A lovely little island in Liguria, a trip to Palmaria gives you a chance to walk among the natural landscape and swim in crystal-clear water. Hop a ferry from Portovenere or La Spezia and reach the island in just minutes, but feel like you're away from the bustle of the Liguria coast. Palmaria faces Portovenere just a few minutes off the shoreline. The side facing Portovenere has a marina and a small village while the opposite side facing out to the Mediterranean is a sheer marble cliff face that plunges to the water and is pocked with caves.

Part of the Regional Nature Park, it has a cluster of pastel buildings and little other development. There are some wonderful beaches; some are serviced by concessionaires with umbrella and lounge chair rentals, others are coves that are little-visited. A couple of restaurants offer fresh seafood and other dishes to enjoy.

Measuring less than one square mile, Palmaria can be easily walked so follow one of the paths and explore. You'll find an old quarry where black marble speckled with white was extracted until recently. You can hire a boat to take you there, and then circle the island to see it from the water all the way around.

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Address in Liguria:

Isola Palmaria.

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