La Spezia is both a province and city in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and plays host to an abundance of beaches -- all with the Italian Riviera as a backdrop. Whether you are looking for sparkling waters at the bottom of looming cliffs, a good place to surf, or just want to work on your tan, the beaches found throughout the La Spezia province have a little something in the sun to offer everyone.
Accessible from the city of La Spezia by train, Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages built into the tall stone cliffs of the Italian Riviera, and is one of Italy's most popular destinations. While access to water can be found from each village, only three have beaches. Riomaggiore has a small stony beach to its east, accessible by foot. Moving west, two modest beaches flank the village of Corniglia, one of which is a nudist beach. The final island, Monterosso al Mare, has a more traditional beach dotted with colorful umbrellas and features a large stretch of sand.
Located minutes west of Monterosso al Mare, Levanto gives Cinque Terre's beaches a run for their money. Boasting a good length of sandy shoreline, a diving center directly on the beach and great surfing, it's easy to see why this beach is frequently packed. Rent a motorboat, pedalo or canoe to escape the crowds, or grab some shade under the wooded pines and olive trees nearby.
Once an important Roman port, the ancient Etruscan city of Lerici is an oft-overlooked gem for beachgoers. Lerici is home to Ciccillo a Mare and Venere Azzurra, known for sprawling sandy shores that line half moon-shaped coves, heavy rock-rimmed cliffs and glistening waters. Those inclined to do more than just sunbathe have their pick of water sports, such as canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. Lerici is accessible by ferry from Cinque Terre and Portovenere.
Between the towns of Lerici and Montemarcello are several small beaches dotting the coastline that have been formed by landslides and shaped over time by the sea. The biggest of these is known as Punta Corvo, or "Spiaggione," which translates to "big beach." The waters of Punta Corvo are known for having a transparency that allow for clear visibility of sea floor rocks from several feet above. Unfortunately, the beach is made of rocks and is not ideal for sunbathing.