Stretching along Mar Ligure, east of Genoa, is the Riviera di Levante with its picturesque fishing villages and glamorous resorts dotting the rugged coast that can be explored on private tours of Italy.
Camogli is one of the most famous destinations of the Riviera di Levante. Once a humble fishing village, it has become a busy seaside resort. Overlooked by the medieval Castello Dragone, Camogli has a beautiful small harbour, a pebble beach and a lovely promenade with lively bars and restaurants.
To continue along the coast to Portofino, hop on a ferry or, if you are feeling fit, hike along a well-marked trail with spectacular sea views. The upscale resort of Portofino is a long-time time favourite of the rich and famous with a pretty harbour surrounded by brightly coloured houses, high-end boutiques and chic restaurants. Check out the stunning Medieval Abbey of San Fruttuoso located a few miles inland from Portofino, chill out at the lovely beach Paraggi or head to the picturesque coves of Santa Margherita Ligure for a swim. Spend some time exploring the Santa Margherita Ligure with its pretty churches, small castle and the grand Villa Durazzo with a pleasant park where you can chill out on a hot summer day.
Further down the coast is a busy resort town of Rapallo that can be a great place to stop for a night or two. Apart from stunning sea views and a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, the town boasts a beautiful Roman bridge, fairy-tale castle, Baroque cathedral, frescoed leper house and artisan lace shops. Hop on a cable car to enjoy the breathtaking vistas and explore the 16th-century sanctuary of Montallegro.
The pretty town of Lavagna offers a quieter atmosphere. It has old cobblestoned streets, picture-perfect sun-drenched squares, a beautiful harbour and five kilometres of sandy beaches without the maddening tourist crowds. In summer months, you can enjoy many interesting festivals here or simply relax in one of the charming local cafes taking in la dolce vita that the Riviera di Levante is famous for.
Photos via Flickr by: Irene Grassi, Rodrigo Soldon, Marie Jirousek.