Santa Margherita on the strikingly beautiful Italian Riviera was undoubtedly one of the best places I visited on my recent cruise on-board MS Ryndam. Sailing on our small tender boat from where the ship was anchored, Santa Margherita seemed to rise up out of the water before my eyes. It is truly one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.
But on a day where a visiting cruise ship swells the population by 1000 or so camera wielding tourists, I longed for some peace and quiet away from the crowds. Walking just a few streets back from the picture postcard perfect sea-front, I found exactly what I was looking for. Empty streets, quiet cafes and intriguing architecture awaited me, and my love for Santa Margherita grew infinitely.
The streets of Santa Margherita were ever-changing, there seemed to be no pattern or regularity to them, and I adored that. The buildings were all multi-coloured and it seemed as though no two were the same. Some streets were narrow and mysterious, others were spacious and almost perfectly symmetrical. The irregularity was both charming and exciting. I was always left wondering what I would find around the next corner, or at the end of a narrow street.
Many buildings in Santa Margherita are covered in painted frescoes. This reminded me of jet setters favourite Portofino, which is just 15 minutes away by boat. Although Portofino is definitely more mesmorisingly beautiful, it is far smaller, and therefore harder to escape the crowds. As it also attracts the rich and famous, the prices in bars, cafes and restaurants reflect this (8 euros for a diet coke?!). For these simple reasons I ultimately preferred Santa Margherita.
All too quickly it was time to say goodbye to the tranquility of Santa Margherita and the Italian Riviera. But one thing’s for sure – I’ll definitely be back. There’s so many small towns and villages along the coast that I’ve heard are even more beautiful than Santa Margherita and I’m positively dying to explore them.