12 must visit villages in Liguria – Riviera di Levante

21_Aug_2021Destinations

In the Italian Riviera di Levante do not stop at the renowned Cinque Terre! From the border with Tuscany to the surroundings of Genoa, the most amazing villages of Liguria are waiting for you with their pastel-colored houses overlooking the sea, to make you live an unforgettable outdoor vacation among beautiful beaches, nature trails and historic monuments.

For many, Liguria is synonymous with the Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, the 5 wonderful ancient fishing villages perched on the slopes overlooking the sea, are world-famous, so much so that every year over 2.5 million people visit the Cinque Terre Natural Park that encompasses them. Luca, Disney-Pixar’s latest animated film set in this very stretch of coastline, has shone an even greater spotlight on the beauty of these villages in Liguria.

Unfortunately, many visitors stop at the Cinque Terre and in the summer it is almost hard to walk through their narrow alleys that run to the sea. That’s why we recommend admiring them in the tranquility of the off-season, to appreciate all their charm, and also exploring the many other villages in Liguria that are worth a visit.

We propose an itinerary along the Italian Riviera di Levante that from the Ligurian side of Lunigiana, on the border with Tuscany, arrives up to Boccadasse, the popular little beach of the Genoese, touching 12 of the most beautiful villages in Liguria.

You can choose the village on the Italian Riviera that inspires you the most and get to know the community that animates it, or organize a journey in several stages, taking advantage of the many b&b’s and vacation rentals in Liguria hosted on Fairbnb.coop. Whichever is your favorite vacation, by booking your accommodations on our platform you’ll contribute to supporting community projects in favor of the most vulnerable families and the sustainable development of the territory.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Luca Disney

The legendary Vespa, protagonist together with Luca and his friends of the Disney-Pixar movie set in a village in Liguria

Villages in Liguria: Sarzana

Just a short visit to Sarzana is enough to be impressed by the elegant buildings along Via Mazzini, the urban stretch of the ancient Via Francigena, and reach the Firmafede Fortress, also known as the Cittadella, built at the end of the fifteenth century at the behest of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Here you can climb to the top of the ramparts to admire a unique view over the whole Lunigiana, also called the Land of a Hundred Castles, and visit the Fortress Museum, which reconstructs the history of its protagonists in the medieval age.

This village is also worth an extended visit: discover what to see in Sarzana in two days or more.

Sarzana Italian Riviera Ligure

The Cittadella of Sarzana

Villages in Liguria: Ameglia

Ameglia has ancient origins, dating back to the fourth century BC. In addition to visiting interesting historical buildings, in and around Ameglia there are many opportunities for outdoor activities: from water sports such as sailing, canoeing and surfing, to the beautiful nature trails that cross the Park of Montemarcello – Magra – Vara and the Caprione promontory: on foot you can reach beautiful beaches, such as Punta del Corvo, as well as some of the most characteristic villages in Liguria, such as Montemarcello, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Tellaro and Lerici of which we tell you below.

Ameglia dominates the last stretch of the Magra river, where the sustainable development project Co.Co.Farm2021 will be implemented.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Ameglia

Ameglia

Villages in Liguria: Tellaro

You will discover by yourself the reason why Tellaro is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, defined by the writer Mario Soldati as “a nirvana between sea and sky”. To capture all the charm of this village overlooking the sea, do not miss the view that can be appreciated from the Oratory of Santa Maria in Selàa, built in the seventeenth century. We have already told of the intertwining of history and legend that is breathed in Tellaro. The octopus Campanaro that saved the village is now the protagonist, along with the delicate local olive oil, of the Tellarese octopus, the typical dish that you should taste.

tellaro italian riviera ligure

Tellaro

Lerici, simply… poetic!

Lerici, dominated by its medieval Castle, is one of the most loved villages in Liguria by families, thanks to the sandy beaches that connect it to the hamlet of San Terenzo. For centuries, Lerici has also been loved by numerous poets, writers and artists, especially English, who since the nineteenth century have chosen the village and its surroundings as a place of residence and inspiration: the Gulf of La Spezia on which Lerici overlooks is in fact called the Gulf of Poets.

In a villa in San Terenzo, for example, stayed for a long time Percy Bysshe Shelley together with his wife Mary, author of the famous Frankenstein.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Lerici

The Castle of Lerici

Villages in Liguria: Portovenere

Portovenere rises on the promontory at the opposite end, with respect to Lerici, of the amphitheater of water that embraces La Spezia, and it too was much frequented by English poets. Lord Byron, for example, used to take refuge to meditate in the cave that today bears his name, in a cove at the foot of the village. In Portovenere you can visit medieval monuments such as the Church of San Pietro and the Doria Castle, as well as organize romantic boat trips to the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, located in front of the village and surrounded by picturesque coves and clear waters.

If you are undecided on which of these beautiful villages in Liguria to choose for sleeping, you could fix your base in La Spezia and explore all the most beautiful villages of its Golfo dei Poeti.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Portovenere

Portovenere

The villages of the Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore

The first of the Cinque Terre you’ll encounter as you travel up the Italian Riviera from southeast to northwest is Riomaggiore, one of the most iconic villages in Liguria, with its pastel-colored houses clinging to a cliff overlooking the sea. The original core of the village dates back to the seventh century, and you can still visit monuments such as the thirteenth-century Riomaggiore Castle, from which you can admire a spectacular view, and the fourteenth-century churches of San Lorenzo and San Giovanni Battista.

The local community resists the waves of tourists who flock to Riomaggiore every summer, also thanks to the fact that there are not many vacation rentals in Riomaggiore. The few holiday homes, however, are a true “Divine Enchantment“!

Cinque Terre Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Corniglia, in the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are all enchanting and selecting the most beautiful villages is an arduous task. We nominate here the small village of Corniglia, which has about 200 inhabitants, because it well expresses the willpower and resilience of the local community of farmers, who have resorted to ancient construction techniques to cultivate the hills between which the village is set: the walls erected without the use of cement but fitting stones like a giant puzzle, create natural terraces, now cultivated with vines and olive trees, which prevent the same hills from falling into the sea.

Corniglia is a fraction of Vernazza, depicted in the cover image of this blog and considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Cinque Terre Corniglia

The natural terrace in the hills surrounding Corniglia, in the Cinque Terre

Villages in Liguria: Sestri Levante

Sestri Levante is one of the villages in Liguria most suitable for families with children, and not only for the long beach of fine sand of its Baia delle Favole. Every year, in June, the squares and streets of the historic center are filled with shows and initiatives for a festival dedicated to children: the occasion is the international prize for children’s literature dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish writer of fairy tales and children’s stories.

Andersen called Sestri Levante, where he stayed for a long time, the “city of two seas” … come and discover why!

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Sestri Levante

The famous Bay of Silence in Sestri Levante

Villages in Liguria: Portofino

Who said that Portofino, renowned mundane destination of the Riviera di Levante, should be the exclusive prerogative of VIPs and that to sleep here you need to spend princely sums?

Make a smart choice and choose cheap vacation rentals in the immediate inland! Towns like Ferrada and Borzonasca in Val Fontanabuona, the valley that runs parallel to the coast, are in fact about 30 km away from Portofino.

So you will be able to easily explore the cobbled streets of the village, dotted with trendy boutiques, take one of the paths immersed in the lush Mediterranean vegetation of the Park of Mount Portofino or organize a boat trip off the Coast of the Dolphins, so named for the cetaceans that inhabit the Marine Protected Area of the Ligurian Sea.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Portofino

Portofino

Camogli, one of the most beautiful villages in Liguria

Camogli, with its multicolored pastel-colored houses overlooking the beautiful blue sea of Paradise Gulf, is one of the most typical seaside villages in Liguria. It is also the starting point of several scenic paths that lap the panoramic church of the hamlet of San Rocco and reach San Fruttuoso di Camogli, in the heart of Mount Portofino, famous for its Abbey, built in the eighth century almost directly on the beach, and for the statue of Christ of the Abyss, a symbol for all divers. 

The bronze statue of the Christ of the Abyss, over 2.5 meters high and resting on the seabed at a depth of over 15 meters, is easily visible with dives suitable for everyone.

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Camogli

Camogli

Villages near Genoa: Nervi

Until about a century ago, Nervi was a municipality independent of Genoa. Today, with the expansion of the city, it has become its easternmost district, but it has retained the charm and community spirit of the ancient villages in Liguria. Its long and splendid seaside Promenade Anita Garibaldi, starts from the small port, recently rebuilt, and runs for a long stretch along the wide Parks of Nervi which, in addition to botanical gardens, host historic villas in which museums such as the Modern Art Gallery are located.

In Nervi, we suggest you to stay in Emanuela’s holyday home!

borghi in Liguria villages in Liguria Genova Nervi

Genova – Nervi

Villages in Genoa: Boccadasse

With our itinerary among the most beautiful villages in Liguria on the Italian Riviera di Levante, we have now arrived in the heart of Genoa. However, we must still mention the famous Boccadasse, with its colorful houses overlooking the small beach from which Corso Italia and the long promenade leading to the city center begin. On Fairbnb.coop you will find many vacation apartments for rent near Boccadasse, convenient bases also for those who need to stay near the specialized hospital for children Giannina Gaslini: consult our search engine and choose the one that suits you.

Villages in Liguria Borghi in Liguria Genova Boccadasse

Genova – Boccadasse

The projects that Fairbnb.coop supports in Liguria on the Riviera di Levante and in Genoa

Wherever you choose to stay, booking your vacation rentals in Liguria on Fairbnb.coop ensures that you’ll always be welcome. You’ll be able to donate 50% of our platform fee to a community project of your choice from those selected by our local partners for relevance.

For the villages in Liguria in the province of La Spezia we ask you to support the project of sustainable development Co.Co.Farm. 2021 that, by recovering waste biomass from river beds and beaches, will not only contribute to the protection of the territory, but will also produce renewable energy and natural fertilizers.

In Genoa, on the other hand, you can choose between the LabMed intercultural laboratory and the C.R.E.A. project (Italian acronym for Food Surplus Recovery Center), managed by the Community of San Benedetto al Porto.

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