Portofino: playground of the rich and famous

Portofino is the hotspot for the rich and famous, but nature lovers will also get their money’s worth here!

Portofino is quite possibly the most enchanting spot on the entire Ligurian Riviera. It is a marvellous escape from the usual tourist diet of museums, cathedrals, and palaces. Once a simple fishing village, Portofino has long since been taken over by wealthy escapist. Its outward appearance, however, remains much the same as it did when 19th-century artists first discovered it.

Panoramic photograph of Portofino taken in 1923.
Panoramic photograph of Portofino taken in 1923.

With its just under 500 inhabitants, the manageable village on the Ligurian coast should not be underestimated: designer boutiques, luxurious yachts and first-class hotels make Portofino the perfect location for the rich and famous. But it’s not just luxury that makes this place so special and unique. These colourful pictures invite you to dream and might even awaken a feeling of wanderlust in you.

Portofino enchants not only with its picturesque and idyllic location directly at the sea that is surrounded by beautiful nature but also with its countless colourful little houses located directly at the harbour. Pine, olive and cypress groves shape the picture here as well as the many colourful houses that adorn the delightful natural harbour. It is the overall picture that makes this place so unique and beautiful.

Attractions in Portofino

See, be amazed and enjoy – this is what you should do during your visit to Portofino. If you have some time, you should take a small tour of the picturesque coastal village.

San Giorgio and Castello Brown

Two of the most impressive sights are undoubtedly the Romanesque church of San Giorgio near the harbour and the famous Castello Brown. The latter is located in the middle of a Mediterranean park and towers over Portofino so that you can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view from here. The fortress is said to have been built around the year 1000 and was once also used for military purposes. Today it is particularly popular for weddings, but also with visitors who want to take a closer look at the ever-changing art exhibitions.

St. George’s Church or the Church of San Giorgio located on the promontory of Portofino.

Santa Maria Assunta lighthouse and lighthouse

Once in Portofino, it is also a good idea to visit the Portofino lighthouse for another breathtaking view. Also worth seeing is the 14th-century oratory of Santa Maria Assunta, which features exciting elements from the Gothic and Renaissance periods.

Hike through nature

As you can see, the 500-person village can be visited easily and comfortably on foot. If you not only want to get to know the buildings, but also the diverse flora and fauna of the Ligurian coast, a beautiful hike along the tip of the Portofino peninsula is highly recommended. At Punta Chiappa there is a cave and a small bathing bay with crystal-clear water. The best place to take a break afterwards is on Piazzetta, Portofino’s main square with many small, chic cafés. Here it is time to relax, to see and be seen.

Luxurious Portofino

When talking about Portofino, it’s usually about fame and fortune, stars and starlets. Hardly any other place in Italy has such a favoured status with celebrities like Portofino. It is not without reason that it is often compared to the Principality of Monaco or Nice in the south of France. Even in the 50s and 60s, celebrities like Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra fell under the charm of the former fishing village. Today, it is none other than Berlusconi and Steven Spielberg. They like to moor their expensive yacht at the port of Portofino and go shopping in the famous Via Roma street, where brand names such as Gucci, Prada and Giorgio Armani are not uncommon.

Getting there

From Milan by train in 2 hours and 35 minutes. One-way fares start from as little as €12.-

From Genoa by train in 1 hour and 20 minutes. One-way fares start from as little as €5.-

From Florence by train in 5 hours and 15 minutes. One-way fares start from as little as €17.-

By car – getting around by car is rather difficult because of the narrow winding roads and problems with parking.

When to go

Portofino is at its liveliest in the warm season when the outdoor cafés are open, and the harbour is full of yachts.  Good weather is essential to fully enjoy Portofino.

Where to stay

Belmond Hotel Splendido

One of the most luxurious hotels on the Riviera with a noted restaurant overlooking everything.

Belmond Splendido Mare 

The Belmond Splendido Mare offers a front-row view of the scenic bay of Portofino and a taste of harbour life.

Tour suggestions


  1. The first time we visited Portofino, I was surprised at how tiny this famous town was 🙂

  2. True about the car. You can’t drive around the town, and you can’t park on the outskirts. Take the train – the best option.

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