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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

One day in Portofino, the perfect itinerary

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

The Italian Riviera is bragging with one of the most exclusive villages, which has taken shape since the Roman times. Discreetly coloured houses, surrounded by greenery, the steep coast that descends dramatically into the sea, the views that take your breath away and the beautiful weather almost all year round, have made Portofino one of the most attractive holiday locations in Italy.

From a simple fishing village, Portofino became a real attraction thanks to the celebrities who chose this place to spend their holidays. Ever since the 50s, this place was visited by famous people, who helped increasing the notoriety of the place.


The nearest airport is the one in Genoa. I recommend visiting Portofino as a day trip from this city. Genoa is not a place that attracts too many tourists, so it is possible to find tickets at a good price. Moreover, the accommodation prices are much better than in Portofino.

There are several ways to get to Portofino from Genoa:

- by train and then bus. Departing from the train station in Genoa, the train reaches Santa Margherita Ligure. The train ticket can be purchased either at the counter or from the ticket machine. Before boarding the train, the ticket must be validated. The validator is at the entrance to the platform, before going up the stairs. From Santa Margherita Ligure there is a bus that reaches Portofino. The station is on the right side of the exit from the station, and the bus number is 782. The ticket is bought at the station and must be validated when boarding the bus.

- with an organized trip. If you don't want to complicate yourself with public transport and you don't want to depend on their schedule, you have the option of reserving your spot in an organized excursion. You will be picked up from an established location and depending on the type of trip chosen, you will have a tour included or stops in other tourist locations, not just Portofino. You can also choose the means of transport, either by boat or by bus. I recommend the boat transport experience, especially for the spectacular view of the coast, seen from the sea. Reservations and details, in this link.


Piazzetta di Portofino is the first place that comes your way once you get off the bus. This square is, at the same time, the center of the village. In this area there are restaurants and terraces where you can have a meal or enjoy a coffee or a drink.

Castle Brown is the next tourist attraction in Portofino. To get there, you have to climb about 5-10 minutes from the main square. This castle has been used for military defense since ancient times, and nowadays it represents the most visited tourist attraction in Portofino and the favorite place for tourists to enjoy a panoramic view of both the village and the Ligurian Sea. If you had to choose only one place to see in this village, then this is it. The view from the top is absolutely amazing.

Chiesa di San Giorgio and Chiesa di San Martino are two churches in Portofino, which you can either admire from the outside, or you can visit their interior. At the time of our visit, both were closed and we had to be satisfied only with admiring the buildings from the outside. As Portofino is a small town, they are quite close to each other. After visiting the Castle, visit the Chiesa di San Giorgio, and on the way to the next tourist attraction, make a stop at the Chiesa di San Martino.

church of san giorgio from portofino italy

Baia Canone is one of the most famous beaches in Portofino. Although being called a beach is a bit much, it is one of the most photographed locations on the Italian Riviera. Even if the beach itself is very narrow, and during the summer it can become too small for the multitude of tourists, I think it is one of the most beautiful places where you can swim in Portofino. To reach this location, you have to walk for about 5-10 minutes, on a road without a sidewalk, starting from the center.

baia canone from portofino one of the most famous places in italy

Baia di Paraggi is a beach a bit further from Portofino. If you want to include a short walk to the itinerary, then put this beach on the list. It is not very spectacular, but it is one of the few beaches in Portofino.

Hike to Scalla della Morte or to San Fruttuosso in the Regional Natural Park of Portofino. For both routes you can manage with Google Maps. You have to walk about 20 minutes to Scala della Morte, and about two hours to San Fruttuoso.


To have a meal in Portofino, prepare to take out several tens of euros from your pocket. The positive side is that the quality of the food rises to the level of expectations and prices. After all, those celebrities who frequent Portofino cannot be disappointed :D. Besides, the locals are still fishing, so if you choose fish or seafood, you will definitely not go wrong.

One of the best-rated restaurants, which does not have excessively high prices, is Da I Gemelli al Molo, located right next to the seafront.

If you choose to spend more than one day in this village, as accommodation options you have, among many others:

- Hotel Piccolo Portofino- a hotel in the heart of the village, with spacious rooms, air conditioning and with soundproof walls ;

- Casa San Giorgio Molo- hotel with parking, internet included in the price, located 500m from Castello Brown;

- Olives Bay Terrace in Portofino- accommodation unit with terrace and internet included in the price ;


Although it is known to be a very expensive location, Portofino can certainly be seen on a low budget, if you choose to visit it for a single day, departing from Genoa. It is big enough to cover a few hours of walking and exploring, or even a whole day if you get there in the summer and like to stay at the beach. If you choose to spend only a few hours in this wonderful fishing village, which is possible, there will be time for a short walk in Santa Margherita Ligure, which is just as charming and I totally recommend.

Read also about other wonderful locations in Italy: Milan or Capri Island. To be up to the latest posts, I invite you to subscribe to the newsletter, only your email address is required.

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Thank you for reading!

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