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Santa Margherita Ligure


The palm lined harbour town of Santa Margherita Ligure is very close to Portofino, on the north west coast of Italy.

It was well known in the early 1900's as a fashionable retreat for the rich and glamorous, but these days is a peaceful, pretty relaxing town, better known now for the food festivals, one being the Festa di Primavera, which happens in February, amongst other things, fritters are prepared barbeque style on the beach and served to you around huge bonfires. Santa Margherita is also famous for its lobsters, caught daily by the fleet of fishing ships.

Being small, Santa Margherita is easy to get around. There is a train station on the hill above the sea front with steps down to the main town. Hourly ferries take you to Portofino and Rapallo, or there is a truly beautiful bus ride along the coast road to Portofino.

The Piazza Martiri della Liberta, and Piazza Vittorio Veneto are two seaside squares to sit in, either to watch the activities of the fishing boats, or to recover from a mornings exertions offered by the various watersports. There is sailing, waterskiing and canoeing to be enjoyed. Just off the seafront is the Basilica di Santa Margherita, which is worth visiting just to see the glorious gilded and lavish inside.

Restaurants are varied, there is a choice to suit all palettes and pockets, as are the hotels. The most famous hotel being the Gran Hotel Miramare, which was the first grand hotel, built on this coast. Having been a huge villa, it was converted in the town's hey day to a proper grand hotel. Guests can stroll peacefully to Portofino, along the headland, drinking in the stunning views on the way.

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