When one thinks of the Italian Riviera, there are a few places that come to mind - Portofino, Genoa, Cinque Terre. But what most guidebooks don't show are the many smaller seaside villages that pepper the coast. If you're looking to visit this stunning region of Italy that is dotted with pastel colored towns, shallow bays perfect for swimming, and steep cliffs covered in lush vegetation, you have a lot of options. From luxury beach resorts to AirBnB rentals, this region has something for every budget and type of traveler. We chose to spend a night in Sestri Levanti and it was a fantastic decision.
During the planning phase of this trip, Cinque Terre kept popping up on my radar. A series of 5 towns built into the cliffs of the Riveria that plunge into the Mediterranean, the towns are a time capsule. From the water, they are stunning, and I'm sure they are just as pleasant from land. But, they are also very, very, popular with tourists. When I had trouble finding accommodations on short notice, I was worried how many tourists there would be (not to mention the logistics of getting there since vehicle traffic is either restricted or forbidden altogether). It didn't take long for me to find pictures of the "real" Cinque Terre - the ones with hoards of tourists so thick you couldn't walk through them. We quickly decided that we weren't interested in dealing with all those people, and ended up nixing Cinque Terre from our list of stops. Nonetheless, we did want to spend night in the Riveria region to take in its beauty and that's when we found a small B&B in the hills just outside of Sestri Levante. The B&B was beautiful, brand new, comfortably appointed, and the owner was seriously the friendliest person we met on our trip. Breakfast the next morning was taken in the garden outside and had homemade pastries from the owners wife. I would wholeheartedly recommend booking a room at this place!
On the way from Tuscany to Sestri Levante, we wanted to make sure we stopped and dipped our (and Evelyn's) toes in the Mediterranean. We found a little beach side restaurant where we grabbed a simple lunch and walked down to the water for a bit. Evelyn was not impressed.
When we arrived Gianmarco recommended taking a ride down to the town of Sestri Levante. We grabbed dinner at a cafe and then strolled around the town as the sun set. The pastel colored building provided a perfect backdrop to watch the setting sun while eating gelato.
We didn't spend a whole lot of time in town (we had a baby that was getting sleepy), but it was quite relaxing to walk along the bay, watching the sailboats bob gently on the water. If you're looking for a cute village with fewer tourists than the towns of Cique Terre, check out Sestri Levante. You won't be disappointed :)