Holidays in the Portofino area

Exploring the natural beauty of the Portofino Coast

The Ligurian towns near Portofino are an exciting mix of glamour and wealth, and down-to-earth, rustic charm; from the ‘dolce vita’ of Portofino itself, to Rapallo, popular with holidaying Italian families. Walking in the Portofino National Park reminds you that there's still a lot of rural land around these picture-perfect towns, just a stone's throw from the coast. Exploring on foot is a great way to get to know the real Liguria, where farmers still work on the land and old farm houses stand strong in the middle of the countryside.

Sea-view walking

One of our favourite parts of walking in the Portofino area is looking down on the 'C' shaped harbours that are so characteristic of the area. The bright white yachts lining the harbour always look smart bobbing about on the water. From above, the multi-coloured buildings stand out against the lapis lazuli sea. See if you can spot any fisherman bringing in their catch. 

The easy going walk from Rapallo to Santa Margherita Ligure (that can be extended out to Portofino for the full 8km route) is popular with everyone, from families to joggers, thanks to its flat pathway and great views. Called ‘The Red Carpet’ walk, after a Hollywood PR stunt, the route travels along beautiful coastline, sandy beaches and past huge villas.

Fantastic public transport network

Trains run up and down the coast linking the towns with the city of Genoa and the beautiful Cinque Terre, which is a bit further down the coast. From Rapallo it's easy to hop on the train to other nearby towns, all of which have gorgeous sea views and tucked away beaches. From Santa Margherita you can easily hop over into Portofino on the bus, the journey takes about 30 minutes and you can buy your tickets in the local tabaccheria.

Buzzing cafés and restaurants

While Portofino became the stamping ground of the rich and famous in the 1950s, there's a more local side to the Italian Riviera waiting for you to discover it. There's a really communal feel in towns like Rapallo and Santa Margherita. Rapallo in particular is full of restaurants and delis where you can sit on plastic chairs and grab a quick pasta salad for lunch. We love the down to earth restaurants, where you'll find Italian families eating together and enjoying themselves late into the evening. It really is buzzing!

In and around Portofino

Take a day trip to Portofino and stroll through alleyways between pastel-painted houses, window shop in designer boutiques and check out the fishing boats in La Piazzetta. There’s also plenty to discover just outside of the old fishing village so make sure you make the most of it! Head over to Castello Brown, the 15th-century castle on a nearby peninsula, for the best views of Portofino; rent a kayak and explore the coastline; or take a boat to Abbey San Fruttuoso, only accessible by water or on foot, and discover the sunken statue of christ.

Why book a summer holiday in the Portofino area with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of the Portofino area's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to the Portofino area include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

Flights and airport transfers included

Telephone rep service

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Grand Hotel Bristol, ERRE SPA Indoor Pool

Grand Hotel Bristol Spa Resort stands out on Rapallo's coastline. It's a stunning Art Nouveau building with incredible outside areas and views of the Ligurian Riviera from all around. We love the pool that looks out over the Portofino Promontory. The rooftop a la carte restaurant is a must-try and you can't miss aperitivo in the bar at sunset.

  • from£1055pp
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With a wonderful waterfront location in Rapallo on the Portofino Coast, enjoy the infinity pools, sun beds and private beach club at the luxurious Hotel Excelsior Palace.

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The Hotel Regina Elena is a family-run hotel and a great base for visiting the surrounding area. The centre of Santa Margherita is just a short walk away and Portofino can be reached by a pleasant coastal walk. This is a charming spot with lots of facilities including a fab rooftop pool with panoramic views.

  • from£778pp
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Hall D

Hotel Jolanda offers stylish accommodation. The seafront and the station is just a short walk away from the hotel, making it a great base for exploring Liguria.

  • from£930pp
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The Hotel Miramare & Spa is located on the stunning Bay of Silence, which has one of Liguria's best beaches. Inside there's contemporary rooms and nice wine bar and lounge with large, sea view windows. For a special evening, book a table at the hotel's restaurant. It features in the Michelin guide and has gourmet cuisine.

Things To Do

Great for art lovers

In true Italian fashion, Portofino's a fantastic place to visit if you're an art lover. Walk up to the church of St Giorgio and check out the doors! They're reminiscent of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise in Florence with several panels depicting various biblical scenes. The artist, Lorenzo Cascio, also has a gallery in Portofino full of his Ancient Greek inspired artworks. While you're in Portofino check out the international outdoor sculpture centre which displays sculptures from about fifty contemporary artists in an outdoor area overlooking the harbour.

Comforting local food

Focaccia e Formaggio is the ultimate comfort food; toasted focaccia with melted cheese in the middle. They sell it in pretty much every bakery in the area. The best one we've had comes from a little town called Sori; hop on a train and go in search of it! The gelato is also fantastic (unsurprisingly), and it tastes even better eating it whilst looking out over the sparkling blue sea.

Visit towns in the Portofino area 

From Rapallo you can get a direct train to towns like Bogliasco, Sori and Zoagli. These towns are all hidden gems and full of locals. The beach in Bogliasco is very popular in the summer, set beneath rocky walls it's the ideal un-spoilt area to enjoy on a summer's day. Make sure you also check out the ancient Roman bridge, it's the perfect spot for an Instagram moment!

Good to know

Hiking trails: The Portofino National Park

Terrain: Un-even terrain and some narrow trails

Best time to go: April - May & September - October. Visiting around the edge of the season will mean the climate is a bit cooler and the towns won't be as busy

Recommended for: Intermediate hikers

Fly into: Genoa (approx. 2 hours)

Transfer time: approx. 45 mins from Genoa airport or 1 hour 30 mins from Pisa airport by private car

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