On the other side of the peninsula, which can be reached from Portofino by a two-hour walk or by boat, is the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso. The abbey, built in the 11th century, is set among pine and olive trees. Under the water near San Fruttuoso is a huge bronze statue of Christ, Cristo degli Abissi, protector of sailors and divers. Every July, there is an underwater procession to the statue where a laurel crown is placed.
Even the trees are handsome in Portofino, a small but perfectly coiffured coastal village that sits on its own peninsula, seemingly upping the exclusivity factor by mere geography. Hotels here are hushed and headily priced, but a drink by Portofino's yacht-filled harbour or a stroll around its designer shops can be easily enjoyed on a day trip from Genoa.
Summer is the prime Portofino travel season—and in some ways the only season. With the exception of Easter, some shops and restaurants along the Italian Riviera close early, or completely shut down during the off-season. Spring and summer also bring the natural advantages of blooming flora and warm seawater for swimming.
Posted by Ken
Visiting Portofino as a day trip from Vernazza would probably be a better idea than stopping there on the way to Monaco. The rail trip from Vernazza to Monaco is going to be 5-6 hours with 2-3 changes, so that's going to be a long trip in itself. If you made a very early departure it would be more tolerable, but that will limit the time you'll have to look around in Portofino (not that there's much to see).
Keep in mind that the trip from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino is likely going to take an hour or more each way. As I recall, the Ferries only depart about once per hour. You'll also have to allow for time to walk down the stairs from the station, cross the street and then along the waterfront to get to the Ferry dock. When you depart Portofino, you'll probably also have a wait for the Ferry and allow time for the walk back to the station.
As Laura mentioned, you can buy tickets for the Ferry at the Bar at SML station. As I recall, it's to the left when you exit the back of the station.
Portofino is a lovely little harbour fishing village about 45 minutes drive away from Genoa on Italy's North West coast. I sought of fell into going to Portofino as I had heard Jamie Oliver quote it as the place that he went to on honeymoon. My wife and I decided to go to Italy and it seemed like the perfect place after I had first taken a look on Google images as part of my research. Ryanair fly out of Stansted to Genoa so flights are inexpensive however the savings are short lived once you set foot in this little piece of heaven. Eating out can be quite pricey as on our first night we had a modest meal with a couple of drinks and were shocked with a bill that came in at 147 euros! Portofino is a special place and we have since found out that it is the playground for the rich and famous, in fact Mika was there the same time as we and Rod Stewart is due out in a couple of weeks. If you want to do something a little special and lord it up for a few days then Portofino is the place for you. My top tip is to be careful with the tipping arrangements as on our first night I enquired with a waiter at the "Dolphino" restaurant as to what the protocol was as was informed that service is not included so acting on this information gave a 20 euro tip (taking my total bill to 167 euros!!). At the hotel the next day I enquired with the hotel again about tipping who informed me that by Italian law all charges for service must be made on the bill and is not compulsory so be careful as the waiters at the Dolphino make a point of saying that service is not included. Overall Portofino is a wonderful place for a romantic break and if you really want to do it in style then book yourself into the Spledido in the hills but you may have to re mortgage your house to pay for it when you get back to blighty!! All the restaurants serve great Italian food and my favourite was “Puny’s”. Have a great time, we certainly did!
6 years ago I came to Portofino for a short vacation. I never left!
Unique natural beauties are perfectly mixed with simplicity and elegance; it's an easy going place. Services? People of Portofino smartly keep the best things for themselves! Celebrities walk by and nobody turns round to look. VIPs do not exist. We are all equal. It's not a place to be consumed - it's a paradise with top secrets. Slowly I discover these secrets. I travel around the world, and when I return back HOME to Santa Margherita - Portofino I cry.
I lived on the Italian Riveria (Rapallo to be exact) and have to say that Portofino is one of the most breath taking, incredible places in the world. It may be a small place but great things come in small packages. I don't understand how people can give this place an average rating. This place, the people, the views, this place is whole package.
I have travelled to many parts of the world and have stayed at some of the so called wonders of the world and Portofino is number one to me - not 79 as it is listed. What an understatement.
I think if you haven't travelled to Portofino and experienced the culture - you are sure missing what life is about.
Totally amazing! Genoa was a busy seaport city with lots of history. Portafino and San Margherite are both beautiful towns. Portofino had spectacular colorful buildings and was very quaint. I would highly recommend this tour.
No matter how plush your hotel is, don't spend your getaway holed up in your room or relaxing by the pool. There are boundless amazing experiences to be had!
Portofino has loads of great activities for visitors to do. Why not consider a Genoa Walking Tour & Cruise to Portofino or an Exclusive Kayak and snorkeling Tour in Portofino?
For more activities, go to our Portofino things to do page.
Picturesquely situated in a narrow cove on Italy’s northern coast lies enchanting Portofino. This Pearl of the Mediterranean has been a favored gathering place for the elite who appreciate the charm and intimacy of the cliff-lined harbor. Overlooking rocky coastline, quaint Portofino surprises with incredible views of Gulf of Rapallo and surrounding hillsides. The church of San Giorgio offers a beautiful view of the resort and harbor. More extensive views are available from Fortezza de San Giorgio. In 1935, the city government of Genoa declared Portofino a national monument. Visitors enjoy the unique ambiance, chic boutiques and quaint cafes that overlook the small yacht harbor and line narrow, cobbled streets. Others explore the surrounding coastline, where tiny villages are tucked away in hidden coves. Don’t miss out on a favorite pastime – people-watching while relaxing in an outdoor cafe. The boutiques and designer shops tempt with chic resortwear and Italian designer clothing. Two miles from Portofino is Paraggi, with a sparkling cove good for a swim.
I found my love in Portofino.
Amazing place. The one thing I learned- don’t trust a ristorante that advertises for both pizza and ice cream. The pizza is always awful.
It’s like a dream!