, you can see the majestic Doria Castle and the beautiful Church of San Lorenzo. Towards the harbour you will see a row of colourful houses known as the “Palazzata a mare”. Don’t miss a trip to Palmaria island and a visit to Byron’s Grotto.
La Spezia is a town on the border with Tuscany and is the gateway to the Cinque Terre. Easy to visit during your holidays in Liguria, the town is dominated by the Castello di San Giorgio, with its imposing structure. The town’s symbolic building is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in neo-Romanesque style. If you love being in contact with nature, there are many paths that will let you discover fantastic forests and unparalleled panoramic views.
The local food and wine includes muscoli (mussels), focaccia and poncrè, all paired with a good glass of “Carpe Diem” wine. As for events, in August don’t miss the “Festa della Madonna Bianca” in Portovenere and the octopus festival in Lerici.
Cinque Terre National Park
The Cinque Terre, thanks to its sea, beautiful landscapes and enchanting villages, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let me show you!
Monterosso al mare is the most populous of the five towns. The town is divided into two parts by a promontory, a residential centre on one side and an historic centre on the other. The Church of San Francesco and the statue of the Giant are worth seeing.
If you are looking for the right destination to surprise your sweetheart, let me recommend Vernazza. This small village is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in Italy, with the Church of Santa Maria d’Antiochia and a sea to die for! You couldn’t choose more romantic holidays in Liguria.
Corniglia is the central village of the Cinque Terre and the only one that is not in contact with the sea. The town offers wonderful paths immersed in the green where you can breathe clean air and observe truly unique views. The Church of San Pietro is worth a visit.
Manarola is a charming village overlooking the sea, with its colourful houses facing the main street. The most important building in the village is the Church of San Lorenzo with its bell tower, in Gothic style. Don’t leave this place without seeing via Belvedere, a real balcony on the sea that ends with a panoramic little square, perfect to surprise your sweetheart.
Riomaggiore is a small seventh century village that is surrounded by the Mediterranean maquis. Losing yourself in its “carruggi”, you can see the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the Church of San Lorenzo. But don’t forget to visit the majestic castle which, of course, offers a wonderful panorama.
As far as food and wine are concerned, in the Cinque Terre you can try the famous anchovies of Monterosso and cod fritters. To drink, you cannot miss the Sciacchetrà DOC and the “limoncino”. There are two very important events in this area: the “Underwater Christmas” in Vernazza and the “Fried Anchovy Festival” in Monterosso.
Remaining on the Riviera di Levante, we come to another fantastic place that has much to offer in terms of landscape, art and culture. Sestri Levante is in fact a jewel of Liguria with its “two seas”, the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fairy Tales, separated by a peninsula.
The historic centre has important monuments such as the medieval church of San Nicolò dell’isola and the palaces of Portobello. Adventure and sports enthusiasts can enjoy canoeing, windsurfing and diving. For those who want to enjoy a romantic walk, I recommend the path that leads to the promontory of Punta Manara from where you can watch beautiful sunsets!
Typical local foods include focaccia and chickpea porridge, paired with an excellent white “colline del genovesato IGT” wine. To conclude, I recommend an evocative event in this town: “la barcarolata”.
Don’t know where to spend your Italian Riviera holidays? If you are looking for the right destination to spend romantic holidays in Liguria, let me recommend this one. The Gulf of Tigullio, with its enchanting villages, is perfect for a romantic weekend with your partner.
Santa Margherita Ligure is a pearl of the Riviera di Levante thanks to its style and elegance. In addition to a dreamlike sea, the town can offer important monuments such as the castle on the seafront and the ancient Cervara Abbey. Don’t miss the bay of Paraggi, a real natural swimming pool surrounded by rich vegetation where you can also go scuba diving!
If you want to spend fantastic romantic holidays in Liguria, go to Portofino! This beautiful village, with its characteristic coloured houses, is perfect for relaxing. We recommend Brown Castle and the Church of San Giorgio, not forgetting the famous little square.
Rapallo is another important town in the Gulf of Tigullio, characterised by its small historic centre. The Sanctuary of Montallegro and the ancient castle on the sea, symbol of the city, are worth a visit. For art lovers, I recommend the Lace Museum.
You can’t leave the Tigullio Gulf without trying the Santa Margherita Ligure prawns, trofie di Recco and the cuttlefish and bean salad. To drink, I recommend the Golfo del Tigullio-Portofino DOC wine.
Genoa is the largest and most populous city in the region. It is known worldwide for its port, the largest in Italy. This city has a lot to offer with its history and art, but let’s not forget its important food, wine and natural heritage.
The symbol of the city is the lighthouse, called “la lanterna”, which testifies to Genoa’s seafaring vocation. As for the historic centre, I recommend that you lose yourself in its “carruggi” and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of this city. But a visit to the Church of San Matteo is also a must.
You can’t leave these places without first seeing the famous Aquarium, the first in Italy and second in Europe. And if you are an art lover, don’t miss the Strada Nuova Museums.
The local food and wine includes, of course, trofie al pesto, stockfish alla genovese and cappon magro. I recommend a “Colle di Luni DOC” wine to drink. One of the most impressive events is the pesto festival.
2. Holidays to Italian Riviera – on the Riviera di Ponente!
Let’s now leave the Riviera di Levante and enter the Riviera di Ponente, where fantastic villages, crystal-clear sea and excellent food and wine await you.
This city is one of the most important in Liguria thanks to its monuments and its sea. If you were thinking where to spend truly original romantic holidays to Italian riviera, this place is for you! The symbol of Savona is definitely the suggestive Priamar Fortress enclosed by Piazzale della Sibilla and Piazzale del Maschio.
In its marvellous historical centre, you can admire the Brandale Tower and the beautiful baroque Cathedral of the Assunta. The Ceramics Museum also deserves a mention, with important exhibits ranging from the Renaissance to the present day.
What to eat in Savona? I suggest you try the genocchetti with nettles and the fish cold cuts, paired with the excellent Colline Savonesi IGT wine. Try the famous Chinotto di Savona.
Bergeggi is a great destination to spend your Italian Riviera holidays. A crystal-clear sea, fantastic sea caves and sheer cliffs are just some of the wonders this village has to offer. Definitely worth seeing are the Church of San Martino Vescovo and the Grotta della galleria del treno. If you are a sports enthusiast, don’t miss the diving activities that take place in these waters.
Holidays to Liguria with your better half? If you don’t know where to go, let me recommend Noli, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village still retains a medieval history with its walls and towers. Walking through the alleys of the historic centre you can see the municipal tower and the Church of San Paragorio. I recommend a visit to the Castle of Monte Ursino, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
Near Noli there is this charming village made up of several hamlets: Finalborgo, Finalpia, Finalmarina and Varigotti. I am going to tell you more about the first and the last ones.
Finalborgo is an ancient medieval village, surrounded by a solid and well-preserved city wall. The little town is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and offers important monuments such as the Church of San Biagio and Castel San Giovanni. The archaeological museum is also worth a visit.
Another important hamlet of Finale Ligure is Varigotti. This town is perfect for relaxing and enjoying a romantic getaway thanks to the beautiful beaches it has to offer!
Albenga is a town on the Riviera di Ponente in the province of Savona. This fantastic village is a real jewel of Liguria thanks to its sea, beaches and monuments. Losing yourself in the alleys of the town, you will notice why it is also known as “the city of a hundred towers”.
Don’t miss the Cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo and the nearby Baptistery. For nature lovers, the island of Gallinara (a very suggestive nature reserve) is worth a visit.
As for traditional food and wine, I recommend the ravioli with pine nuts and rosemary as well as Ligurian-style rabbit, paired with a good Pigato DOC. If you are in Albenga in July, watch the famous “Palio Storico dei Rioni”!
When it comes to romantic holidays Liguria has a lot to offer! Alassio is the destination for you, thanks to its beautiful sea and fantastic sunsets. Don’t miss the charming little wall with the signatures of important artists who have passed through here, as well as the beautiful garden of Villa della Pergola.
Don’t leave this town without trying the famous “baci di Alassio”.
Holidays to Liguria on the Riviera dei Fiori (Riviera of Flowers)
The Riviera of Flowers is a stretch of Ligurian coast that is also part of the Riviera di Ponente. It includes towns like Cervo, Imperia, Sanremo, Apricale and Dolceacqua, which I will now tell you about.
Cervo is a small medieval village. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, perfect for your romantic holidays in Liguria. Thanks to its sea and breathtaking landscapes enriched with beautiful sunsets, this is the right destination for you! See the Church of San Nicola, Palazzo Morchio and the Tower of Sant’Antonio.
Imperia is a famous town on the Riviera of Flowers, characterised by its charming, colourful houses overlooking the sea. Don’t leave without seeing the Duomo di San Maurizio and the Loggia di Santa Chiara. And don’t forget a visit to the Olive Oil Museum!
Do you want a popular destination that is still exciting? When it comes to Italian Riviera holidays, Liguria still has a fascinating destination to discover! Let me recommend Sanremo, one of the most popular and romantic cities in Italy.
It is famous for the Italian song festival that is held here every year in the Ariston Theatre. But it can also offer important monuments, characterised by art, culture and history. The Madonna della Costa Sanctuary and the San Siro Co-Cathedral are certainly worth a visit, as is the Russian Church. Don’t miss a visit to the Casino where you can also try your luck!
Apricale is a small village in Liguria, strategically located on a hill and surrounded by important olive groves. The historical centre is worth visiting on foot, losing yourself in its alleys and discovering some of its main tourist attractions. Piazza Torracca and the Church of the Purification of the Virgin Mary are worth a visit, as is the charming Lizard Castle.
Dolceacqua, with its medieval structure, offers a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for surprising your sweetheart. This village is an ideal destination for organising romantic holidays to Liguria. Visiting the historical centre on foot is a very fascinating experience, as is a visit to the castle and the Ponte Vecchio, the town’s symbol.
Here are the food and wine offers you can find in the beautiful Riviera of Flowers. I recommend you try the Imperia extra virgin olive oil, the beans from Badalucco, Conio and Pigna, the sardenaira and the brandacujun. We conclude with events: in November there is “Olioliva” and in February the famous “Festival di Sanremo”.
Romantic holidays in Liguria: how to get there?
Don’t worry, Liguria can be reached in any way: by bus, car, plane, train or even boat. However, if you want to move with more freedom among the fishing villages, I recommend the car!
Now that you know where to spend fantastic Italian Riviera holidays, visit the Italia Delight website and choose your perfect foodie holidays in Liguria! You can also customise your trip with one of our Local Experts. What are you waiting for? 😉