There are some places in Italy that make me want to pinch myself. I mean, can anywhere really be so picture-postcard perfect? Surely I must be dreaming. Well, dreams do sometimes come true, and if you visit Portofino, you'll know exactly what I mean.
This little town has everything: lush wooded hillsides rising up out of an azure sea to a towering castle, a harbor filled with colorful boats, and a jumble of pastel-hued cottages lining the water's edge. The icing on the cake is that there are no cars.
Portofino has become very fashionable, as the expensive shops and even more expensive yachts attest. Don't worry, you can have a good time even if you don't have a lot of money, and there are a few inexpensive places to stay and eat.
The Taverna del Marinaio, Piazza Martiri dell'Olivetta 36, is at the top of my eating list and the only place I eat in Portofino.
Maria and I would suggest you try the Albergo Nazionale, it's right on the square next to the sea.
If you have the energy, then the walk up to Brown Castle is unforgettable. Brown Castle has a fascinating history, it was here that Timothy Yeats Brown settled to raise his family, following in the tradition of other poets like Byron and Shelley who both loved the nearby Gulf of Poets. The highlight for me are the magnificent gardens, which offer jaw-dropping views of Portofino far below. It reminds me a lot of Ravello.
The castle can be hired for weddings, so if a Portofino wedding is on your to-do list then contact Castle Brown.
There are many other great walks in and around town so give yourself the time to enjoy them all by staying at least a couple of nights; that way, you'll have time to enjoy everything in a less frenetic and more Italian way.
A little more expensive, but well worth the money, are the boat trips along the coast. One way to do this is to arrive and leave by boat, the boat that leaves from Santa Margherita is one of the shortest and most affordable options and costs around 9 Euros for the return trip.
You might well be thinking at this point that you'd like to see what Portofino looks like.
Then scroll down to the photos shared with us by Edyta and Jim, both part of our Facebook community. By the way, our Facebook community welcomes anyone who loves Italy - so come on over and share in the piazza gossip.
Not sure where Portofino is? Below the photos there's a map.
If you've enyoyed Jim and Edyta's photos please be so kind as to leave a comment at the bottom of the page or click like below...
For more on Liguria click here and our Cinque Terre guide is here.
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