From our base in Vernazza on the Cinque Terre, we took a day trip to the beautiful and prestigious enclave of Portofino. We’d heard so many wonderful reports about Portofino, an historic fishing village turned holiday resort, well known for its charming harbour, characteristic and colourful architecture, plus its rich and famous visitors. In years gone by, stars who holidayed or resided in Portofino included Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly and Truman Capote, as well as many seriously wealthy and sophisticated visitors from around the world.

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Portofino

From our research, we discovered that Portofino was only about 2 hours from Vernazza by train and bus, so off we went. After an early start, we arrived in Santa Margherita for late breakfast, then we took a 15 minute bus ride out to Portofino, which is located on a peninsula south west of Santa Margherita.

True to the buzz, Portofino is indeed very beautiful. It is set in a relatively narrow cove amongst the rocky coastline of the Italian Riviera, yet is also surrounded by lush green gardens. There’s a variety of upmarket boutiques, jewellery stores, galleries and trendy cafes, frequented by the jet set, as well as a few pizzerias, a bakery selling focaccia and gelato shops for the rest of us!

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Portofino

The delightful harbour houses boats of all kinds, from tiny timber craft up to multi-million dollar super yachts. There are still a few fishermen working out of Portofino too.

Portofino harbour, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Portofino harbour – notice the terraced gardens leading up to Castello Brown on the hilltop

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

The crystal clear waters of Portofino harbour

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Portofino harbourfront

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Local fisherman in Portofino

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

A timber fishing boat awaiting repair

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

How’s this for a harbour-side office?!

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

We couldn’t choose which super yacht to take out … this one? …

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

… or this one?!

Portofino was declared a national monument in 1935, and little has changed in the way of architecture since then. All the distinctive buildings around the harbour have bottle green shutters and there are strict rules about the colours which can be used on their exteriors.

Shortly after we arrived, we enjoyed morning tea in a harbour front café.

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Our view of the Portofino harbourfront at morning tea

Afterwards, we explored the town a little more and walked up the hill to Castello Brown, where we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of Portofino, its harbour and the famous Hotel Splendido, where a room costs from $600 AUD per night for a garden view room, up to $3000 AUD for a luxurious one bedroom suite with an ocean view!

Castello Brown, Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Looking up to Castello Brown from Portofino

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

The view of Portofino from Castello Brown

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Looking up towards the famous Hotel Splendido on the hill

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Pink Meerkats on display in Portofino

Afterwards, we returned to Santa Margherita by ferry to connect with the train back to Vernazza. It was certainly worth the effort to visit this very beautiful place.

Portofino, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Leaving Portofino on the ferry

Have you been to Portofino? Did you visit for the day or stay there? Please leave your comments in the box below. Grazie! 

Have you been to Capri? What was the highlight of your visit there? Did you get to see the Blue Grotto? Please leave your comments in the box below. Grazie Mille! 🙂

The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!

Read related posts in this fascinating series here:

The journey to Cinque Terre: When things didn’t go according to plan – Finding the best gelato in Italy – Walking the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Monterosso

Portofino, Pinterest, Besties do Italy, Seize the day projectPlease feel free to pin the above pic to your Pinterest board – I’d love that! 🙂

Linking up with My Brown Paper Packages for #WednesdayWanderlust

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Also linking up with A Brit and A Southerner for #WeekendWanderlust

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…And Albom Adventures for #WkendTravelInspiration

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