Portofino: The Complete Guide

Located to the south of the Italian city of Genoa, Portofino stands out as one of the most captivating destinations to explore in Northern Italy. Despite its relatively small size, it exudes an entirely picturesque and charming atmosphere. There are numerous excellent activities to engage in while in Portofino, all along the coastline.

Our fondness for traveling in Italy is undeniable, and Portofino is unquestionably a jewel that should not be overlooked. It proves to be an ideal location for a day trip within Italy, or even for a slightly extended stay if you’re traversing the northern coastline and mountains. In the latter case, you’ll have the opportunity to include other noteworthy places such as Lake Como, Cinque Terre, and cities like Milan.

It’s worth mentioning that Portofino can be notably pricier compared to other Italian destinations. Nevertheless, it’s possible to manage expenses (while still enjoying pleasant weather) by visiting during late spring or early autumn. This choice allows you to benefit from reduced demand for accommodations and tours, thus helping to keep costs at a more reasonable level.

Visiting Portofino for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Portofino on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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4 Best places to See in Portofino

This complete guide to Portofino not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Portofino and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Marina di Portofino

Portofino Harbour
Pixabay / Domenico Farone
Marina di Portofino ranks among the world’s most exquisite harbours, situated within one of Italy’s renowned destinations, Portofino. Located on a natural promontory, Marina di Portofino stretches towards the town’s central square, Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta. This marina presents 14 berths for boats and superyachts, each equipped with water and electricity connections. Additionally, there are 2 berths […]
Visiting Marina di Portofino

Castello Brown

Castello Brown Portofino
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Parma1983
Castello Brown, previously known as the Castle of San Giorgio, stands as an ancient military stronghold strategically perched in an elevated location that commands the quaint town of Portofino. This castle is enveloped by a Mediterranean garden adorned with cypress trees, blossoms, and pergolas. Reaching the castle requires a modest ascent, yet the journey offers […]
Location: Castello Brown, Via alla Penisola, Portofino, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy | Website | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Castello Brown

Portofino Lighthouse

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Ruben Holthuijsen
The Portofino Lighthouse, known as the Faro di Portofino in Italian, operates as an active beacon situated in Portofino within the Metropolitan City of Genoa, Liguria, in northern Italy. It graces the western tip of the peninsula in the Gulf of Tigullio. Description: Constructed in the year 1917, this lighthouse features a white, rectangular tower […]
Location: Portofino Lighthouse, Via alla Penisola, Portofino, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Portofino Lighthouse

San Fruttuoso

Abbazia San Fruttuoso
CC BY-SA 2.0 / VillageHero
The Borgo di San Fruttuoso is essentially an age-old fishing hamlet, a compact cluster of houses encircling the Abbey. Alongside these houses, you’ll find a handful of quaint eateries that serve local delicacies. While the village lacks any striking architectural landmarks of remarkable significance, its ambiance becomes truly special if one has the good fortune […]
Location: Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, Via S. Fruttuoso, Camogli, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy | Hours: January, February, November and December: 10 AM - 3.45PM every day except non-holiday Mondays March and October: 10 AM - 3.45PM every day April, May and second half of September: 10 AM - 4.45PM From June to mid September: 10 AM - 5.45PM Last admission: 45 minutes before closing time. | Price: Adults: €8,50 | Distance: 3.10km
Visiting San Fruttuoso

Best Time to Visit Portofino

Portofino offers distinct experiences throughout the year, making it a year-round destination. Here’s a detailed overview of the best times to plan your visit:

Spring (March to May): Spring in Portofino features mild and pleasant temperatures, with nature awakening as flowers bloom. Hiking trails become accessible, and the sea is tranquil for swimming. It’s an excellent season to explore the charming villages before the summer crowds arrive.

Summer (June to August): The summer months provide long, sunny days, perfect for swimming and relaxing on the beaches. However, this is the peak tourist season, leading to significant crowds, particularly in July and August. To beat the heat and crowds, consider visiting during the early morning or late afternoon.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a wonderful time to discover Portofino, with mild temperatures, reduced rainfall, and the local vineyards in full harvest. It’s an opportunity to sample new wines and take part in local festivals. Hiking trails remain open, although daylight hours gradually shorten.

Winter (December to February): Winter is the most peaceful period in Portofino. The villages are serene, accommodation prices are at their lowest, but temperatures can be quite chilly. This season is ideal for those seeking a quiet experience, even though some hiking trails may be closed for maintenance. Portofino welcomes visitors year-round, offering various experiences and catering to different preferences, whether you’re looking for warm beach days, serene hiking adventures, or cultural festivals.

Average Temperatures in Portofino

  • January 12°C 17
  • February 13°C 18
  • March 15°C 15
  • April 18°C 12
  • May 22°C 12
  • June 25°C 8
  • July 28°C 4
  • August 28°C 7
  • September 25°C 13
  • October 21°C 23
  • November 15°C 28
  • December 12°C 22

How to get to Portofino

You can easily travel to La Spezia by various means of transportation:

Flying to Portofino

Although Portofino doesn’t have its airport, two nearby airports serve the region. Pisa Airport (Galileo Galilei) is located 90 kilometers away, while Genoa Airport (Cristoforo Colombo) is 115 kilometers away. Both airports offer flights to major Italian and European cities and are accessible by car or train.

Visiting Portofino by Train

The closest town and train station to Portofino are in Santa Margherita Ligure, just 3 miles from Portofino.  After arriving in Santa Margherita Ligure by train, you can catch a 15-minute bus ride to Portofino.

Visiting La Spezia by Car

If you’re considering driving, keep in mind that Portofino is a car-free zone, except for residents. In this case, you can park your car in one of the two small and relatively expensive car parks in Portofino. An alternative option is to park your vehicle in Santa Margherita Ligure and take the bus to Portofino.

Visiting La Spezia by Ferry

During the season, ferries operate between Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure/Rapallo, as well as between Santa Margherita Ligure/Rapallo and Cinque Terre. Lastly, you have the choice to walk along the scenic 3-mile coastal path from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino, which takes about an hour and treats you to breathtaking views.

Tours and Activities from Portofino