PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
This classic Riviera beach resort has a long history of providing superb hotels, excellent restaurants and a laid-back ambience that ensures visitors return year after year. The town was actually formed more than 1,000 years ago, but its current prosperity came about in the 1950s, when it was first connected via rail to Italy's bigger cities. Santa Margherita has since become a firm favourite among those seeking a relaxing getaway with lots of dining options and attractions, all with stunning scenery as a backdrop. Most of the buzz is centred along the seafront – a half-moon sweep of sandy beach and pretty harbour, backed by bars and restaurants and dominated by the remains of a medieval castle. Choose a bar and soak up the sea views with a glass of wine or a coppa of gelato.
There are plenty of quaint delights to be found around town too, including the magnificent baroque church, Chiesa Di San Giacomo Di Corte, and the atmospheric Villa Durazzo palace, which is set high above the town and offers splendid views and relaxing gardens. The town is also popular for its location – it acts as a great hub from which to visit Portofino’s picturesque harbour or to see the towns of the Cinque Terre.