Focused on Portofino and the Cinque Terre, visitors to Liguria often miss one of the heavenly corners of this part of the Italian Riviera, namely Santa Margherita Ligure! With its beautiful landscapes and characteristic colorful facades, the town is in no way inferior to the other Italian cities in the region…
Where is located and how to get there
Santa Margherita Ligure is a port town near Genoa and is only 5 km from the world famous resort of Portofino. It’s easily accessible by car, bus or boat, but the easiest way to get there is by train. And the view from the station…? After stepping off the platform, you are greeted by an incredible panorama of the harbor that will make you gasp in delight!
💡 If you still do arrive by car, you can use Autoparco Riviera. It is the largest of all and it’s almost certain that you will be able to find a free seat. The price per hour is 2.50 euro.
See car rental options in Liguria.
A place to stay or transit
Many tourists prefer to stay in Santa Margherita Ligure because it’s one of the quietest and most peaceful destinations in Liguria! You have all the charm of this region, but without the crowds and inflated prices of some of the more luxurious places… We passed transit, traveling between Portofino and Cinque Terre, not even thinking of stopping.
Our first walk was only around 300m… from the station to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where there is a tourist information booth and the ticket office that sells bus tickets for the lines traveling around the area (that’s where we got our ticket to Portofino). The short walking distance convinced us that we should walk around this seaside town! So we scheduled around 1 hour before our train back to La Spezia where we were staying…
See places to stay in Santa Margherita Ligure
A quick walk around downtown
When you are in the middle of summer and the temperatures exceed 30 degrees, you need to sneak between the alleys, and the shade there is thick enough… We convinced ourselves that the buildings in Santa Margherita are so high as to create the necessary conditions to keep visitors cool! And the short walk to Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, with the town hall building there and the orange trees, and then continuing along Largo Giovanni Amendola, with the small restaurants nestled under the colorful facades of the buildings, filled us with the charm and warmth it exudes this seaside town…
We didn’t even have time to get lost in the alleys or to indulge in one of the variegated shops, because in a negative time we ended up in the picturesque square Piazza Caprera and the 17th century baroque basilica located on it – Chiesa di Santa Margherita. The typical Italian atmosphere is complemented by the bright green shutters on the windows, and the pastel colors of the buildings suggest that we are in Liguria after all!
A little history about Santa Margherita Ligure
The history of the settlement dates back to Roman times, and in the past it was under constant pirate attacks. In the 16th and 17th centuries, under the rule of the Republic of Genoa, it began to take shape as a port city. Defensive fortifications, a castle were built, and the wealthy residents of Genoa began to build summer villas there. The tourist boom of Santa Margherita Ligure only began at the end of the 19th century, thanks to the British. And today, the locals put a lot of effort into preserving the authentic appearance of the place and not allowing commercialization to conquer them…
Along the coast
We continue the tour to the coast! The rocky beach has crystal clear water and the beautiful promenade is one of the best places to walk in Santa Margherita Ligure. It offers a wonderful view of the colorful houses, the many yachts in the bay and the mountain slopes in the distance. In Piazza Martiri della Libertà there is a veritable green oasis, with plenty of palm trees and benches to relax. The two popular statues – of Christopher Columbus and Victor Emmanuel II – tower over the passers-by. Just around the south part of the park are the remains of the 16th century castle – Santa Margherita Ligure Castle. It’s curious that it was built up only for six months!
For a final
We wished we had left more time to visit Santa Margherita Ligure… To go to the aristocratic Villa Durazzo and the beautiful gardens or to sit in one of the many attractive restaurants… with a glass of wine in hand! But, our mistake… We still managed to enjoy a small piece of this picturesque seaside paradise in Liguria…