THE ITALIAN RIVIERA

THE LIGURIAN CRESCENT

Italy has no shortage of breathtaking coastal regions, but its Riviera is exceptionally unique (riviera is an Italian term, after all). The region lies between the Ligurian Sea, Alps, and Apennines and is synonymous with the colorful Cinque Terre fishing villages. Focaccie, trofie al pesto, and farinata: these are just some of the savory indulgences synonymous with the region...and in Italy, there’s always much more. There is arguably little that is off the beaten path in the country, but the medieval village of Portovenere (a Lord Byron favorite!) manages to maintain its everyday authentic magic and deserves a day trip of its own. And Liguria’s postcard resort city, Portofino, needs no introduction. For a dose of city life and Fabrizio De André legacy, head towards the port city of Genoa.

 

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THE FRENCH RIVIERA

CINEMATIC GLITZ

Crossing the Franco-Italian border into France and the southeast coast of Provence, the Côte d’Azur offers unparalleled settings: Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Nice are the most-loved and most-visited in the area. In late spring, the Monaco Grand Prix injects boisterous energy and action into Monaco. Between Michelin-starred restaurants and local bistros, there’s a wealth of excellent cuisine to be tried (though the Provençal fish stew, bouillabaisse, might not be for everyone). And if you’ve ever wondered what a Niçoise salad would taste like when tucked into a sandwich, make it your mission to grab a pan bagnat when in Nice!

 

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THE PORTUGUESE RIVIERA

THE NOBLE COAST

The Estoril Coast wasn’t always referred to as a riviera, but the Italian and French coastlines have seemingly brought on a naming trend. And truth be told, the region does exude “riviera energy”. The coast is picturesque, the stone bass is exceptionally fresh, and the mild climate is as welcoming as they come. Plus, Lisbon’s signature nightlife is right nearby. King Luís I of Portugal would spend his summers in Cascais – and for good reason: the town might just be the epitome of Portugal. Ronaldo seems to agree; the soccer player is reportedly building his retirement mansion in Quinta da Marinha.

 

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THE ALBANIAN RIVIERA

A BALKAN HAVEN

Once upon a time, Albania’s Riviera was still a secret of some sort. No more, social media and television cameos have catapulted the region to fame, and the Riviera is increasingly dotted with tourist services and is often referred to as “the next Croatia”. The region’s most popular city, Ksamil, boasts the kind of pristine turquoise waters that are rather rare to come across in Europe. Keep in mind, though, that despite its untarnished beauty, the Albanian Riviera has fewer luxury facilities when compared to its French, Italian, and Portuguese counterparts.

Though relatively close to one another, the Italian, French, Portuguese, and Albanian rivieras each offer their own kind of magic, whether it's the hue of the water, the way the sun shines through the trees, the balance of spices in the foods, the spirit of the citizens, or the general je ne sais quoi atmosphere. A potential solution to the choice overload? Make a stop in each and every one.