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Santa Margherita Ligure: 31km (19 miles) E of Genoa

Hugged by mountains that plunge into the sapphire-colored sea, the coast east of Genoa, the Riviera di Levante (Shore of the Rising Sun), is more ruggedly beautiful and less developed than the Riviera Ponente. Three of the coast’s most appealing towns are within a few kilometers of one another, clinging to the shores of the Monte Portofino Promontory east of Genoa: Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, and little Portofino.

Santa Margherita had one brief moment in the spotlight at the beginning of the 20th century when it was an internationally renowned retreat. Fortunately, the seaside town didn’t let fame spoil its charm, and now that it’s no longer as well-known as its glitzy neighbor Portofino, it could be the Mediterranean retreat of your dreams. A palm-lined harbor, a decent beach, and a friendly ambience make Santa Margherita a fine place to settle down for a few days of sun and relaxation.