Western Liguria is one of Italy’s hidden gems, boasting a spectacular coastline offering breath-taking views and a culture rich in tradition. This captivating region is also the ideal place to spend unforgettable moments with children, offering a wide range of fun and educational activities for the entire family. In this article, we will explore some of the best things to do in Western Liguria with children, making for a memorable holiday for both adults and kids.
Sunny Days at the Beach:
Western Liguria is well-known for its enchanting beaches, perfect for relaxing seaside days with kids. Places like Alassio, Varigotti, and Finale Ligure boast sandy shores and shallow waters, ideal for children to play in complete safety. Building sandcastles, swimming, and playing frisbee are just some of the fun activities that kids will love to do.
Exploring Medieval Towns:
Western Liguria is dotted with fascinating medieval towns, offering a journey back in time for the entire family. Borgio Verezzi, Finalborgo, and Cervo are just some of the towns that deserve a visit. Children will be captivated by the cobblestone alleys, ancient castles, and churches, where they can imagine being knights and princesses in an enchanted world.
Adventure in Natural Parks:
The region offers various natural parks perfect for adventurous days out with kids. The Alpi Liguri Natural Park, with its scenic trails and rich flora and fauna, is ideal for family hikes in nature. Additionally, the Adventure Park in Mendatica provides treetop trails, climbing and Tibetan bridges, offering an exciting challenge for the whole family.
Visits to Theme Parks:
For some family-style fun, Western Liguria also offers theme parks suitable for children. The Le Caravelle Water Park in Ceriale is a popular destination, with slides, pools, and water games for an amazing summer fun day.
Kids will have the opportunity to explore wonderful caves and underground cavities in Western Liguria. The Toirano Caves complex is one of the most famous, with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites that will enchant both young and old. Guided tours offer insights into the history and legends associated with these marvellous geological formations.
Come to Liguria, fun is guaranteed for all ages!
Western Liguria is a magical and captivating place, perfect for an unforgettable vacation with kids. Beaches, medieval towns, natural parks, and caves provide endless opportunities for adventures, explorations, and fun for the whole family. This unique region will make you fall in love with its breath-taking landscapes and authentic Italian atmosphere, creating cherished memories that will stay with you forever.
What are you waiting for? We await you at the Relais del Maro: whether young or old, Western Liguria offers unique and unforgettable activities for all ages!
Liguria, located along Italy’s stunning northwest coast, is one of the country’s most charming and attractive regions. With its breath-taking landscapes, crystal clear sea, medieval villages and rich culinary culture, Liguria offers a unique combination of natural beauty and authentic Italian charm.
Once you arrive here as guests of our relais in Liguria, you will discover why this region is one of the most sought-after destinations in Italy.
One of Liguria’s defining characteristics is its spectacular coastline, which stretches over 300 kilometres. Its beaches of fine sand and pebbles overlook the Ligurian Sea, inviting visitors to relax in the sun and take a dip in the crystalline waters. In addition to popular seaside resorts such as Alassio, Sanremo and Portofino, Liguria is dotted with small fishing villages and secluded coves, offering tranquil atmosphere and unspoilt natural surroundings.
Liguria is also famous for its enchanting medieval towns. Cervo, Dolceacqua, Finalborgo and Bussana Vecchia are just some of the hidden gems found between the coast and the inland hills. These small towns are characterized by narrow cobbled streets, charming squares, ancient castles, and spectacular panoramic views. Exploring them means immersing yourself in the history and tradition of the region and living a unique experience.
Liguria is a land of contrasts, able to satisfy every type of traveller. If you are passionate about history and culture, you cannot miss fascinating cities such as Genoa, with its historic centre declared a World Heritage Site, or the medieval cities of Noli and Albenga, rich in architectural treasures and ancient atmosphere.
But the beauty of Liguria is not limited only to its coasts, cities, and towns. The Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see attraction. Its cliffs overlooking the sea, the panoramic paths and the terraced vineyards create a unique and fascinating environment. You can explore the hiking trails that connect the five coastal towns of the Cinque Terre and admire breath-taking views along the way. The Portofino Regional Natural Park, with its rocky cliffs, panoramic paths, and rich Mediterranean vegetation, is also an ideal place for excursions and walks. Furthermore, the whole region offers a variety of outdoor activities for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, climbing, mountain biking and sailing, among other things. And the whole area also boasts a well-developed network of hiking trails, allowing you to explore its natural beauty in an active and engaging way.
Liguria is also known for its delicious cuisine. Pesto alla Genovese, prepared with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, is one of the most famous dishes of the region. Also try the focaccia, the stuffed anchovies, the fresh seafood and the local wines like Pigato and Vermentino. Every bite will take you on a culinary journey where you can enjoy the authentic flavours and gastronomic traditions of Liguria.
In addition, Liguria offers a wide range of outdoor activities for nature and sports lovers. You can go hiking, climbing, mountain biking and sailing, among others. The region also has a well-developed network of hiking trails where you can actively experience the natural beauty of the region up close.
Liguria is a destination that captures the heart of every visitor. Its combination of breathtaking landscapes, cultural richness, authentic cuisine and warm hospitality makes it one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Whether you are looking for relaxation on the beaches, adventures in nature or an unforgettable cultural experience, Liguria will welcome you with open arms and give you precious memories.
Liguria is also renowned for its delicious cuisine. Genoese pesto, prepared with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, is one of the most famous dishes of the region. Do not miss tasting the focaccia, stuffed anchovies, fresh seafood, and local wines such as Pigato and Vermentino. Each bite will take you on a culinary journey that celebrates the authentic flavours and gastronomic traditions of Liguria.
But Liguria is also a land of events and traditions. Throughout the year, numerous festivals are held to celebrate local culture, food and wine and traditions. You will be able to participate in medieval festivals, wine tastings, religious processions and much more, discovering the authenticity and vitality of the region.
Finally, Liguria’s strategic position makes it an ideal starting point for exploring other Italian destinations. You can easily reach nearby Tuscany, with its cities of art such as Florence and Pisa or immerse yourself in the magic of the French Côte d’Azur.
Liguria is a destination that wins the heart of anyone who visits it. Its combination of breath-taking landscapes, cultural richness, authentic cuisine, and warm hospitality makes it one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Whether you are looking for relaxation on the beaches, outdoor adventures or an unforgettable cultural experience, Liguria is ready to welcome you with open arms and give you precious memories. Plan your visit to Relais del Maro and get ready to discover one of the most beautiful regions in Italy!
Welcome to Sanremo, one of the gems of the Riviera dei Fiori in the beautiful region of Liguria. Known as the “City of Flowers” and famous for its mild climate all year round, Sanremo is an ideal destination to spend a day full of beauty, culture, and relaxation.
If you have decided to spend your holidays in Liguria, Sanremo is less than an hour’s drive from the Relais del Maro. Ready for a trip out of town? Get ready to immerse yourself in the elegant atmosphere of this charming coastal town!
Your day in Sanremo could start with a walk along the famous Via Matteotti, an elegant and busy street surrounded by luxury boutiques and trendy cafes. Admire the historic buildings and stop for a light breakfast in one of the traditional cafés. Taste a fresh croissant and an Italian coffee to start the day in the best way.
After a pleasant walk, head towards the heart of Sanremo, the Casino. This historic and impressive building is a true symbol of the city and is known worldwide for its glamour and atmosphere. Even if you’re not interested in trying your luck, it’s still worth a visit to admire its charming architecture and soak up its elegant atmosphere.
After the Casino, take a short walk to the Old Port (Porto Vecchio), a picturesque marina where you can admire the many yachts and boats. Relax on one of the café terraces and enjoy the sea view, watching the boats go in and out of the harbour. You can also take advantage of the opportunity to take a boat ride along the coast, admiring Sanremo from a different perspective.
At this point, it’s time to explore the historic centre of Sanremo, known as La Pigna. This charming labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and stairways will take you back in time, with its colourful old houses and flower-covered balconies. Lose yourself in the narrow streets, discovering artisan workshops, souvenir shops and small traditional restaurants. Breathe in the authentic atmosphere of this historic district and enjoy its unique charm.
For lunch, stop at one of the local restaurants and taste Ligurian specialities. Enjoy a delicious focaccia, accompanied by a glass of local wine, and let yourself be tempted by fresh fish-based dishes, such as Sanremese-style cod or stuffed anchovies.
After lunch, take a moment to relax by strolling through the famous gardens of Villa Ormond. These beautiful gardens offer a panoramic view of the city and the sea, with their shaded paths, fountains, and exotic plants. Sip a coffee at the outdoor café and enjoy the tranquillity of this charming place.
To end your day in Sanremo in a memorable way, you cannot miss a visit to the Ariston Theater. This historic theatre is famous for being the venue for the Sanremo Italian Song Festival, one of the most important musical events in Italy. Take a guided tour inside the theatre, admire its architectural beauty, and learn about the history of this internationally renowned cultural event.
If you still have some time on your hands, take the opportunity to take a walk along the beach, enjoy the sunset over the sea and maybe take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. Sanremo offers equipped beaches and beautiful coves where you can relax and regenerate.
Sanremo is a city that will enchant you with its elegant charm, breath-taking views, and refined atmosphere. A day spent here will leave you with treasured memories and a desire to be back for more. Are you ready to live an unforgettable experience in the splendid Sanremo, the pearl of the Riviera dei Fiori? Do it from the Relais del Maro for a break of beauty and relaxation in an authentic and unique setting!
Upper Bordighera: a marvellous balcony over the sea in western Liguria
The municipality of Bordighera consists of two distinct parts: the nucleus of the old town gathered on the Capo Sant’Ampelio (a must-see place in the town), and the new town between the Capo and Vallecrosia. The old town, also known as Bordighera Alta, has preserved its medieval charm almost intact. The writer Edmondo De Amicis described it as follows: ‘A few houses piled on top of a hill, forming a labyrinth of uphill and downhill alleys, where the boredom of the ancient fortress erected in defence of the Saracens emanates’. A century later, not much has changed. Overlooking the sea, the old town is a maze of alleyways opening onto small squares and is surrounded by mighty late-medieval walls reinforced in the mid-16th century.
Even the famous French painter Claude Monet, considered one of the founders of Impressionism, was enchanted by it. He first visited Bordighera in 1883 with his friend Auguste Renoir, with whom he had quite a time. During his short stay, he was so enchanted by the landscape that he decided to return in January 1884. He was supposed to stay a couple of weeks but stayed three months, producing over fifty canvases. To his dealer in Paris he wrote: ‘Everything is admirable, and every day the countryside is more beautiful, and I am bewitched by the country’. What enraptured him most of all was the Moreno Garden, of which he said ‘a garden like that resembles nothing, it is simply phantasmagorical, all the plants of the universe seem to grow there spontaneously’. Only a few traces remain of the Giardino Moreno in today’s garden named after Monet, along Via Romana.
The old town is entered through three gates: the 17th-century Porta del Capo, or New Gate, to the south; the Porta Soprana, or Porta della Maddalena, opened in 1780, to the east; and the Porta Sottana, built in 1470 and rebuilt in the Baroque period, to the west. The picturesque historic centre is characterised by pastel-coloured houses, flights of steps, small squares and narrow alleys, distributed around two main streets: the Via Lunga and the Via Dritta.
If you are looking for information on where to eat in Bordighera Alta, know that there is no shortage of restaurants where you can enjoy typical local cuisine. One of them is the Magiargè, an osteria with a really rich wine cellar.
The heart of Bordighera Alta is Piazza del Popolo, overlooked by the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena. It was erected in the 17th century, although its current appearance is due to renovations carried out in the second half of the 19th century. The modern façade is decorated with Rococo stucco work, while the bell tower, detached from the church, rises above a beautiful late-medieval loggia. Inside are the relics of Saint Ampelio, patron and protector of Bordighera, and several works of art, including a valuable marble group sculpted by his son Domenico from designs by Filippo Parodi.
Another building of historical interest is the 15th-century Oratory of San Bartolomeo, located a few steps away from the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena. Here, as testified by a plaque on the façade, the meeting of the consuls of Camporosso, Vallecrosia, San Biagio, Soldano, Borghetto, Vallebona, Sasso and Bordighera took place, which decreed the separation from the city of Ventimiglia and the proclamation of the Magnifica Comunità degli Otto Luoghi (Magnificent Community of the Eight Places). Among the works of art present is a wooden statue of St Bartholomew from 1865, attributed to Agostino Vignola.
Several nature trails also lead from the old town. One of the most beautiful of these is undoubtedly the Sentier du Béodo, a walk along the route of the old aqueduct canal (béodo) that brought water to the city. The famous French architect Charles Garnier, who lived in Bordighera for a long time and designed many buildings, said of the path: “Here is one of the most exciting walks in Bordighera, which every artist cannot forget […] an uninterrupted succession of many corners in which form and elegance are harmonised”.
Liguria is a beautiful strip of land between the sea and the mountains, with a succession of landscapes that are nothing short of stunning and enchanting views that seem to have been specially created to be photographed. So, if you are an Instagram addict, there is no better destination to take spectacular and like-catching photos. In this article, we reveal some of the most Instagrammable places in Liguria. All you have to do is follow our advice, add the hashtags and post.
The Church of Sant’Ampelio in Bordighera
Among the most Instagrammable places in Liguria, the Church of Sant’Ampelio in Bordighera could certainly not be missing. For its beauty and its characteristic position overlooking the sea, it is undoubtedly one of the wonders of the Riviera di Ponente. The promontory on which it stands is the southernmost in northern Italy. The archaeologist Nino Lamboglia called it ‘a palimpsest of ten centuries of history’. The current building dates back to the 11th century although it has been modified and restored several times. It has always been a place full of charm and mystery, around which ancient legends hover. The best time to take a photo is at sunset.
The carruggi of Albenga
Albenga is a delightful little town where past and present coexist in a unique atmosphere, in a symphony of visual contrasts and magnificent scenery. It is also known as the ‘city of a hundred towers’ for its spectacular and unmistakable towers that dominate the landscape. It has one of the best-preserved historic centres on the Riviera di Ponente. Photographs of its carruggi, where, in addition to the many monuments to be discovered, one can also admire works of art hanging on the walls and real murals, get a lot of likes on Instagram. Over the last few years, a group of artists has changed completely the image of some of these alleys, transforming them into a small open-air exhibition.
It is impossible not to include Bussana Vecchia in this list: it is one of the most picturesque villages in Liguria, if not in Italy. Its history is very special, since it was a quiet village until 23 February 1887, when a violent earthquake marked the village’s destiny forever, forcing the inhabitants to migrate towards the sea, where they founded the municipality of Bussana Nuova. The old village, since then called Bussana Vecchia, remained in a state of total abandonment until the late 1950s, when it was brought back to life by a community of artists, who worked and still work there. Its narrow streets are full of potentially Instagram-perfect views.
The Bay of Saracens in Varigotti
Another of the most photographed, and Instagrammable, places in Liguria is the marvellous Baia dei Saraceni located in Varigotti, a hamlet and historical village of Finale Ligure. Its name has very ancient origins; it is said to have been the landing point for merchants arriving from Byzantium. It is a wild oasis where nature has been particularly generous. The beach, about 400 metres long, is a handkerchief of golden sand and fine gravel, squeezed between rocks, overlooking a stretch of crystal-clear sea. Due to the abundance of fish, it is perfect for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. Moreover, thanks to its shallow waters, it is ideal for families with children.
The Balzi Rossi Beach in Ventimiglia
Another beach, which attracts Instagrammers from all over the world, is the Spiaggetta dei Balzi Rossi in Ventimiglia. Forbes magazine called it ‘one of the seven most spectacular beaches in Italy’. This small cove of rare beauty, set among the rocks, is bathed by incredibly crystal-clear waters. It is located just a few steps from the border, on the Côte d’Azur, and derives its name from the colour of the limestone walls, which, rich in ferrous materials, appear reddish (from the Ventimiglia dialect ‘bàussi russi’, meaning red stones). The entire area is dotted with prehistoric caves, where numerous finds dating back to the Palaeolithic period have been discovered.
The crêuze of Borgio Verezzi
Finally, if you want to impress your followers, you cannot miss Borgio Verezzi, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Set along the Riviera delle Palme, it owes its name to the two centres that make it up: Borgio at sea level and Verezzi in an elevated position. The ‘Saracen’ village, perched on the Orera hill, is composed of four hamlets (Crosa, Piazza, Poggio and Roccaro) connected by narrow carruggi and ancient mule tracks (called crêuze in Ligurian dialect), preserved in their original integrity. Along the carruggi and crêuzethere are many corners rich in history and truly wonderful views to photograph. The likes are guaranteed!
Just over 25 kilometres from Relais del Maro is the picturesque village of Cervo, where time seems to have stopped in the Middle Age. The village, included in the prestigious club of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, is nestled on a spur that slopes down to the sea and is able to amaze and fascinate in every season of the year thanks to its extraordinary historical, artistic and architectural heritage.
Cervo boasts an evocative historical centre, enclosed by ancient walls and characterised by a labyrinth of narrow alleys (in Ligurian dialect called carruggi) that descend towards the coast, lined with typical pastel-coloured houses. As you lose yourself in these shady glimpses, you can savour the village’s still entirely medieval atmosphere. Its coastline consists of small bathing establishments, wide stretches of free beach and quiet rocky inlets.
At the highest point of the village, precisely in Piazza Santa Caterina, stands the Clavesana Castle, from whose terrace one can see both the mountains and the sea at a glance. It was built around the 13th century by the Marquises of Clavesana (from whom it takes its name) as their residence, incorporating the original high-medieval tower. The structure has been used for various purposes over the years: seat of the municipal parliament, defensive bulwark against the Saracens, Oratory of the Disciplinants of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and hospital. It is currently home to the Tourist Office and the Museum Centre, which houses, on the first floor, the Ponente Ligure Ethnographic Museum and, on the second floor, the permanent exhibition ‘Women of Liguria – A Century of History 1850/1950’.
Another feather in the village’s cap is the majestic Church of San Giovanni Battista, also known as ‘dei Corallini’ because it was built with the proceeds from the coral fishing that the people of Cervo practised in the seas of Corsica and Sardinia. Begun in 1686 to a design by architect Gio Batta Marvaldi and completed in 1734 by his son Giacomo Filippo, it is one of the main examples of Baroque architecture in western Liguria. The elegant bell tower was instead erected in the second half of the 18th century to a design by painter Francesco Carrega. The church houses several valuable works of art, including the wooden crucifix by Maragliano, the high altar by Pittaluga and the choir frescoes by Carrega. From the square in front, one can enjoy an enchanting view of the entire gulf.
In the immediate vicinity of the Church of St John the Baptist is the former Oratory of St Catherine, a classic example of a Romanesque structure originally built on a Latin cross plan. The building was built in the 13th century on the initiative of the Knights Hierosolimitani as a church, but around the 18th century, when the Church of the Corallini was consecrated, it was demoted to an oratory. Inside, some 16th century works can be admired, including a large fresco of St George slaying the dragon above the main entrance. The building is now deconsecrated and used as a hall for art exhibitions, concerts, conferences and cultural events.
At the foot of the village is Palazzo Viale, the residence of one of Cervo’s most important families. Built in the 18th century, it is distinguished from other buildings by the Baroque decorations that adorn its façade. Inside, walls and ceilings are embellished with remarkable frescoes by Carrega. The palace is now owned by the municipality, which carries out cultural initiatives there. Other buildings of some value are: the 17th-century Palazzo Morchio, today’s Town Hall; the Tower of Sant’Antonio, built around the middle of the 16th century; and the Church of San Nicola da Tolentino, Cervo’s oldest and first parish church, located just outside the walls.
Among the major events in Cervo, we recommend the International Chamber Music Festival, born in 1964 from a happy intuition of Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh. The prestigious kermesse, scheduled on evenings between July and August, owes its success to the fame of the performers who take part. A tip for the gourmand: an aperitif with a breathtaking sea view at Bar Ariel and a dinner accompanied by good wine at Ristorante San Giorgio or San Giorgino wine bar