If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation along the shores of Italy, there are many standout options for coastal destinations that combine romance, culture, and cuisine with the sunshine that you crave. One of the best is the Italian Riviera, a stretch of the western coast of Italy, also known as the Ligurian coast. Here you can swim in private coves, admire the rocky coastline from secret beaches, and dine on impeccably fresh fish. If all that sounds like your kind of vacation, keep reading to discover more about the best Italian Riviera beaches.
When it comes to the Italian Riviera, many visitors are faced with a big problem: to stay in one place, or explore all the beaches this stretch of coast has to offer? The best answer is probably somewhere in between. For example, many travelers fall in love with the coastal town of Portofino, known for its beauty and nearby beaches. You might think it can’t get any more gorgeous than Portofino, until you visit Cinque Terre that is. These five fishing villages are made up of picture-perfect pastels, and are known for the hiking trails along the coast between them. Part of the magic here is that in the middle of your hike, you can stop off at the private coves for a refreshing swim. There are also beaches in some of the villages too.
Italian Riviera beaches
Every local will have their own emphatic opinions about the best Italian Riviera beaches. Some proclaim Cinque Terre the winner, while others love the beaches near the port city of Genoa. This part of the coastline is actually split into two: Riviera de Ponente and Riviera de Levante. In Riviera de Ponente, the part of the coast located west of Genoa (that stretches towards the border of France) you will find famous beach resorts including San Remo and Ventimiglia. These beaches are known for pure relaxation. If you want to hike to your beach, choose Cinque Terre. If you want to kick back and put your feet up, choose the beaches along Riviera de Ponente.
There are many more options for the best Italian Riviera beaches along the Riviera de Levante. Stretching east along the coast from the city of Genoa, the Riviera de Levante is more rugged than its western neighbor. Here you will find less fashionable resorts and more charming fishing villages. This is the section of the coast that is home to both Portofino and Cinque Terre, but also a number of other beach destinations too. Great places to sunbathe along this section of the coast include Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Camogli. Many travelers love this section of the coast for its scenic, soaring cliffs.
Despite all of the alluring beaches, the most famous place in the Italian Riviera is definitely Portofino. This chic resort town is known for attracting fashionable travelers who love Portofino as much for the beaches as for the atmosphere. If you want to spend a couple days sunbathing, the best spot to do so is a few minutes drive away, called Paraggi Beach. Beyond the Italian Riviera, there are many other beach destinations as well. You can explore the off the beaten path beaches of Sicily or sample local limoncello along the Amalfi Coast. From the lidos of Capri to the sunny shores of Sorrento, there are many places across the country to work on your golden tan.