I am sure that everyone has heard of the lovely Italian Riviera, a more commonly-known term used to describe the coast of Liguria, between the Cote d’Azur in France and Tuscany in Italy. This almost crescent-shaped stretch of coastline is possibly the most beautiful in Italy and has been attracting visitors for many years; it is often referred to as the Golfo dei Poeti (gulf of poets) in honour of the many famous poets who have lived here for some part of their lives, such as Byron, Shelley, Hemingway and DH Lawrence. The stretch of coast is backed by the Maritime Alps and the shelter provided by this mountain range means that the Riviera has a very mild micro-climate; in short, it is just perfect for a beach holiday and today I am going to let you into a well-kept secret and tell you about 3 wonderful beaches to visit which are little known to anyone except the locals.
If you are holidaying in the area, choose Cinque Terre as your base – a stretch of about 18km of rugged coastline and home to five most beautiful and characteristic pastel villages that just seem to pop out of the sea, tightly hugging the rocky coast. From Cinque Terre, it is easy to reach the wonderful beach at Lerici, just a few kilometres south. Here you will find a long stretch of protected beach, crystal-clear water and a new promenade for enjoyable strolling along the coast line. You can drive to Lerici from Cinque Terre, but in season the parking fills up very quickly; you can also take a ferry from Cinque Terre to Lerici.
After you have enjoyed the attractions of Lerici, drive North around another impossibly beautiful section of coastline to Blue Bay (Baia Blu) beach “club”. This is a great place to spend a day in the sea and sun, (or in the shade if you prefer – umbrellas available!) There is plenty of parking and although you have to pay an entrance fee and extra for hiring an umbrella or deck chair, you do get access to two lovely rim-flow pools (one for children), the beach, solarium (tanning area off the beach) and there is the opportunity to take swimming, diving and aqua-aerobics classes. There are 300 “sites” with umbrellas and sun beds just waiting for you!
For a very different beach experience, be sure to visit Palmaria Island, situated just off the coast and accessed by ferry from Porto Venere. Palmaria Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and although most visitors come to hike around the island, (which you can do in about 2.5hrs) there are some good beaches on the island where you can relax and enjoy the fabulously clear water and the sun and scenery; the most popular beach is Gabbiano Beach where you can enjoy surfing and jet-skiing, in addition to lazing away the day! When you tire of the beach (is that possible?) you can go on a boat trip to see some of the caves on the island or visit some of the many WWII military relics.
Beach hopping tour for your group
We would love to organise your days our around Cinque Terre and pack them with activities such as hiking to the best beaches, beach hopping, gourmet tours and cooking classes along with fishing day out on the boat, just email us and we will have the best itinerary ready for you.