PORTOFINO | LIGURIA REGION
Portofino sits on a peninsula in the Tigullio Golf east of Genoa in the northern Italian region of Liguria. Portofino is part of the Italian Riviera. Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli, seaside towns also worth visiting, are the nearest towns. Camogli is a lovely fishing village with pastel houses and a pebbly beach while Santa Margherita is a larger resort town.
Portofino is known as the resort get away of the rich and famous, but there is much more to see here than just people. Portofino is a picturesque, half-moon shaped seaside village with pastel houses lining the shore of the harbor. Portofino has shops, restaurants, cafes, and luxury hotels. Portofino's crystalline green waters reveal a myriad display of aquatic life. A castle sits atop the hill overlooking the village. There are also opportunities for hiking, biking, diving, and boating.
When is the best time of the year to visit the Italian Riviera?
The Italian Riviera can become extremely crowded during the summer months, when vehicle traffic along the winding roads between the tiny towns becomes congested. If you go in the summer, you might want to avoid weekends and national holidays. The presence of the sea and the protection of the mountains produces an enviable mild climate — both in the winter and summer. The best months to visit are April, May, late September and October. This way you can avoid the summer crowds and still enjoy the warmer weather (and go into the water, if you like). Try to avoid driving here in the summer months, but if it is your only choice go with the idea to relax and just lounge around.
The best places to stay in the Italian Riviera?
Since the Italian Riviera is such a frequented tourist destination, there’s a wide range of accommodation options. Listed are some of the best places to stay on the Italia Riviera.
- Hotel Splendido e Splendido Mare, Portofino. If you are not on a budget this is the place to stay. The property features a wellness center and a heated saltwater pool. The annexed restaurant La Terrazza is excellent and specializes in seafood.
- Excelsior Palace Hotel, Rapallo. This luxurious hotel has panoramic views over the Gulf of Tigullio and is surrounded by lavish gardens. Most rooms have a sea view. The hotel includes two restaurants, Lord Byron with view over the Rapallo harbor, and Eden Roc, on the hotel’s private beach. It also features a swimming pool and a wellness center.
- Imperiale Palace Hotel, Santa Margherita Ligure. This hotel is housed in a 19th-century villa that used to belong to an aristocratic family. It’s surrounded by lavish gardens, and features a private beach and views over the bay. There is a swimming pool, a gym and a sea view restaurant — perfect for romantic dinners.
Some of the best places to eat in the Italian Riviera?
Besides a charming seaside location, the towns of the Italian Riviera are filled with plenty of trattorias serving up appealing Ligurian food. These are some of our favorite places to eat in the Italian Riviera:
- Pitosforo, Portofino. Internationally renowned and popular with celebrities, this restaurant is located right on the water in the town’s piazzetta. Pitosforo specializes in Ligurian cuisine with a creative touch.
- Da U Batti, Portofino. Located just behind the piazzetta in a romantic setting, surrounded by the old houses once belonging to fishermen, this restaurant specializes in seafood and is famous for the legendary Scampi alla Batti. But don't ask for the recipe — it's a secret.
- L’Insolita Zuppa, Santa Margherita Ligure. Owned by husband and wife Luca and Margherita, this restaurant specializes in local cuisine with a menu that changes according to seasons and product availability. Some of its specialties are homemade ravioli, mezzelune stuffed with pesto and potato, and l'insolita zuppa — which means "unusual soup" and has given the name to the restaurant.