Santa Margherita Ligure

Santa Margherita Ligure on a summer night
Santa Margherita Ligure on summer nights

Santa Margherita Ligure

Santa Margherita Ligure, called the Perla del Tigullio (Pearl of Tigullio), is a famous, elegant seaside resort, one of the major resorts in the Riviera di Levante, the section of the Italian Riviera east of Genoa.

It is a town of about 10,000 inhabitants in the province of Genoa, in the region Liguria, north-western Italy.

Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure

Its name is often shortened to Santa Margherita, and even to Santa, in particular by its residents and locally. The resort is east of Portofino Promontory, in a picturesque cove in the centre and in the innermost part of Tigullio Bay, halfway between Portofino and Rapallo.

The town is surrounded by hills covered in splendid Mediterranean vegetation, on which are villas and gardens with breathtaking views over the Costa dei Delfini, which joins Santa Margherita and Portofino. Over the last century the town extended on the hills that rise from the coast; going up, the olive trees are replaced by chestnut trees. Part of Santa Margherita Ligure, in the direction of Camogli, is included in the Portofino Natural Regional Park; the sea off the Promontorio di Portofino is part of the Area Marina Protetta di Portofino (Portofino Marine Natural Reserve).

Portofino Promontory map
Portofino Promontory map

It’s possible to go for beautiful walks on the green Mount of Portofino. The discovery of nature has formed one of the bases of the area’s elite tourism and fame as a jet-set destination.

S. Margherita, beacuse of its proximity to Portofino Promontory, is not only surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes but indeed immersed in luxuriant vegetation, with gardens, flower beds, palm and pine trees on the sea front. It has a lovely view of the arch of the bay, traditional cottages right on the sea, interesting Art Deco buildings all around its bay and seafront promenade.

Santa Margherita Ligure has Roman origins; later it became part of Genoa’s naval republic. In the Middle Ages Santa Margherita was divided into two villages corrisponding to its two small bays: Pescino and Corte.

In the 17th century many Genoese families started building here their summer residences, some of which grand stately homes. In the centre of town is the magnificent Villa Durazzo Centurione, dating back to the 15th century, which belonged to the families Durazzo-Pallavicino and Prince Centurione and was then owned by the Chierichetto family who sold it to Santa Margherita Ligure’s local authority (Comune di S. Margherita). The villa’s grounds, the Parco Comunale di Villa Durazzo, extending above the town, are a gorgeous example of Italian garden, with statues, exotic plants, footpaths; they are now public and open to all visitors.

From the same period is the castle by the sea. Worth visiting are some remarkable churches. The Basilica of Santa Margherita di Antiochia is a baroque church containing works by Genoese masters, with a large facade, enclosed by two belltowers, of which the one on the right side was built in 1750 and the other in 1927. Also notable is the Chiesa dei Cappuccini, built in the early 1600s, containing a 1400s Crucifix and the Madonna in Trono, a group of sculptures from the 1100s. Just outside town is the 14th-century San Gerolamo della Cervara Abbey.

Santa Margherita Ligure has a tourist harbour, where many boats and luxury yachts are moored. It is intensely used for sailing, rowing, waterskiing, yachting, and for major sports events including international regattas. The harbour is also the centre around which a lively tourist and social life revolves, with parties, folk shows, and events associated with the competitions hosted.

From Santa Margherita depart motorboat services to well-known destinations, including San Fruttuoso and Cinque Terre.

The coast in and around Santa Margherita offers a great variety of beaches and seabeds. There are cliffs at the San Michele di Pagana headland. On the charming coastal road from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino you get to the splendid Baia di Paraggi, famous for its emerald green water and for being one of the few sandy beaches in the Riviera di Levante. Here at Paraggi Bay, diving rewards you with the sight of a wealth of diverse marine animals and the wreck of a merchant ship sunk in 1917.

Image by linda71fer on Pixabay

Santa Margherita Ligure, Italian Riviera, aerial view
Santa Margherita Ligure

How to Get There

By motorway. Autostrada A12 Genova-Livorno, exit Rapallo.

By road. From Genoa SS n 1 Aurelia direction Pisa (east); from Rapallo SS n 227 direction Portofino.

By train. Rail line FS Genova-la Spezia. Trains are many and frequent, both long distance and local.

By plane. Nearest airport Cristoforo Colombo, Genova, which can be reached by motorway: from toll exit Genova Aeroporto (about 35 Km from Santa Margherita) take autostrada A10 direction east, then the A12 until exit Rapallo.

Check an aggregator for the cheapest air fare.

Travel and flight aggregators are websites that have information on many companies and operators and search the best flight for you. With aggregators you save money when you book flight and hotel, and possibly car hire, together rather than reserving them separately.

One of the best known and most popular aggregators is Expedia UK, with access to over a million bookable properties around the world, more than 500 airlines, 175+ car hire companies, and all sorts of activities and ground transport., one of the world’s leading online travel agencies, also offers a very wide choice, with a hotel network of over 1.2 million properties across 200 countries.

A popular company operating since 2005 to help travelers save money by touring the world at a discount is CheapOair .

CheapOair provides airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and vacation packages in collaboration with top travel brands, including the inexpensive Ryanair airline.

You can save on first class airfares on flights using coupon FC100 .

Where to park. There are pay car parks for visitors. Charges vary based on season and length of stay.

Santa Margherita Ligure Facts

Santa Margherita Ligure council is part of the geographical area named Tigullio.

Cap (Codice di Avviamento Postale) [postcode, zip]: 16038.

Telephone area code: 0185. In Italy, it has to be fully included (including the initial 0) even when prefixed by the country code +39 dialling from abroad.

Distances: from Roma 380 km, Florence 176 km, Venice 275 km.

Riviera di Levante map, Liguria, Italy
Riviera di Levante map

Find a Hotel

Santa Margherita Ligure is on the Portofino Promontory overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio, the Bay of Portofino, very close to the beautiful resorts of Portofino, Camogli and Recco on one side, and Rapallo on the other.

Splendid Portofino is a small village, and doesn’t have the same number and variety of accommodation as Santa Margherita or Rapallo, all in close vicinity to each other.

Scrolling on the map below you can find hotels, accompanied by their prices, in the whole area called in Italian Golfo del Tigullio and beyond.

View all hotels in Portofino

View all hotels in Santa Margherita Ligure

View all hotels in Rapallo

View all hotels in Italian Riviera

Check out the page on Italy Travel Ideas dedicated to this topic:

Santa Margherita Ligure Hotels

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Italian Mini Dictionary

Porticciolo [pron. portichiolo]= Tourist harbour (literally: small harbour)

Baia = Bay

Autostrada = Motorway

Genova = Genoa

Abbazia = Abbey