Experience the beauty of Portofino, an exclusive seaside village, situated only an hour away from the Cinque Terre.
This jewel of the Italian Riviera was the favorite of the rich and famous during its 1950s heyday.
Portofino is today one of the most popular seaside resorts along the Riviera and a worthwhile excursion.
Portofino can be reached by ferry from Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Camogli, Cinque Terre and Genoa. The closest train station is in Santa Margherita Ligure, where there's a bus connection to Portofino.
Portofino is known for its colorfully painted buildings that line the shore. The town is clustered around its half-moon shaped harbor filled with summer yachts and odd fishing boats and lined with outlets of Gucci, Pucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, seafood restaurants, cafes and luxury hotels.
Portofino's crystalline green waters are great for swimming, diving, and boating. There are also opportunities for hiking in the area.
Where to stay in Portofino
Portofino is one of the most romantic places in Italy. A breathtaking landscape, spectacular views of the coast and sea, amazing food and wine and stunning luxury hotels. If you are planning to spend your honeymoon or a romantic holiday in Italy, Portofino is the right place for you. Nestled in the idyllic Italian countryside with the shimmering Mediterranean beyond, this little corner of paradise couldn’t be more romantic.
BELMOND HOTEL SPLENDIDO, Salita Baratta 16, Portofino
A luxurious Italian hotel set on a stunning hillside, overlooking Portofino harbor. Belmond Hotel Splendido is one of the most enchanting hotels along the coast. Rooms are timelessly elegant and boast impressive sea views. This resort hotel has a fabulous salt-water infinity pool, spa, two restaurants and beautiful gardens. Dinner at the Restaurant Terrazza, with its stupendous view, is a must. Portofino is a five-minute walk away down a pretty, shaded footpath; there is a shuttle bus to help with the slog back up again. Read reviews and book
Things to see
• The medieval castle Castello Brown on the top of the hill with a charming view over the Gulf of Portofino and the harbor. The castle dating from the 16th century is surrounded by a Mediterranean garden featuring a wealth of flowers and rose-gardens and offers a great view of Portofino. This location is frequently used for marriages and photoshoots.
• Museo del Parco, a terraced sculpture garden near the castle overlooking the harbor and filled with modern artworks, open June to September.
• Church of San Giorgio lies almost in the center of the promontory and was built during 12th century but rebuilt after the damages of the last war. A tombstone reminds that St. George's relics were brought by the Crusaders in the eleventh century.
• Abbey of San Fruttuoso built in the 11th century is situated on the other side of the peninsula, reached from Portofino by boat or by a 2-hour walk. Perfect place for a romantic lunch. Nice beach and crystal clear waters.
We recommend the trail from Portofino to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso in the Portofino National Park (2 hours). Going up from the village you will pass elegant villas surrounded by terraced gardens. Then you will walk along a path, skirting the beautiful bays of the promontory and then descend on the beautiful village of San Fruttuoso. Here you can relax on the beach and enjoy a delicious fried fish for lunch. Take the ferry back to Portofino.
How to get to Portofino
Portofino is situated on the Italian Riviera near 40 km from Genoa and 70 km from Cinque Terre. From Florence the travel time is about 3,5 hours by train
BY PLANE: The nearest airport is the Cristoforo Colombo international airport in Genoa, about 45km west of Portofino. There are taxis and car rentals at the airport, or your hotel may be able to arrange transfers. You can also take the airport bus to Genova Brignole station where you can catch the train to Santa Margherita Ligure.
BY TRAIN: The nearest train station is Santa Margherita Ligure. There are taxis outside the station or public buses which takes you to Portofino.
BY BUS: There are buses every 30 minutes from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino. You can buy the ticket directly from the bus driver (€3).
BY FOOT: The 5 kilometer walk from Santa Margherita to Portofino is a worthwhile venture and takes about an hour. The footpath is essentially a sidewalk on the water side of the very narrow winding road. Each turn reveals a new scenery, whether villas, small beach clubs, restaurant or open water.
BY BOAT: Portofino can be reached by ferry from Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Camogli, Cinque Terre and Genoa. The boats are running frequently from April until October. For more information: Portofino ferry lines.
BY CAR: Take the A12 Genova-Livorno motorway and exit at Rapallo. From Santa Margherita follow the signs to Portofino, it’s about a 20 minute drive. It's busy in summer and the road is narrow. Parking is at the covered carpark in Piazza della Libertà. The entire town is a pedestrian zone.
Parking in Portofino
Portofino is a car-free zone. The parking and transit of vehicles is possible only for authorized residents. All the hotels have private parking for guests. If you visit Portofino and just want to park for some hours, there is a small car park in Piazza della Libertà, located at the entrance of the village. The downside to this parking is the cost, which is € 5.50 per hour and starts counting at the start of the hour. 24-hour fee: €20. An alternative is to park in Santa Margherita and from there take the boat or bus to Portofino.