An introduction to Liguria, Italy

Worldwide famous for the Cinque Terre, Liguria is a region in northwest Italy, nestled between the Alps, the Apennines mountain range, and the Ligurian Sea. The variety of landscapes renders Liguria a magical region to explore with its dramatic cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and 10 regional and national parks.

Perfect for active travelers, as well as those looking for a luxury vacation, you can’t go wrong wherever you visit in Liguria.

Things to See & Do in Liguria

The main reason people visit Liguria is the Cinque Terre, the five colorful villages perched on the cliffs of the Riviera Ligure. Connected by stunning hiking trails, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Corniglia and Manarola villages are unmissable!

Loved by the rich and famous, Portofino is another picture-perfect seaside town in Liguria. The scenic waterfront is dotted with luxurious yachts, and Portofino’s streets are packed with chic restaurants and high-end boutiques. If you love a laid-back yet luxurious atmosphere, you will surely love Portofino!

Liguria’s capital city is the beautiful Genoa, usually overlooked by tourists. Full of treasures, Genoa used to be one of the most important Italian city ports. Walk around the city to admire the elegant “palazzi”, the buildings built by the city’s nobles, with marble decorations, splendid gardens with fountains, and large frescoed halls. The 42 Palazzi dei Rolli are UNESCO-listed and are Genoa’s must-sees.

San Remo is another coastal town on the Riviera, famous for its grand villas, stylish hotels, and Art Deco casino. San Remo is also known for the Italian music festival, “Festival di Sanremo”, and the Milan to San Remo cycle race.

In Liguria, you will be spoiled for choices when it comes to beaches. Deiva Marina, Monterosso al Mare, and Lerici are ideal spots to relax for their fine-pebbled beaches with crystal-blue waters. Liguria also has two of the most famous bays in Italy, The Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fables, located in Sestri Levante. Head to the Bay of Silenceto admire unforgettable sunsets, or opt for the Bay of Fables for a well-equipped beach suitable for the whole family.

Liguria has wonderful natural landscapes with hills covered with vineyards, olive groves and pine forests. The region offers many Natural Parks and Conservation Areas where you can discover many species of Mediterranean flora and fauna. If you love the outdoors, Liguria will blow your mind! Don’t miss the trek itinerary known as “Alta via dei Monti Liguri”, about 440 kilometers across the Appennino that goes from the town of Ventimiglia to the border with Tuscany.

Secret Gems of Liguria

One of the region’s absolute best gems is the town of San Fruttuoso. A hidden paradise located in the Portofino Regional Park, San Fruttuoso has a gorgeous little bay with crystal clear blue waters and a stunning 13th-century Abbey right on the beach. The bay is only accessible by boat or hiking through different hike trails, with the most popular starting in Portofino.

If you are into snorkeling or diving, San Fruttuoso has something special in store for you: an underwater statue of Jesus Christ with open arms, known as the Christ of the Abyss.

Food & Drink of Liguria

Liguria might be a narrow strip of land overlooking the sea, but it has a varied and tasty cuisine, with some local products being famous well beyond Italy’s borders. A food that doesn’t need presentation is Pesto, from the city of Genoa.

Only a handful of ingredients go into this sauce, like the Genovese basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and pine nuts, but the flavor they create is just explosive! Pesto is traditionally eaten with Trofie, a handmade pasta variety from Liguria.

Another traditional pasta shape is Pansoti, similar to ravioli but filled with wild greens such as borage and nettles. Pansoti is served in a walnut, ricotta, and herb sauce. Perfect for eating for aperitivo or breakfast, Focaccia is a Ligurian delicacy!

Two variations are the most well-known: the Focaccia Genovese, characterized by its deep holes, which can be filled with coarse salt grains, onions, potatoes, or olives, and then seasoned with a generous drizzling of extra virgin olive oil. The other variant is Focaccia di Recco, a thinner and softer focaccia filled with Prescinseua (a local cheese) or stracchino cheese.

Another traditional Ligurian dish is Farinata, an oven-baked flatbread made only with chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. Don’t let the few ingredients fool you: this dish is so flavorful!

A must-try is Brandacujun, a stockfish-based dish served both as an appetizer and a main course. The soft and mousse-like fish is mixed with potatoes and parsley, and served alongside toasted bread and olive taggiasche, a local variety of olives.

While in Liguria, make sure to taste the local citrus known as Chinotto, traditionally eaten in candy, preserved in jars, or used as the basis of soft drinks and spirits.