Holidays to Portofino
Pretty Portofino promises a charming stay
Portofino on Italy’s north-eastern edge is a popular destination for tourists and locals boating around the coast of the Tyrrhenian and Balearic Seas. Its yachting visitors mean the area has gained an affluent character, as its boutique shops and fine restaurants show. Even if this isn’t your thing, the area’s pleasant streets and peaceful nature are likely to provide you with an enjoyable stay. June through August are the warmest and driest months in Portofino and when tourism is at its peak. However, the climate is usually comfortable throughout the year.
Head up a flight of steps close to the harbour to find St George’s Church and a superb view down over the bay. Built during the 12th century, you will find fine paintings inside. The Gothic Oratory of the Brotherhood of Mary also houses a series of artworks to admire. For an alternative view over the water and yachts, seek out the lighthouse on Punta del Capo. Brown Castle is another must-see during Portofino holidays. Its house museum is perched high above the harbour and is surrounded by peaceful gardens. Unsurprisingly, this photographer’s paradise is a common location for weddings and other memorable events.
Although you could quite easily enjoy a leisurely time in Portofino, there are many opportunities to get out and be active. A kayak tour gives you the chance to see another aspect of the town and enjoy the warm water. You can also explore beneath it by snorkelling in the marine protected area. Scooter tours take you along the area’s winding routes towards Santa Margherita and Sestri Levante, with frequent stops to take in the views. If budget allows, a luxury yacht can be chartered for a trip.
Portofino’s wealthy inhabitants are well served by the high-end shops based there. Many world-renowned designers have their own stores by the coast, so you can treat yourself to something special. At the other end of the spectrum are the independent stores selling hand-made jewellery, crafts and unique mementos to take home. Artisan food and regional wine can be picked up to take back to your chosen accommodation.
Food and drink
Some of the region’s best food is served in the harbour town. The Mediterranean influences are clear, and the chefs also borrow from surrounding regions to offer you a great variety of cuisine. You can be sure that most of the fish that is served will be freshly caught that day, while the pasta is also almost certainly made each morning at most restaurants. Make the most of the area’s Ligurian olive oil, and remember to pick out a local bottle of wine to savour with your meal. Pigato, Cinque Terre, Sciacchetra and Vermentino are varieties to look out for.