The Liguria peninsula in the northwest of Italy, a short drive east of Genoa, is a gorgeous region of colourful fishing towns, beautiful beaches and historic attractions. Liguria, often referred to as the Italian Riviera, is a favourite holiday destination amongst many Milanese and the global jet-set (think royal families, Madonna, Rihanna… and you get the picture!) who come here to stay at one of the stunning villas that dot the coast or moor their flashy yachts in one of the secluded coves.

Portofino, Italy

Places to visit in the Italian Riviera

A great way to get acquainted with this part of the Italian Riviera is to do the Liguria loop, making use of public transport to get around. The loop, as shown in the map below, covers three towns: Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli and Portofino. I chose Santa Margherita Ligure as my base, due to its many accommodation options and eateries, and explored the peninsula from there. The Liguria loop can easily be done as a day trip from Santa Margherita Ligure during the tourist season.

Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita Ligure is a lovely town with colourful squares and a palm-fringed waterfront. As it’s one of the largest towns in Liguria, there’s a multitude of hotels, restaurants and cafés to choose from. Its biggest attraction is arguably the Basilica di Santa Margherita, with its elaborate interior and extravagant chandeliers.

Santa Margherita
A colourful street in Santa Margherita
The stunning Basilica di Santa Margherita.

From Santa Margherita, take the train to Camogli, a seven-minute ride under the mountains of the peninsula.



Camogli is a fishing town at the foot of the Monte di Portofino. Famous for its colourful buildings and annual fish-fry, Camogli also has a popular beach and a picturesque harbour. Spend some time here exploring the fortress, the narrow alleyways and the centuries-old fishing traditions. And stop by the famous Revello focacceria for some delicious focaccias. Read more about things to see in Camogli.

Find accommodations in Camogli (

The beach in Camogli
The Camogli harbour

From Camogli, take the local ferry to San Fruttuoso. Check at the harbour for departure times.


San Fruttuoso

San Fruttuoso is a tiny village hemmed in between the Monti di Portofino and the sea. Despite its small size, San Fruttuoso has a variety of historic gems that are more than worth a visit. The first monument visitors see as the boat sails into the inlet is the San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte Benedictine monastery, which includes a 13th century abbey, a 10th century church and a Romanesque cloister. Another famous attraction lies under the surface of the water: the statue of Christ of the Abysses, which can be viewed on a diving excursion.

San Fruttuoso

From San Fruttuoso, take the boat service to Portofino.


Portofino is the playground for the rich and famous. Located in the heart of the Italian Riviera, Portofino is a small town with a stunning harbour that’s a perfect shelter for the many colourful fishing boats and million-dollar yachts. Lovely restaurants and cafés line the emerald-green harbour and there’s a gorgeous Botanical Garden that’s ideal for a leisurely stroll. The nearby Castello Brown and the San Giorgio church and lighthouse are within walking distance and provide panoramic views of the town and the Ligurian coast. See more photos of Portofino.

Colourful fishing boats and multi-million-dollar yachts vie for your attention.

From Portofino, it’s a short bus ride back to Santa Margherita. The route hugs the coastline and winds past stately villas, beautiful coves and beaches before reaching Santa Margherita….. just in time for a well-deserved glass of Pinot Grigio!

Find accommodations in Portofino (


22 Responses

  • […] Camogli is located along the Ligurian coast, about a 2.5-hour drive from Milan or a short hop from Genoa. If you love driving through tunnels, you’ll love this drive! The coastal highway is perched high up in the mountains and winds its way through countless tunnels. When you’re not in a tunnel, the views of the imposing mountains and the stunning coast far below are absolutely stupendous! Camogli is also accessible by boat, bus or train from other towns along the Italian Riviera such as Genoa, the Cinque Terre (or La Spezia), Portofino and Santa Margherita. Read about exploring the Italian Riviera. […]

  • I did visit the Amalfi in my early years of travel and really liked it, particularly the Island of Capri and the Blue Grotto.

  • Awww, that’s a pity. Hope you had a great time on the rest of your trip along the Riviera. Did you also visit the Amalfi coast south of Naples?

  • Hey Keith! Thought I would come back and report! I made it to Cinque Terre after all, but unfortunately I feel like I wasn’t really wow’d by it 🙁 It is a beautiful part of the region but something just didn’t do it for me there. I think maybe my travel style may be changing. I did plan on hiking all 5 towns but unfortunately it was still closed due to the landslide last year.

  • This is such a beautiful part of Italy, we really enjoyed our time there. Your photos are amazing and really brought back many fond memories. Thanks for sharing!

  • There are some places in Puerto Vallarta which reminded me of Cinque Terre—lovely photos, Keith…glad you had a great time

  • Great Job Keith! This brings awesome memories of cinque terre! Love the blog buddy!

  • THANK YOU 🙂 Im so excited thanks to your blog information!

    Kind Regards

  • Hi Farah,

    You’re most welcome to share the link of the post with your guests. Glad you found this post useful! 🙂
    I wish you a fabulous wedding day in Camogli. What a glorious spot to get married!

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Keith

    GREAT WEBSITE! do you mind if I use some of this information for my wedding guests, Im getting Married in Camolgi and I need to help them with some touristic info and yours is perfect

    Let me know if you dont want me to by email!!!!!


  • Great photos! It’s also worth mentioning that Liguria is more than just the coast- it also offers some great mountains too 🙂

  • I feel so lucky I was born and raised in an Italian home, where the language, culture, and the most amazing cuisine was part of everyday life. I’ve explored Italy but still have so many more places and regions I would love to explore – and now I’ve added La Liguria to my list. I hope it will be soon!

  • Love the photos of the coast. I’ve never been to this part of Italy but have spent time in the Cinque Terre. I definitely need to see more of Italy but it looks as if I may need to work on my tan first 🙂

  • […] Despite the throngs of tourists, it’s hard not to feel drawn by the charms of Portofino. Strolling along the harbour, with its many colourful fishing boats against a backdrop of houses in shades of yellow, pink and orange, I felt like I was walking through a gorgeous painting, albeit one with noisy tourists and designer boutiques. With beautiful luxury villas dotting the hillsides surrounding the picturesque harbour, I can imagine why Portofino is a dream getaway for many. Set off with a mild climate and relaxed, friendly people, this little town is one of my favourite spots in the Italian Riviera. […]

  • […] Read the accompanying post: “Exploring The Italian Riviera“. […]

  • I’m italian and got some family in those places, very interesting to see a different point of view. I blog about travelling myself too since a short time and sometimes I do that in english, I’d highly appreciate if you’d join my blog which is not at all technical but more narrative about personal experiences and the spiritual path a human being can do through travel experiences, I also give tips if requested.
    Xoxo from Italy!

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