The largest island of the Italian Riviera is largely undeveloped (it's home to around 50 residents) and lies just a short ferry ride from Porto Venere. Set with towering cliffs, picturesque coves and rocky beaches, the 1.9 sq km Palmaria makes a fascinating destination for a day trip. There are several well-maintained hiking trails on the island including the 510, which circles the island and takes you up high slopes, through Mediterranean forest and past pristine shorelines on a moderately difficult three-hour walk.
If you prefer to lounge on the beach, you can join sunseekers on the shore near Punta Secca, opposite Porto Venere. The best beach though is at Pozzale on the southeast side of the island. Ferries run every 30 minutes during summer (and every couple of hours off season) from Porto Venere to Punta Secca (€5, five minutes).