If you’re a travel junkie like myself, the word “riviera” probably calls to mind some stunningly picturesque images: aqua blue glistening waters, lush green landscapes, and little fishmens’ boats tied up along shore. After visiting the riveras along the Mediterranean coast this past summer, I can tell you that those quaint coastal towns live up to the hype!
There was something unique to love about each town that we visited, but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t have my FAVORITE! So in countdown fashion, here are my top four most picturesque stops along the rivera. You’re sure to fall in love with them too!
No. 4 Cassis, France
The Count of Monte Cristo ruined my visit to Marseille, France. Where I expected to see cobble stone streets, active fisher’s markets, and family-owned bakeries, I found industrial shipping yards and shopping complexes. The once picturesquely historic city had been modernized. Thankfully, we took a short half-hour drive along the coast to Cassis, and our day was saved!
Cassis had everything I was hoping to find in a quaint town in the South of France: bakeries, brightly colored store fronts, and a castle looming over the city through a thin layer of clouds.
Breathtaking to say the least!
No. 3 Monaco
If you’ve seen Casino Royale, then you’re familiar with the beauty of Monaco! Although it is the second smallest country in world (only 2 square miles in size) it’s home to the world renowned Grand Prix and Monte Carlo Casino.
We paid homage to the great casino where I shocked my Adventureman by winning a round of roulette! (For your reference, I’d never played the game or even gambled before!)
No. 2 Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre was my most highly anticipated stop on our trip! I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with vineyard-studded hillsides colliding perfectly with turquoise water and faded pastel-colored buildings!
Cinque Terre is comprised of five villages, connected by trails and a rail. We visited four of the five towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza. I highly recommend taking time to disembark in each village to truly appreciate the beauty of each one.
No. 1 Portifino
Nothing prepared me for Portifino. It was a city I had never heard of. We almost skipped visiting it entirely to relax on our cruise. Man, am I glad we jumped off the boat!
Portifino is a port city whose harbor is so small, we had to travel by taxi to reach it from our cruise ship. The city is literally a coastal jewel! The contrast in colors between the lush green landscape, blue water, pastel-colored buildings, and brilliant flowers is just dreamy!
Unlike Cinque Terre, this coastal jewel is relatively unknown. The minimal foot traffic gave the town an idyllic vibe.
The best place to stay in Portifino is the historic Hotel Splendido. It’s a gorgeous cliffside marvel with sparkling black and white tiles, elegant staircases, and long patios bedecked with greenery overlooking the blue harbor. In the hotel lobby next to the bar, there are autographed portraits of the old Hollywood stars who have stayed there over the years.
We sat on the porch and enjoyed the BEST peach bellini I have ever had!
We also stumbled upon Brown’s Castle. Let’s just say if we were millionaires, we’d have ourselves a new home! 😉
More to Love in the Rivieras
There are so many incredible stops along the Mediterranean rivieras! I still want to visit…
How about you? Where have you been or wish to go along the rivera?