Clustered around a picturesque harbour, Santa Margherita Ligure is a charming town in the Riviera di Levante. It was connected to Genoa by rail in the early 20th century and flourished as a tourist resort in the wake of World War II. In addition to being home to a lavish villa and a centuries-old castle, it’s on the doorstep of Parco Regionale di Portofino.
Things to do in Santa Margherita Ligure
Stroll along the waterfront promenade of Santa Margherita Ligure, which is lined with brightly coloured houses and grand buildings. You can watch the yachts coming and going from the marina or take a dip from the small beach, which has sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. There are plenty of restaurants where you can dine throughout the day, including the Taverna del Marinaio and La Terrasse.
Dominating the waterfront is the Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure, a 16th-century fortress built to defend the Republic of Genoa against pirate attacks. Constructed from stone, it was restored following World War I and is dedicated to the memory of the Italian soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict.
Perched on a hill nearby is Villa Durazzo, a grand 17th-century residence surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and fronted by a black-and-white pebbled terrace. Its period-furnished spaces include the bedroom where Queen Margarita stayed in 1904, a frescoed chapel and the Vietri Parlour with its majolica floors. A highlight of visiting Villa Durazzo is enjoying its sweeping views across the coast.
Getting around Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure is around 45 minutes’ drive from the centre of Genoa and an hour from Christopher Columbus Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains connect to Santa Margherita Ligure-Portofino railway station and buses travel throughout the town.