The Italian Riviera Yacht Charter Guide | Portofino
Discover the Liguria Region's hotspots of Portofino, Cinque Terre and Santa Margherita on your Italian Riviera luxury yacht charter
The Italian Riviera is a crescent-shaped strip of coastline that curves between the French Riviera and Tuscany. With orange-splashed houses, spectacular scenery and a bygone ritziness, this stretch of coastline and its authentic Italian charm is often a refreshing welcome to its noisier neighbour. It's hard to argue with this when you find traditional towns after town painted with orange and red facades backed with dramatic mountains.
Also known as Liguria, this stretch of coastline extends from the last town in France to the historic port of Genoa, past famous towns of Portofino, Camogli, San Rocco and the Cinque Terre.
Hidden in a tiny creek, out of sight and almost inaccessible is an ancient fishing village that has become an international symbol of the Italian Riviera's style and class. Portofino has always been the resort of choice for chic Italian families, who return year after year.
Portofino's stunning town square and harbour, surrounded by brightly painted houses, have made Portofino the world's most photographed port. It is rustic yet elegant, provincial yet cosmopolitan, relaxed yet bustling. Stunning villas of the rich and famous are visible all along the hilly coast, with views to the rocky shores of the Ligurian Sea. During high season, many of the world's most expensive yachts will be anchored just outside the port.
Away from the bustle of the village, the Portofino Natural Park offers relaxing walks with excellent views. The hike to the church above the town is a great way to see the sights and build up your appetite. Underwater, the protected reef offers red coral reefs, steep cliffs and ancient shipwrecks.
Ideally situated between Nice and Genoa, Marina di Loano offers a new super yacht marina with state of the art yacht club providing first-class facilities to it guests. In contrast to the marina, the town beyond is a construction of quaint streets scattered with shops and traditional restaurants whose slow food movement advocates the preservation of regional cuisine and the culture associated with it.
Featured on many of the buildings in the old town of Loano are frescoes rich in historical craftmanship which add to to the feeling of a traditional and yet whimsical town. A short walk from the marina, you will also discover a scenic seafront lined with palm trees and some fantastic beaches for relaxing.
Further along the coast towards Genoa, resting within a vast and beautiful inlet you will find the beautiful town of Varazze. With blue flag beaches and a lively town centre, this Italian town is a must-see while sailing the Italian Riveria. The marina, lined with an elegant shopping arcade, incorporates yachting shops and jewellers along with chic restaurants and lounge bars. Eat fresh seafood or pizza overlooking the harbour, or enjoy a cocktail metres from the yacht!
Like many in the area, this is a town steeped in history and a beautifully picturesque setting - visit the seventeenth-century Carmelite monastery outside of the town or take a stroll along the promenade, bursting with flora and fauna in the summer months.
Only a stone's throw from Monaco and the French Riviera, experience an Italian town colloquially known as the "City of Flowers". This Mediterranean resort is also home to its own casino and is soaked in Riviera-style grandeur and has played host to many a royal European exile, such as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, leaving in their wake bourgeois buildings and old world charm.
Delving deeper into Sanremo, you will discover a more quaint and traditional old town where you can get lost in the history of its twisting narrow streets climbing up the hillside. For a cultural and historical expedition, visit the Fort of Santa Tecla from the 1700s that overlooks the harbour or find yourself a spot on the long stretch of golden sandy beach to enjoy a sea breeze and plenty of sunshine.
The famous Cinque Terre are 5 villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) set along 18 kilometres of sheer rocky coastline beneath steep terraced hills and vineyards. Here you will find 5 small villages that are built into the rocks between the beach and the hills, famous for their vineyards and local wines. Their sheer remoteness makes them even more magical and intact. Medieval influences are obvious and the dramatic coastal scenery is breathtaking; the winding paths and towering pastel houses are one of a kind.
Lavagna is a charming fishing town that provides a welcome contrast to the celebrated beauty of Portofino. Along a 4km stretch of impeccable beach known as the Cavi di Lavagna, the town exhibits a typically Ligurian structure with small, quiet streets, charming shops and plenty of historically intriguing spots.
Sitting on the Entella River, bordered by abundant olive groves on the hillsides, Lavagna hosts plenty of celebrations in particular recreations of neo-medieval style, the most interesting being the ‘Torta dei Fieschi’. This festival commemorates the wedding that happened in 1230 between Count Opizzo Fieschi and Bianca de Bianchi between 13th to 15th August. An enormous cake, made by the finest Lavanga pastry cooks following the original recipe, is paraded through the streets reuniting the six medieval quarters of Lavagna before being distributed to the people in the crowd.
For the foodies amongst you, the Italians are praised for their indulgent Italian delicacies and this goes the same for yachts chartering here and using fresh italian produce. Nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean sea, Ligurian cuisine combines simple fresh flavours both from land and sea. The food you will find along the Italian Riviera is simple, unpretentious and healthy. Expect to find regional specialities such as focaccia and farinata (a thin loaf made from chickpea flour) as well as delicate local wines and a variety of olive oils.
With its many fishing ports, Ligurian cuisine also has a strong seafood base, with fish like anchovy, white bream, sea bass and many others cooked simply with olive oil, capers and other simple seasonings. Of course being Italy, pizzeria and pasta houses are everywhere, serving a good combination of seafood, vegetarian, and meat-based offerings.
Liguria has a mild, typically Mediterranean climate. Average temperatures range from 9°C/48°F in January to 23°C/73°F in the summer. There is very little rainfall in the summer, making it ideal for holidays and charters. The weather normally remains pleasant through October, becoming much more unsettled through the winter. The warmth and calm returns in the spring, when it is often delightful to visit the area before the hordes of tourists.
Originally a collection of fishing ports along the Mediterranean the region has been in the hands of the Romans, Barbarians, the Lombards, Normans and Saracens. Napoleon conquered the region in 1796. Bonaparte's invasion saw the end of the Republic of Genoa which had ruled the region and the seas since the thirteenth century.
Following the fall of Napoleon, Liguria was absorbed into the Kingdom of Savoy and Sardinia, one of the many kingdoms and principalities that were to form unified Italy. That came with the victory of Garibaldi and his army in 1861, when the Duchy of Genoa became the Italian region of Liguria.
Liguria is undoubtedly one of the world's best charter destinations. Boatbookings' Charter Experts know the region, boats and Captains, and can find you the ideal charter yacht; be it a luxury crewed motor yacht, a crewed catamaran or a bareboat sailboat.