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The Enchanting Beaches of the Italian Riviera

Explore Northern Italy’s villages and beaches on the Ligurian Coast

northern italy beaches

The Italian Riviera graces the northwestern part of Italy. Its beaches are renowned for picturesque landscapes and charming villages. Without doubt the exquisite Northern Italy beaches are a highlight. Nevertheless, travelers consider its villages among Italy’s most beautiful. To see trips to the area check out our Northern Italy Tours.

Nestled between the Ligurian Sea and the lush hills of Liguria, this coastal paradise beckons travelers. Unlike Southern Italy’s beaches, Northern Italy’s beaches are rocky.

Crystal-clear waters invite exploration. Vibrant colors paint the landscape. A sense of tranquility envelops each seaside town.

After considering Italy summer vacation ideas, we embarked on a journey to explore the enchanting beaches that grace the Ligurian Coast. The goal, besides enjoying all the moments, was to determine the best beaches along the Italian Riviera.

Riviera di Ponente and Riviera di Levante

When it comes to Northern Italy beaches and coastal wonders, the Italian Riviera presents two distinct gems. The Riviera di Ponente is west of Genoa to the French border. The Riviera di Levante is east of Genoa to Tuscany. Each offering its unique charm, these two regions provide travelers with diverse experiences along the stunning Ligurian coastline.

Riviera di Ponente: Coastal Elegance

map italian riviera beaches riviera ponente

Beach Bliss:

Riviera di Ponente boasts long stretches of sandy beaches and inviting azure waters. Whether you seek family-friendly shores or secluded coves, this region delivers a beach experience like no other. Here you’ll enjoy the beaches of the Italian Riviera di Ponente.

Charming Villages:

Wander through quaint villages, characterized by narrow cobblestone streets and vibrant houses. Each village in Riviera di Ponente has its own unique character. We found warm welcoming people. And we were thrilled to enjoy the authentic taste of Italian coastal life among locals.

Historical Marvels:

History enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in the rich past of Riviera di Ponente. Ancient castles and medieval towers dot the landscape, providing a captivating journey through time.


Our journey to the Beaches of Riviera di Ponente in Liguria began in the quaint town of Sanremo. Located just east of the French Riviera. This is a beautiful beachside town with a lovely marina.

Sanremo, known as the “city of flowers”, is famous for its Italian Song Festival and for its Casino. Sanremo attracts locals and tourists for its annual music festival, which dates back to 1951 Italy’s “La Dolce Vita” era.

Here the blue waters of the Ligurian Sea beckoned us. The beaches showcase nature’s artistry with golden sands meeting gentle waves. In Sanremo, we strolled along the Empress’s Walk, a promenade with breathtaking sea views, adorned with palm trees and vibrant flowers. Later, we visited the the flower museum in Villa Ormond’s lush park.

Alassio: The Pearl of the Riviera Ponente

alassio fun beaches of the italian riviera

A short drive westward from Sanremo led us to the charming town of Alassio, famed for its sun-kissed beaches and crystal-clear waters. For generations, it has attracted people seeking the sun.

The beachfront promenade, Budello di Alassio, is a bustling boulevard lined with quaint shops and cafes. It gives off a timeless elegance. We strolled along for an afternoon. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch followed by a gelato.

Alassio’s fine sandy beaches, gently sloping into the sea, creates a family-friendly atmosphere. So, we changed into our bathing suits. We took a swim and layed on the beach. Afterward, we enjoyed an apertif while the sun set.


Albenga’s medieval towers and ancient city walls flank the beach. This offers a unique beach experience with a sense of timelessness. The mix of historical architecture and sun-soaked sands creates an ambiance that is both tranquil and culturally rich.

The historic town of Albenga well-preserved medieval center is worth a visit. It features ancient Roman remains, medieval towers, and the impressive Albenga Cathedral. These offer a glimpse into the region’s historical tapestry.

Borgio Verezzi

A short drive inland from the coast brought us to the town of Borgio Verezzi. Known not only for its fascinating cave system but also for the pristine beaches that stretch along its coastline. Marina di Loano has well-equipped beach clubs and luxurious amenities. It offers a taste of sophistication amid Liguria’s natural beauty.

Finale Ligure

We drove further east to Finale Ligure. We heard excitng things about this town. it did not disppoint. Finale Ligure captivated us with its diverse beaches catering to every traveler’s preference.

Whether seeking a tranquil escape or an active adventure, Finale Ligure has it all. The pristine sands offer a serene retreat. The adjacent Baia dei Saraceni provides a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with its windswept shores and surf-ready waves.

Pietra Ligure

Little seaside town surrounded by beautiful hills and vegetation, as well as by great beaches with hospitable accommodation and holiday resort structures.

Varigotti: Serenity in Simplicity

varigotti simple beach of the italian riviera

For those seeking a more tranquil escape, Varigotti offers simplicity and serenity. Its colorful houses and narrow alleys epitomize the rustic charm of the Italian Riviera. Enjoy local seafood at seaside restaurants and explore the nearby nature reserves.

Rugged cliffs and the deep blue sea frame Varigotti’s beach. It issurrounded by olive groves. The setting provides a serene escape from city life’s hustle and bustle. The ancient Saracen towers that dot the landscape add a touch of history to this idyllic setting.


One cannot explore the Riviera di Ponente without experiencing the allure of Noli. This medieval town, with its cobbled streets and ancient charm, boasts a beach that seems straight out of a postcard. Colorful houses and historic landmarks frame the Gulf of Noli.

Riviera di Levante: Natural Beauty Unleashed

map italian riviera beaches riviera levante

Scenic Hiking Trails:

Riviera di Levante captivates nature lovers with its lush hills and picturesque hiking trails. From the trailes enjoy panoramic views of the Ligurian landscape and blue sea beyond.

Coastal Towns:

The coastal towns of Riviera di Levante are postcards of Mediterranean allure. Discover the unique charm of each town, characterized by seaside cafes, local markets, and a vibrant atmosphere. And of course, enjoy the beaches of the Italian Riviera di Levante.


Camogli, a coastal jewel in Liguria, Italy, boasts a beach that is both picturesque and inviting. With its charming pastel-colored buildings lining the shoreline, the beach exudes a unique charm. The beach is a serene escape into the coastal beauty that defines this enchanting Italian town.

The soft sands and clear waters of the Ligurian Sea create a tranquil atmosphere. It is an ideal spot for relaxation and seaside enjoyment. From the beach we enjoyed the beautiful iews of the Mediterranean.

Portofino: Glamor and Seclusion

portofino northern italy beach Italian Riviera de levante

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.

Known for its glamour and sophistication, Portofino is a gem along the Italian Riviera. Once a humble fishing village, today it is luxury resort known for its upscale boutiques, elegant waterfront, and frequent celebrity sightings.

While the town itself is a haven for luxury, its beaches offer a blend of exclusivity and natural beauty. Relax on the pebbly shores as you enjoy the sight of luxurious yachts in the harbor. The clear waters invite snorkeling and swimming, providing a refreshing escape from the Mediterranean sun.

For our day in Portofino we decided to rent vespas. It is also possible to take a ferry from Santa Margherita. We thought it would be fun to ride down the cost by Vespa.

Entering Portofino immediately captivated us. The beaches, nestled beneath lush hillsides dotted with pastel-colored buildings, exuded an air of sophistication. The Ligurian Sea’s crystalline waters gently kissed the shores.Yaachts swayed in the harbor. The beach at Portofino became a scenic haven where luxury met natural beauty.

We climbed to the top of the hill just past the little restaurants and shops. After the climb we took a dip in the sea. Then we settled in for a nice lunch overlooking the Marina.

The harbor’s crystalline waters add an air of sophistication. The entire ambiance is an ideal backdrop for yachting and boating enthusiasts. The yachts elevate Portofino’s allure to a level of refined glamour.

Santa Margherita Ligure

As I moved eastward, Santa Margherita Ligure unveiled its coastal treasures. The beach, with its golden sands and clear waters, invited me for a tranquil escape from bustling streets. Colorful umbrellas lined the shoreline, creating a vibrant mosaic against the azure sea backdrop. Santa Margherita Ligure’s beach, with its relaxed ambiance, became a sanctuary for my quiet retreat.


The soft sands of Rapallo’s beach provide a comfortable setting for sunbathing and leisurely strolls along the shoreline. Rapallo’s beachfront promenade is a lively hub with a diverse array of beach clubs, cafes, and shops. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoying a mix of local flavors and seaside entertainment.

Rapallo’s beach offers a range of water activities. From kayaking to paddleboarding, the Ligurian Sea becomes a playground for water enthusiasts. Its strategic location makes the town a convenient starting point for boat trips to nearby coastal gems and picturesque coves.

The colorful umbrellas and beachside activities create a dynamic scene. Rapallo beach a popular gathering place for both relaxation and socializing.

Spiaggia Riva Trigoso

Spiaggia Riva Trigoso is a hidden gem along the Riviera di Levante in Liguria, Italy. It lies between the charming towns of Sestri Levante and Moneglia. This beach offers a more secluded and tranquil escape for those seeking a serene coastal experience.

This area of the Ligurian coast includes a backdrop of rolling hills and lush vegetation. The beach offers a scenic retreat for nature lovers. The absence of large crowds enhances the sense of tranquility. Spiaggia Riva Trigoso is an ideal spot for those who prefer a more intimate and secluded seaside experience.

Despite its quieter atmosphere, Spiaggia Riva Trigoso is not devoid of charm. Charming beachfront cafes and restaurants offer delightful local cuisine. We enjoyed the local flavors of the region while enjoying the panoramic views of the Ligurian Sea.

Spiaggia Riva Trigoso emerges as a hidden sanctuary along the Riviera di Levante. We found it a perfect mix between natural beauty and a touch of local authenticity.

Sestri Levante

Continuing the coastal odyssey, the town of Sestri Levante captivates with its unique geography. The Bay of Silence, as the name suggests, is a serene haven where soft sands meet the gentle lull of the waves. This crescent-shaped beach, enclosed by pastel-colored buildings, evokes a sense of peaceful seclusion.

The adjacent Bay of Fables adds a touch of magic. Its charming legends and the beauty of nature converging in a breathtaking panorama.


A short drive along the scenic coastal road leads to the quaint village of Bonassola. Here, the beach unfolds like a hidden gem, embraced by lush hillsides and a sense of tranquility. The simplicity of Bonassola’s beach, with its pebbles and clear waters, creates an unspoiled atmosphere, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of Liguria’s coastal charm.

Levanto: Gateway to the Cinque Terre

northern italy beach levanto beach liguria

Levanto serves as the gateway to Cinque Terre. It boasts a sandy beach that offers a refreshing alternative. This sandy stretch contrasts with the rugged coastline of its famous neighbors. The wide expanse of golden sand is perfect for beach games, while the resort town itself exudes a laid-back atmosphere that invites exploration.

We like staying in Levanto because it is easy in and out by car and train. It is close to Santa Margherita Ligure to the north and Cinque Terre to the south. While in town we like the range of services not available in the Cinque Terre villages. And since we love to travel by ferry among the Cinque Terre it makes it fun to jump on the ferry travel down the coast and back.

Levanto’s beach is not only a place for sunbathing and swimming but also a hub for water sports enthusiasts. This adds an adventurous flair to the seaside experience. The soft sands and vibrant beach culture make it a favorite among both locals and visitors.

Cinque Terre: The Jewel of the Riviera

cinque terre northern italy beach

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It comprises five colorful villages. These villages are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Each village has its own unique charm.

While not traditional sandy beaches, there’s a unique beauty in the rugged cliffs and rocky shores. Azure waters embrace these features, enhancing the coastal charm. Although there aren’t sandy areas, the place still makes perfect spots for swimming. It offers a unique seaside experience with pebbled beach for those looking for something different.

Vernazza, with its small harbor, is a favorite among visitors. It offers a charming backdrop for a day of sun-soaked relaxation. There is a ferry that travel among all the villages. This makes a great way to travel to the villages enjoying the views back to the coastline.

Monterosso al Mare: Sunbathing Paradise

Monterosso al Mare boasts the largest sandy beach in Cinque Terre, making it a haven for sun-seekers. The vibrancy of colorful umbrellas against the backdrop of pastel-hued buildings creates a postcard-perfect scene.

The sloping shore is perfect for easy walks by the water. You can find cafes by the beach with cool drinks and tasty local treats.

There is a train station right above the beach in Monterosso al Mare. This makes it easily acessible for daytrippers to hit the beach and the Cinque Terre.

Choosing Your Beaches of the Italian Riviera Adventure

For Sun-Seekers:

If sandy beaches and relaxed coastal vibes are your preference, Riviera di Ponente beckons with open arms.

For Nature Enthusiasts:

If lush landscapes and hiking adventures draw you, Riviera di Levante promises a rejuvenating escape.

For History Buffs:

History buffs will find their haven in the historical marvels of Riviera di Ponente. By comparison, the charming coastal towns of Riviera di Levante offer a blend of culture and seaside allure.

In conclusion, Northern Italy’s beaches along the Italian Riviera are a testament to the region’s timeless allure. Whether you are in the glamorous settings of Portofino or the simplicity of Varigotti, each beach of the Italian Riviera presents a unique blend.

Natural beauty, cultural richness, and a sense of relaxation define the Italian way of life on these Northern Italy beaches of the Italian Riviera. The waves gently kiss the shores of this coastal haven. Visitors carry with them memories of a sun-drenched paradise. These memories linger in their hearts long after the journey to these Italian beaches ends.

To learn more about joining an Italy tour that includes the Northern Italy beaches of the Italian Riviera, explore Northern Italy tours.

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