One of Italy’s smallest regions, classy Liguria with its jasmine fragrance and orange groves is known as the Italian Riviera. It’s narrow coastline of clean Blue Flag Mediterranean beaches backed by green mountains curves seductively from the Cote d’Azur in France towards Tuscany.
Highlights include the sandy beaches of lively Sanremo in the centre and achingly pretty Portofino on the rocky eastern side. Further east is Cinque Terre, five car-free fishing villages west of La Spezia that defy gravity as they cling to the rugged cliffs and then the Gulf of Poets, home to Percy Shelley and Lord Byron in the 1820s. The delightful waterfront villages of Lerici and San Terenzo have tall, narrow terraced houses tightly packed along the promenade.
Access is good thanks to airports at Nice, Genoa and Milan and good rail and road connections make a visit to either the Alps or the South of France an easy journey.