Portofino, Italy

A day in Portofino

Our day trip to Portofino was somewhat of a last minute decision. Our intention was to spend 5 days in the Cinque Terre so we could soak up the atmosphere in each town. But the weather didn’t really play along with our plan and we found ourselves trying to cram in as much as we could when it wasn’t raining so we’d have a chance to see each town without rain. The day before we left we had successfully managed to see the 5 towns but the forecast was still set to rain so we decided to hop on a train to try our luck at rain free weather a little further up north in Portofino.

I knew Portofino would be beautiful but the bus journey from Santa Margherita de Ligure – where the closest train station is – had me ‘ohh’ and ‘aah’ at every bend of the narrow, winding road. On your left, the Mediterranean sea and its charming coves and beaches. On your right, a steep hill covered in trees. As you go along, the most sumptuous villas start appearing on rocky outcrops and in between the trees. You can’t miss them, they’re big, they’re often colourful and a clear sign you are getting into glitzy territory.

After about 20 minutes along the coast, you finally reach picture-perfect Portofino. The facades aren’t without reminding those of the Cinque Terre with their warm colours and green shutters but the yachts in the harbour, the designer boutiques and the expensive restaurants create a much more glamorous vibe.

Most of the action in town revolves around the harbour. So make sure you have a drink at one of the cafes by the water so you can indulge in some serious people-watching and take in the scene. And when you’re ready to move on, simply head for the hills. Portofino is surrounded by them and they all offer fantastic views of the harbour. Start with a trip to Castello Brown and the Chiesa San Giorgio. Then head back into town, wander the cobblestoned lanes and pop by Panificio Canale to pick up some yummy focaccia for lunch. Make your way on the other side of town and hike towards Paraggi. Just follow the red carpet. Yes, you read that right, you get to walk on a red carpet. If you keep going, the road will take you all the way back to Santa Margherita. You can always hop on the bus if you run out of energy.

It was probably one of my favourite days we had during our trip. It really made me want to spend more time on the Portofino peninsula. I’d love to see more of Santa Margherita but also explore Camogli, Rapallo and hike to San Frutuoso. I can feel another trip coming up…

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    4 days in the Cinque Terre