When most people plan a trip to Italy, they have a list of highlights they want to hit. This list usually includes zipping around Rome in a tiny car, having a gondolier serenade them up and down Venice, or cruising Tuscan wine country in search of the perfect vintage.
And all of these people are truly missing out because arguably the most beautiful views in all of Italia are found only when you hop aboard a yacht and cruise the Ligurian Riviera, or the Italian Riviera.
The Italian Riviera is divided into two main sections that extend down the coastline in either direction from the area’s hub, the city of Genoa. These two coastlines, the Riviera di Ponente and the Riviera di Levante, make up one of the most quaint, picturesque, and intriguing yachting locations in the Mediterranean.
Yachting along this exotic coast provides guests with no lack of entertainment. Each city and village along the route has it’s own quaint beauty and romantic charm that will captivate you, whether you’re cruising through a sunset or touring while in port.
The weather here is beautiful temperate, only reaching the mid to high 70s in the summer with cool coastal breezes at night, while the winters tend to always be mild and chilly. This has helped make the Riviera one of the top holiday destinations in Europe for centuries.
Portofino is just a short, beautiful cruise west of Genova. This quaint yachting destination was named “Port of the Dolphins” by the Romans, and this fishing village has fast become one of the premier locations to cruise to in the Riviera.
This picturesque village has been the location of many iconic movie scenes and has some of the best restaurants in the Riviera. Some of these include the fresh seafood at Ristorante Taverna del Marinaio, or the Italian down-home, country-cooking at Trattoria Tripoli.
Just up the coast from Portofino lies Santa Margherita, a city rebuilt after World War II specifically to be one of the foremost tourist resort destinations on the Mediterranean.
Cruise the crystal blue waters of the lagoons and harbors as you glide past sites like the Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure, a stone fortress that once protected the region from Pirates.
If you need to stretch your legs, pull ashore for some of the most amazing pesto you’ll ever have at one of the city’s many restaurants and boardwalk boutiques.
La Spezia is the farthest east of the Riviera provinces and houses a natural gulf that has been home to Mediterranean sailors for centuries.
Filled with booming restaurants, a bustling nightlife scene, dozens of historic churches and buildings, and galleries of the citie’s renowned artists, La Spezia makes for a fantastic port of call, whether you’re starting or ending your voyage on this side of the Riviera.
And within this province lies two of the most beautiful yachting locations in the Rivierra; Porto Venere and Cinque Terre.
Dotted with small cliffside villages, Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre has so many vistas to offer while coasting down her rocky beaches you’ll want to clear space on your camera.
This beautiful national park flaunts Caribbean-like waters lap at the piers of small, beautiful docking towns like Vernazza and allow for a luxurious place to either enjoy a day in port or anchor offshore and just enjoy the natural beauty of the Riviera’s coast.
The wild untouched landscapes and inlets allow private yachts to get an experience most large cruise lines can’t even dream about.
Heading around the point of the gulf, before coming to Cinque Terre, you might be tempted to swing through Porto Venere, home to the imposing cliffside fortress of Castello Doria which still stands tall and stoic overseeing the beautiful painted villages that make up the region.
Protected diving sites are a popular stopover for Yacht cruisers to experience ancient corals, beautiful rock formations, and other marine wonders of the Italian coastline.
One of the best stops on any custom yachting cruise is the stunning village of Forte dei Marmi, an old pirate fort on the Tuscan coastline that now serves as one of the premier stops along the riviera.
The entire city is a thriving tourist hub for yachting charters, bringing a lively place to add to your port-of-call list and enjoy some time ashore when you’re not enjoying the peace of your private yacht.
Since the first World War, this town has been setting the world standard for Italian seaside tourism.
Filled with resorts that feature fantastic day spas, the town has many great places to visit and dine at while you’re in port. In addition to the 18th-century castle that the town is named after, there are several cultural points of interest such as the Ugo Guidi Museum, dedicated to the cities most famous sculptor and his life’s work.
Down the road, you’ll be met by incredible restaurants such as the fabulous Maitò, a great late-night dining option for those looking into some nightlife fun.
Perhaps you’d like to stretch your sea legs along the many paths of Versiliana Park and it’s series of trails and seasonal festivals. Whatever the case may be, you won’t want to miss out on a stop ashore here.
Of all the gems Italy has to offer the world, there are hardly any as exotic and thrilling as the Riviera.
From quaint coastal towns to large marine metropolitan areas, the Rivera has both modern luxury and natural beauty to offer all who sail her waters.
Yachting is about experiencing everything the sea has to offer you, and Italy’s coastal waters have more than enough to share.