No trip to the Italian Riviera is complete without a day spent exploring the quintessentially glamorous, perfectly photogenic fishing village of Portofino. Nestled within its own petite peninsula, its location alone makes it exclusive – while its lush green hills, colourfully painted villas and line up of luxury super yachts simply seal the deal!
Take a 50-minute ferry from Santa Margherita Ligure to experience the lap of Portofino luxury for yourself. It won’t be long before you’ll be playing the part FAR too well – swanning around you’ve been a visitors for years, & seeking out all the seaside port’s spoils with a dangerous amount of ease.
Upon arrival, your first priority should be securing the best waterfront restaurant for a luxuriously long, well-lubricated lunch. The unashamed people-watching, villa lusting and beautiful boat admiring will instantly follow. That’s probably the best thing about Portofino. The first item on your “to do” list should be to do absolutely nothing at all. Observing the village itself provides all the entertainment necessary!
WHERE TO EAT, STAY & PLAY IN PORTOFINO:
WHERE TO EAT: Lunch or dinner on the harbour’s edge is absolutely essential. We had originally planned to snag a table at Ristorante Puny – a Portofino institution we’d heard rave reviews about – but it was closed on the day of our visit. (As it turns out, Thursday’s are their day off!) We more than happily settled for our second (yet equally satisfying) choice – O’Magazin – which offered elegant Italian dishes in a setting that probably surpasses that of Da Puny. It totally won us over. My advice? Get there early – ask for a table right by the water, order as many slow-burn courses as possible, & enjoy all the Portofino glamour!
WHERE TO STAY: Many decide to visit Portofino just for the day. But if you do choose to stay for the night (or two), the Belmond Hotel Splendido sits high in the hills offering breathtaking views & the ultimate in Mediterranean luxury. I couldn’t imagine anything more appropriate!
WHERE TO PLAY: For the best views of Portofino and the surrounding ocean, take a walk up the paved pathways/stairs on either side of the port. Make sure to check out the charming Church of San Giorgio – a simple, yet beautiful Catholic church which I hear is home to many an Italian wedding. Once you’ve ticked off the key vantage points, spend the rest of the afternoon browsing the high-end fashion boutiques that Portofino has become famous for.
HOW TO GET THERE: The closest major airport to Portofino is the Christopher Columbus airport in Genoa. From there you can rent a car & drive for just over an hour. But the streets (like in most European towns) are narrow and windy -and should only be tackled by a confident driver! A FAR more relaxing option is taking a ferry ride along the stunning Ligurian coast. Ferries from the nearby town of Santa Margherita Ligure (where we were staying) take just 50 minutes. One final option (should you have the resources) is to sidle into the harbour on your very own personal yacht! You’ll feel entirely at home amongst the myriad of other boats that constantly dot the horizon.