Why you should Visit Portofino in Italy?

Where is Portofino located?

Portofino is in the north-west region of Italy known as Liguria, close to Genoa. It lies 20 miles to the east of Genoa and is between Genoa and Cinque Terre. Search for Portofino Italy on Google map and you will get proper directions.

What is Portofino in Italy famous for?

Portofino is known for its rich and glamorous lifestyle, seaside food, natural bays, pastel-colored houses, and luxury yacht cruises. Though Portofino is a small fishing village of around 400 residents, it is world-famous for its Italian Riviera. Portofino is like a seaside Mediterranean resort, where you will see Hollywood celebrities zooming around in swanky expensive cars, or sail aboard a luxury cruise boat, or dining at expensive restaurants. Portofino has a natural harbor with fishing boats and luxury yachts lying there, anchored along the natural bays. Pastel-colored houses line the Piazzetta, the main square in Portofino.

What is the origin of Portofino in Italy?

Since Roman times, Portofino is described as Portus Deplhini or the ‘Port of the Dolphins’. There used to be many dolphin pods here at Portofino, and even today, you can do scuba diving and snorkeling ad spot dolphins and other sea creatures. It has been a natural bay that was perfect for ships to lay anchor. Even if you see Portofino on a map, you will see natural bays of Portofino. 

Which are the best places to visit in Portofino?

Brown Castle

Brown Castle is a 15th-century fortress built on top of a hill. From the top, you can have unhindered views of Portofino. There is a museum inside with pictures and other memorabilia related to the residents of this castle. 

Church of San Martino

This medieval church is the main church in Portofino. It dates back to the 11th century and has Romanesque architecture style and decorated interiors. Fresco paintings and chandeliers, arched windows, and sculptures adorn the interiors of this magnificent church. 

The Piazzetta

Piazzetta is the main square of Portofino. It is lined with cafes and restaurants. You should eat paciugo, which is local ice cream.

San Fruttuoso Abbey

After a two-hour boat ride from Portofino, you can reach San Fruttuoso Abbey. The abbey was built in the 10th century and is nestled in greenery and overlooking the bay. 

Christ of the Abyss

On San Fruttuoso beach, you can dive to the depths to see the bronze statue of Christ of the Abyss. This statue was built by a scuba diving expert to honor a friend who died while testing the scuba diving equipment. 

Paraggi Beach

This beach in Portofino is great for sunbathing and swimming. The beach is sandy with clear blue waters that are great for diving. Scuba diving will show you the coral reefs and the underwater world. 

Portofino Regional Park

If you like hiking on the rugged cliffs and vegetation then the best place in Portofino is the Portofino Regional Park. Hiking trails will lead you to some fantastic viewpoints and you will come across orchards and gardens of olive trees and small villages. The wooded hiking trails offer the best views of the shore and the small hills.

Portofino Marine Protected Area

To see the underwater world of Portofino, you should dive at the many diving spots in the Portofino Marine Protected Area. Due to the rugged coastline, boating is only limited to some coasts. However, swimming can be done in some places.

Museo del Parco

This is an open-air museum in Portofino and it has art sculptures and artworks installed in the open. Walkways will lead you to various parts of this museum, and the works of various artists are on display at this museum. You will see the greenery of landscaped gardens and when coupled with the unparalleled vistas of the blue Mediterranean Sea, it is a breath-taking visit.

Bike Tour 

The stretch of road between Santa Margherita and Portofino is perfect for a bike trip. You will see the most amazing scenery on the road, and pass many small villages like Rapallo, Zoagli, etc. You can stay overnight at some places and go on hiking trips on this bike trip. This 40 km bike trip is a thrilling activity to do during the trip to Portofino.

Hike up the Lighthouse

Walking is the only way to reach the Lighthouse, but once you are there, you get to see magnificent views of the blue seas. 

What are the things and activities to do in Portofino?

Though you can do several outdoor activities in Portofino, the best thing to do in Portofino is to relish its seafood and have its special local ice cream called Paciugo. The resort-like environs of this fishing village on the Ligurian Coast are perfect for holidays and vacations. Relaxing and sunbathing are quintessential things to do in Portofino. But the best attractions of Portofino are its catholic churches like the Church of San Martino and San Giorgio Church. The centuries-old fortress of Castello Brown has a museum that has medieval objects.

If you love the sea, then scuba diving and snorkeling are the best things to do in Portofino. You can go aboard a cruise boat and explore the hidden coves. A boat tour will show the best places in Portofino from a distance. The beaches in Portofino are best for swimming and are safe too. You can see such sights underwater like the Christ of the Abyss and the natural wonders of the sea such as coral reefs and marine life. You can rent a kayak and if you are an expert, explore the waters all by yourself, or go on a guided kayak tour in the natural bays of Portofino.  

Hiking and Walking are also the best things to do at Portofino. You can arrive at Portofino by walking tour from Santa Margherita Ligure, or walk on the many hiking paths in the Portofino Natural Park. There are biking trails too, and the best in the cycling trail from Portofino to Camogli, which gives you pristine views of the Italian Riviera.

Where to Stay in Portofino?

In Portofino, you will find villas offering private luxury rooms to visitors. You will find most hotels near the main port and these are great if you want to visit all of Portofino’s sightseeing places on a tour. You get apartments with luxury comforts and dining facilities that will help you to access top tourist attractions, best places to see and unique vacations spots in Portofino Italy very easily. Some recommended hotels are:    

Hotel Piccolo Portofino

They have turned a historic villa into a hotel. Hotel Piccolo Portofino is set directly opposite the seafront and this hotel offers its private rocky beach and a bar. Rooms are luxurious with designer interiors and minimalist décor. The views of the azure sea and sands from its terrace are fantastic. They offer breakfast and the bar offers great views of the sea. This hotel is great for romantic couples. All tourist places in Portofino are within walking distance from this hotel.

Eight Hotel Portofino

This hotel is also a good choice if you want to spend some days in Portofino. Eight Hotel Portofino has large and spacious rooms with attached bathrooms. They offer spa and sauna bath services which are great for refreshing yourself after a day’s hike. Breakfast and restaurant serve juicy food and terrace views offer great seaside views. They have their private garden too.

Belmond Hotel Splendido

This luxury hotel offers the best views of the Portofino harbor. They offer cozy rooms with nice views of the bays and sea. The rooms have exceptional décor and they have tennis courts and a swimming pool. This hotel offers luxury in every room and they have a poolside restaurant which offers splendid seafood and local cuisine of Portofino. Families with children can stay here.

Hotel Eden Portofino

Tourists visiting Portofino can find decent accommodation at Hotel Eden Portofino. Rooms are tastefully decorated with furnishings. Bathrooms have showers and a hairdryer. They have round-the-clock reception and the front desk will help you with Portofino sightseeing tours. They also offer babysitting services. 

How many days to spend in Portofino in Italy?

Portofino is best for a 2-day visit. In these 2 days, you can visit all the major tourist sites of Portofino and shop, dine at the best restaurants of Portofino. Following is a rough itinerary of Portofino 2 day travel.

Day 1: After arrival in Portofino, you can spend the day touring San Giorgio Church and roaming about in the Piazzetta, the main tourist center of Portofino. You can shop at high-end shops and have breakfast in the many restaurants at Piazzetta. You can go to San Fruttuoso where you can visit the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. You can dive into the sea to visit the Christ of the Abyss and have lunch at one of the restaurants at San Fruttuoso. Come back to Portofino and visit Castello Brown, the 16th-century fortress. You can have a gelato ice cream and head towards Santa Margherita Ligure aboard a bus. On the route, there are spectacular beaches and fishing villages. Paraggi Beach, Bau Bau Beach, are some beaches you can visit. 

Day 2: Start Day 2 with a visit to the Church of San Martino. This medieval church is built with a Romanesque décor and interiors have beautiful paintings, sculptures, and chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings. In the afternoon, have lunch at restaurants on the main seafront of Portofino. In the afternoon, you can do some outdoor activities like kayaking or swimming in the clear blue waters or hiking. 

How to reach Portofino Italy?

The best way to get to Portofino is by car from Genova. It takes 30 minutes to travel by car from Genova to Portofino. From the airport in Genova, you can book a car to go to Portofino. You can catch a bus or train from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino. You can also go walking from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino. This is a 5 km walk and takes about 2 hours of walking. Walking is best as it will reveal the fantastic scenery of its beaches and cliffs. 

But a ferry ride on a boat is the best way to see the coastal scenery of Portofino. You can get a cruise boat from Santa Margherita Ligure and it is a 20-minute boat trip to Portofino. On the route, you see coastal villages, cliffs, and small houses dotting the rugged coast.

Which are the best restaurants and dining options in Portofino in Italy?

Portofino is a haven for lovers of seafood and gelato ice cream. Several cafes and restaurants are serving highly recommended local cuisine and a spread of the best seafood delicacies. Most of these restaurants are located on the main Piazzetta of Portofino, from where you get the best views of the sea and the harbors. The best restaurants that you can dine in at Portofino are:

Chuflay Bar and Restaurant: This Michelin-star restaurant is connected to the Belmond Splendido Mare Hotel. If it’s breakfast you want to start your day with, or want to come back for afternoon lunch, or dinner, Its menu has the best-curated dishes from starters, seafood, meats, pasta, pizzas, and wines. 

La Taverna del Marinaio: This restaurant is best for fish and you get the best pasta with a touch of Ligurian flavors. If you like Italian meals then this is the best restaurant to go to in Portofino.

You should taste the local ice cream at Portofino. It is called Paciugo and is a mix of creams, ice cream, topped with nuts and cherries, and syrups. You should eat the Ligurian Focaccia, the famous Ligurian version of the Focaccia, or oven-baked Italian bread. 

What is the best time to visit Portofino?

The best time to visit Portofino is from March to September. During July and August you may experience a hot climate, but cool enough for day trips and sightseeing.

What are the best things to shop in Portofino Italy?

There are high-end boutique shops in Portofino where you can go for brands such as Dior, Missoni, Louis Vuitton, etc. Most are renowned Italian brands and sell clothing, accessories, gold jewelry, and art such as paintings, posters, etc.

Is there car parking at Portofino?

Car parking is for authorized residents only. If you want to park your car for just a few hours, then you can do so at Piazza Della Libertà. Another option to park your car is to park at Santa Margherita, and then catch a bus or ferry to Portofino. Portofino is a car-free area, and you cannot move about in Portofino in a car. But there is car parking available for guests at hotels.

What’s next waiting for you?

Now you know where is Portofino in Italy on Map, you can go ahead and plan your travel. If you are planning to explore the best places to visit near Portofino Italy then don’t forget to check our Europe travel guides.

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