Liguria is a coastal area in the north of Italy which borders the well-known region of Tuscany as well as the ever popular French Riviera. One might wonder what Liguria has to offer with two famous neighbours putting it in the shadows, but it is well worth visiting for its gorgeous coastline, 300 days of sunshine and succulent and fresh cuisine. Liguria offers tourists a little bit of everything that it’s easy to spend two weeks in the region and still not have seen everything! One can truly experience a bit of la dolce vita here which Italy is renowned for.
The beautiful beaches and the stunning sea
One of the highlights of Liguria is the exquisite beaches. It is a small region, yet in 2012 eighteen of its beaches were awarded with blue flags, more than any other region in the whole of Italy. Blue flags not only represent the cleanliness of the water, but also test the environment and safety of the beaches. Therefore you can relax and enjoy yourself on the beach knowing that they are safe, clean and eco-friendly! Some of the best beaches with crystal clear waters can be found at Lerici, most notably the little La Marinella – this beach is small and may not have all the facilities of a big beach, but it retains a simple and natural beach setting. Further north you can find you can find wide and sandy beaches at Levanto and Deiva Marina, and close to the border of France Sanremo offers white sands at 4 different beaches.
The beach can be for relaxing and tanning, but there’s also the opportunity to take part in watersports. There are various surfing clubs offering surfing not just on the board but also kite surfing and wind surfing across the whole region. Club del Mare in Diano Marina is great for kids aged 6-17, as they offer summer courses from June lasting up to 6 days, so they can hardly complain about being bored! Andora has two sailing schools: Cicolo Nautico Andora offers lessons for all ages, whilst Riviera Vento offers a sailing school in conjunction with charters. Those interested in diving should check out the Bergeggi Diving School, which offers snorkeling, scuba diving and even night time diving.
Sightseeing in Liguria
Those wanting to discover some history about the area should head to Genoa, the capital city which is full of art throughout the ages, medieval architecture and museums. Start off in the main square Piazza de Ferrari and you will find the Palace of the Ligurian Academy of Fine Arts as well as the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, a former palace and turned museum. The beauty of the many palaces of Genoa have not gone unrecognized as the Palazzi dei Rolli has been given UNESCO World Heritage Status as well as surrounding “new streets” called Le Strade Nuove. After checking out the cultural side of Genoa, head to the port where you can find an aquarium as well as shopping and restaurant along the newly refurbished promenade and marina.
Another UNESCO World Hertitage Site worth mentioning is the Cinque Terre, five fabulous little villages that sit on cliff tops and take you back to another world. The colourful little houses and tiny strips of beach join together on winding paths along the coast. It’s a great area for relaxed hiking and breathtaking views of the cliffs, sea, and the neighbouring villages. The whole area is nestled in a National Park to protect not only the coast but the nature and farmland tucked away beyond the sea shores.
A native dish to the area is focaccia, which now has many variants across the region. If you happen to be in Recco near Genoa you should sample their local variation of focaccia col formaggio, which they make with cheese. An obvious but delightful choice is seafood, due to the geography of Liguria. Anchovies are especially popular here, and a soup based on the fish called bagnun is best sampled close to its hometown of Sestri Levante. Liguria is the birth place of pesto and only the best of the best can be found here. Therefore pasta alla Genovese is a must- a simple spaghetti entangled with homemade pesto is sure to make your mouth water! It goes without saying that being in Italy that you should try local pasta- Liguria has special mediallion shaped pasta called croxetti with special designs and patterns, which perhaps represent certain regions or a family coat of arms.
Where to stay
Accommodation on offer is abundant. Since there is so much to see and do, it is recommended that you hire a holiday home in Liguria so you can really explore the whole region. It’s possible to find any type of house and in any kind of location, whether you want a couple’s apartment in a bustling city or a family villa hidden deep in the peace and quiet of the countryside, Liguria has it all.
Note: This blog post was written by guest blogger Vanessa Parr.