A small town, made famous by all kinds of social networks. Why? Undoubtedly, the greatest influence was the extraordinary beauty of the place. Located in the metropolis of Genoa on the Italian Riviera, the town is centered around a small harbor, and its most distinctive feature is the colorful buildings around the shore. All around is the beautiful and lush greenery of the Natural Regional Park and Marine Reserve. From time immemorial, Portofino has been colloquially known as the Dolphin Harbor. It owes this name to the above-average skill of its inhabitants in sea navigation.
Near Portofino is one of the most visited tourist destinations-. Cinque Terre. Such a location, along with delicious, authentic Italian food, makes this small fishing village a destination for many tourists year after year. In addition, the plethora of luxury stores, famous brands (i.e. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Balenciaga) attracts the biggest celebrities here, making this town a symbol of wealth and prestige. Because of this, on the horizon instead of small fishing boats, as in most of the surrounding ports, here we can admire beautiful and elegant yachts. One of the interesting places in Portofino is the Hotel Splendido, which used to be a monastery, but was later converted into an extremely luxurious hotel. The presence of such a place has resulted in attracting all kinds of celebrities from at least Hollywood. Of course, fame is followed by money. For this reason, although beautiful and unusual, Portofino is equally extremely expensive.
The incredible beauty of Portofino was appreciated not only by tourists, but also by filmmakers and other artists. It was here that the scenes of one of the most famous series - "Fashion for Success" - were filmed. In addition, the very name of the place "Portofino" resounded in the works of Engelbert Humperdinck and Fred Buscaglione. Even the Polish band Tuzza Globale dedicated one of its songs to the story of this place.
Of course, while the city itself is unique due to its extraordinary beauty, you can additionally find many historical and natural attractions.
San Giorgio Church
This place is by no means to be missed while in Portofino. The building is named after the city's patron saint. Built in the 12th century in Baroque style, it still impresses today. Located in the southern part of the city, it is one of the main points of excursions in Portofino. Interestingly, it is here that the remains of St. George who is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers were buried. How did they find their way here? It was in the 12th century that they were brought from the Holy Land by local warship captains. Unfortunately, like many other monuments, the shrine was destroyed during World War II. The present appearance was obtained during restoration work in the first half of the 20th century, and the church was opened in 1950. Inside, the temple is not exceptionally grand, being rather austere. Undoubtedly, however, the view spreading out from the observation deck around it is breathtaking, and the beautiful rocks will infuse many a tourist.
Faro di Portofino, provides a very interesting option for an active vacation in Portofio. Although the lighthouse itself is not some architectural marvel, the route leading to it is extremely charming. During a very quiet and easy walk, you can admire the unique nature surrounding the building. Reaching your destination will allow you to take advantage of the observation deck, which overlooks the bay. In addition, there is a cafe on the terrace (prices, however, are not the lowest). To reach the lighthouse, head to the left from St. George's Church and then straight ahead the whole time.
Portofino's historic main square is very popular with visitors. From it you can admire the countless yachts standing in the harbor and the bay itself. Despite the large number of tourists, the place is rather quiet, and you can always enjoy a delicious coffee and eat traditional specialties while soaking up the soul of the city. There are many boutiques and small art galleries around. Right next door you can find the historic San Martino Church, whose beautiful interior is available to everyone free of charge.
While on La Piazetta, you can't miss going to Caffe Excelsior, a historic establishment built in 1924. This very place is the cradle of the famous paciugo ice cream which is a mixture of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, fresh summer fruits and cherries in syrup sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts.
La Piazzetta overlooks a green hill that is somewhat of an icon of the city. At its top is the Castello Brown, which can be reached via many paths. As you walk, enjoy the incredible views of the harbor and the Ligurian Sea. Castello Brown itself dates back to the 15th century and was once a lookout point. Now, however, it has been converted into a museum. Entrance to it costs 5 euros and is possible at different times depending on the season. From March 15 to 31, admission is possible from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From April 1 to May 1 and from September 1 to October 31, it is possible from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the summer months, from June 1 to August 31, it is possible from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. And from November 1 to March 15, the castle is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
San Giorgio Fire Festival
If there is a possibility, it is worth coming to Portofino on April 23. Why? This is when the traditional festival - San Giorgio Fire - takes place here every year. It is dedicated to the city's patron saint (slayer of dragons) and takes place on La Piazzetta. On this day, all residents celebrate, along with young children. On the eve of this holiday, a bonfire is lit and then the party begins, which lasts all night. During it, people drink and eat traditional foods and dance until a large tree trunk called "pennolla" falls. Tradition says that if this tree falls towards the sea, it is a good sign for the future. On this day, in addition to dancing and singing, one can see an extraordinary fireworks display in the sky. Definitely everyone should see this beautiful spectacle.
Unfortunately, Portofino itself does not abound in the huge, beautiful beaches we expect from Italy. There is one, rather small Paraggi beach, although it too is not in Portofino itself, but a few minutes away. This beach is located in a tiny, but unearthly beautiful emerald cove overlooking a stunning landscape. The place is exceptionally atmospheric, so it very often becomes a destination for couples looking for a romantic nook.
Another equally charming Niasca beach can be found on the road between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. Here you will find extremely lush, green Mediterranean vegetation. The tranquil secluded spot attracts lovers of morning swims, as at the same time you can enjoy picturesque sunrises. In addition, this place allows you to explore the underwater world, as the water creates ideal conditions for diving.
How to get there?
Unfortunately, there is no train station within Portofino, so you can only get here by car or boat. However, getting there by car is not very favorable either due to very high parking prices. There is one parking lot within Portofino, where you have to pay €5.50 for an hour to leave your car there. In addition to the high price, this parking lot has another disadvantage. During the high season and on weekends it is virtually impossible to find a space there. It is usually completely full.
One of the best options is to arrive by plane at the airport in Genoa (located about 40 km from Portofino), and then travel by train to the nearby town of Santa Margherita Ligure. From there it's a short drive to Portofino itself. There are regular buses of line 82 carrying tourists directly to the destination city in 15-20 minutes. Although they are usually quite crowded, they still remain one of the cheapest options for traveling to Portofino. A fee of 2 euros is required for the fare. Payment is possible only in cash.
Another option is to sail directly to Portofino by boat. This one departs from Rapallo and docks at Santa Margherita Ligure on the way. There are several such connections daily. You can also depart from Camogli by ship.
There are many places to stay within Portofino, but you will look in vain for something very cheap. As this is an extremely famous city and attracts many rich people, prices are geared more for them. However, it is certainly worthwhile, if possible, to come here at least for one night and enjoy the benefits of the city.
One of the beautifully located and more charming places offering accommodation is Hotel Piccolo Portofino. Here you will find extremely luxurious rooms, decorated according to the latest trends. This hotel has a private rocky beach, which it makes available to guests. Viewing terraces on the property allow you to enjoy views of the distant horizon. The price for one night for two people is from about 1300 PLN.
B&B Tre Mari Portofino
A very interesting and charming place to spend the night is B&B Tre Mari Portofino. Located at the foot of the city, it has its own huge garden with extremely lush vegetation. The garden additionally has an amazing observation deck, which offers an unearthly view of all of Portofino. It is a 6-minute walk from the center. Here, the price for a night for 2 people is about 800 zloty. The place is located at Via del Fondaco 1.
Undoubtedly one of the most expensive hotels on the map of Portofino. It is located on a hill, from which you can admire the extraordinary panorama of the harbor filled with yachts and boats. In addition to all the amenities of the 21st century, this hotel offers 3 luscious restaurants where you can enjoy many of the traditional dishes of the region. Prices for a 2-bed room start at around 3,400 zloty per night.
This place is undoubtedly a very interesting point on the map of Portofino and all Liguri. In the past, it was home to a Benedictine monastery. However, due to very frequent plundering by pirates, they moved out of there in the 16th century. Over the years, this remarkable place passed from the hands of one magnate to another. Finally, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was converted into a hotel, which became the base for most of the rich and famous tourists. To this day it is undoubtedly a point of interest in the city.