An Off the Beaten Path Guide to the Ligurian Coast of Italy

When flocking to the coasts of Italy, most tourists tend to head towards one of two places: the Amalfi Coast or the Cinque Terre. The Amalfi coast is by far one of my favorite places I've ever been and Cinque Terre is iconically stunning, but there is more to the coast of Liguria than just those five towns. In fact there are some incredible gems that all too many travelers never make it to, and these are what we explored when Ashley and I went to Liguria this summer for a few days. 

  • Portofino--After Cinque Terre, this is probably the most well known spot in Liguria. It is infamous as a stomping ground for the the rich and famous, where they dock their mega yachts and frivolously lounge in the Mediterranean sun. You can get to it either by boat or by car, though the ferry is the easiest route. The town is teeming with high end designer stores like Louis Vuitton interspersed with tourist shops selling an array of lemon printed items reminiscent of Amalfi further south. The restaurants and cafes line the waterside, there are some lovely churches built into the cliffs above the port, as well as some five star hotels, and the whole scene looks straight out of a post card at all times. 
  • San Fruttuoso--This charming abbey by the sea was built in the 10th century by Greek monks and since renovated several times. Only accessible by hiking or by boat, this is the most off-the-beaten-path you can get in this crowded region. It is a great spot to enjoy a relaxing beach day or to sit for lunch overlooking the turquoise water sparkling in the cove below. Be sure to try the trofie pasta with pesto, you'll thank me later. 
  • Santa Margherita Ligure--The town just before Portofino, it is larger and has more to do, including some great restaurants, local boutiques, and the lovely Villa Durazzo on a hill overlooking the sea. 
  • Chiavari--A small town along the coast, south of Portofino, it is actually a charming place where locals frequent and you can stay for cheaper than the more major towns nearby. It's easily accessible by train so you can use it as a jumping off point for the rest of the area. 
  • Genoa--Known more as a port than a popular destination, Genoa is not the most aesthetic town, though there are certainly some gems worth visiting, including the Palazzo Reale, the Vill del Principe, and the charming beach town Boccadasse Spiaggia a short taxi ride from downtown. 

**This guide is based on research that I did to plan my trip to Liguria and based on my own experiences while there. Of course, two days in any place does not make me an expert, and I would love to hear any and all additional suggestions so that I may add them to the guide.