The Perfect Portofino Day Trip

Nestled on the Italian Riviera, Portofino is a picturesque fishing village that has become a popular destination for day-trippers. With its colourful buildings, stunning harbour, and charming streets lined with designer boutiques and seafood restaurants, it’s no wonder why so many visitors flock to this famous corner of Italy. It’s also just an hour away from Cinque Terre, a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline.

Whether you’re interested in soaking up the sun on a beach or exploring ancient churches and castles, there are plenty of things to see and do during your Portofino day trip. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the must-see attractions in Portofino that should be on every traveller’s itinerary!

Disclaimer: Some of the links included on our website may contain affiliate links. We may receive some commission from purchases made via these but it will NOT affect the price you pay. This is to allow this site to stay online and ensure that readers use, what we believe, are the best products possible whilst travelling.

Top tip: We always like to do some research about the country we are heading to before we go, so be sure to check out some books about Italy before spending a day in Portofino!

How to get to Portofino

Portofino and sea

Exploring Italy was one of our highlights in Europe and we really do recommend visiting some smaller locations outside of the major cities!

Due to Portofino’s location on the Italian Riveria coastline, there’s only a small number of ways to visit this beautiful fishing village. The closest airport to Portofino is the Genova City Airport in Genoa and it’s here where we recommend you travel from.

Make sure to check out our 2 Months in Europe Itinerary for all the best hints and tips for travelling Europe in the most practical way!

Public Transport from Genoa to Portofino

Genoa is one of the best cities to visit in Italy and once you’re in Genoa, getting to Portofino is actually quite easy!

First, get yourselves to one of Genoa’s many train stations. This includes Genova Piazza Principie, Brignole, Strula, Quarto dei Mille, Quinto and Nervi. From here you can get the “REG” train to Santi Maghertia Ligure-Portofino which takes just 40 minutes and costs 10€ ($11) for a return.

For the final leg of the journey, hop on the 742 bus which leaves right outside the station. However, it’s worth noting that you need to buy your ticket from inside the train station and not on the bus. The ticket costs just 2€ ($2). We found the bus ride to be quite an experience with the small windy, cliff-edge roads. This is on top of the fact that cars are trying to squeeze past in the opposite direction.

You’ll know when you reach Portofino as everyone disembarks. Just in case, the famous village is 19 stops from the train station and is named Chiesa del Divo Martino.

Our Top Tips for Travelling Europe on a Budget is another great guide outlining how to navigate the continent.

Genoa and Portofino Boat Tour

If you want absolutely no stress at all in getting here, make sure to check out these tours!

This Tour of Genoa and Day Trip to Portofino is perfect if you don’t have much time but you want to experience everything there is to see. You’ll get to walk the amazing streets of Genoa where a guide will tell you all about the wonderful history of this port city. What makes this tour so unique is that you will get to enjoy a whole other side of the picturesque Italian coastline from the sea!

If you prefer to explore the elegant Italian villages near Genoa then we have you covered. This tour of Portofino, Santa Margherita and Camogli is perfect for you! You’ll be driven around all three villages where you can see their respective highlights and learn about the Italian Riviera. Don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of time to grab some delicious food from some top-quality restaurants and cafes.

What to do in Portofino in a day

Window Shop

Louis Vuitoon in Portofino

If like us, you’re travelling Europe on a budget, you won’t be able to treat yourself to a designer handbag whilst you’re away. However, that shouldn’t stop you from browsing what you could buy if you win the lottery. With clothing stores like Louis Vuitton and designer jewellery from Grimoldi Gioielleria, there’s a whole range of shops to stick your nose into!

Enjoy Pasta and Aperol in La Piazzeta

Aperol and pizza in Portofino

If you’re taking a day trip to Portofino, you absolutely must treat yourself to some incredible food around the Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta. Apart from being the best people-watching spot in the area, having something to eat after walking around all day is so relaxing.

We ended up at Sottocoperta and the food tasted even better than it looked! We opted for the tomato and burrata pasta and Pizza 4 Formaggi (four cheese pizza). I was highly tempted by the Margherita just to taste how it should be made but I gave in to the cheese! They even had gluten-free and vegan options which makes it suitable for everyone. Don’t worry if this doesn’t take your fancy, there are endless restaurants in the square and around the marina.

If you don’t fancy eating then make sure you treat yourself to a traditional and refreshing Aperol or Campari Spritz. Letting the world go by is such fun that it’ll be time to go home before you know it!

Hike up to Castello Brown and the Church of San Giorgio

Castle in Portofino with boats

These are two of the most famous landmarks in Portofino and one of the many things pulling tourists here. It’s an incredibly popular activity to hike up the hill to both monuments and it takes less than 10 minutes.

It costs just 5€ to enter Castello Brown and we can assure you it’s well worth it. Despite being small, it has tons of history and the artwork on the walls is incredible. On the other hand, the Chiesa of San Giorgio is a quaint little church that has unrivalled views down below.

Once you reach the top, make sure to gaze back over the village of Portofino as the views are incredible! If you enjoy viewpoints, make sure to also visit Faro di Portofino which offers panoramic ocean views and a cocktail bar.

Swim at Paraggi Beach

You absolutely can not visit Portofino without having a dip in the sea! Whilst not situated in Portofino itself, Paraggi Beach is practically the next bay over and easily accessible on foot or by bus. The best bit about this beach is that it’s rarely busy which makes it one of the best places to relax at. All we can recommend is to bring a towel, your book or an Amazon Kindle and watch the world pass you by!

Try some gelato

If you’re in Italy, you have to try some gelato and Portofino is no exception. There are loads of stores dotted around and you’ll be able to find a method that suits you. For example, practically all the restaurants serve scopes of gelato and are best placed if you wish to eat them sitting down.

Alternatively, Gelateria Gepi Portofino has an array of yummy flavours and provides the best option for eating on the go. Why not grab a couple of scoops and head down to the Marina where you can enjoy it gazing out to sea?!

See the Yachts at the Marina di Portofino

Portofino marina

Despite all of the other activities, one of our favourites on our Portofino Day trip was a visit to the Marina. Portofino’s Marina is easily accessible as you just keep walking around to the right-hand side. We spent hours here just chatting as it was such a beautiful day and the view was incredible!! This is a great spot for watching boats and gazing out over the ocean.

Try Portofino Gin

Portofino gin

Apart from the picturesque houses, the other famous aspect of Portofino is its gin. Portofino Gin was launched in 2019 and includes 21 different botanicals! It’s distilled nearby at Antica Distilleria Quaglia, a historic distillery known for its vermouths and bitters. The gin has an elegant Mediterranean character with citrus and floral undertones. If you like gin, you will know this is the best of the best and there’s no better place to try it than in Portofino!

Accommodation options in Portofino

If you do want to stay a bit longer, here are some hotel options near Portofino!

$ – Ostello Bello Genoa

If you’re on a budget and looking to embark on your Portofino Day trip, there is no better place than Ostello Bello. One of the main reasons is the location which is a short walking distance away from the Genova Piazza Principe train station. This is far more affordable than staying in Portofino and you get the benefit of staying in a bustling city with lots of things to do.

This hostel is honestly one of the best hostels in Europe, it’s absolutely beautiful and loved the communal terrace. Littered with comfy chairs and hammocks, this is a great place to relax with a book in hand. It also had easy-to-use laundry facilities which were great for long-term travellers. Additionally, the rooms themselves were well kept, and super clean and the locks on the doors made us feel very secure.

$$ – Hotel Piccolo Portofino

Alternatively, if you’re looking to stay close to the fishing village of Portofino, look no further than Hotel Piccolo. This 4-star hotel is situated in Baia Cannone cove and has unrivalled views of the turquoise sea below. You just have to simply look outside your window and you’ll think you’re in paradise, the views are that good!! As it’s located just around the headland from Portofino itself, the village is easily within walking distance. If you’re looking to stay here then get your bookings in early as it’s an extremely popular hotel.

$$$ – Belmond Hotel Splendido

The Belmond Hotel is actually split into two different hotels. The Slendido is a 70-room hotel situated on the steep jagged hill that looks down upon the village. You can expect jaw-dropping views from every angle and there’s even a stunning infinity pool overlooking Portofino! Even if you don’t end up staying here, we highly recommend visiting for an apertivo on the terrace.

The 16-room Mare is located on the Piazzetta itself making it perfect for those not wanting to walk far. The staff here are notoriously very attentive and super friendly whilst the food is always incredible. A refurbishment has recently been made which gives it a wow factor. If your budget stretches this far, this should absolutely be at the top of your list!

FAQs for spending 1 day in Portofino

Is one day enough for Portofino?

Absolutely! Everything in Portofino can be seen within one day no matter how much you want to see. Despite preconceptions, you can easily experience this amazing village for as cheap as you want!

Is Portofino in Italy worth visiting?

Without a doubt yes! As this guide highlights, there are so many beautiful things to do in Portofino during your visit.

How much does a trip to Portofino cost?

Getting to Portofino from Genoa costs just 12€ via train and bus. You could easily make it so this is all that you spend for the day if you bring a packed lunch. Alternatively, you can treat yourself to some amazing food in the Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta or around the marina.

Where should I go after Portofino?

You can choose to visit Portofino as for the day from Genoa or a stop off on your onward journey. We’d recommend next spending the day in Florence and then beyond to the rest of Italy.

There you have it, how to complete your idyllic Portofino Day trip! Outlining how to get there, where to stay and the best things to do! This guide will give you everything you need to know about visiting Portofino allowing you to enjoy your Portofino Day Trip to the fullest.

If you’ve enjoyed this guide, why not check out the Top European Landmarks you need to visit?

Have you ever been or would like to visit Portofino? Let us know what you thought or why in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of the links included on our website may contain affiliate links. We may receive some commission from purchases made via these but it will NOT affect the price you pay. This is to allow this site to stay online and ensure that readers use, what we believe, are the best products possible whilst travelling.
couple in Portofino

Follow us!

Similar Posts


  1. We’re hopefully planning a visit to Italy this summer and I didn’t realize that Florence (our last stop in Italy as of right now) isn’t too far from Portofino. I wonder if we’d be able to add it to our itinerary! Italy has so much to offer, so if we can’t do it this time around, I already know we’ll be back 🙂. Thanks for the info! Xx Sara

    1. Yes you absolutely should Sara!! Definitely worth spending a day here, browsing the shops and visiting the harbour!

  2. Looks like a lovely destination! Italy is definitely on my travel list. I was just in Greece, and though about hopping over to Italy, but definitely next time. Planning a trip within the next year, and this looks like the perfect day trip. Glad to hear it’s accessible by public transit!

    1. Wow I hope Greece was amazing, we can’t wait to visit! You’ll have an amazing time Kia, we’re so jealous!

  3. I didn’t make it all the way to Portofino when I was staying in Cinque Terre, but after reading this, I wish I had. Beaches and gin, what else could you ask for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *