What to do in Portofino:
- Take a stroll around the harbour and village called Piazza Martiri del’ Olivetti
- Hire a private boat to tour the coastline
- Hike in the National Park or to Portofino lighthouse
- Visit San Martino Church
- Walk up to Castello Brown
- 30 minutes drive from Genoa
- Ferry to Cinque Terre from Santa Margherita takes 50 minutes
I love to visit Liguria in Italy! Such a beautiful area, an amazing area to hike, explore by boat or just enjoy the amazing sea views. Explore Portofino and Santa Margherita Liguria. Beware: It is very popular with tourists. I visited in early May and it was very busy, it must be packed in mid summer.
My itinerary was to drive from the Cote d’azur in France, travelling with my two Pomeranians. The trip from Menton takes about 3 hours on the autoroute with tolls costing around 30 euros. Santa Margherita is 30 minutes from Genoa, so if you choose to fly into Genoa airport the journey is short.
Genoa is a fascinating city and well worth a stop off to break the journey for a day or an afternoon. However, this trip we continued straight to Santa Margherita enjoying some beautiful sunshine in May.
SANTA MARGHERITA, LIGURIA:
Santa Margherita is a delightful small town with an old world charm. There are no big hotel groups int his area, just small privately owned hotels. I chose Hotel Continental
PHOTO: Hotel Continental, Santa Margherita, Liguria, luxury hotel
I chose it primarily for the stunning location right on the sea with views looking over Santa Margherita and around the bay towards Portofino. The location was everything I hoped for and the luxury hotel was delightful. My dogs were welcomed for a charge of 15 euros per dog per night. Parking was extra too, at 20 euros a night.
The room, number 39, was small but very pleasant and the best thing about it was the private terrace with sun loungers and a table and chairs. The gardens are immaculate and so was the swimming pool. A ten minute stroll and we were in the harbour of Santa Margherita with many restaurants to choose for an evening meal, some super little shops.
Take a ferry to Cinque Terre, 50 minutes away. That is if you really want to join the hoards of tourists! There are seaside villages all along the coast that are just as pretty. If you really want to go staying in Santa Margherita and taking the Ferry is a nice compromise. Be warned, Cinque Terre is very busy.
A delicious breakfast at the hotel included Prosecco and a buffet sitting on the terrace with this amazing view.
PHOTO: Hotel Continental, Santa Margherita Liguria
A ten minute drive from Santa Margherita and you will find the charming small village and harbour of Portofino. Parking is almost impossible there, unless you have a very small car that will fit into the underground parking. I made the mistake of taking a taxi at 35 euros!! The best way to a drive is by water taxi or a regular ferry from Santa Margherita.
Portofino is a very expensive place to stay and I personally think that Santa Margherita is a better option. There is more to do and a good choice of good restaurants that are not too overpriced. However, make sure to explore Portofino too!
A highlight of my trip was a boat ride with Portofino Cesare Charter
PHOTO: Cesare Portofino Yacht Charter
A boat is definitely the best way to see the hidden bays and spectacular scenery around Portofino. Take a charter for an hour, day or week!
PHOTO: My view from Hotel Continental of Santa Margherita
This is such a popular area with many day trippers and hikers. Take a boat And escape from the tourist hurly burly! Make sure to explore Portofino and Santa Margherita Liguria walking some of the great hiking trails too.
PHOTO: My dogs enjoying the sea!
WEATHER IN LIGURIA:
You can pretty much guarantee good weather in June, July and August. It rains a a lot in Liguria! There is a reason there are a lot of umbrellas for sale and the area is so lush and green. I enjoyed two perfect days but it was pouring with rain on the day I left. You can have glorious weather in Spring and Autumn but be prepared for rainy days with sensible clothing.
Spring – Sunshine and Showers, it can rain a lot. Summer – Guaranteed sunshine (It still rains sometmes though less frequently) Autumn – Sunshine and Showers
The advantage of a Springtime visit will be a quieter time to visit. The invasion of touriss will begin in June. September is a good time to visit, still good weather but the school holidays are over and everyone has gone home!
SERRAVALLE DESIGNER OUTLET SHOPPING:
I visited the outlet shopping centre on my drive back to France. This meant a 30 minute detour by motorway at Genoa. Just follow the Milan signs and Serravalle is well signposted. Shopping heaven if you like discount designer clothes.
If you want to visit Northern Liguria, take a look at my other blogs on the subject. Happy travelling!