Top Picks for Mediterranean Luxury Yacht Charters: The Multi-faceted Italian Riviera, Exploring Superb Culture, Cuisine, Coastline

Portofino Harbor

A mountainous sliver of moon on Italy’s northern coast, known as the Italian Riviera, is defined by picturesque seaside towns, enchanting landscapes, renowned food and wine and a welcoming culture. Centered by Genoa, the Riviera di Ponente or, the coast of the setting sun, extends westward to the French border. The Riviera di Levante or, the coast of the rising sun, runs east from Genoa to Capo Corvo, just south of La Spezia. The Captain of your luxury charter yacht can assist you in creating an itinerary through this top rated charter destination based on the interests of your charter party, from sightseeing to shopping to spelunking. Here we present some of our favorite Riviera ports of call.

SANREMO or SAN REMO is known for its perfect ‘perpetual spring’ climate year around. The town is nestled at the base of the Maritime Alps with peaks that rise a dramatic 1,300 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. Disembark from your deluxe power yacht, play 18 holes at the pro golf course, explore the mountain trails on horseback, or enjoy the waterfront activity with upscale shopping and dining.

This highly cultured city also features performances by their Symphony Orchestra, Municipal Opera, theater groups and hosts many popular events including the spectacular Firework International Contest held annually the second week in August. Whether you have arrived on a head turning superyacht or  a mega sailing yacht, Sanremo Portosole marina has facilities to suit, with a variety of shops, bars and restaurants, boat repair workshop, a ship chandler, qualified outlets for on-board electronics and yacht upholstery and laundry services.

SAVONA is an important stop for history buffs. Disembark from your elegant megayacht and stroll about town. There are many sites in this colorful renaissance town that date largely from the 15th and 16th centuries, including a a medieval fortress, several cathedrals, and perhaps most notably properties linked to Christopher Columbus and his family who lived in Savona when he was a youth. Two sculpture museums and an archaeological museum are located at the fortress.

Nearby, visit another of the town’s rare, preserved 16th-century buildings, the ornate Cattedrale di Nostra Signora Assunta and the Pinatoca Civica Savona museum, which has an impressive collection of 14th and 15th century religious art, as well as two Picasso paintings. Here too, the art galleries, fine boutiques, artisan shops and good restaurants interspersed among vibrantly colored seaside homes make for a delightful shore excursion, even if you only depart your luxury charter megayacht for a brief visit.

GENOA, with its multitude of hidden gems behind cozy alleyways, excellent local cuisine, classic old port, and wonderful sights (including one of Europe’s biggest aquariums) have made the birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus an enticing port of call. Luxury yacht charter clients that fly into the Aeroporto Genova for embarkation are centrally located in the Riviera and should plan an extra day or two to explore this vibrant city. The major commercial port has facilities for all vessels, so whether you have chartered a superyacht or luxury power catamaran there are first class services available.

With pastel-colored terra cotta-roofed houses, artistic churches, lovely seaside villas, and designer boutiques, Genoa is the quintessential Italy. The historic center is a maze of squares and narrow alleys that front structures of varying centuries and styles, from ancient to medieval to modern. Most of the city’s important monuments have been painstakingly restored and Genova is designated both as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as the European Capital of Culture, along with the French city of Lille.

An event of interest to yachtsmen is the Genoa International Boat Show,  inaugurated in 1962, this event has evolved into one of the largest annually recurring events in Genoa.

PORTOFINO is a mandatory port of call on a luxury charter yacht itinerary in the Italian Riviera, this prototypical Italian fishing village is renowned for its waterfront lined with a continuous ring of shops, restaurants and cafés crowded around the small harbor. This idyllic seaside town has inspired countless paintings as well as full scale replication in settings that include Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Orlando Resort.

Below the water line, of interest to divers, is the statue of Christ of the Abyss, which was placed in 1954 in the small bay at a depth of 17 meters to protect fishermen and scuba divers. There are also several popular beaches a few minutes along the coast in both directions that are delightful spots to have your superb crewed charter yacht anchored off.

CINQUE TERRE is an extraordinary part of the Italian Riviera coastline that is visually amazing from the sweeping deck of a regal superyacht or an elegantly sporty power yacht. Encompassing five villages and the surrounding hillsides and beaches, the Cinque Terre towns are part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hikers may opt to walk the entire way from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, where the crew will pick up. This beautiful walk of just a little over 4 ½ hours passes the villages where residents, over the centuries, have constructed precarious houses by terracing the steep cliffs overlooking the sea. To this day these uniquely striking villages cannot be reached by car, the inaccessibility further adding to their distinct charm and making this a truly privileged view for yacht charter clients.


This small seaside resort town, lush with palms that line the harbor, is less trendy than neighboring Portofino and a friendly ambience makes Santa Margherita a more authentically Italian experience. The waterfront features a choice of marinas with docks for private pleasure craft, luxury charter yachts, as well as local fishing boats. Popular cafes are the social focus of the town’s two seaside squares, Piazza Martiri della Liberta and Piazza Vittorio Veneto. For patrons of the arts, a Crucifixion by Van Dyck in the church of San Michele is an added incentive for a visit.

LA SPEZIA is a beautiful town on the Ligurian coast and one of the main Italian military and commercial harbors. There is a very large marina with good facilities that is very popular with both superyachts and sailing yachts.  A rich cultural heritage lives in the medieval castles, Renaissance and Baroque adornments on churches and palaces, the Art Nouveau-style villas, public gardens and numerous interesting museums. The strategic port, settled since prehistoric times, is especially famous to WWII scholars and concentration camp survivors as the «Schàar Zion», meaning Door to Sion. From the summer of 1945 to the spring of 1948 over 23,000 Jews managed to leave Italy from this port clandestinely on ships bound for Palestine.

From the urban bustle of Genoa to the remote and timeless Cinque Terre, a charter yacht adventure through the Italian Riviera holds a fascination for everyone. This is an excellent educational adventure for a family charter, a perfect vacation for friends who enjoy an active charter, and supremely romantic as a honeymoon or anniversary celebration destination.

Whether your charter party requires a superb megayacht, a luxury crewed catamaran, or a performance sailing yacht, Sunreef Yachts Charter experts will find the perfect yacht and crew.

Contact a Sunreef Yachts Charter professional for a comprehensive selection of charter yachts available in destinations worldwide.