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Liguria in Italy's North-West is most famous for the Italian Riviera and its miles of sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast. This scenic Italian region near the French border is perfect for driving holidays and for outdoor activities. The Ligurian coast is 186 miles long and has both sandy beaches and rocky coastline.
One of the most famous parts of the coastline is the Cinque Terre. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site consisting of five picturesque towns (Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Monterosso) that are located on a 11.2-mile stretch of the Ligurian coast and are famous for their beauty.
The beaches offer great opportunities for scuba diving, and the marine life is diverse. There are many diving centres on the beaches for beginners and for experienced divers, and most tourist resorts will even have snorkelling trips organised. Popular resorts along the coast include Santa Margherita Ligure, Chiavari, Sestri Levante, Rapallo and Portofino.
The easiest way to explore Liguria is to hire a car and tour the coastline, visiting small towns and beach resorts. There are campsites in scenic locations near the beaches, and the Ligurian coastline is also a heaven for wildlife enthusiasts. Many types of whales and dolphins can be spotted near the coast, and whale watching tours are organized.
Genoa is a fascinating port city and a good place to start a tour. Genoa has a picturesque old town with narrow streets and medieval palaces, a must visit for history lovers. It also has a busy international airport that is used by many European budget airlines, as well as a ferry port for ferries to Sardinia.
The inland mountains provide many opportunities for outdoor activities. There are many trekking paths where walkers of all fitness levels can enjoy the mountain scenery: forests, lakes, rivers and valleys.
Ligurian cuisine is most famous for its pesto and for its locally produced olive oil. The countryside is known for its olive groves and for its vineyards, and local wines are also well-known. Seafood is a big part of the cuisine on the beaches, and there are excellent restaurants on the coast. Local markets are good places to sample the food, and there are many festivals and other events in the summer months where you can enjoy local food and experience local culture.
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