The ‘Italian Riviera’ is a loose term usually applied to the stretch of coast in Liguria which borders France. Like its neighbour, the more famous French Riviera, this coastline boasts blue seas, stately resorts with casinos and palms waving along the promenade, and attractive inland villages.
The blue waters, the attractive coastline and beaches, and the exceptionally mild climate have long been the Italian Riviera’s biggest attractions. Sheltered from the north by the Maritime Alps, the strip of land by the sea has a micro-climate of its own; with sunshine and comfortable temperatures the whole year round.
Riviera dei Fiori
The Riviera of Flowers is the section of the Liguria coast nearest to France. Running from Ventimiglia in the west to Cervo in the east, the coastline is famous for its blooms; the most colourful and elegant resort is Sanremo.
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Riviera delle Palme
The central section of Liguria includes the historic beach resort of Alassio and the popular destination of Finale Liguria, bustling with bars.
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Italian Riviera Travel Information
Liguria is well served by railways. A major railway line follows the coast for its entire length, and the region is easily accessible from Rome, Naples, Milan, Florence and other major cities. Genoa has two railway stations; sometimes you must change here for the trains that run westward towards France. The railway stops in most of the seaside towns in Liguria, and continues into France, with an easy -and scenic – journey to Menton, Monaco, Nice and Cannes. The towns bypassed by the trains (which sometimes take to modern tunnels through the rocky slopes) are all on the route of an efficient coastal bus service, so it’s easy to get to the nearest station. More information about trains in Italy.
Admirably engineered coastal roads run the length of the shore; although these can become busy in peak season.
The main airport in Liguria is Genoa Airport, but if you’re visiting San Remo and the western part of Liguria, Nice is an option (with budget flights from several airports in the UK). If you’re interested in the Cinque Terre end of Liguria, Pisa to the south is another good option – also with budget flights from the UK.
Over the border
If you fancy a holiday spread over two, or even three, countries, consider either a several-base holiday, or day trips west of San Remo into France or Monaco, perhaps visiting Monte Carlo, Menton and/or Nice.
Guide to Liguria and the Italian Riviera
Cadogan Guide to the Italian Riviera
The Cadogan guidebook to the Italian Riviera is good, but at the time of this article it hasn’t been re-issued or updated for a long time: Buy from Amazon.co.uk. A more recent guide, though I haven’t used it, is the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italian Riviera.