Guide to Portofino, Italy
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Portofino is a tiny and stunning coastal village in Italy to go to in the summer, with some of the most incredible food of the Liguria region (known for pesto!). It is also one of the closest beach towns to the country’s fashion capital, Milan, which is very apparent with the designer stores and beach clubs. You can engage in the bougie vibes here and shop till you drop or not at all and enjoy the beach all day, sit at a long Italian lunch all afternoon, take in the magical views on a boat trip or even from the cliffs on the walking paths. It's an unforgettable destination for a romantic getaway, with friends or even a family trip – not to mention, a smaller and calmer alternative to the Amalfi Coast.
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Where to stay in Portofino, Italy
Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
Beloved by Elizabeth Taylor, this storied Portofino stay is a beacon of bygone-age glamour and service, with unforgettable views across the Mediterranean Sea.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Eight Hotel Portofino
Polished hotel with stylish rooms and a full-service spa in the lush hillsides of Portofino near the Ligurian Sea.
$50 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Piccolo Hotel Portofino
Seaside charm and panoramic views await at the Piccolo Hotel Portofino, a boutique gem in the heart of the Italian Riviera.
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Things to do in Portofino, Italy
Paraggi – This is the most popular beach because it's a little sand calm bay with many restaurants. The beach clubs include a Christian Dior one linked to the Belmond Splendido Hotel, a Missoni one in the Le Carillon, but I was partial to the Langosteria for the beautiful restaurant.
Baia Cannone – This public beach was my favorite hidden gem. Walk down the one road from Paraggi Beach toward Portofino town and you'll see a sign that says Spiaggia Libera. You'll walk down some steep steps to the most beautiful rocky alcove.
Spiaggia Pubblica Paraggi – You can also go to this public beach and there's a place to rent paddleboards called Outdoor Portofino. This one is filled with locals and is also super cute!
Take a boat to San Fruttuoso and eat lunch at Da Laura under some lemon trees on a cliff looking down at the beach. Stick around on the beach after or enjoy some leisurely time on a boat in the ocean.
There are tons of designer stores in Portofino like Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci, Balenciaga and so on. Maltempi was my favorite in Portofino for their curation of different brands and the staff here could not have been kinder! Definitely go to Santa Margherita to walk around town for some great local shops.
Portofino Regional Park – Follow the hiking paths to see the most glorious views of Portofino.
Castello Brown – This is a castle from the 1500s that is now a museum up many steep stairs, also seen on Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy (CNN show).
Covo di Nord-Est – This is a nightclub perched on the rocks above the water between Portofino and Santa Margherita.
Le Carillon – This spot on Paraggi Beach turns into a full-blown packed party on Friday nights in August, especially with people of all ages.
You could definitely take a day boat trip to any of the towns of Cinque Terre.
Places to eat & drink in Portofino, Italy
Puny – This is probably the most famous restaurant in Portofino, located in the town square. My favorite dish was spaghetti in a tomato sauce with braised baby octopus. Make sure to get a reservation in advance or try to walk up and request one during your stay.
Ristorante Da Ö Batti Portofino – This restaurant is tucked away on a street behind the main harbor in Portofino. Don't miss the best version of scampi in town and the linguine in pesto. Reservations are recommended.
I Gemelli – There are two locations, one on either side of the port in Portofino. Try their thin layers of lasagne with pesto for a delicate and delicious taste.
Langosteria Paraggi – This beachfront restaurant in Paraggi offers a truly elegant lunch. Don't miss their paccheri pasta with seabass to share and indulge in their fancy desserts.
Gelateria Gepi Portofino – This adorable gelato shop is tucked away in a little courtyard behind the center of the village.
L'Altro Eden – Located on the harbor in the nearby town of Santa Margherita, this lovely restaurant is perfect for a seafood platter dinner on the patio.
Sabot – This gem in Santa Margherita offers the best cocktails and serves a free platter of food during Aperitivo hours. It's popular among the locals and gets crowded all night long.
Vernissage – Located up a slanted street in Santa Margherita, this bar provides a lovely view of the water to enjoy with your drinks and snacks.
Belmond Hotel Splendido – For a luxurious aperitivo experience overlooking the town, visit this hotel and enjoy the views from above.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Italy.