How easy is to visit the Italian Riviera travelling from the French Riviera? What places in the Italian Riviera do you suggest to stop?
These are among our most important questions asked by our readers. So, let’s look over at these questions and try to give an answer. As a local it’s not easy to select a place in the Italian Riviera rather than another. There are many part of Liguria that would be worth stopping, but I know that many of you do not have at disposal a lot of time. So, let’s see what’s better.
Liguria, known essentially as the Italian Riviera, stands between France’s Cote d’Azur and Tuscany. This narrow arc region has been loved and celebrated by writers and poets. Shelley and Byron were smitten by La Spezia Gulf and the beautiful bay of Lerici and in their honour this area was renamed as the Poets Gulf. Ernest Hemingway was in live with Rapallo and DH Lawrence lived in Fiascherino village.
It’s easy to travel from Nice to the Italian Riviera and for those who have not many time at disposal I’d suggest to stop in the first part of Liguria, the Riviera dei Fiori.
The “Riviera dei Fiori” (so called because of the flower-growingindustry in the area) has refined beaches, authentic and well preserved historical villages , lovely perched villages such as Dolceacqua, Apricale, Pigna to mention just a few. They are hidden gems where time has stopped and mass tourism has not ruined their authentic soul. In this part of Liguria lie the dreamy Hanbury Botanical Gardens, a haven of exotic plants founded in 1867.
Having more time at disposal to explore Liguria? I suggest to go farther. Go east and head to the “Riviera delle Palme” if you want sandy beaches immersed in rich Mediterranean vegetation, crystalline sea, historical centers which belong to the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” list such as Finalborgo, Borgio Verezzi.
From the Riviera delle Palme it is an easy drive to reach Genova, called “The Superb” by Petrarch for its majesty. This town has the largest medieval center in Europe which is still untouched and unique. A stop in the historical center for at least 2 days is a must. Ultra-centenarian boutiques and food shops will capture you. The labyrinth of narrow alleys and the coexistence of different cultures makes the essence of this city.
Farther to the French Riviera you find Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli, San Fruttuoso di Camogli and so on till the fairy-tale Sestri Levante, Chiavari and Zoagli. This area definitely takes more time to be explored. Impossible as a day trip from the French Riviera. If you are nature lovers I suggest to visit Portofino by hiking its natural park or by kayak. You get a different perspective of this village and stay out from the mass crowds!
Finally, it takes about 4 hours of drive from Nice to Cinque Terre and the Gulf of Poets. I suggest at least 3 days to stay in this area having a taste of Cinque Terre and the surrounding areas such as Portovenere, Lerici, Tellaro and more!
Far away from the traffic and the stress of big cities, the Cinque Terre are not an “all inclusive paradise” tourist resort! Hiking from a village to another is the best way to get its essence. What I’d suggest is to avoid visit them in periods as July and August.