One of the closest coastal towns in Luguria to the French border, Bordighera is best known for its old town and exotic gardens, and for the neighbouring villages of Sasso and Borghetto San Nicolò that preserve their own historic centres but are now part of Bordighera itself.
Before heading off to explore the historic centre we suggest you walk along the promenade along the seafront which at two kilometres long is the longest in Liguria and has lots of plants and trees along parts of its length. The pebble beach in Bordighera has received the Blue Flag award for cleanliness and facilities 16 times.
It is interesting to know that the promenade is called the Lungomare Argentina, and is named after the country Argentina because it ws inaugurated by Eva Peron when she visited Bordighera in 1947.
Next head to the headland of Sant-Ampelio (the most southerly point of the town) to see the church on the headland and for a stroll around the oldest part of the town, the fortified area and narrow medieval streets around Via Dritta and Via Lunga on the hill above the marina.
The origins of the 20th century resort at Bordighera can best be seen along Via Romana, which is a very pleasant road with shady trees and lots of turn of the century villas. Via Romana starts near the Sant'Ampelio headland and heads towards the north-west - it is named for the Roman trade road that followed the same route towards France 2000 years ago.
On Via Romana you can also visit the Villa Regina Margherita, the villa built for Queen Margherita of Savoy at the beginning of the 20th century. The villa contains various artworks (by relatively unknown 'classical' type artists) and period furnishings, and has a cafeteria with a very lovely terrace.
Another particularly popular attraction with visitors in Bordighera is the Pallanca Exotic Gardens. This garden is very extensive and typical of the gardens in the Liguria region with extensive planting on steep terraces overlooking the sea that includes a remarkable range of plants - it is said there are more than 3000 species here!
The most popular part of the garden is perhaps the large collection of cacti and succulents, many of which are a remarkable size and very artistic with the blues of the sea as a backdrop.
The historic villages of Sasso and Borghetto San Nicolò are both a couple of kilometres north of the Sant'Angelo headland (a drive rather than a walk) and both merit a stroll, especially the pretty centre of Sasso with its far-reaching views and the 18th century Church of Saint Peter and Paul, although neither takes long to explore.
The border with France is only about 10 kilometres from the border between France and Italy. Local highlights include the town of Ventimiglia and the prehistoric caves at Balzi Rossi to the west, the lovely gardens of Villa Hanbury, and the popular resort of San Remo a few kilometres to the east of here.