The 5 Western European Rivieras
Although when someone says the word “Riviera” easily this is combined with the fascinating coastal region between the Alps and the blue waters of the Mediterranean that extends from southeastern France to north-western Italy but this Italian term with medieval roots has become in common use for numerous coastal destinations throughout Europe, both western and eastern. The authentic Riviera includes only two areas, the famous Côte d’Azur and the Italian coast between La Spezia and the French border, both overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. But now with the development of tourism in all the European coasts, people have started using the word “Riviera” to refer to other areas similar to the Cote d’Azur, and so in Europe the Rivieras increased, reaching at least 12, all breathtaking. Today we take a look at the 5 Western European Rivieras.
Giving the start to the concept of avant-garde vacation, the French Riviera played an essential role in 18th century tourism, when it became one of the most popular destinations among the British aristocracy. Now, after almost 200 years, this area still boasts some of the world’s most fashionable resorts. Home of Cannes, Saint Tropez, Nice and Monaco, the iconic French Riviera combines splendor and glamor with incomparable natural beauty, offering everything from nightlife to luxurious hotels without forgetting world-class restaurants, luxury shops, yachts and celebrities everywhere. On the other hand, the culture, history and fabulous art of the Côte d’Azur can be experienced anywhere around its charming old cities, including Nice or the perched villages of Èze and Gourdon.
Known first as the Ligurian Riviera, the Italian Riviera continues the French Côte d’Azur, flowing along the Mediterranean, the Maritime Alps and the Apennines to reach Capo Corvo, near Tuscany. With the center in Genoa, which divides it into two sides, the Riviera di Ponente and the Riviera di Levante, this spectacular stretch of Italian coast has a unique charm, visitors fascinated by the majestic views, ancient ports and fishing villages like Portofino or the wonderful Cinque Terre.
Costa Blanca – Alicante
Although there is no Spanish Riviera, travel websites usually use this term when they talk about the gorgeous beaches of Spain and fortunately the Iberian country has countless. So, if there was a Spanish Riviera, this would probably include most of the beaches in the country, as Spain is almost entirely surrounded by beautiful coasts kissed by the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. Starting from the Costa Brava (the Spanish “wild coast”), which stretches from the French border to the north of Barcelona and blends beautifully into the Costa Dorada, the country is rich in a myriad of marvelous beaches. Further on, the Mediterranean gives rise to three other famous coasts: the Costa del Azahar, the Costa de Valencia and the glorious Costa Blanca, all belonging to the autonomous community of Valencia. The Costa Blanca is followed by the scenic Costa Calida in the province of Murcia, from where the Andalusian show begins with its four superstars: Costa Almeria, Costa Tropical, Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz, in this order. Then, in the extreme north-western corner of Spain, on the Atlantic coast, lies the pristine Costa de Galicia, followed by the splendid Costa Verde in the Principality of Asturias and the enchanting Costa Vasca in the Basque Country.
Consisting of 22 miles of spectacular coastline, the English Riviera includes three delightful coastal towns: the picturesque Torquay, Paignton and the fishing village of Brixham. The area, which still conveys the mystery of Agatha Christie’s fascinating novels and the aura of a high-class Victorian society, presents numerous beaches, parks and public gardens, as well as picturesque, fascinating and historic ports.
Famous above all for its breathtaking mountains and the Viennese waltz, Austria is also home to beautiful alpine lakes, such as the beautiful Lake Wörthersee, 16 km long, called from the locals: the Austrian Riviera. Located in the south of the country, this place was an exclusive summer retreat for the Viennese aristocratic society in the mid-19th century. In a sense, its reputation as a Monte Carlo in Austria has been kept alive over the years, in fact the destination has always been considered a reference point for high-level tourism and for activities such as golf and horse riding. Lake Wörthersee enjoys an extraordinary setting, with calm waters, lush flora and picturesque medieval villages dotted along its lush coasts.