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The Italian Riviera

4.2 stars(19 reviews)
Small Group

Spellbinding beauty by rail

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
10 days From £2,195 per person

2021 Tour code: RPS21

About the tour

Discover the colourful villages that cling to the dramatic coastline of the Italian Riviera, with the glittering Mediterranean delivering picture-postcard vistas as we explore the Cinque Terre and Portofino. We'll also visit the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa and the ancient walled town of Lucca.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - To Sestri Levante

We meet at our Departure Office in London St Pancras, and take the Eurostar to Paris, continuing by rail to Turin for the night.

On Day 2, you have a free morning to explore Turin, a city of French and Italian influence that boasts beautiful green spaces, spacious boulevards, and airy squares lined with grand buildings. We continue to Sestri Levante, a picturesque coastal town. Our base here is the elegant Grand Hotel Villa Balbi*, set in a 19th-century mansion surrounded by lush private gardens.

*On some departures you will stay at the Hotel Due Mari in Sestri Levante.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Sestri Levante
Day 3 - Sestri Levante

Today you're free to explore Sestri Levante, a town set on a peninsula surrounded by two gorgeous bays. On one side is the Bay of Fairytales, named for Hans Christian Andersen, the most famous resident of Sestri Levante. With its port, promenade, and shops, it is the liveliest part of town. On the other side is the tranquil Bay of Silence. Considered one of the best beaches in Italy, the Bay of Silence is a wonderful destination for a gentle stroll - or to appreciate the incredible colours of an Italian sunset.

  • Breakfast
Sestri Levante
Day 4 - Cinque Terre

Today we explore the iconic Cinque Terre. These five coastal villages are set within a National Park and share UNESCO World Heritage status, thanks to their old world Italian charm and breathtaking surrounding scenery. We travel by regional train, along the rugged coast to Riomaggiore, where pastel houses are seemingly stacked atop one another, rising from the tiny harbour. We take to the waters next, sailing to elegant Vernazza, whose cobbled streets are lined with quaint cafés, and Monterosso, known for its stretch of sandy beach and lemon trees, with time to explore with our local guide.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Cinque Terre
Day 5 - Portofino and San Fruttuoso

Today we cruise to the famous resort of Portofino, a glorious Italian fishing village surrounded by olive groves. Considered one of the most beautiful Mediterranean ports, the town has a stunning harbour surrounded by pastel-painted houses. Lunch is served in a local restaurant before we continue along the coastline to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso*, which was originally built in the 10th century. Over the course of its history the abbey has had many uses; as well as its monastic use, it has been a home for fishermen and a pirate den. Underwater, in the sea in front of the abbey, is a statue of 'Christ in the Abyss', said to protect divers and sailors.

*landing at San Fruttuoso is dependent on weather. If it is not possible, the boat will land at Santa Margherita.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Days 6-7 - Sestri Levante, Pisa and Lucca

Today you are free in Sestri Levante. Perhaps relax in the hotel's gardens, or admire the winding medieval streets and harbour views on a walk through the town.

On Day 7 we travel by coach to Pisa, famed for its Leaning Tower. Our guided tour here includes the Field of Miracles, where we see the iconic tower, as well as the white marble Duomo with its sublime Moorish mosaics. This afternoon we visit Lucca. Here, city walls encircle a Roman and medieval centre packed with piazzas, art galleries, and tiny churches, all connected by an intricate network of narrow cobbled streets. You have free time here to explore, or perhaps enjoy lunch. The food here is known as some of the best in Tuscany, so this is a great opportunity to sample some local specialties - maybe tortelli lucchese, meat-stuffed pasta topped with a rich ragù, or baccalà, salted cod.

  • Day 6 - Breakfast
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
Days 8-10 - Camogli and home

This morning we travel by regional train to the picturesque fishing village of Camogli. Set on a steep hill, Camogli climbs from the harbour and dark pebble beaches, up to groves of pine and olive trees. After a guided tour of the centre and the harbour, which is full of colourful fishing boats, we return to Sestri Levante and enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel.

On Day 9 we travel along the stunning Ligurian coastline to Nice, where we spend the night. You have some time this evening to explore this charming French city. Perhaps stroll along the palm-tree-lined Promenade des Anglais, enjoying uninterrupted views over the ocean.

On Day 10 we take the train to Paris and connect with the Eurostar back to London St Pancras, where our holiday ends.

  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 - Breakfast
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal

Additional information

- Travel Options

We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid.

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.


Grand Hotel Villa Balbi, Sestri Levante

Grand Hotel Villa Balbi, Sestri Levante

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Hotel Due Mari, Sestri Levante

Hotel Due Mari, Sestri Levante

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Enhance your holiday


Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
Upgrade your room at Sestri Levante
Extending your European holiday in Paris
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 19 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr C Williams

4 stars

Submitted 13 Jul 2019

The holiday overall was fine, as we had done this trip before, two years ago. The Villa Balbi is a very good hotel with excellent facilities and staff. The journey home was not something I would recommend to anyone. It was something that you, Great Rail, could not control; the total cancellation of our train from Sestri Levanti to Milan. We ended up in a coach, driven by someone who in my opinion, was dangerous, and had no knowledge of Milan and the location of our train station at all. We did, eventually, arrive at Mulhouse, after a couple of quick train changes, although rather later than was planned. The following day, when arriving in Paris we thought nothing else could go wrong. On getting ready to get on our Euro Star train we had a last minute alteration to all our tickets as the train had been changed, which meant that we were seated randomly in three different carriages, which spoilt the final journey home. Once again this was out of the control of Great Rail. Let me add that our tour manager, Rosie Sharp, was excellent in calmly dealing with all of the problems we encountered, and also, we were very lucky to have a gentleman on our trip who spoke fluent Italian. This was our thirteenth journey with Great Rail. I have never been superstitious before.?

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr P Reeves

5 stars

Submitted 11 Jul 2019

Everything was excellent from start to finish.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Ward

2 stars

Submitted 19 Oct 2018

None the hotels appeared to be aware of food allergies I had previously notified to GRJ and which GRJ had acknowledged

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr W Bower

4 stars

Submitted 18 Oct 2018

Very disappointing room size at the hotel for a gold customer

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs M Steel

5 stars

Submitted 06 Oct 2018

Wonderful holiday - marvellous company. Accommodation and food good. Trips were well organised and interesting, but we also had enough free time.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr P Turner

5 stars

Submitted 27 Sep 2018

The resort, hotel, weather and Tour Manager were all excellent. What more could you want!!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Europe & UK by Rail 2021

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

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The Italian Riviera

Spellbinding beauty by rail


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