Soak Up Summer in Santa Margherita Ligure, a Gem in the Italian Riviera
Santa Margherita Ligure
Food & Wine
If your summer vacation bucket list includes swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, relaxing on a beach under a colorful umbrella, dolphin spotting on a sunset cruise, and enjoying a glass of vermentino and a plate of fritto misto with breathtaking views, you need to visit Santa Margherita Ligure in the Italian Riviera.
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Where to stay in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Grand Hotel Miramare
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Things to do in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Visit a beach club
A perfect summer day in the Italian Riveria includes a swim in the Ligurian sea. The area has an array of beach clubs where you can rent a chair with an umbrella for the day. They usually have a bar where you can get snacks and drinks and a full-service restaurant where you can enjoy lunch. You can easily spend the entire day there swimming, relaxing, and living la dolce vita.
Hop on a ferry to San Fruttuoso
San Fruttuoso is a beautiful enclave with a stunning beach, a striking Benedictine Monastery, and a few restaurants with insane views. The area is in the Regional Park of Portofino, a protected naturalistic area that can only be reached by boat or foot. Take the ferry and spend the day there, climbing the trails, visiting the Monastery, swimming in the beautiful cove (there’s a beach club – arrive early to score a spot), or sipping wine and eating pasta with a killer view (Da Giorgio is my personal restaurant recommendation in the area).
Enjoy a private boat tour
There are many private boat tours in the area. To avoid crowds, I recommend a sunset cruise. You can explore the nearby towns of Portofino (where you can see Dolce and Gabbana’s beautiful villa and a whole slew of mega yachts), Camogli, and San Fruttuoso. Hop off the boat and take a dip in the beautiful Ligurian Sea, catch some dolphins, and enjoy an aperitivo on the water.
Places to eat & drink in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Panificio Pinamonti: This charming, family-run bakery in the center of town has been around since 1889 for good reason. Their breads are baked fresh every morning and the selection includes everything from focaccia al formaggio (crisp, paper-thin bread stuffed with melted cheese) to torte salate (light, veggie-filled quiches). Grab a few slices and take it to the beach for a perfect snack. It can get busy, lines start before it opens, and things do sell out!
Il Pescetariano: Street food, Italian Riveria style. This small boat goes out fishing during the day and then prepares and sells their catch starting at 5:00 pm. It’s located right on the marina, you walk up to the boat, order some delicious fried seafood and a beer or glass of wine, and enjoy the overflowing cone of fresh fried seafood on the water. It doesn’t get any fresher than this.
Trattoria da Pezzi: A traditional Ligurian-style restaurant with something for everyone. They use fresh, local ingredients to create regional specialties like trofie al pesto and fried stuffed anchovies. The restaurant is located near the center of town, on a charming side street. Grab a table outside, order a carafe of the house wine, and take in all the charm of the town.
Pado: A modern take on the region’s specialties with tables right on the marina. They serve a variety of local specialties, like shrimp scampi, and they also have less traditional preparations, like pasta with calamari and mussels in a tomato curry sauce. Sit outside for breathtaking views of the water.
Trattoria dei Pescatori: This vintage style restaurant specializes in traditional seafood dishes. Think lightly fried fritto misto; perfectly cooked seabream baked with tomatoes, potatoes, and olives; and a variety of seafood pastas.
Da Giorgio: Fresh seafood with breathtaking views. Located in San Fruttuoso, this is one of the most amazing dining and picturesque experiences you can have. It’s located on a cliff overlooking the cove and the monastery. All their seafood is caught that day and presented to you before ordering. The fried baby octopus is out of this world and the grilled tuna is perfection. It’s small and the tables book quickly, so reservations are a must.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Foodie’s Guide to Parma.
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