Portofino is a small fishing village and is perhaps the most fashionable place of all those close to the Cinque Terre. In the little port of Portofino you’ll always see a yacht belonging to some American celebrity. Silence and tranquility reign here and many people love to simply enjoy a day in the Piazza of Portofino, tasting expensive delicacies.
One day is enough to see all the attractions of Portofino and the surrounding area. But if you prefer to enjoy Mediterranean nature and lifestyle without any rush, then it is worthwhile to linger longer.
Article was last updated in September, 2023.
How to reach Portofino and get around
The nearest train stop is Santa Margherita Ligure. From here you can get to Portofino by bus or on foot. All details can be found on the page “By train”.
See the ferry timetables at traghettiportofino.it
From Rapallo to Santa Margherita Ligure it is about a 40-minute walk. From Santa Margherita to Portofino it takes about an hour on foot, along a road which becomes more and more beautiful the closer you get to the village. It is impossible to get lost, there are signs everywhere. There is also a little bus.
Getting around by car is difficult here because of the narrow winding roads and problems with parking. The nearest parking is in Rapallo, but you’ll find a place only early in the morning. All parking lots in Rapallo are marked on the map.
Buses run every half an hour (every hour in winter) from Rapallo to Santa Margherita Ligure and from here to Portofino. You can buy the ticket from the tabaccaio (tobacconist shop) for €2 or from the driver (€3). Buses start running at 6 in the morning and the last bus from Portofino leaves at 8pm. But don't rely on timetables, because traffic can mean that timetables are not always followed.
What to see in Portofino
Tourists should not miss the 1main square of Portofino: la Piazzetta. Nearby there are many interesting buildings from an architectural point of view which are worthy of attention. In addition, we recommend you try the delicious seafood dishes in the local restaurants.
Above Portofino stands 2Castello Brown, today a museum. It is built on the summit of the mount overlooking the gulf. There are lovely views of Portofino and the natural beauty surrounding it.
The oldest church in Portofino, the 3Church of San Martino (12th century) can be found in the old part of the village; it a beautiful sanctuary built in Romanesque style. There are sculptures and paintings on the walls of this church by artists from Liguria and Genoa in particular.
What to see near Portofino
Not far from Portofino is the 4tiny bay of San Fruttuoso, where it is possible to enjoy a walk along a footpath. Here, at a depth of 15 meters, we can find the famous underwater statue known as 5“Christ of the Abyss”. If weather conditions permit, you can see the 2.5 meter bronze statue of Christ from dry land. Or you can go down with a diver: the spectacle of this Christ shining underwater in the rays of the sun is really fascinating!
Walking paths near Portofino
To the south of Portofino is the area called «The Park of Portofino», offering numerous footpaths with directions, where you can walk leisurely and admire nature. Equally popular among tourists are the tracks that lead to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, situated in the Bay of the same name and indicated on the map.
Where to stay in Portofino?
This is the most expensive and prestigious village in Liguria, but if you can’t afford it and you want to spend some time here, we advise you to take a look at prices in the nearby towns, such as Rapallo, for example.
Belmond Hotel Splendido & Belmond Splendido Mare
Rating: Wonderful, 9.4.
These are most expensive hotels in Liguria, united in a single complex. The Hotel Belmond Splendido is located on the rocks, while Belmond Splendido Mare is located in the center of the village, not far from the Piazzetta. From the luxuriously furnished rooms, you have one of the most beautiful views of Portofino.
Rating: Good, 7.9.
The Hotel Eden is located in the center of the village up a narrow alley in a quiet corner not far from the port and all the shops and restaurants, and has its own private garden. The rooms have views over the village and there are also some rooms with a large terrace.
Rating: Wonderful, 9.2.
The Miramare Hotel, located in Santa Margherita Ligure, is affordable and is right on the promenade in front of the port. The rooms have a view of the sea, you can enjoy the panorama from the terrace and garden. There are beaches and restaurants near the Hotel Miramare.
Or you can compare some of the hotels based on the comments from tourists and at the prices indicated on this page.
Where to eat in Portofino
Prices here are not the lowest. In fact, the cost of a sandwich in a bar or café can exceed €10. In the restaurants of Portofino too, eating is expensive with dishes costing from €20 to 50. But having lunch in the main square of Portofino is really worth it: the best seafood cuisine in Italy is right here! You will not regret it.
When to visit Portofino
The best time of year to visit Portofino is between the middle of March and the beginning of October. This place is crowded with tourists during the summer season, especially on the weekend, when people come from everywhere to relax on the Ligurian coast.