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Travel Matters Ltd

13th August 2020

Italy – Liguria, Cinque Terre and Portofino visits

Liguria is a region in northwest Italy and its Mediterranean coastline, known as the Italian Riviera, stretches from Tuscany to the French border.

The Ligurian coastline is simply stunning. There are no beaches to speak about, but each little cove is just so pretty and inviting often with small ladders attached to a rock for direct sea swimming.

Picturesque walk to Portofino

Ligurian food is delicious, with lots of seafood and vegetables, the region is famous for its tomatoes, olives, asparagus, peaches and artichokes. Speciality dishes often include pesto – and the pasta we had was served with both tomato sauce and pesto. 

The main reason we came to Liguria was visiting the famous Cinque Terre – five former isolated fishing and agricultural villages that are now the major attraction of the region. Just like Venice, the villages suffer immensely from over-tourism, hence our decision to visit them right after the borders opened post lock-down.

We could even afford the luxury of driving there – something that is normally discouraged, due to limited parking spaces and narrow hairy roads. The drive is very picturesque but you do need to be a very confident driver. The roads are relatively new, as previously the villages could only be accessed by boat. As a travel agent, I would recommend taking a train instead by purchasing a Cinque Terre pass, allowing you  to take unlimited train journeys between villages and La Spezia as well as using hiking trails. Our favourite village was Manarolla and many people specifically come there for a sunset drink.

Beautiful Manarola

During our stay we based ourselves in Santa Margherita Ligure, a really lively former fishing village with a great atmosphere and loads of seaside restaurants and boutique shops. 

We really enjoyed our stay at the elegant Grand Hotel Miramare, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World with views to die for. Our room with sea view and balcony was just so beautiful and comfortable. We loved both the sea water pool and the beach club – a real luxury, that not many hotels in the area can boast.

Our room at Grand Hotel Miramare

One of the most beautiful places in Italy, Portofino is only a few minutes away by boat or taxi. Or how about taking a scenic 40 min walk like we did?

The second hotel in the area that I  had a chance to visit was Belmond Hotel Splendido, without a doubt the most luxurious and exclusive hotel in the area with the views as splendid as the name suggests. Their rooms and suites exude sophistication and almost all of them have enchanting sea views.

Views From Belmond Splendido

As the hotel is located on an elevated spot, there is no beach access, but guests have a chance to rent a private boat and go swimming anywhere they want, be it Cinque Terre or San Fruttuoso. Alternatively there is an option to walk or take a short ride to the beautiful Paraggi beach, walkable from Grand Hotel Miramare also, we really enjoyed our dip in the sea. 

I am really delighted that I had a chance to visit this beautiful area of Italy and will definitely be recommending it more to our clients. 

Give us a call on 0208 675 7878 to discuss!

By Karen Simmonds
13th August 2020