The Italian Riviera ought to be more famous than it actually is. It's a top tourist destination, sure, but most people just know of the specific towns in the area. They know of Portofino, Cinque Terre, Genoa, and Camogli. But rarely do these people realize that they're all part of the Italian Riviera. They're not like the French Riviera
, for instance, where everyone knows that Cannes, Saint Tropez, and Corsica are all along one coast. Here in Italy, on the other hand, the Riviera is not that well known. Perhaps it's time to really get to know the towns here to truly discover the Italian Riviera.
Technically speaking, Cinque Terre
isn't a town on the Italian Riviera. Rather, it's a collection of towns and villages that lie along this sunny coast in the Mediterranean. And before you think that they're all one and the same, you'd do well to visit each and every one of them yourself! Sure, you may find countless similarities among them, but they all have something unique to offer as well. Monterosso, for example, has that cinematic appeal to it that you'd find in a Fellini film. Corniglia, on the other hand, is perched atop the highest hills in the area. The views up here are incredible!
Portofino is perhaps the most famous among the Italian Riviera towns on this list. It's the lap of luxury in the area, where countless Italian designer brands
and French luxury labels have all set up shop. If you're up for a big shopping spree on the Italian Riviera, this is the place for you! And with how glamorous Portofino is now, it's almost unbelievable that this place started out as a small fishing village in the Italian countryside. Over time, it simply became one of the most luxurious towns in southern Italy. Even the rich and famous have turned it into one of their many Mediterranean playgrounds.
Santa Margherita Ligure
Since it's only a short bus or boat ride away from Portofino, why not go to Santa Margherita Ligure next? It may not be as glossy as the former, but this town is still as charming as ever. It's actually part of another city on the Italian Riviera, Genoa, which is a fairly big metropolis. So much so that districts that are as distinct as Santa Margherita Ligure are practically considered separate towns altogether. And there's no denying that this place has its own distinct identity compared to the rest of Genoa. Santa Margherita Ligure has a certain grandiosity to it that lets you think that former kings and noblemen of Italy once vacationed here.
Speaking of Genoa, it's definitely one of the cities on the Italian Riviera that's also worth exploring. As a historic port city, it's a bustling metropolis that can almost rival the likes of Rome and Italy when it comes to how lively it is. Of course, Genoa itself isn't anywhere near as big or as busy as the Italian capital, but it does share its stately appeal. The Renaissance and Baroque architecture here are fairly reminiscent of the grand villas in Rome
. The famous Piazza de Ferrari, for example, would look right at home in the capital city as it does in Genoa.
Located on the stunning Ligurian coast on the Italian Riviera, Portovenere is a breathtaking seaside village you just have to see to believe. It's easy to think that a place this magical is only a set built for films set in Italy. But it's not! Portovenere is as real as any of the other towns on this list and in the rest of the country. Not only that but it's even designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site
. That alone is reason enough to visit the place. Though of course, seeing its almost otherworldly scenery and relaxing in its Mediterranean warmth are good reasons too!
If the French Riviera has Monaco, the Italian Riviera has Sanremo! This coastal town is actually a casino city, Its famous Casinò di Sanremo
draws many big players to gamble and play as much as they want. However, this is only just one part of the town. There's more to Sanremo than its casino! For one thing, the city also has the most important flower market in Italy. They export their many fabulous blooms to different parts of the country and even to other European nations too. Additionally, there's the Sanremo Music Festival as well. It's a famous annual singing contest that has been around since the 1950s.
High atop the seaside cliffs in the Imperia province, Ventimiglia is undoubtedly among the most scenic towns on the Italian Riviera. This is the kind of place you'd want to visit if you run a travel inspo Instagram account. From the roaring waves and the sunshine-filled coast to the romantic cobbled streets and imposing architecture, the shots you'll get here will take everyone's breath away. And like Sanremo, Ventimiglia has a lot of botanical bliss to offer too. The town's annual Battaglia di Fiori
is a flower-filled festival you definitely have to see for yourself!
Finally, there's Camogli, a fishing village located west of the Portofino peninsula. One of the lesser-known towns on the Italian Riviera, its relative unpopularity is actually one of its many strong points. When you tire of the constant hustle and bustle in the likes of Portofino and Genoa, Camogli will serve as the perfect escape. It has its fair share of liveliness too, sure, but it's undeniably more peaceful compared to the other places on this list. As a quaint commune, its provincial charms and slow-paced way of life will make you never want to leave!
There are many towns to discover on the Italian Riviera. This beautiful coast has such scenic villages and charming communes that will make you never want to leave. These destinations are perfect for a dreamy getaway!