Quiet islands, Venetian harbours, sumptuous seafood and golden sands these seaside towns in France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Portugal are ingrained with the spirit of summer
Sanremo, Liguria, Italy
Called City of Flowers for its bloom-laden streets, Sanremo is Italy’s Monte Carlo – with a grand 1905 casino but not Monaco prices. It’s popular with families, and in true Italian style most beaches charge for entry. However, there is a spiaggia libera in the centre, off Corso Trento Trieste, and it’s fun to take the trolleybus (filobus, line U) west to the free beaches of Bagni Azzurri and Tre Ponti. Sanremo’s atmospheric old town, called La Pigna, is a warren of covered alleys, steps and little squares.
Where to eat/drink
On the main road behind the marina, Basilico e Pinoli does excellent coffee and breakfasts, with lots for vegetarians and vegans. At Osteria Camelot – in an 18th-century house at the foot of La Pigna – try octopus carpaccio (€10), swordfish gnocchi (€10) or seared tuna with sesame (€15).
Where to eat stay
With a roof terrace overlooking the central beaches, Residence dei Due Porti has smart apartments from €85 a night (minimum stays in summer). Families can get good-value deals in places such as Hotel Marinella, handy for the beach, with half-board in a spacious quad room €220 a night for four in July.
The nearest airport is Nice, served by easyJet from seven UK airports, and by Ryanair from Stansted. Eurostar trains go from London St Pancras from £190 return. It’s a scenic 90-minute train ride along the Côte d’Azur and over the border to Sanremo (from €5.80 one-way).