The Surroundings

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Explore The Surroundings -The Mediterranean Sea – The Beautiful Hinterland & The Pittoresque Mountain Top Villages – The Italian & French Riviera – Unforgettable moments

See & Do

San Michele
San Michele

Ventimiglia Alta (old town) served as the fortified city centre through the 1800s. What remains today is an incredibly beautiful and architecturally unusual historical site. There are four churches in the steep, winding streets – one of which, the Church of San Michele, is more than 1,000 years old. The granite columns that support the church’s crypt are said to be built from ancient Roman milestones.

Forte dell'Annunziata
Forte dell'Annunziata

Other Roman remains in Ventimiglia include a Roman theatre, buildings, tombs, and parts of the ancient city wall. Roman artefacts from the area, such as statues, tombstones, oil lamps, and ceramics, are housed in the Girolomo Rossi Archaeological Museum in Forte dell’Annunziata on Via Verdi. Just outside of the old town, there is a second Roman museum called Museo Civico Archeologico Girolamo Rossi.

Balzi Rossi
Balzi Rossi

The Balzi Rossi, close to the French border, is the most important Ligurian archaeological site with spectacular caves perched on sea where man used to live in the Paleolithic Era and whose traces are preserved in the Prehistoric museum.

Hanbury
Hanbury

The Villa Hanbury Gardens boasts 18 hectares of splendid subtropical plants from all over the world. The extensive botanical gardens, Italy’s largest, surrounding the former villa of Sir Thomas Hanbury are built on a slope extending almost to the sea. Hanbury Gardens are a few kilometers outside town, reached by car, bus, or taxi.

Ospedaletti - San Lorenzo al Mare
Ospedaletti - San Lorenzo al Mare

In nearby Sanremo, old railway tracks have been converted into a traffic free, coastal path, used by walkers, roller bladers as well as cyclists. The path is 20 km long and runs from Ospedaletti to San Lorenzo al Mare along the seafront. It meanders through the delightful town of Sanremo, then down the coast. There are plenty of spots along the route with benches where you can rest and enjoy the scenery and places to stop for refreshments. There are several places where you can hire bicycles but the easiest place to pick one up is directly opposite the old train station in San Remo, close to the coastline and the old town.

When you’ve had enough of the beaches and palm trees, head to the mountains to experience an alpine ambiance and a different kind of Italian charm. Limone Piemonte is a skiing & snowboarding resort with ample amenities, also a great place for mountain biking and hiking outside of the ski season (December until April). It can be reached by car in around 1.5 hours or by train in under two hours.

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The Local Area

Ventimiglia
Ventimiglia

Ventimiglia is a town on the northwest part of the Italian Riviera on Italy’s west coast, the last town before the French border. The modern part of the town runs along the sea while the old town is uphill on the other side of the Roja River. Since Ventimiglia is on the main rail line between Genoa and France, it makes a good base for visiting the northwestern part of the Italian Riviera and Liguria, the French Riviera, and glitzy Montecarlo.

Ventimiglia has a charming, beachy feel and it has a character unlike any other Riviera town, retaining its traditional identity while adopting an eclectic selection of the new. It’s an honest, understated yet interesting place to visit, explore or just be.

Ventimiglia
Ventimiglia

On Fridays, tourists flock to the famous open-air market. The seafront is lined with stands offering deals on handmade clothing, leather goods, produce, freshly caught fish, Italian food specialities, wine, and, of course, flowers. Year-round, the streets are lined with buzzing cafes, casual restaurants, family-run bakeries, upscale shops selling all manner of Italian specialties. Beyond the shops and market, Ventimiglia’s dining options are vast. The seaside promenade is lined with everything from casual cafes serving pizza and pasta to upscale seafood restaurants offering ocean views and extensive wine lists.

Ventimiglia
Ventimiglia

There is an expansive beach right near the centre of Ventimiglia, where it is possible to hire sun loungers and umbrellas for the day at one of its beach bars. If sunbathing isn’t your thing, why not take a stroll along the extensive lungomare (promenade).

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Calandre
Calandre

The Mediterranean Sea

Balzi Rossi
Balzi Rossi

Ventimiglia offers holidaymakers a variety of beaches. Beach Trento e Trieste is an expansive pebble beach close to the city centre with easy access to all sorts of facilities – from bars and restaurants to sun loungers and parasols. The Spiaggia dei Balzi Rossi is surrounded by red cliffs and wild plants and flowers. The sea here is particularly beautiful; its sloping sandy seabed is very popular with scuba divers and snorkelers. Don’t miss the Calandre Beach, a couple of kilometres from the centre of Ventimiglia: soft and golden sand, reached on foot along a charming and well signposted path through scented Mediterranean maquis. Don’t forget your board, since surf’s up on breezy days!

Whale watching
Whale watching

Whale watching boat trips run from neighbouring Bordighera from June until the beginning of October. The excursion lasts some 4 hours from when the boat heads out towards the watery horizon. The idea is to sight and observe a wide range of resident mammal species in their natural habitat, the International Cetacean Sanctuary.

Wind surfing
Wind surfing

The NO STRESS TEAM organize windsurf, canoe, catamaran and surf courses on the beach in nearby Bordighera from April until October. This is ideal for those who want to enjoy a beach holiday with fun activities. AMB Sportshore in Bordighera also rent out jet skis and a variety of boats. A perfect way to discover the splendid wonders of the Ligurian coast.

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The Hinterland

Perinaldo, Bajardo
Perinaldo, Bajardo

The valley of the Nervia river (more colloquially known as “Val Nervia”) is located just behind the eastern sections of Ventimiglia, with a winning combination of beautiful scenery, picturesque medieval villages and delicious Ligurian food.

Dolceacqua
Dolceacqua

Dolceaqua is a place that inspired many artists including Claude Monet and is well known for its fifteen century Doria castle and its humpbacked bridge. This is the area where Rossesse wine is produced. Head to the vineyards of Terre Bianche in the hills above Dolceacqua to sample some local speciality wines. Don’t forget to have a look at craft products made of olive wood.

Rocchetta Nervina
Rocchetta Nervina

A visit to Rocchetta Nervina is a great alternative to the beach. Here there are natural pools of mountain river water where you’ll get the most refreshing swim, surrounded by the lush Ligurian hills. They’re unspoilt and still to be discovered by most tourists. It is a great spot to picnic, although there are restaurants in the village centre.

Apricale
Apricale

Apricale is one of the prettiest villages in the region, with fantastic restaurants and the sunniest piazza. Apricale has a lot to offer; a 12th century castle, a museum, several lovely churches and beautiful wall murals dotted around the village. The village centre is free of modern transport although there is plenty of parking space on the periphery. The surrounding countryside is very popular with hikers and cyclists.

Pigna
Pigna

Pigna clings to a hill, with narrow little streets in bare stone; there are climbs to be made on foot and flights of steps that lead to the top of the village: The Loggia of Piazza Vecchia (15th century) is a panoramic natural balcony over the green valley. A little outside the centre is the San Michele church, where there is an exceptional Renaissance polyptych by Giovanni Canavesio.

Bajardo
Bajardo

The peaceful village of Bajardo awaits you. Steeped in history and atmosphere, the village offers breath-taking views over the Maritime Alps. One of the main attractions are the ruins of the old Church of S.Nicolò, where hundreds of the village’s inhabitants lost their lives when the church collapsed on them during an earthquake in 1887. Bajardo also hosts a popular annual druid festival.

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The Italian & French Riviera

Menton
Menton

The French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) is the Mediterranean coast of South Eastern France. It includes famously glamorous beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes, the bustling city of Nice and the independent microstate of Monaco.

Monaco
Monaco

There are trains departing Ventimiglia station regularly, making it easy to explore the region. In fact, you can reach Monaco by train in just 30 minutes!

Nice
Nice

The Italian Riviera is a stretch of coastline home to an enchanting mix of history, pristine beaches, panoramic views and mouth-watering regional cuisine. Lovers of la dolce vita, artists, writers, celebrities and royalty have been flocking to this glamorous destination since the 1800s—and it’s easy to see why!

Sanremo
Sanremo

There’s something for everyone: picturesque hiking or skiing in the mountains, music and glitz in Sanremo, the pretty pastel-painted coastal villages of the Cinque Terre, open air markets in Ventimiglia, and dozens of quaint waterfront towns along miles of clear blue water. The capital city of Liguria, Genova, can be reached by train from Ventimiglia in around 2hrs. Offering both splendour and an undiluted sense of history, the city is rich in art and notable architecture, with a revitalized port designed by one of the best-known architects in the world.

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Bordighera
Bordighera