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A jewel of the Italian Riviera, Portofino has managed to retain its traditional fishing village roots despite becoming a fashionable resort and sometime playground of authors and film stars.

Founded by the Romans, this beautiful town in Genoa, north-west Italy, has a history that reaches back at least as far as the eleventh century. A natural harbour afforded Portofino prosperity as a fishing village, and today the town's picturesque semi-circular waterfront, backed by a jumble of pastel pink or yellow houses above which a tree-clad hillside rises, provides visitors with a truly memorable image, and especially when approached by boat.

2 results matching: Discover Portofino

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3.8 stars(117 reviews)
9 days from
£1,299 pp £1,249 pp
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  • DestinationFrance, Italy
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
Our customers love our Portofino tours
The Italian Riviera
Mrs Valerie Moss
4 stars
“Really enjoyed our recent trip to Italy and Claire our Tour Manager was absolutely brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble, she was very organised and helpful, always around if you had any queries. Went the extra mile on several occasions, even suggesting extra trips on our 2 free days. The Group were a great bunch of people and everyone got on really well, but on the down-side we thought the group number at 43 was too big. This sometime caused problems getting on and off the trains with luggage, making you feel under pressure. All of the hotels were very nice and the food served was good. We had 2 long days of travel, both on Saturdays when the trains were very busy, particularly from Genova to Ventimiglia with no reserved seats on a regional train and no specific luggage space. The onward journey to Nice was by coach arriving around 5.30pm and with dinner at 7.30 it gave you no time to look around Nice as we departed the next morning at 7.00 am. What really was the point of putting Nice in the itinerary, we should have been heading north back towards Paris. Arrival in Paris at Gare de Lyons was 13.34 and our Eurostar from Gare du Nord was 18.13. Even allowing for transfer across Paris and the 60 minutes booking in time 4.30 hours was a long time to kill. Fortunately Claire liaised with the Rail Discovery office and they managed to organise a free lunch for us at a nearby restaurant. Thank goodness as it would have felt like an even longer day as we did not arrive back at St Pancras until 19.30. Being a Sunday this added another overnight stay in London as our last train had already departed. Photos of beautiful Chiavari and some very wet sailors who were out on the bow on our trip back from Portofino !!
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The natural beauty of Portofino's location - the peninsula upon which the town sits has been a protected National Park since 1935 - began to attract tourists from Italy's aristocracy at the end of the nineteenth century. By the middle of the twentieth century tourist revenue had become Portofino's primary source of income, no doubt aided by the town's association with holidaymaking stars such as Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison.

Whilst Portofino's popularity with visitors remains undiminished, the town has not succumbed to the excesses of tourism and even today retains its traditional charm and atmosphere. Best explored on foot, Portofino rewards its guests with historic buildings, stunning views, superb cafes and restaurants and a host of attractions to provide a destination that is simply unforgettable.

Castello Brown

Now a museum, Portofino's sixteenth-century defensive castle occupies a strategic position on a promontory that overlooks the town and bay, offering outstanding views. The castle is surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean flower gardens, whilst inside exhibits include a gallery of photographs of the many Hollywood stars and other notable people who have stayed in Portofino.

Church of San Giorgio

Built in the Romanesque architectural style in 1154, the simple but beautiful Church of San Giorgio, dedicated to the patron saint of Portofino, is reached via steps and a winding lane from the harbour. The church is notable for its mosaic-tiled pathway, bronze doors and for its small cemetery, richly planted with orchids, cyclamen and other flowers.

Paraggi Beach

Although a popular holiday resort Portofino does not possess a beach of its own, but visitors wishing to relax in the sun and top up their tans need only head a few minutes along the coast to the romantic and secluded Paraggi Beach, reputedly one of the finest beaches in Italy.

Parco di Portofino

The very best way to appreciate the diverse natural beauty, flora and fauna of Portofino and its surrounding countryside is to follow any of the numerous and well-defined hiking trails of Portofino's National Park.

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