Italian Riviera

Photo by Martha Bakerjian

Italian Riviera Itineraries

Cinque Terre in 48 Hours

Italian Riviera: Gulf of Poets in 48 Hours

Cinque Terre, Portofino, Genoa, and More Coast Towns

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Liguria is a long, narrow region on Italy’s northwest coast. The Ligurian coastline, also called the Italian Riviera, is dotted with some of Italy’s most famous seaside towns and villages. Inland the region is mountainous and sees few visitors but is interesting to explore by car.

Because of its mild climate and many greenhouses, vegetables and flowers are grown on the hillsides. One of the principal crops is basil, the main ingredient in the famous pesto that originates from Liguria. Enjoying a fresh fish meal overlooking the sea is one of the pleasures of Liguria.

Italian Riviera Highlights:

* Cinque Terre, the five lands, make up one of Italy’s most popular destinations. They are best reached by train or boat. Hiking trails connect the five villages and go up the hills through beautiful countryside. You’ll need to buy a card to use hiking trails within the National Park but the villages can be visited for free. The best way to get to Cinque Terre is on the express train that runs between La Spezia and Levanto or by ferry in summer. See Cinque Terre in 48 Hours Itinerary

* Near Cinque Terre, the romantic Gulf of Poets was once home to famous writers such as Shelley and Byron. Portovenere and Lerici are two of the top towns to visit. See our Gulf of Poets in 48 Hours itinerary for what to do and see.

* Portofino, once a fishing village that became a playground for the rich and famous, is a town of colorful houses built around a half-moon shaped harbor. Although Portofino is not on the rail line, it is easy to reach by bus or boat from Santa Margherita Ligure.

* From Rapallo you can take a spectacular cable car ride up the hill to a sanctuary and park with great views of the sea and coast as well as a couple of restaurants.

* Camogli, near Genoa, is another charming fishing village to visit. It has a small historic center and a good beach.

* Sanremo, almost to the French border, is another of the famous resort towns. Its historic center with narrow alleys that climb up the hill to a church at the top is very unusual.

* Genoa, one of Italy’s main port towns, has a large aquarium and a historic center said to be the largest medieval quarter in Europe, with a wealth of churches, palaces, and museums. Its Rolli Palaces are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Italian Riviera Books:

When To Go

Along the Italian Riviera coast, the weather is fairly mild so it’s really possible to visit any time of year, however smaller seaside resort towns seem pretty deserted in winter and some hotels and restaurants close out of season. If you want to swim, late spring and summer are the best times to go although August is very crowded and prices can be high.

Weather and Climate

See Cinque Terre and Genoa Climate and Weather

What it Costs

Italy uses the common European currency called the euro.
Euro coin denominations are 1 and 2 euro and 1, 5, 10, 20,and 50 euro cents. Paper currency is in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 euro (and higher). The word euro is both singular and plural.
It’s a good idea to always have coins on hand and carry some cash with you as some places don’t accept credit cards.

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate or change so we don’t want to quote exact prices that could quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in €.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person

Sleep — Out of town/rural

€ => Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ => Rooms over €100 for a double

Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms over €150 for a double

€=> €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€ => more than €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

N/A => Not applicable

€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 or more per person

Money, ATMs, Credit Cards

The best way to get cash in Italy is usually by using a cash machine, called a Bancomat at the bank or Postamat at the post office. There’s often a 250 euro limit for withdrawals though. Many small restaurants, shops, and even places to stay may not
accept credit cards so it’s always a good idea to have cash, especially if you’re traveling outside the main tourist destinations.


A rail line runs along Italy’s east coast. La Spezia and Genoa can be reached by fast train while other towns along the line, including the Cinque Terre villages, are served by regional trains.

Getting There

Genoa has an airport with flights to and from other Italian and European cities. Milan Malpensa is the closest international airport.

Getting Around

The best way to get from town to town on the Italian Riviera is by regional train although some towns, such as Portofino, can only be reached by bus. During summer, ferries serve many towns along the coast, too.


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