I know most of you on Italophilia are regular travelers. And so many of you have requested to share more places from my past travel to Italy- a country that baffles me every time I visit. There are so many regions to choose from and each region more unique than the other. This past winter, I was traveling with my friends Adriana and Enzo in the region of Liguria. I had earlier visited the region of Liguria in 2013 but only seen the Cinque Terre and Portovenere. This time I explored much more than what I thought was Liguria. Honestly, this post is not written to criticize The Cinque Terre because I absolutely love those 5 villages even if they are VERY touristy. But all I want to highlight that there’s more to Liguria than the Cinque Terre! I hope this list of beautiful towns in Liguria gives you wanderlust for Italy and also more ideas for your upcoming travels!
Here are the 5 towns beyond the Cinque Terre:
Cervo is a living Ligurian dream and a place I would gladly return to! Located in the province of Imperia, Cervo is surrounded by pretty doors and pastel colored houses in tiny mysterious alleys that promise to lead you somewhere…..! It is filled with quaint little boutiques and cool bars that offer a fabulous view of the sea. But the highlight for anyone visiting Cervo is it’s church Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista that overlooks the sea and is gorgeous inside out. My friend Adriana aptly said, “I can’t imagine how it must be going to Sunday Mass and seeing that view every time.” Cervo is also part of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” list.
Closest train station: Diano
Only a few kilometers from the sea is the ancient village of Dolceacqua. It has a humpback bridge, an alley filled with umbrellas, a medieval castle and a grape that is unique to the area! Dolceacqua’s bridge and castle (pic below) is from the 12th century and was painted by Monet in 1884. This characteristic old village had Monet smitten. What I most loved about it was that it was literally devoid of tourists! The famous grape that produces red wine in this town is called Rossese di Dolceacqua or quite simply Dolceacqua. It should be tasted when you are there! Closest train station: Ventimiglia
Yet another Ligurian town beyond the Cinque Terre is Finalborgo. It is part of the “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” list and rightly so. It’s elegant alleys and well maintained piazze speak of the class of its residents. Finalborgo has hiking trails all around it and turns out to be a popular town among hikers from Europe. Hence there are a lot of expensive stores selling mountain gear. There is also a castle and an Archelogical museum. Overall, the town is just stunning and I can’t imagine how pretty it would be in the summer! Closest train station: Finale Ligure Marina
A very hard name to pronounce (Laee-guay-lia), Laigueglia is another of the villages that falls under “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” category. Laigueglia faces the sea and is perfect for a beach vacation. It also happens to be the shooting location of the movie Inkheart. (Have you seen it??) Laigueglia is a dream for all you lovers of the Italian Riviera and has the most spectacular views! Look beyond the Cinque Terre and you will find cheaper rates and less crowded towns like this one! Closest train station: Laigueglia
Another classic beach location beyond the Cinque Terre is the tiny village of Varigotti. Seeing the pictures from this town just make me so happy! Varigotti is an expensive summer destination and I can only imagine why… Look at those houses facing the sea! But in the winter it was all to myself. Invite me over if you splurge and rent one of these homes, okay?? 😉 Closest train station: Finale Ligure Marina
I unintentionally went to a lot of places listed under the “I Borghi più belli d’Italia” or “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” and am so thrilled about that because Liguria has so many little gems just waiting to be explored. I hope you know there is much more beyond the Cinque Terre. And if you need some ideas, start from this list!!