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The Italian Riviera

10 days From £2,145 £1,995 per person
Last 100 Spaces

Uncover the best of the glittering Italian Riviera, the colourful cliffside villages of the Cinque Terre and picture-perfect Portofino

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Save up to £150pp on selected 2024 Europe, British Isles and Cruise holidays, when you book by 10th May 2024.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: RPS24

About the tour

Discover the colourful villages that cling to the Italian Riviera, with the glistening Mediterranean delivering breathtaking vistas as we explore the Cinque Terre from land and sea.

Experience the beauty of the glamorous coastal village of Portofino, then uncover the remarkable San Fruttuoso abbey that stands on a beach in a heavenly cove only accessible by boat.

Explore the gorgeous seafront village of Camogli with its surprising history and pastel-coloured buildings and relax in serene Sestri Levante - a delightful town between two beautiful bays.

Visit historic Genoa, the city republic that once ruled this stretch of coast, and enjoy the region's food, including learning how to make traditional Genoese pesto.

Unforgettable experiences

Explore the colourful Cinque Terre by rail and boat
Explore the colourful Cinque Terre by rail and boat
Experience these beautiful villages that cascade down the cliffs and coast in a graceful display of colour and charm as we travel by rail to Riomaggiore before sailing to Vernazza and Monterosso, witnessing the delightful views of the villages from the sea.
Enjoy a scenic cruise to picture-perfect Portofino
Enjoy a scenic cruise to picture-perfect Portofino
Attracting the rich and famous, this idyllic village set in a picturesque natural harbour is regularly considered one of the most beautiful places in Italy. We visit pretty Portofino on a cruise round the coast.
Relax in Sestri Levante, a laid-back peninsula town between two bays
Relax in Sestri Levante, a laid-back peninsula town between two bays
Spend 7 nights in the historic town of Sestri in the heart of the Italian Riviera, soak-up the laid-back atmosphere of the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fairytales, and enjoy a pesto-making experience.
Uncover charming Camogli, a hidden gem of the Riviera
Uncover charming Camogli, a hidden gem of the Riviera
Marvel at the gorgeous old fishing port of Camogli and unearth a stunning, colourful and vibrant village intrinsically linked to the water in a manner reminiscent of Venice.
Discover historic Genoa, the capital of Liguria
Discover historic Genoa, the capital of Liguria
Visit the region’s largest and historically most important city, the former home of explorer Christopher Columbus, and host of remarkable architecture including the Neo-Classical Doge's Palace.

What’s included


Day 1 – London to Turin: Straight to Italy

We meet at London St Pancras, where we join the Eurostar service to Paris. Travelling in style in spacious Standard Premier Class, we're served a light lunch at our seats. Changing trains, we continue by First Class rail to Chambéry. After a short break, we board a comfortable coach for a beautiful journey through the Alps. Enroute, we enjoy stops to absorb the incredible views of towering, alpine peaks, before arriving in Turin where we spend the night. We have our first dinner together in this dignified Italian city, an important centre of business, finance and technology that also showcases Baroque, Renaissance and modern architecture.

Some departures dates will have a different itinerary on this day due to Italian engineering works - click here to see affected dates

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar light meal
Day 2 – Down the coast to Sestri Levante

After enjoying our first breakfast as a group in Italy, there is free time to explore Turin. Fringed by the Italian Alps, the city's wide boulevards and grand public squares are lined with enticing cafés and bars.

In the mid-afternoon, we continue our journey by First Class rail. From Genoa, the route clings to the dramatic coast, disappearing through tunnels soon to reappear on serene marine views, traversing viaducts over colourful towns, all the while getting a tantalising taste of the wonders that await us on this beautiful stretch of coast. From Chiavari, a short coach ride transfers us to Sestri Levante, our home for a week. The town is set on a peninsula overlooking the glittering Mediterranean and surrounded by two gorgeous bays.

We check into our 4-Star hotel in a central location near the bays and enjoy a dinner this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - A free day to explore Sestri

Waking up on the Italian Riviera, you're free to explore Sestri Levante, or Sestri as the locals call it, at your own pace today. This laid-back coastal town exudes charm, with its beautiful old town displaying classical colourful Italian buildings and Baroque palazzos lining narrow streets. Near our hotel is the Basilica Santa Maria di Nazareth, a Renaissance church that contains remarkable frescoes and ornate decorations.

The Bay of Fairytales is named for Hans Christian Andersen who once lived in Sestri. With its port, beaches and shops, this is the liveliest part of town. Palms and umbrella pines shelter the attractive promenade on the edge of a long sandy beach with views of Chiavari in the distance.

On the other side of the old town is the Bay of Silence, also known as Portobello. This is considered one of the best sandy beaches in Italy and is a wonderful spot for a stroll or to relax. A crescent of pastel-coloured buildings huddle around a beautiful blue bay dappled with small boats bobbing gently.

All round the town is an abundance of appealing cafés, bars and restaurants you could visit for lunch or dinner - maybe to sample the catch of the day or relax with an Aperol Spritz, followed by a refreshing gelato.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Take to the waters to discover beautiful Cinque Terre villages

Today is a highlight of our holiday as we explore three of the magnificent Cinque Terre villages. With a guide joining us for the day, we take a morning train to Riomaggiore to discover these evocative old fishing villages. The Cinque Terre date from around the 11th and 12th centuries when it is believed residents from an inland valley decided to settle on this 10-mile stretch of the Ligurian coast where vines and olives could be grown in abundance. From the late 13th century, the settlements became connected to the powerful Republic of Genoa, which positioned communication towers in each town that were used to signal news of invasions.

Riomaggiore is the southernmost of the picture-perfect villages and is our first destination. A swathe of tall, multi-coloured buildings sweeps down a steep hill to a small harbour overlooking an emerald bay. High above the village are stepped terraces of olive groves and vines. There is free time to explore the car-free streets and piazzas before heading to the ferry dock for a boat to the next location. We get to experience the utter beauty of the Riomaggiore from the sea as we set sail for Vernazza, passing Manarola and the clifftop Corniglia on the way.

A smattering of hilltop homes and the 10th-century tower of the Castello dei Doria appear on a rocky outcrop as we approach Vernazza before disembarkation reveals a welcoming piazza and an elegant town of cobbled streets lined by quaint cafes, where you could grab a spot of lunch. With free time to ourselves, wandering the narrow side streets (which the Genoese call 'caruggi') of this traditional fishing village is the ideal way of experiencing its wonderful warren of pastel-coloured houses, with timeless scenes emerging at every turn.

Departing on the azure Ligurian Sea, we sail past rugged, forested hills before arriving in Monterosso - bisected by a hill on which sits a Capuchin friary. This charming port is larger than its near neighbours and a spacious piazza leads on to delightful, bustling streets on to which spill the terraces of many restaurants and bars. We have time to explore this town known for its lemon trees, anchovies and sandy beach, before heading through the tunnel to the train station - from where we travel back to Sestri and a three-course dinner.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - A scenic cruise to glorious Portofino and an abbey on a beach

It's regarded as one of the most beautiful places on the Mediterranean and today is an unforgettable experience as we take a scenic cruise to picture-perfect Portofino. This glorious old fishing village has a resident population of around 500 people but has long attracted the glamorous and the elite. From Winston Churchill and French author Guy de Maupassant to Madonna, Portofino has hosted them all.

Set in a secluded natural harbour dotted with small fishing boats and impressive yachts, the idyllic village is backed by verdant hills of olive groves and Mediterranean pines. At its heart lies a picturesque array of tall, narrow buildings painted terracotta, peach and yellow gathered round a cobbled piazza, onto which cascade floral terraces of restaurants, bars and gelaterias. Our guide - who remains with us throughout the day - shows us round this delightful town that is overlooked by the Castello Brown and two churches, including the striped façade of the Romanesque Chiesa del Divo Martino. We enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, savouring views across the serene harbour and blue seas beyond as we dine.

After some free time in Portofino, we set sail once more around the headland to the blissful San Fruttuoso. This gorgeous cove is only accessible by foot or boat and is dominated by the 10th-century Benedictine abbey that sits squarely on the small pebble beach. Dedicated to a third-century saint and later overseen by the influential Genoese Doria family, this entrancing complex also contains 12th-century cloisters and many religious relics. Overlooking the abbey is a 16th-century tower constructed by the Doria family, nestled in the wooded hillsides that encircle this sublime bay. Submerged in the bay is the underwater statue of 'Christ in the Abyss', which is said to protect local sailors in the surrounding waters. We have free time in San Fruttuoso to explore the museum or just soak up the amazing ambience before returning to Rapallo and our coach transfer back to Sestri.

If weather conditions mean the boat can't land at San Fruttuoso, you'll land at Santa Margherita instead, a tranquil, picture-perfect village bursting with old-fashioned Italian charm.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - A free day to explore the shimmering Italian Riviera

Today provides an opportunity for you to explore the beautiful Italian Riviera independently. With Sestri Levante being on the main coastal rail line, you may wish to catch the train back to the Cinque Terre towns and visit Manarola and Corniglia. Facing each other either side of a steep-sided bay and both awash with beauty, these villages have very differing character. Manarola is famed for its sweet wine Sciacchetrà, and its colourful buildings drape over the sharp cliff and through the winding valley. Corniglia is the only one of the five villages to not have access from the sea and sits high on a rocky outcrop overlooking olive groves and terraces of vines. From the station, it can be reached via nearly 400 steps, although a small bus does run occasionally.

For a flatter terrain, you could head to nearby Chiavari with its long promenade along the glistening sea, or its historic centre around Piazza Mazzini. The cathedral was constructed in the early 17th century after a miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary, but its entrance was added 200 years later in a style inspired by the Roman Pantheon. Further north, the delightful town of Rapallo sweeps round a small bay and, with a palm-lined promenade, has proved an attractive destination for literary figures since the 1800s. Both towns enjoy a proliferation of restaurants serving up local Ligurian food, including seafood, that you may wish to enjoy this evening. The famous 'buridda' seafood stew originates from this region, while the simple anchovy dish of 'bagnun' reportedly hails from Sestri Levante.

  • Breakfast
Day 7 – Historic Genoa and back to Sestri for a tasty pesto-making lesson

After breakfast this morning, we take the train to Liguria's capital and a city whose historic importance has been felt throughout this trip - Genoa. An enjoyable journey along the riviera coast with the sea never far from view gets us straight to the heart of this ancient port, one of Italy's great cities.

A knowledgeable guide takes us on an insightful walking tour of the old town that includes the Doge's Palace, an impressive Renaissance building built in 1298, and explains why Genoa has earned the nickname 'La Superba'. As the former home of explorer Christopher Columbus, Genoa has always looked towards the sea for its wealth and influence. Its medieval maritime republic stretched from Morocco to Crimea and the city now contains a treasure trove of history, art and grand 16th and 17th-century palaces. After your tour, you have free time in this lovely Italian city to admire its fine museums and galleries, the magnificent cathedral, ancient churches and beautiful harbour. Or relax at a waterfront café or restaurant with a glass of chilled Italian wine and a tasty local lunch.

Returning to Sestri Levante, we head to a trattoria near our hotel. Here, we discover how to make delicious pesto following a traditional Genoese recipe, before sitting down to enjoy a mouth-watering pasta meal for dinner. The aroma of basil pervades many parts of this beautiful area, radiating from market stalls and window boxes, and this fragrant herb is mixed with cheese, pine nuts and garlic to make pesto Genovese. Such is the popularity of this green sauce, that Genoa airport lifted its ban on liquids above 100ml - but only if the item in question is pesto Genovese.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Charming Camogli, an underrated Riviera gem

Today we catch the train to the picturesque fishing village of Camogli. While Portofino and the Cinque Terre may be the headline acts in this area, the incredible Camogli quietly goes on impressing locals with pastel-coloured and ornately decorated buildings standing tall overlooking a bay and a harbour either side of its 12th-century church. A warren of narrow alleyways and broad, tunnelled arcades connect the harbourside to the beach. With large waterfront piazzas and a real sense of connection to the water, there is a sense of an undiscovered Venice about Camogli.

A guide shows us round this characterful port village and informs us of its maritime past, which saw Camogli become known as "the city of a thousand white sailing ships". On the promontory next to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its impressive interior, lie the remains of the 14th-century Dragonara Castle, constructed to protect this important and captivating village. After the tour, we have time to soak up Camogli's vibrant atmosphere and delightful charm at our own pace. You may wish to indulge in lunch in one of the village's lovely restaurants, perhaps enjoying a spaghetti vongole with local focaccia and a chilled white wine.

Leaving idyllic Camogli in the late afternoon, we return by train to Sestri Levante before enjoying our final dinner on the Italian Riviera.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Sestri to Saint-Raphaël: From the Italian to the French Riviera

After breakfast, we leave the Sestri Levante and the Italian Riviera by train, the route of which takes us all the way round the arch of the Ligurian Sea through Genoa to Ventimiglia. Passing pretty seaside towns all the way, the route is rarely far from the glistening sea.

Entering France, we make our way to the Côte d'Azur resort of Saint-Raphaël, where we check in to our hotel overlooking the marina and have a three-course dinner.

**Please Note: For certain departures, there will be a change of location to Toulon.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Homeward bound

Leaving Saint-Raphaël in the morning, we board the train in First Class and journey through France, saying goodbye to the sun-kissed coast as we travel up the Rhône to Lyon, through Burgundy to Paris. Transferring to Standard Premier Class on the Eurostar in the French capital for the final leg of our journey, we can look back fondly on our time among the picture-perfect villages and towns of the Italian Riviera, with their pastel-coloured houses, glistening sea and laid-back charm.

We arrive back at London St Pancras International in the evening, and bid farewell to our travelling companions, but know that the unforgettable experiences we enjoyed on our trip will remain.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar light meal

Additional information

Departure Information

Some departures dates will have run a different itinerary due to Italian engineering works - click here to see affected dates

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Hotel Due Mari, Sestri Levante

Hotel Due Mari, Sestri Levante

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Hotel Grande Albergo, Sestri Levante

Hotel Grande Albergo, Sestri Levante

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