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The Best 16 Things to Do in Portofino Italy

Portofino Italy is a small but highly scenic fishing village located on the Italian Riviera in the region of Liguria, to the north-west of the country. Known for its beautiful harbor and colorful array of buildings, Portofino Italy is a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

The village is set in a natural, crescent-shaped harbor surrounded by lush hills draped with olive groves and exclusive villas. Pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques, and seafood restaurants line the waterfront. The small, charming streets behind the harbor area are perfect for exploring and getting a feel for the local culture. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the litany of thrilling and soul-nourishing things you can do in and around this amazing locale.

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Portofino Italy anytime soon, be sure to stick around as we’re about to be going over some of the best things to do in this cozy, historic Italian villa. Join us as Viewcation Presents: The Best Things To Do In Portofino Italy.

Exploring the Piazzetta and the Harbor

Found at the very middle of the village, the Piazzetta is Portofino’s vibrant epicenter. This charming square is surrounded by quaint pastel-colored houses, local boutiques, and delightful al fresco cafés. It overlooks the ever-busy harbor where sleek yachts gently bob next to traditional fishing boats, creating a picturesque juxtaposition of old and new. Whether you prefer people-watching while sipping a cappuccino or browsing through local artisanal crafts, the Piazzetta offers an authentic Italian experience.

Visit the Church of San Giorgio, Portofino Italy

Perched high atop a hill overlooking the sea, the Church of San Giorgio offers an extraordinary vista of Portofino and beyond. Dating back to the 12th century, this beautiful church houses relics from the Crusades. The steep but rewarding walk to the church weaves through olive groves and blossoming flora, a captivating experience in itself. With the church’s warm, rustic stone walls and its panoramic views, this spot provides both historical fascination and breathtaking beauty.

Discover the Underwater Statue of Christ of the Abyss

For adventurous types, a trip to the submerged statue of Christ of the Abyss is an absolute must. Located in the bay of San Fruttuoso, this bronze statue sits beneath the water’s surface, offering a unique diving experience. The figure, which is stretching its arms toward the sky, serves as a symbol of protection for all who sail and dive in the area. To see this magnificent work of art, one can either snorkel, dive, or view it from a glass-bottom boat.

Wander in the Portofino Natural Park

The Portofino Natural Park is a veritable paradise for nature lovers. It sprawls over a wide area and boasts a variety of trails that meander through the lush Mediterranean vegetation. Hikers can explore paths leading to stunning cliff-top views, secluded beaches, and tranquil picnic spots. The park’s biodiversity, including various species of birds and plants, adds to the sense of immersion in nature.

Explore the Luxurious Castello Brown

Castello Brown, once a defensive fortress, now stands as an enduring testament to the region’s rich history and luxury. Inside, visitors can explore the elegant rooms and historical artifacts. The castle’s elevated position offers unmatched views of Portofino Italy and the azure sea. The surrounding terraced gardens are filled with vibrant Mediterranean plants, providing a tranquil and beautiful space to relax and absorb the breathtaking surroundings.

Indulge in Local Cuisine

No visit to Portofino Italy is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. The village’s eateries serve dishes that celebrate the Ligurian region’s bounty. Fresh seafood, delicious pesto, and locally produced wines take center stage. The dining experience, whether in a sophisticated restaurant or a charming, family-run trattoria, is enhanced by the warm Italian hospitality and the view of the sparkling Mediterranean.

Adventure to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso

Accessible only by foot or boat, the Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a serene oasis of tranquility. This ancient Benedictine monastery, nestled in a remote cove, is steeped in history and offers a unique insight into Portofino Italy’s past. It’s also the original location of the Christ of the Abyss statue. With its pristine beach and crystal-clear waters, the abbey is a perfect spot for a peaceful picnic or an afternoon of swimming and snorkeling.

Revel in the Exclusive Paraggi Beach

Paraggi Beach is a rare sandy retreat on the rocky Ligurian coastline. Located between Portofino Italy and Santa Margherita Ligure, this crescent-shaped bay is renowned for its calm, turquoise waters and vibrant marine life, making it an ideal location for swimming and snorkeling. Its location, surrounded by lush green hills, adds to the secluded and exclusive feel of the beach.

Stroll Through the Gardens of Villa Durazzo

Situated in nearby Santa Margherita Ligure, the gardens of Villa Durazzo offer a beautifully manicured escape. The elaborate Italian-style gardens, filled with exotic plants and statues, offer tranquility away from the bustling coastal villages. The villa itself is a stunning example of Genovese architecture, filled with art and antiques that narrate the story of Liguria’s grand past.

Sail Around the Portofino Promontory

With its rich seafaring history, a sailing excursion around the Portofino Italy promontory is a delightful way to experience the Italian Riviera. Be it a luxury yacht or a traditional fishing boat, sailing offers an unmatched view of the rugged coastline, secluded beaches, and charming coastal villages. Sunset cruises are particularly popular, as they offer the chance to see the landscape bathed in a warm, golden light.

Visit the Lighthouse of Portofino

For an off-the-beaten-path experience, take a scenic walk to the Lighthouse of Portofino. Located on the extreme tip of the Portofino Italy promontory, this active lighthouse is surrounded by pristine natural beauty. The panoramic view of the Ligurian Sea from the cliffs around the lighthouse is simply breathtaking, and there’s a small bar where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while soaking up the vista.

Shop at the Local Boutiques

Portofino’s winding lanes are lined with unique boutiques and high-end shops that showcase the finest Italian craftsmanship. From luxury fashion brands to local artisans selling handmade ceramics, olive oils, and wines, shopping in Portofino Italy is a delightful experience. Exploring these shops offers a great opportunity to pick up souvenirs that capture the spirit and tradition of the Italian Riviera.

Visit the Museum of Portofino

Located inside the ancient St. George’s Church, the Museum of Portofino offers an intriguing journey through the history of the village. It showcases fascinating artifacts and exhibits that cover everything from the region’s nautical past to the evolution of its unique architecture. The museum is a treasure trove for history buffs and those curious about the local culture.

Take a Cooking Class

Embrace the Italian love for food by participating in a cooking class. Learn to make authentic Ligurian dishes, like trofie al pesto or focaccia alla genovese, under the guidance of local chefs. Not only will you gain insight into the region’s culinary traditions, but you’ll also get the chance to savor your own homemade Italian meal.

Experience the Glamour at Hotel Splendido

If you’re looking for another taste of the luxurious Italian Riviera lifestyle, there’s no better place to start than Hotel Splendido. Overlooking the Portofino Italy harbor, this legendary hotel has been a favorite of celebrities and jet-setters for decades. Even if you’re not staying overnight, you can enjoy a cocktail or a meal on the terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The hotel’s beautiful gardens are also worth a visit.

Enjoy a Day Trip to Genoa

Only a short train ride away from Portofino, Genoa is a city teeming with history and culture. As the capital of Liguria, it boasts a rich maritime history and a vibrant old town full of narrow, winding streets and grand palazzos. Visit the Aquarium of Genoa, one of the largest in Europe, explore the stunning Cathedral of San Lorenzo, or lose yourself in the bustling Mercato Orientale, a market full of fresh produce and local specialties. This day trip adds a contrasting urban element to your serene Portofino Italy getaway.

Exploring Portofino Italy and the surrounding Ligurian region is an immersive experience, filled with dramatic landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. From sun-drenched piazzas to secluded coves, mouthwatering cuisine to fascinating local history, there’s a myriad of things to discover.

But the real magic of any travel adventure lies in sharing and hearing from others. Whether you’ve been to Portofino and have some insider tips or if you’re planning a trip and have some questions, we’d love to hear from you.

Have you experienced the enchanting sunrise from Castello Brown, or perhaps savored the fresh seafood dishes while gazing at the azure Ligurian Sea? Do you have any off-the-beaten-path suggestions or favorite memories of Portofino that you’d like to share?

Join the conversation in the comments below and share your thoughts, questions, and experiences. Let’s explore the captivating charm of Portofino together!

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