Things to do in Portofino

Portofino is a small picturesque town on the Italian Riviera, located just to the northwest of Genoa. It is an ancient fishing village which has been transformed into a prestigious haven for artists and international society by English writer Daphne Du Maurier.

As well as being a popular location in modern literature, Portofino is also well known for its seafood cuisine and the quality of its restaurants.

Portofino History

Portofino History – The town of Portofino dates back to 981 AD when it was first mentioned in a document by Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. The actual date of its founding however is unknown. Since then it has been considered a strategic location due to its proximity to the sea and for its natural harbour which was originally known as “Port of Faerno” because of an old village found at this location during Roman times.

Things to do in Portofino Italy

– Sightseeing – The small town has a distinctive character and boasts narrow, piazzas with tiny boutiques and souvenir shops, colourful houses perched on hillsides overlooking the water colour below. There are also lovely walks to be had along the promenade, through the picturesque streets and secret alleys.

– Portofino Museum – The Portofino Museum is located in the town’s original watchtower which was built in the 13th century. It contains archaeological findings and paintings from many of Portofino’s most famous artists including Peresson, Fattori and Lenzi.

– Portofino Water Tour – Taking a ferry from Borzonasca to reach the town is a unique way to enter Portofino. Not only will you be rewarded with beautiful views but also an insight into historical notes regarding the area which are revealed by the captain.

– Boat Tour – There are several tour companies in Portofino offering boat tours around the area for visitors to enjoy. Some of the popular places to visit on a boat tour include the Cinque Terre and Camogli (where you can see Raoul Dufy’s famous works). There are also options to take a boat tour which includes lunch and will fit in with your schedule.

– Portofino Beach – The beach area is on the other side of the promenade from the town and can be accessed by walking or catching a bus (numbers 2 and 3). It is recommended that you get there early in the morning to avoid the busiest times of day.

– Excursions – Staff at all the hotels will be happy to help with information regarding excursions such as boat trips, visits to other towns in Italy and information on Cinque Terre or Portofino’s local archaeological area. The latter can also be enjoyed by walking along the coast.


There are many beautiful hotels located throughout Portofino offering stunning views of the harbour or the Italian countryside. Some of the more popular hotels include Hotel Carlton, Hotel Splendid and The Grand.

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