Liguria sightseeing includes some of Italy’s most scenic and picturesque destinations. The region occupies a sliver of a land along the Mediterranean Sea. This position makes it a popular Italy vacation destination today and since ancient times. Art, sea, history and fun all come together here to make Liguria a fabulous Italy vacation destination.
Liguria is easily reachable by train directly from Milan to Genoa, Santa Margherita, and Cinque Terre’s Monterosso. From Florence and Bologna it is accessible by train via La Spezia.
Table of contents
- Liguria Travel Guide Video
- Liguria Location
- Liguria Travel Guide Map
- Liguria Sightseeing Highlights
- Italian Riviera
- Liguria Food and Wine
- Tours of Italy that include Liguria
Liguria Travel Guide Video
For more information about sightseeing in Liguria watch the Liguria travel guide video below.
Liguria is located in northwest Italy. To its south is the Ligurian Sea.
North of Liguria from west to east are the Italian regions Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna respectively.
To its west is France. Directly west along the coast is the French Riviera.
To its southeast is Tuscany.
For more information about Liguria sightseeing highlights and planning a trip to Liguria check out the Liguria travel guide map.
Liguria Travel Guide Map
The Liguria travel guide map is interactive. Click the upper left corner of the map to display the Liguria sightseeing points of interest that correspond with locations on the map.
Liguria’s capital city is Genoa, one of Italy’s original maritime republics. Other popular destinations in Liguria include the Cinque Terre, Portofino, and the Italian Riviera.
Liguria Sightseeing Highlights
Some of Italy’s best beaches are located in Liguria, especially toward France along the Italian Riviera. There you’ll find the area known the Riveria delle Palme and Riviera dei Fiori.
The Cinque Terre, Portofino and Santa Margherita are all popular Liguria vacation destination south east of Genoa toward Tuscany.
Ligurian cruise ports include Genoa, home of Christopher Columbus, La Spezia, famous for its spectacular gardens, and Savona, a lesser-known cruise port. All are very important Mediterranean ports in Italy.
Camogli is one of Italy’s popular and most picturesque seaside beach towns.
One of the most popular vacation destinations in Liguria is the Cinque Terre area. The Cinque Terre is an area along the Ligurian Sea where there are five picturesque towns. The Cinque Terre towns are Monterosso, Vernazza, Maranola, Corniglia, Riomaggiore.
A popular activity is to hike from town to town. Or for those not thrilled about hiking then there is a ferry that travels among the towns.
The Cinque Terre are easiest access by train via Monterrosso. Today the overwhelming influx of tourists to this fragile area forced the local government to begin limiting the number of visitors who can enter daily.
Genoa although not inundated with tourists is a world class destination. The city includes important museums, mansions, and a long history.
Genoa’s historical center is the largest in Europe: noble palaces, splendid churches and an intricate maze of alleyways called “caruggi” that open unexpectedly onto beautiful small squares.
The Old Harbor, next to the Aquarium (the biggest in Europe), is an entertainment area with museums, cinemas, cafés and also a beautiful promenade along the sea, redesigned by famous architect Renzo Piano.
Do visit Genoa’s UNESCO site the “Strade Nuove”. These four streets in the center of the city is where during the 16th and 17th centuries Genoese aristocracy built noble villas in Renaissance and Baroque style. They are known as the “Palazzi dei Rolli”, built to show Genoa’s greatness to the world.
La Spezia is primary city in eastern Liguria just north of Tuscany. it is port city where tourists disembark to visit the Cinque Terre and north eastern Tuscany.
Sightseeing highlights in La Spezia include the hilltop St. George’s Castle, which houses an archaeological museum with artifacts from prehistory to the Middle Ages. The nearby Amedeo Lia Museum exhibits paintings, bronze sculptures and illuminated miniatures in a former convent.
Levanto is a quiet little town located to the north of the Cinque Terre. It is a good base if planning to spend a few days around the Cinque Terre.
Portofino is an international jet setters destination. Located just east of Genoa it is known for its small bay, colorful houses, and quaint shops and cafes. During the summer its bay is full of super yachts, which is quite a sight.
Portovenere and Golfo dei Poeti
Portovenere is charming little port located just north of La Spezia and south of the Cinque Terre. The ferry that runs up and down the Cinque Terre includes Portovenere on its route.
Just off the Portovenere is named the Golfo dei Poeti becuase it is where romantics like Shelly and Byron made their home.
Santa Margherita is the largest local town east of Genoa. It is located between Cinque Terre and Portofino. It is a good location to find hotel when planning a vacation the area.
Santa Margherita has train station with schedules to Genoa and Milan.
Sarzana is a quietly spectacular town. It lies in Liguria on the border with Tuscany. The Magra river passes to the east. The sea is a short distance away.
This is a very quiet town. Not many tourists. In Piazza Matteotti its central square there are some very good restaurants.
Inside its Romanesque/Gothic cathedral, Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, you’ll find Cross of Maestro Guglielmo, dated 1138. This cross is noted as the oldest example of monumental painted panel (dipintura) cross. This crucifix portrays Jesus as the Christus Triumphans.
Among the many high-quality Liguria sightseeing highlights is the Italian Riviera. The area along the coast west of Genoa is known as the Italian Riviera. It is commonly divided into two areas, the Riviera delle Palme and the Riviera dei Fiori.
Riviera delle Palme
Finale Ligure is located west of Genoa on the Riviera delle Palme. It was named as one of I Borghi più Belli d’Italia (Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages).
Finale Ligure is composed of Finale Marina, with its splendid promenade and carruggi (tiny winding lanes and sidestreets), elegant shops and lively cafes; Finalpia and; a bit further inland, Finalborgo.
Little seaside town surrounded by beautiful hills and vegetation, as well as by great beaches with hospitable accommodation and holiday resort structures.
one of the foremost cities on the Riviera di Ponente. seabeds making for a marvelous world unto themselves to be explored (above all, those around the Island of Gallinara, a Regional Natural Reserve since 1989) render
in part famous for its Muretto (wall) bearing the autographs of all the celebrities that chose to stay here; the Muretto also loans its name to a local beauty pageant that takes place every summer.
Riviera dei Fiori
The last patch of western Liguria is the Riviera dei Fiori (i.e. of Flowers), well-known for its rather temperate climate.
This Riviera is studded with gems like San Remo, the “city of flowers” famous for its Italian Song Festival and for its Casino (while a lesser-known must is its giant and overflowing market). Sanremo attracts locals and tourists for its annual music festival, which dates back to 1951 Italy’s “La Dolce Vita” era.
Bordighera is one of the most refined localities on the coast. On clear days, you can see all the way to Arma di Taggia (in the northeast) and to Monte Carlo (to the west and slightly south). Bordighera boasts palms so lovely they have also been exported to the Cote d’Azur.
Ventimiglia is the furthest west town on the riviera before the French border. Its historic center conserves unique art treasures.
Liguria Food and Wine
Liguria is famous for its seafood and pesto. Pesto ingredients include local pine nuts, basil, and olives, all of which come right off the Ligurian hills overlooking the Mediterranean sea.
Tours of Italy that include Liguria
Click here for northern Italy and Cinque Terre escorted tours and vacation information.
For more information about touring Italy check out our Italy travel guide.