PortofinoCrown jewel of the Italian Riviera, Portofino lies between two gulfs creating a picturesque hamlet embedded in a Natural Reserve, a protected area that houses Mediterranean flora and fauna. Myriad of pastel colours tint the houses that overlook the Ligurian Sea, in a scenic view of nature's blessings blending perfectly with human handwork. The port bustles with yachts and little boats in a display of luxury, so no wonder that the once fishing village of Portofino has become a favourite among VIPs.
The CityPortofino is a cosmopolitan holiday resort wrapped up in an aura of nostalgia for the 60s, the years during which the village started shaping into the luxury travel destination it is now. It managed to maintain the original allure of a fishing village that is abundant in local customs and traditions. La Piazzetta (Portofino's main square) is adjacent to the port and buzzes with life and people, filled as it is with yachts and upmarket restaurants. The alleys around the port feature boutiques and eateries, creating a district of quaint buildings interspersed with art galleries. From La Piazzetta, a walk through unspoiled nature leads to some of the highlights of this fishing hamlet. Then from the ancient San Giorgio's church head to Castle Brown and its beautiful garden and culminate your experience at the lighthouse. The best appearance of Portofino can only be captured on foot or by boat. If you’re travelling by the sea, a postcard-like view will open up in front of you, disclosing the colourful harbour and the majestic promontory.
Do & See
Nestled in the Regional Park of Portofino, scenic walking trails along the coastline or high uphill are just a few steps away. Numerous boat trips also start from Portofino's bustling port: the city's surrounding area is a marine sanctuary, perfect for enjoying the underwater world or just swimming in emerald crystal water. But in the end it's the city itself that makes Portofino such an alluring travel destination: the charm of the old fishing village coexists with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries, in a mix of maritime traditions and modern fashion.
As a former fishermen settlement, Portofino boasts a culinary history rich in seafood-based dishes, made with basic ingredients and fresh herbs. The homemade pesto is a classic throughout the whole Ligurian Riviera and in Portofino, with its own touch of personality, it features tomatoes and vegetables as an addition. In true Italian spirit, the city sees another pasta dish among its specialities: the pansotti, a filled pasta with a triangular shape. The picturesque harbour has reshaped into an exclusive resort, price-wise, which makes it tricky to find a good meal if on a budget. With a history that dates back to the 20th century, the family-run restaurants that have developed around the Piazzetta are certainly some of the crown jewels in town.
Portofino and its city centre seem to have been left untouched by the many coffee chains that have taken over in the bigger cities. Here you can enter in one of the many different restaurants, bars or gelaterias around the main square that are open since the 20th century to appreciate a cup of coffee or to have an ice cream during your stroll around town.
Bars & Nightlife
The nightlife in Portofino is concentrated in and around Piazzetta (Oliveri Square) and Molo Umberto I, where exclusive bars and restaurants offer the charm and uniqueness of a city that has turned into a well known holiday resort. The inviolable ritual of the 'aperitivo' (happy hour) starts at 5/6pm, when Piazzetta buzzes with life and the Italians enjoy a glass of wine or an Aperol Spritz along with an assortment of nibbles that often accompanies the drinks. The party continues at Paraggi Beach during the witching hours, where Covo Nord-Est, an institution of the club scene, attends to their partying guests.
Luxury boutiques line up neatly down Portofino's cobbled alleys, making it an attractive destination for fashion enthusiasts. The popular jet-set resort also doesn't fail to treat the holiday-makers fairly, offering a plethora of high-end stores and art galleries. The pulsing heart of fashion revolves around Martiri dell'Olivetta Square (the so called "Piazzetta"), but Calata Marconi, Via Roma and Molo Umberto I are also packed with luxury brand names and upscale restaurants.