San Remo: 140km (87 miles) W of Genoa, 59km (37 miles) E of Nice
Bordighera: 155km (96 miles) W of Genoa, 15km (9 1/3 miles) W of San
Remo, 45km (28 miles) E of Nice
Gone are the days when Tchaikovsky and the Russian empress Maria
Alexandranova joined a well-heeled mix of titled Continental and British
gentry in strolling along San Remo's palm-lined avenues. They left
behind an onion-domed Orthodox church, a few grand hotels, and a snooty
casino, but San Remo is a different sort of town these days. It's still
the most cosmopolitan stop on the Riviera di Ponente (Setting Sun), as
the stretch of coast west of Genoa is called, catering mostly to
sun-seeking Italian families in the summer and elderly Romans and
Milanese who come to enjoy the balmy temperatures in the winter.
In addition to the gentle ambience of days gone by, San Remo offers its
visitors a long stretch of beach and a hilltop Old Town known as La
Pigna. For cosmopolitan pleasures, the casino attracts a well-attired
clientele willing to try their luck.
San Remo is an excellent base from which to explore the rocky coast and
Ligurian hills. So is Bordighera, a quieter resort just up the coast.
With excellent train and bus connections, both are within easy reach of
a full itinerary of fascinating stops, including Giardino Hanbury, one
of Europe's most exquisite gardens; the fascinating prehistoric remains
at Balzi Rossi; and Dolceacqua, perhaps the most enticing of all the
inland Ligurian villages.