The jealous, northern European cynic in us wanted to shout upon discovering Portofino: "does Italy really have an endless amount of almost painfully beautiful towns like these?!" That was until we realised after a while that Portofino may be able to claim special status as being a beautiful town amongst all of the beautiful towns in Italy. Portofino is quite simply in a league of its own.
This fishing village in Italy's Liguria is a gem and it is quite possible that you will find yourself gasping for breath when you first catch sight of its compact yacht harbor. Colorful houses directly face the water here as if challenging the Mediterranean, gelaterias and restaurants do good business while aunties hang their clothes to dry from their windows, and meanwhile villas look out over the spectacle from atop the lush green hills. But before getting to that spectacle you will face the challenge of making your way - first by car and then on foot - through the crowded and narrow streets going downhill towards the harbour. These are the type of streets that were never meant to accommodate any cars, let alone many of them, so good luck to you.
If you ask the locals, they will tell you that the sights include the Castello Brown (great views) and Divo Martino church, but in reality it is the whole ensemble that you should come here for. Eating a pizza or sipping a coffee is affordable enough, but as this place attracts the European wealthy, shopping at the town's boutiques or staying the night may become a bit more punishing for your wallet. And that's where we come back to the theme of painful beauty again, because for most of us Portofino is a place where we can look but never really touch. And that really hurts. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Portofino here.
- Portofino is a city in Italy's region of Liguria. It has a population of 493, is situated at an altitude of 52ft and the best airport to fly into is GOA (Cristoforo Colombo, Genova)
- The main spoken language here is Italian, and the average English skill is intermediate
- Note Portofino is not a good point of entry for trips to Italy as it is not well internationally connected. Instead try entering through for instance Rome, Genoa, Milan or Turin
- The currency used in Italy is the Euro (EUR)
Other cities in the region (Liguria, Italy)
Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):
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More Portofino travel resources
At Fodor's you will find some useful information on Portofino, and of course Wikitravel and Lonely Planet have written their articles as well. As it goes with lovely little towns like these, travel blogs are plentiful. In particular we'd like to single out a Taste of Travel. Back to the professional media, you might want to read Independent's piece.
Portofino Attractions (Foursquare)
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