With over 300 kilometres of coast along northern Italy, Liguria’s watercolour shoreline has some of the best beaches in Italy. With more Blue Flag awards than anywhere else in the country (a commendation given to only the finest European beaches), the dozens of sunny seaside towns provide everything from long sweeps of honey-coloured sand to tiny, pristine coves known only to locals.
If you’re visiting the region this summer, save at least a day or two for some much-needed sea and sand. We’ve narrowed the top five Liguria beaches for you to visit this summer.
Finale Ligure, Genoa
On the golden Gulf of Genoa (Genova in Italian), Finale Ligure is one of the best beaches in Italy. A family favourite for its abundance of gelaterie and pizzerias, the beach has the longest stretch of sand in Liguria. Backed by a leafy, palm-lined promenade, there are plenty of Italian eateries and a fun, upbeat atmosphere fuelled by the many Italians who choose the resort as their summer holiday destination. For anyone feeling up to a little adventure, Finale Ligure is also a rock climbing and mountain biking hotspot, thanks to its many crags and cliffs.
Baia de Saraceni, Varigotto
Down the coast from the port of Savona is the lovely little town of Varigotto, an idyllic fishing village filled with colourful cottages by the sea. Just before you reach the town is Saracen Bay, something of a local gem. The crescent-shaped beach is fringed with vegetation and wrapped in thickly-wooded hills. Well-known for its pristine sand and warm, shallow water, the beach is one of the best spots on the Ligurian coast for snorkelling and swimming. We recommend allowing a little time for stroll around Varigotto and its surrounding countryside, too.
Monterosso, Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare is one of the five villages that make up the famously beautiful Cinque Terre, one of the biggest attractions in Liguria. Although most people visit the Cinque Terre to stroll through its enchanting, pastel-hued villages, Monterosso’s beach (the only village to boast a sandy stretch) is a lovely spot to flop on a towel and rest weary legs. The shallow, pale turquoise water is sheltered by headlands so remains calm, warm and beautifully clear – a favourite for swimming in the area. It’s also a good place to join a boat tour and see the incredible views of the Ligurian coast.
Along Liguria’s Riviera di Levante is the pretty little town of Sestri Levante. Sandwiched between the Cinque Terre and popular Portofino, the town’s lovely twin beaches are often overlooked. The first is the Bay of Silence, a quiet yet romantic spot enjoyed mostly by locals. Aside from an attractive boardwalk, this beach is a little more undeveloped and perfect for a laid-back day. On the other side of a small land divide is beach number two: the Bay of Fairy Tales, named for former resident Hans Christian Anderson. You’ve got a bigger choice of amenities here, with plenty of beach bars, sunloungers and parasols along a gorgeous sun-drenched promenade.
San Terenzo, Lerici
Located in the picturesque Bay of La Spezia (also known as the Gulf of Poets), Lerici sits close to the Tuscan border and offers some seriously spectacular natural beauty. The dramatic coastline sits against a backdrop of rolling hills and olive groves, with the medieval village of Lerici itself nestled in between. There are a number of beaches on the coast, and we like San Terenzo, the main free beach with beautiful silky white sand and great snorkelling spots. If you’re visiting Portovenere, it’s a quick but enjoyable boat trip across the gulf for a day at the beach.