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Find and book hotels in Liguria. With location maps and guest reviews.


Portofino



Portofino

Portofino hotels, travel and tourist guide

Portofino

Portofino is a charming fishing village that has become a boutiquey stop-off point for the yachting set. But although it fills up with trippers, this prettily-painted harbour settlement still exudes an air of tranquillity, and it's certainly a must for anyone visiting this stretch of coastline.

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Portofino tourist information

Portofino is very small; the little streets leading up from the harbour can be explored in very little time. As well as expensive boutiques, there are cheaper souvenir shops and also general stores where you could put together a picnic if you're planning on a walk. Via Roma leads upwards from the harbour, and is the busiest street, with a range of shops, the Portofino Tourist Information Office (ask for a map if you want to explore the footpaths), and the Post Office.

The pretty Piazzetta by the harbour is lined with cafe and restaurant tables; a lovely place to relax with a drink and watch the boats go in and out.

Wandering the waterfront and the lanes, you'll find yachting boutiques, jewellers (such as the inventive Gold For Ever) and art galleries. Ligurian painter Luciana Conti (website link at foot of page) has an exhibition of watercolours at Vico Dritto, 23 (open April - October) - these include some lovely views of Portofino, with prints and posters to tempt the holidaymaker.

A short walk from Portofino

A very pleasant walk heads up to the right as you face the harbour. Up a series of steps, you come to the Church of St. George, a church with a cool, plain interior, dramatically situated on the narrow neck of the Portofino headland. As a lookout point, and probably as a site of religious significance, the spot goes back thousands of years. There are benches to sit on, and some great photo-opportunities looking back down over the harbour.

Continuing onwards, you'll reach Castello Brown (entrance 3.50). This imposing building dominates the harbour; after its warlike purposes were over, it was purchased in 1867 by the British Consul, one Montague Yeats Brown, who made it into the charming dwelling you can admire today. The terraced gardens have wonderful views; while the building contains interesting historical exhibits and architectural features, as well as housing art exhibitions. A lovely story is attached to the two pines on the terrace. Apparently the Consul planted them to celebrate his marriage; one for his bride and one for himself; today they are a striking feature of the Portofino skyline.

The walk heads on out to the tip of the promontory and the Faro (lighthouse). A little terrace provides a nice spot for a snack overlooking the turquoise Mediterranean, before you retrace your steps to Portofino.

The area around Portofino is a protected park and in July and August there are organised events and guided walks for those who want to see more of the area on foot.


Portofino travel information

Portofino

Get to Portofino

Unless you are really splashing out, you'll probably just be visiting Portofino for a day trip. The best way to arrive is by boat (preferably your own...); ferries run from nearby resorts. Santa Margherita Ligure is the nearest seaside town; the town's railway station is called Santa Margherita Ligure - Portofino, and buses run from the station along the headland to Portofino. A return boat fare from Santa Margherita to Portofino costs 8; the bus is considerably cheaper, if less fun.

If you want to explore the blue waters at the foot of Portofino's cliffs, you can hire a boat at the harbour.

Portofino hotels

Portofino is an expensive place to stay. For those with an eye to their budget, we'd recommend staying in nearby Santa Margherita Ligure, which has a much bigger range of good hotels.

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Hotel San Giorgio, Portofino

Hotel San Giorgio ****

The four-star Hotel San Giorgio has eighteen rooms and a reputation for being both smart and friendly. It is located near the Piazzetta and is a good, if pricey, place to stay in Portofino.

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Hotel Domina Home Piccolo, Portofino

Hotel Piccolo ****

This four-star hotel has a pleasant green setting just outside Portofino. It is close to a pleasant private beach, and some of its rooms have sea-views, although the price you will pay for this is the noise of traffic on the road outside.

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Hotel Eden, Portofino

Hotel Eden ***

The Hotel Eden is a cheaper option, although its prices still reflect the costly location. It is situated in the centre of the town, in a side-street close to the harbour. The hotel has just twelve rooms, so book ahead. There are gardens and a restaurant. Note that this is an old-fashioned place and does have rather mixed reviews from past guests.

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Italian Riviera

Guide to Liguria and the Italian Riviera

Cadogan Guide to the Italian Riviera and Piemonte
The excellent Cadogan series includes this guidebook to the Italian Riviera. Their books are always instructive and entertaining.

> Italian Riviera and Piedmont (Cadogan Guide) from Amazon UK

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