If you’ve never been there, you probably don’t know much about Liguria. However, as one of the most stunning places across the Mediterranean, it’s well worth exploring. Liguria is Italy’s third-smallest province and stretches 5,420 square kilometers along the country’s northwest coast, the French Riviera, and down to Tuscany. The blend of French culture from the west and Italian from the east gives the region a unique and fascinating flair. Its location on the Mediterranean Sea makes it a popular tourist destination – it quickly wins over travelers’ hearts, and it’s not hard to see why. Learn more about the must-see sights in Liguria and plan your adventure today!
To understand Liguria’s culture, let’s travel back in time to the third century B.C. Back then, the ancient Ligures occupied the region until it fell to the Roman Empire. Genoa, the most historically significant city, remained under French control from 1797 to 1815 (about 18 years). It wasn’t until 1861 that it finally joined and integrated into the Kingdom of Italy. Today, it is known as the official capital of Liguria, and as its cultural and political hub. Have you ever tried pesto alla Genovese? The recipe comes from Genoa!
Returning to the present, here are some of the region’s most interesting facts and sights. To start, Italian is the official language and lingua franca. The province’s native language and cultural heritage, Ligurian, is only spoken in a few remote locations today. Among the roughly 1500 inhabitants, it is only known by the older generation and is therefore considered in danger of extinction (like many other minority languages).
In the summer, the average temperature is 27 °C, with water temperatures of about 20 °C. The former can drop to a chilly 7 °C in the winter, so the summer months – June to September – are the best times to visit. The Mediterranean climate makes for a pleasant stay.
Sights in Liguria
With so many sights in Liguria, there’s everything you could wish for: beaches, mountains, cities, and culture. Let’s start with Liguria’s exceptional landscapes. Since the region rests right on the coast, the sea is always nearby – something to take advantage of! Countless specially-marked hiking trails line the coast for the perfect long, calming stroll. Each path contains plenty of cozy spots to relax and admire a spectacular sunset. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
The Most Popular Beaches
Monterosso al Mare
If you want to cool off in the sea and relax on the beach, Liguria won’t disappoint – it’s got an endless array of options. Cinque Terre’s Monterosso al Mare beach is among the most stunning. The long white stretch of sand makes it the perfect place for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and peaceful walks. However, the tiny, colorful houses on the steep slopes along the coast are the real attraction. And of course, we can’t forget the stunning turquoise water! Monterosso al Mare is truly central Liguria’s hidden paradise.
Baia del Silencio
The idyllic fishing village of Sestri Levante near Genoa is home to Baia del Silencio, another beautiful beach, and enchants thousands of visitors every year with its Italian charm. It even has small alleyways and cafés, perfect for walks. If you like seafood, dine at one of the many restaurants and enjoy the ultimate combo: fresh fish and a fantastic ocean view.
Thanks to its coastal location, Liguria boasts countless beautiful beaches. You’re sure to find something that fulfills all your expectations. Other popular beach resorts we recommend are Varigotti, the peninsula of San Fruttuoso, Arenzano, and Spiaggia d’Oro.
Diving in Liguria
Would you like to go deeper into the crystal-clear water and explore the underwater world? In that case, Liguria is home to some of the most popular diving destinations for beginners and advanced divers alike. If you want to go alone, you can easily do so with diving goggles and a snorkel. But to see the full diversity of marine life and peaceful coral reefs, we recommend booking a diving tour.
There are currently 12 official diving spots in Liguria, with or without guides (depending on your experience level). It’s a unique experience – corals, seahorses, colorful schools of fish, and even a mysterious and old shipwreck await your discovery. A must-do on your trip to Liguria!
Nature and Mountains
There’s plenty to explore on land, too. Liguria is the perfect paradise for nature lovers, thanks to its climate and geography. About 70% of the region consists of dense Alpine forests covering large mountain ranges. These thick woods make for a great hike, especially in the Aveto Nature Park. However, the altitudes here are frequently high, and while they provide lush and varied vegetation, they’re not for the faint of heart. Mountain climbing can be particularly demanding for beginners. Please remember to drink plenty of water.
The Ligurian vegetation offers a diverse range of tree species alongside the typical Mediterranean flora found in other regions of Italy, France, Spain, and Greece. Vibrant flowers, pine trees, grapes, olives, and citrus fruits adorn the beautiful landscapes. This brings us to the exquisite specialties of Ligurian cuisine.
The aforementioned pesto alla Genovese is undoubtedly among the region’s most famous delicacies; you’ve most likely had it in an Italian restaurant before. This tasty paste is made with basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt and is typically eaten with pasta (usually spaghetti) or cheese. Even though green pesto is now available worldwide, a well-known adage claims it tastes best at home. Your trip to Liguria wouldn’t be complete without it.
Like most regions in the Mediterranean, Ligurian cuisine combines fishing and regional agriculture. Because of its emphasis on fresh, well-balanced meals, the dishes are usually quick to prepare and include fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley, and basil. One item, in particular, can’t be forgotten: olive oil. It’s locally produced and a staple ingredient in many recipes because it’s packed with nutrients. There are also countless fish and pasta dishes: focaccia (Ligurian flatbread with herbs and salt); farinata (special pancakes made of chickpea flour); and, for those with a sweet tooth, the popular pandolce (sweet bread). And don’t forget: Liguria has an extensive range of regional wines, great for a relaxing dinner.
Liguria is a true, hidden gem in the heart of Europe. There are tons of sights in Liguria, making it a suitable travel destination. Because of its location in the northwest of Italy and proximity to the coast, the region provides a diverse range of landscapes, woodlands, and beaches while maintaining excellent year-round temperatures! Nature lovers and beach goers are not the only ones who get their money’s worth here; there is something for everyone. You can go shopping in historic villages and old towns, visit numerous museums, and try exquisite Italian and Ligurian delicacies. If you’re looking to have a fun night out, you’ll find the perfect place. So go ahead and let Liguria’s charm enchant you!