Portofino and surroundings
The visit should not be limited to the village of Portofino alone, but the surroundings of the famous resort deserve an overall look.
We will show you three different ways to visit Portofino Park; as always starting from Mare Monti campsite and Sestri Levante.
First, it is necessary to view the area on a map, as you can see the Portofino Promontory is sandwiched between the towns of Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure; on the map Portofino, San Fruttuoso and Punta Chiappa stand out as points of interest.
Sestri Levante – Santa Margherita Ligure – Portofino
By train to Santa Margherita Ligure, and off on foot all the way along the Santa Margherita Ligure promenade to the end by walking along the seafront or under the porticoes; at the end begins the long promenade by the sea that reaches Portofino with an obligatory stop at one of the most beautiful beaches in Liguria: that of Paraggi.
For the return trip, you can use the bus that arrives directly at the Santa Margherita Ligure station or alternatively the ferry.
Arriving at the station in Santa Margherita Ligure, we go down the road that leads to the seafront, we are at the beginning of the promenade; halfway down the promenade a flight of steps leads to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rose. There is a good view from the church square.
At the end of the promenade begins the road to Portofino, past what was once Tigullio’s most renowned nightclub: the Covo di Nord Est.
The road turns from a simple sidewalk that runs alongside the driveway into a series of wooden quays overlooking the sea.
In some places it is possible to bathe among the rocks or on small beaches.
On the opposite side of the roadway verdant parks alternate with dreamy villas and mansions.
Continuing you will arrive in sight of the small town Paraggi, an enchanting corner of whose beach only a small stretch remains.
After a few hundred meters you catch a glimpse of Portofino: the visit continues along the caruggio that leads to the small square of Portofino and from there to the harbor, the church of San Giorgio and the paths leading to the lighthouse.
When you have finished visiting Portofino you return to Santa Margherita by ferry or bus.
If you have time left over, you can visit San Fruttuoso by ferry and, if you wish, continue on to Camogli by taking route N2 backwards.
In any case it is good to point out that from Sestri Levante there is a good ferry service that allows you to arrive directly from Sestri to San Fruttuoso and then make a stop in Portofino; the ferry later returns to Sestri Levante but it is possible to buy a one-way ticket so that you can also visit Paraggi and from there Santa Margherita on foot or by bus.
Why not always choose the ferry instead of the train? Because the train is very cheap and secondly, the frequency of ferries varies depending on the time of year and sea conditions.
In any case, the car is best left at the campsite or in the vicinity of the center of Sestri Levante.
Sestri – Camogli – San Fruttuoso – Portofino
We leave Mare Monti Campground early in the morning and reach the Trigoso or Sestri Levante train station to take the train to Camogli.
Camogli is a pretty little town by the sea characterized by an elevated promenade above sea level. From the station you continue in the direction of the harbor. On the left you will have the sea and a few restaurant terraces overlooking it, and on the right a series of stores, bars, and restaurants that are located on the lower floors of a series of houses that are typical of Liguria in shape and color but atypical in size: the houses on the Camogli waterfront are extraordinarily tall!
When you reach the small harbor square, you can go up on the left to visit Castel Dragone from the outside.
If you still have time, you can go back down a parallel street to the one you took to stroll along a caruggio where there are many stores and workshops.
When the time comes, embark towards Porto Pidocchio.
When you get on the boat look at the clock: in the morning you can stop at Porto Pidocchio and visit the abbey of San Nicolò di Capodimonte; in the early afternoon you should stop at San Fruttuoso to visit the abbey and catch a glimpse of the famous statue of Christ of the Abyss from the boat.
After the stop at San Fruttuoso continue to Portofino and from here backtrack following itinerary No. 1 and return to Sestri Levante and the Mare Monti campsite.
Walking on the mountain of Portofino
Camogli – Porto Pidocchio
Among the various walking routes there is a path that connects Camogli to Porto Pidocchio and Punta Chiappa via San Rocco; this path starts near the Carabinieri Command which is located towards the train station, so once you reach the port you have to turn back; the ferry journey to Porto Pidocchio takes half a day.
Among the many different walking routes, we limit ourselves to pointing out the main ones:
Recommended starting points are:
Nozarego: accessible by car or bus from nearby Santa Margherita Ligure, from where a variety of itineraries depart to reach various points of interest including Portofino and San Fruttuoso.
Portofino Vetta: reachable by car by passing through the Ruta, i.e. the scenic road that connects Rapallo to Camogli (stunning at dusk).
San Rocco: accessible by car from the Ruta or on foot from Camogli.
Possible itineraries are:
San Rocco – Punta Chiappa
San Rocco – San Fruttuoso
Portofino Vetta – Cima Monte di Portofino
Portofino Vetta – Portofino
Portofino Vetta – San Fruttuoso
Nozarego – Portofino
Nozarego – San Fruttuoso
All routes follow nature trails well maintained by the Portofino Park Authority.