Portofino is a photogenic fishing village famous for its colourful houses that frame a tiny harbour, a prized mooring destination for sleek super-yachts. The crowning jewel of the Italian Riviera, Portofino’s cobbled Piazzetta overlooks the waterfront and is lined with high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants.
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Sleeping up to 12 people, all of our luxury villas near Portofino are air-conditioned, ideal for a warm summer on the Italian Riviera.
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The jewel of the Riviera di Levante, Portofino sits at the southeast end of its small promontory, jutting out into the Ligurian Sea and enclosing the Gulf of Rapallo. The picturesque fishing village lies south of nearby Genoa and is surrounded by hiking and walking trails that offer panoramic sea views. Excellent ferry links connect Portofino to equally pretty towns along the coast as well as sleepy beach coves.
Grand adventures aside, Portofino is an equally special place to simply, peacefully be. Whether you while away the afternoon sitting on the promenade with a crisp glass of white wine, as lapis-blue water laps at your feet, or sunbathe on the beach at Paraggi; living here is easy.
Any visit to Portofino should begin in the Piazzetta. One of the best ways to experience the fishing port is by following your feet along the pretty, cobbled, side-streets. Just behind the main square is the 12th-century Divo Martino (“Chiesa di San Martino”), a Romanesque church with a sumptuous, frescoed, gilt interior.
The Museo del Parco is a terraced sculpture garden that lies alongside the marina. Contemporary installations by notable artists are interspersed among Camellias and Oleanders.
From Portofino’s harbour, climb the steps to the Chiesa di San Giorgio that overlooks the bay. A church has stood on this site since the 12th-century, but the current structure was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the Second World War.
A flower-lined passage continues from here up to the Castello Brown, a 16th-century Genoese fortress that towers above the fishing village and offers panoramic views across the open sea.
Portofino is a haven for outdoor lovers as well. Snorkel or dive around the Christ of the Abyss, a bronze statue of Jesus erected on the sea bed in memory of Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use scuba gear. Kayak along the coastline or ask our award-winning concierge to arrange a private boat tour for you and your family.
Well-marked hiking paths wind through the Portofino Regional Park, connecting the glamorous port with San Fruttuoso, home to an 8th-century Benedictine abbey. It is a breathtaking site, where you’ll also find a peaceful pebbled beach and seafood restaurant. If you aren’t convinced by the two-hour hike to reach the abbey, simply hop on a ferry instead.
For more ideas on what to do in Portofino, read our Portofino travel guide.
Once an active fishing town, Portofino’s culinary love-language naturally centres around seafood, prepared with fresh herbs and other simple, seasonal ingredients. Expect to find Sea Bass, Mussels and Cuttlefish (“Seppie”) on the menu here.
Liguria is also the birthplace of Pesto, which is made by hand using Genovese Basil, pine nuts, garlic, pecorino, parmesan and olive oil. In Portofino, you might find variations that add fresh tomatoes and vegetables. A classic Italian dish, Pesto is traditionally served with fresh Trofie in Liguria, a narrow twisted pasta from the region.
Another Ligurian pasta dish we love is Pansotti, a triangular-shaped, filled pasta, similar to Ravioli. However, unlike other stuffed kinds of pasta in Italy, Pansotti is only filled with fresh herbs. It is traditionally served with Salsa di Noci, a walnut-based sauce, made with garlic, salt and milk-soaked bread.
Taggiasca olive groves grow to the western end of the region, which gives Ligurian Olive Oil its elegant, almost sweet marzipan taste. The olives contain fewer acids than variations across the border in Tuscany, which results in fewer bitter notes. The olive oil makes a fine accompaniment to Genoese Focaccia, which is stuffed, rather than topped, with stracchino cheese.
La Portofinese is an eco-farm on the outskirts of Portofino, which produces organic olive oil, marmalade and honey, as well as ecological wines made from Vermentino and Bianchetta Genovese grapes. Visitors with a passion for food and sustainable travel can picnic here on fresh home-grown produce with views over the sea, or pay a visit to the olive mill. Our award-winning concierges can arrange a wine tour for you or even private cooking classes from your villa kitchen.
A popular destination among the rich and famous, Portofino has a shopping scene to match. The main streets that branch off from Piazzetta are lined with luxury brands like Balenciaga, Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton. Alongside established labels, smaller boutiques sell quality cashmere, delicate silk and leather products.