Santa Margherita Ligure is a small town in Liguria on the Riviera di Levante, just over 30 kilometres from Genoa.
Like other places on the Riviera, Santa Margherita is a popular seaside resort as well as an elegant town with ancient origins.
In addition, ‘Santa‘ is one of the gateways to Mount Portofino, where several interesting excursions on foot can be planned.
What to see in Santa Margherita Ligure
It starts at Piazza del Sole and continues past Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Piazza Martiri della Libertà, shaded by palm trees, where boats to and from Portofino and Genoa dock.
The promenade continues along Corso Marconi to the fish market, which comes alive when the fishing boats return in the late afternoon.
Here, among other things, you can find the Pescetariano, a zero-kilometre fry shop serving cones of mixed fried fish or just squid and prawns, freshly caught.
Along the way, you can also take a look at the Castle, a defensive construction erected around the middle of the 16th century to protect the city from pirate raids.
The Castle was restored in the early 2000s and is now used as an exhibition space.
From Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino
Once you have finished your walk along Santa Margherita’s seafront , you can go and discover its historical centre, characterised by splendid Art Nouveau buildings.
Strolling along the narrow streets, you will notice how souvenir shops alternate with historical workshops.
There are several period patisseries, where you can sip a coffee accompanied by a typical sweet, in the outdoor dehor.
Worthy of note is the Basilica of Santa Margherita located in Piazza Caprera.
Construction of the church was started in 1658 on the ruins of a pre-existing building.
The bell tower on the right side dates from 1750, as does the façade, while the bell tower on the left side dates from 1927.
The façade contains niches containing the statues of St Peter and St Paul.
Just above the castle, on the hill of San Giacomo, is Villa Durazzo, an elegant 17th century villa surrounded by a huge park.
Built as the summer residence of the wealthy Durazzo family, the villa underwent several modifications and changes of ownership over the centuries.
Today, it is possible to visit the flats on the piano nobile, furnished with period furniture and works of art.
The entrance fee is € 5.50 adults, € 3.00 children aged 8 to 14.
Summer opening hours: daily, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. – 6 p.m
Winter hours: daily, 9:30 – 13:00 / 14:00 – 17:00
Closed on 25 and 26 December, and 1 January.
The park is freely accessible with opening hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in winter, until 7 p.m. in summer. The gardens are well cared for and are home to majestic century-old plants, statues and fountains.
An oasis of peace just a few steps from the city centre.
Villa Durazzo can be easily reached on foot, walking up Salita San Giacomo.
Once at the top, the panorama over Santa Margherita is fabulous.
What to do in Santa Margherita Ligure
With its network of more than 80 kilometres of trails, the Portofino Park is the perfect destination for those who enjoy active holidays and breathtaking views.
The trails are of different levels, from easy ones suitable for the whole family to those for experienced hikers.
If you want more information, check out this article.
The beaches of Santa Margherita Ligure
Along the coast of Santa Margherita Ligure, there is a succession of free beaches and equipped beaches. They are mostly characterised by pebbles and rocks.
The beaches that remain right in front of the historic centre are very convenient both for accessibility and proximity to services, but the water is not always clean due to the mouth of the torrent and the proximity to the port.
Hotels in Santa Margherita Ligure: where to sleep
Hotel Jolanda – Double rooms, family rooms and suites with breakfast included and private parking available at a rate of €23.00 per day.
Possibility to book half board treatment in the internal restaurant – Book here.
How to reach Santa Margherita Ligure
Arriving by car via the A12 motorway, take the Rapallo exit and follow the signs for Santa Margherita Ligure. It is 4 kilometres.
For those arriving by public transport, there is a train station a few hundred metres from the centre of Santa Margherita, served by regional and Intercity trains.
The ATP service connects it to all the main towns in the region, although, for long distances, we recommend travelling by train or boat.
It is also possible to reach the town by sea with boats departing from the Porto Antico in Genoa.
Surroundings of Santa Margherita
If you have time on your hands, you can consider travelling to Genoa and visit the famous Aquarium and the characteristic old town.