Liguria - Portofino
Portofino is one of the most famous places on the Ligurian coast "Riviera di Levante", which is located about 35 km east of Genoa in a sheltered bay on the Gulf of Tigullio.
Jet sets and famous personalities have been meeting in Portofino for decades.
The harbour front of Portofino (Latin "Portus Delphini") resembles a postcard picture.
The small closely built houses around the small port in the typical Ligurian colours, the narrow streets and the natural park of Portofino with steep slopes, olive trees, pines and cypresses behind form a characteristic sight.
The port of Portofino is considered one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, where you can always admire a large number of luxury yachts.
The fortress of San Giorgio was built in the 16th century by the Maritime Republic of Genoa above the village of Portofino. In 1870 the fort was taken over by the English console Yeats Brown.
The extensive park and the fortress Castello di San Giorgio is now called Castello Brown and today belongs to the champagne king Baron Alfons von Mumm and is used for events.
From the Castello Brown and the "Parco del Castello Brown" you have a panoramic view of Portofino - on a clear day you can even see the Maritime Alps, 80 km away.
Portofino lighthouse Punta del Capo:
Worth seeing in Portofino is the lighthouse on the rock "Punta del Capo", which is about 15 minutes away from the fortress of S. Giorgio. A walk to the lighthouse and an ice cream/cafe at the harbour are among the “classics” for Portofino visitors.
Church of S. Giorgio:
The Romanesque church Chiesa di San Giorgio stands on the rock south of the port of Portofino. It can be reached on foot in a few minutes and also offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Bay of Portofino.
Portofino, together with the neighbouring municipalities of Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure, manages the Portofino Marine Protected Area and the Portofino Natural Park (see Hiking San Fruttuoso - Portofino).
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Luxury on the port of Portofino
In the 19th century, Portofino was a popular holiday resort for the English. Today Portofino is the place to be for high society, expensive yachts and many tourists who like to shop in the elegant boutiques of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hermes.
By the way, since 2003 there is an Officine Panerai boutique in Portofino in Via Roma 13 - here you can buy the popular Italian Panerai watches!
The watch model IWC Portofino was named directly after the Ligurian town - it is a particularly popular model from the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer (see IWC watches).
The price level is correspondingly high in Portofino - you will notice when you have a first coffee on the pretty "Piazzetta" at Portofino's harbour.
Corresponding luxury is offered in Portofino. At the top of the Portofino hillside you can find the luxury Hotel Splendido, the most exclusive and expensive hotel on the Riviera.
One of the most beautiful hiking trails in Liguria leads from Camogli through the Portofino Natural Park:
The Camogli - San Fruttuoso - Portofino hiking trail leads from Camogli San Rocca along the coast via Punta Chiappa to San Fruttuoso and can be extended to Portofino.
The promontory of Monte di Portofino has been a nature reserve (Promontorio di Portofino) since 1986.
Discover the natural beauties and sights of Portofino!
Here you will find recommended hikes in Portofino:
- San Fruttuoso - Portofino hiking trail
- Portofino - Santa Margherita hiking trail
Interesting facts about Portofino
Portofino was a small fishing village in the Middle Ages and dependent from San Fruttuoso where the Abbey is located.
The fishermen and sailors were loyal to the Republic of Genoa and fought in the Crusades.
The residents of Portofino brought the remains of St. George to their church. There are two churches in Portofino: Saint George and Saint Martin. The Church of Saint George has historical roots but was destroyed and rebuilt during the last war.
During the XXIX century Portofino was already a popular location for the rich Europeans. Writers, artists, ... liked to visit this area with its particularly mild climate.
This is why an important German family moved here: Baron Alfons von Mum, who was already producing sparkling wine.
He and his English wife Jeanie rented a beautiful villa in Portofino and spent a lot of time there. After the death of the baron and after the First World War, Alfonso von Mum's widow decided to return to Portofino.
At the end of World War II, German soldiers received order to destroy Portofino. The brave lady opposed it and spoke to the commander of the garrison.
No one knows what she said to him: but Portofino was saved and the soldiers left the village at night.
If you walk past the cemetery, you can see a memorial stone where the residents of Portofino thank Jeanie von Mum.
Portofino Arrival by ferry Portofino – Santa Margherita
You can easily travel from Portofino to Santa Margherita and back by ferry.
You will pass Paraggi, a tiny village with an exclusive sandy beach. The bay is guarded by the Castello Bonomi, now a private castle.
In a short time, we reach Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can admire the impressive architecture: Villa Durazzo with its park, a beautiful villa built in the XVI century on behalf of the Durazzo family.
Right next to it you can see the baroque church of St. James and the castle built in the 16th century by the Republic of Genoa to protect against pirates.
Santa Margherite is home to many luxury hotels for Liguria's jet sets.
Portofino Arrival by train/bus
Portofino does not have a train station. There is a bus that will take you from Santa Margherita train station along the narrow and winding coast road to Portofino.
Bus 82F connects Santa Margherita FS train station to Portofino.
Note, that there are generally only a few buses and when the ferries between Santa Margherita and Portofino cannot operate in case of bad weather conditions (high waves), these buses are completely overcrowded.
At Santa Margherita train station you have a variety of trains to choose
Here you can find many other information about the Port of Genoa: