Idyllic Portofino

There are some places in Italy that make me want to pinch myself. I mean, can anywhere really be so picture-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.

Moreover, Portofino's romantic ambiance is unparalleled. The soft glow of streetlights illuminates the cobblestone streets as couples savor intimate moments by the water's edge. The gentle sea breeze carries the sweet melodies of live music, creating an atmosphere of pure romance.

What is the best time to visit Portofino?

The best time to visit Portofino is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October), when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds. The town is also enchanting during the Christmas season, when it is beautifully decorated.

Where to eat in Portofino?

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.

A Place to Stay?

The place to stay in Portofino is the Hotel Splendido, which is, well, as splendid as the name suggests. Just the sort of hotel to make that trip of a lifetime perfect.

If you are budget conscious, and who isn't these days, then I suggest you try the Hotel Astoria in nearby Rapallo, it is far more affordable than any of the hotels in Portofino, and it's right on the square next to the sea.

How do you get from Rapallo to Portofino? 

By Boat:

  1. Head to Rapallo's waterfront area, where you'll find boat tours and water transportation options.
  2. Look for scheduled boat services that run from Rapallo to Portofino. During the tourist season, there are frequent boat trips connecting these two towns.
  3. Purchase a ticket for the boat ride to Portofino. The boat ride provides stunning views of the coastline and is a memorable way to reach Portofino.

By Bus

  1. Start by walking or taking a short taxi ride to the Rapallo train station, located in the town center.
  2. At the train station, check the local bus schedules for buses heading to Portofino. Be sure to confirm the departure times and any route changes with station personnel.
  3. Take the bus to Portofino. The bus ride offers beautiful views as you wind your way along the coastal roads.


The best thing of all to do in Portofino is free...walking!

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.

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...

Portofino Italy
Portofino Italy
Portofino by Boat
Window on Portofino
Portofino Italia
Portofino Harbor Edyta

Where is Portofino?

For more on Liguria click here and our Cinque Terre guide is here.

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