Tour description

Northern Italy is a culinary delight, featuring high-class wine and divine ingredients like truffle, hazelnut, and Arborio rice. This region has a unique culture all its own, shaped by it’s deep ancient history and modern culture. Along with its distinctive cuisine and culture, the rolling hills and classy architecture of this distinctive wine region will surely blow you away. Scenic views stretch across the Northwest of Italy to the borders of France and Switzerland. This picturesque region features snow capped peaks, terraced vineyards and classic terracotta colored homes Italy is known for. A trip to the Liguria region of Italy will quickly become the vacation of a lifetime.

The best way to explore this unique region of Italy is with a small group tour to allow a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience. On this tour, we’ll dive deep into this magnificent region of Italy, get hands-on experiences, and create a memorable experience of Italy!

Read what our friends have to say about this fantastic tour over on Tripadvisor.

HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS: 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

Highlights

  • Guided tour of Genoa
  • Visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites like 
  • Learn about local traditions, products, environment, and varieties of the Cinque Terre
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Local markets and cheese tastings
  • wine tastings

Included

  • Small group tour of 12-14 participants
  • Knowledgeable English-speaking tour director
  • Entrance fees for all sites
  • Tour transportation in a private air-conditioned motor coach
  • Local guides in the outlined cities and towns
  • Hotel city and service taxes at all accommodations and restaurants are included
  • Transfers to Pisa Airport and Genoa at scheduled times
  • Baggage transfers and porters are included
  • All breakfasts, two lunches and four dinners are covered. Main meals include wine, mineral water, espresso, or tea
  • Activity level: Light/Moderate
  • Terms & Conditions/single supplement and FAQ.

Not Included

  • Travel insurance and visa fees/Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance
  • Any charges for extras not listed in the itinerary
  • Room services, telephone charges, laundry fees
  • Gratuities for the tour director and local driver
  • Single room supplement
  • Airfares
OUR ACCOMMODATIONS
DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1 Welcome to Liguria

Meet up at Pisa airport or train station and travel to Porto Venere for the first 2 nights stay at the central hotel, with breakfast included. In the evening, meet your tour manager for a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in PORTO VENERE

DAY 2: Porto Venere and the Island of Palmaria

For a day of exceptional beauty, discover Porto Venere—a UNESCO World Heritage Site— whose name comes from an ancient temple of Venus. Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Gulf of Poets, Porto Venere was a dream destination for poets like Byron and Shelley. See the town’s fortified Doria Castle perched high on the rocks, whose walls extend to the well- preserved medieval historical center, affording idyllic views of the high coasts, caves, and crystal blue sea. Then, just beyond a narrow strait, take a moderate, 21⁄2-hour hike along trails in the uniquely beautiful Island of Palmaria, the largest island in Liguria, with its fragrant Mediterranean vegetation and breathtaking views. After an included lunch in a seafood restaurant, spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in PORTO VENERE

DAY 3: An exploration of the Cinque Terre & Santa Margherita Ligure

Enjoy an unforgettable exploration of the legendary Italian Riviera! Wind along the coast to the beautiful Cinque Terre—the Five Hanging Villages—strung like jewels along the verdant hills of the rugged Ligurian coast. Arrive first at the charming 13th-century fishing village of
Riomaggiore, where beautiful pastel houses hug the steep hillside. Take a short walk to explore this lovely town, before transferring by a typical Ligurian gozzo wooden boat to the brightly coloured cliffside town of Vernazza, stopping for a delicious lunch of the celebrated local cuisine in a setting of breathtaking beauty! From there, proceed by taking a short ride by private boat to discover the picturesque town of Monterosso al Mare, dotted with lemon trees, and boasting a lovely beach and pristine blue waters. The day offers hours of incredible, lush landscapes, breathtaking seascapes, enchanting villages, and a chance to deeply experience the quintessence of Italy! Then head to the elegant seaside town of Santa Margarita Ligure, graced with an incomparable position in the Tigullio Gulf. Explore the church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia; the 16th century Villa Durazzo built for a wealthy Genoese family; the vibrant alleys of the historical centre, and the picturesque waterfront lined with Liberty- style buildings. Spend the next two nights at the central “Hotel Continental” or similar, with breakfast included. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight in SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE

DAY 4: Picture Perfect Portofino, San Fruttuoso & a Roving Wine Tour of Rapallo

After breakfast, we’ll meet our local guide and enjoy a panoramic trip by private boat to the postcard-perfect village of Portofino. We’ll marvel at the unique arch of colorful houses and the lovely “piazzetta” overlooking the water during a guided walking tour. We’ll then take the boat again to our next stop, San Fruttuoso, a stunning cove reachable only by boat or via a hiking path, with a medieval abbey built right on the beach. The setting is dreamlike: shimmering turquoise waters and a 10th century Abbey, (UNESCO World Heritage Site), which we’ll tour with our guide. We then continue to nearby Rapallo and meet with a local wine expert who will lead us on a discovery wine tour with some appetizers. In the evening we will reach by boat the village of Camogli, for a tour and a sunset dinner. Overnight in SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE

DAY 5: Pesto Making Lesson in an Ancient Palace, a Visit to historical Genoa & the western Ligurian Riviera

In this once-in-a-lifetime experience, take a pesto-making lesson in an ancient noble palace in Genoa! Meet your English-speaking guide at the Palazzo Imperiale—the beautiful ancient residence built around 1560 —now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the richly decorated interior, complete with artworks, furnishings and remarkable kitchen. There, meet your private English-speaking chef, and learn how to prepare Genoa’s most famous dish—pesto! After lunch, explore the ancient streets, the monumental squares and the magnificent noble residences of Genoa’s fascinating historical center! One of the most interesting and entertaining museums anywhere awaits our visit in Genoa – the Galata Museo del Mare (Museum of the Sea) – a multi-media masterpiece where you can board sailing vessels in one century and emigrate to the Americas in another. Continue to the gorgeous seaside town of Alassio for the last 3 nights at a central boutique hotel, with breakfast included. Alassio is well-known for its spectacular natural setting and beautiful views. Along its seafront of sandy beaches, you’ll find a lovely promenade lined with excellent bars and cafes, and the cobbled streets of the pedestrianized town center make for a relaxed afternoon stroll. Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant. Overnight in ALASSIO

DAY 6: Morning tour to Villa Hanbury Gardens & Monte -Carlo, Monaco

Morning tour to Villa Hanbury Gardens laid out by Sir Thomas Hanbury in the mid-19th century. A dramatic 100-acre site on a promontory, the garden is planted with a wide range of specimens. Then continue to the stylish principality of Monaco, a sovereign state that has been ruled by the Grimaldi family for more than seven centuries. It boasts luxurious hotels, exclusive restaurants and the highest number of millionaires per square meter than any other country in the world! The district of Monte Carlo is the sophisticated playground of the rich and famous, renowned for its famous casino, exquisite gardens, opulent boutiques and a grand harbor filled with expensive yachts. We’ll discover these glamorous sights on today’s tour of the French riviera. Return to Alassio for the evening at leisure. Overnight in ALASSIO

DAY 7: My time in Alassio & elegant Dolceacqua with dinner

A morning to relax, to take it all in, free for you to spend as you wish. You might head off to discover one of the longest sandy beaches in the eastern Liguria region or spend time exploring the lively town center and its historic monuments. In the early afternoon, departure for the medieval mountain village of Dolceacqua, made up of two beautiful villages connected by a stone bridge, for a memorable last dinner in a unique and magical place. Overnight in ALASSIO

DAY 8: Arrivederci Bella Liguria

Today, we’ll have our morning transfers to Genoa airport or train station. If you want to extend your vacation, you might consider our 3 nights stay in beautiful Nice.

TOUR PRICING

2025 Tour Price: € 3,900      Single Supplement: € 800  currency converter

Prices are per person based on double room occupancy

REVIEWS
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Unique Northern Italian Lakes

11/07/2024

We just completed your “Majesty of the Italian Lakes” tour (18-29 Sept 2023), with manager Antonia. Overall, we count it as one of the best managed and a favorite of the many trips we have previously made to Europe. The itinerary included so much more than expected! Specific daily tours were well guided by obvious professionals. The pace was well suited for the average age of people in our group, and allowed sufficient leisure time to independently dine and shop. All accommodations were outstanding and accurately described in your literature…’small, intimate, central hotels with a high level of service, location, authenticity, and Italian flavor’. The Final Tour Information you provided in advance was extremely thorough and helpful. Of particular note, Antonia was an exceptional tour manager. Her delightful personality and pleasant wit were enjoyed by everyone. Her professional knowledge of Italy’s history, Milan, and the lakes region were impressive and appreciated by all. She was attentive to the needs of each person, and able to politely keep the group on schedule…not any easy task. As promised, she was ‘flexible, resilient, and accommodating’…and just plain fun! We will highly recommend this tour to friends and family, and will post rave reviews on social media. This tour is a winner that you should continue to offer.

Dave Leslie Reppard USA October 2023

Squisito!

01/07/2024

Having only returned home to Australia last month, this is the first chance we’ve had to write a review. We’ve always described ourselves as predominantly independent travellers and so we were a little hesitant about joining a group tour of Puglia & Matera, which we did in April of this year. But now the problem is: how does one praise a perfect tour? For that’s what Secret Italia’s tour of this extraordinary region is. And what makes matters worse, is that all the reviews above have stolen our thunder, for they are absolutely accurate and cover everything we had intended to say. Our thanks must go to Aldo & Katrin’s brilliant work in planning and orchestrating the entire journey. Everything we did, saw and experienced was superb. Highlights for us were: the beauty of the lush countryside of the Itria Valley; the delightful, white-washed, hilltop town of Locorotondo, the exquisitely decorated hotel in Matera with THAT magical view; Primitivo wine; the cathedral in Galatina with its jaw-dropping frescoes; the pasta making experience; the boat ride at Polignano a Mare; everyone singing “Volare” at the tops of our voices, the food, the food, the food and the revelation of drinking Caffè Speciale in Polignano a Mare… We could go on. But most of all our praise must go to our wonderful guide, Paola, who is a super intelligent, empathetic, caring, fun-loving, extremely knowledgeable human being. She’s a marvel, and we thank her from the bottom of our hearts. Anyway, we’ll stop there. We’ve just decided to browse through possible Secret Italia tours for 2025.

Roslyn Peter McFarland

Absolutely amazing!

28/06/2024

This tour gave us the taste of Spain we were hoping for. What a magical country!

The food, hotels, guides, activities were first rate. We felt very pampered. This is a moderate walking tour…but time for rest as well.

As close to a perfect trip as possible.

Barbara Valdez

Sicily Amore Mio

04/06/2024

As a dual citizen in Italia and the US, I have studied la lingua italiana for many years, and consider it the most beautiful in the world.For many years I have personally planned our Italian vacations, so this was our FIRST tour of any kind in Europe.This tour was very well planned, it covered all the highlights of Sicily, and also delved into numerous small towns both inland and along the coast, providing an intimate and exciting look at the lives of middle class every day Sicilians.We all felt we learned so much about the people and the history. The local tours guides were terrific.The Mercedes sprinter van was very comfortable and our driver Francesco was fantastic and very safe.Our personal local guide, Rosaria, was simply amazing. She was incredibly engaging, friendly and helpful, and in addition provided an immense amount of information about local places, customs, food and Italian history. She was a team builder and facilitator of having the group come together as a “family” for the vacation. She was very personable and competent in every aspect of her role as our tour director. If I were to rate Rosaria on her performance on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate her an 11! She was simply that good!The choice of restaurants was outstanding in every sense, and the pranzo lunches and the cena dinners were wonderful.The cuisine we were treated to remind me that food in Sicily is really the best in Italy.We enjoyed the trip so much (as did my sister and husband with us) that we are planning on going on another Secret Italia Tour.

My closing words are fantastico e meraviglioso!!!

Kenneth and Mary Pellegrino, USA

Amazing Puglia Tour April 2024

17/05/2024

This is a thank you message for Aldo, Karin, Paola and Manuela. We have just returned from amazing Puglia and our guide Paola. The trip was so perfect and the coordination of hotels, restaurants and sights was always well done. Bill and I thank you all for giving us a really relaxing trip with nothing to worry about at any time. From the beginning with Manuela to the ending with Paola it was an impressive and well run tour. We are already thinking about Portugal next year. Best to you all. Bill and Laurie Minch

Bill and Laurie Minch, USA




NORTHERN ITALY TOURS

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