One Day in Portofino: Best Things to do in Portofino, Italy

Planning your trip to Portofino last minute?

Make sure to book your hotels and tours in Portofino in advance, especially if you're visiting during the peak summer months as they tend to sell out.

Top Tours and Tickets to Book Before You Go:

Best Hotels in Portofino:

Portofino is a beautiful Italian fishing village located in the region of Liguria, right on the beautiful Italian Riviera coastline by Genoa. It's colourful houses, seaside location and stunning views make it a popular destination for tourists visiting the country. Historically speaking, Portofino's roots date back to the Roman era when it was known as Portus Delphini, thanks to its abundance of dolphins in the bay. Over the centuries, it transformed from a cute little fishing village to a favoured haven for artists, writers, and the international elite during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

If you're planning your visit to this beautiful Italian town, here are the best things to do in Portofino, followed by a list of the best restaurant in Portofino.

Best Things to do in Portofino in One Day

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Visit the Castello Brown

One of the most iconic landmarks in Portofino is the Castello Brown. Located on a hill overlooking the village, this castle was built in the 16th century by the Genoese Republic. Today, it serves as a museum, showcasing the history and culture of Portofino. You can explore the castle's rooms and terraces, which offer breathtaking views of the harbour and the sea. The entrance ticket to the park and castel is 5 euros, with free admission for kids up to the age of 12. For more information, check out the official website of Castello Brown here.

Go on a Boat Tour

A boat tour is one of the best ways to experience Portofino's stunning coastline. You can rent a private boat or join a group tour to explore the nearby coves and beaches. Some of the hidden gems in Liguria include San Fruttuoso, a secluded bay with a 10th-century abbey, and Camogli, a picturesque fishing village with colourful houses and a lively atmosphere. As you enjoy the serene coastline, you can also engage yourself in some water activities like swimming, snorkelling, or diving in the calm waters.

Walk Around the Piazzetta

The Piazzetta is the heart of Portofino's social life. This small square is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and boutiques, and it offers you a stunning view of the harbour and the sea. You can spend a few hours sitting in one of the cafes, sipping a cappuccino or an aperitivo, and watching the boats come and go. The Piazzetta is also a popular spot for people-watching, as it attracts celebrities, politicians, and wealthy tourists from all over the world! You can also enjoy gelatos at the local ice cream shops surrounding the Piazzetta. 

Explore the Portofino Marine Protected Area

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Portofino is part of the Portofino Marine Protected Area, which is a haven for marine life. This makes it a popular spot for diving and snorkelling. The protected area covers the coastline from Portofino to Punta del Capo and includes several colourful coral reefs, underwater caves, and a rich variety of marine species to explore. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, you can arrange a diving excursion to discover the underwater wonders of this area

Hike to the San Fruttuoso Abbey

If you're a nature enthusiast, a great place to hike to is the San Fruttuoso Abbey. Begin your scenic hike from Portofino to reach this hidden gem. The trail offers breathtaking views of the coastline and takes you through lush Mediterranean vegetation. Once you arrive at the abbey, you'll find a serene atmosphere and a beautiful beach where you can relax and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. The abbey itself dates back to the 10th century and it is a fascinating place to explore.

Visit the Church of St. George

The Church of St. George is a beautiful baroque church located in the centre of Portofino. It was built in the 12th century and renovated in the 18th century, and it features a stunning interior with marble columns, frescoes, and paintings. The church also houses a collection of religious artefacts, including a wooden crucifix dating back to the 13th century.

Relax at Paraggi Beach

Paraggi Beach is a beautiful sandy cove located just a short distance from Portofino. Known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings, it's truly relaxing to spend a day on the beach, soaking up the sun, and taking in the stunning views of the coastline. Simply lay down a towel and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. There are also beachfront restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal.

Visit the Portofino Lighthouse

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Located at the end of the peninsula, the Portofino Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding coastline. You can hike or take a boat to reach the lighthouse, and once there, you'll find breathtaking vistas to admire. It's a great spot to watch the sunset and capture some stunning photographs. The lighthouse also has a small museum that showcases the history of the area and the importance of maritime navigation.

Bike ride from Levanto to Vernazza 

If you like cycling and are looking for a bicycle adventure, book a fun bike tour and take a ride along the Italian Riviera. Cycling route through the picturesque hills, with breathtaking views of the Gulf will be an experience to cherish for the rest of your life. Although it is a long ride, you can comfortably explore it at a slower pace, with stop for pictures and some delicious local snacks. Make sure to plan your stops in charming villages such as Zoagli, Rapallo, and Santa Margherita along your ride.

Indulge in Italian Cuisine

No visit to Italy is complete without savouring the local cuisine, and Portofino offers a variety of culinary delights for you to explore. There are numerous restaurants and trattorias in the village where you can enjoy fresh seafood, pasta, and traditional Italian dishes. Be sure to try the local speciality, trofie al pesto, which is a pasta dish served with a basil-based sauce that originated in the nearby city of Genoa. Pairing your meal with a glass of Ligurian wine makes for an absolute and true Italian experience. 

Where to Eat in Portofino- Best Restaurants, Gelaterias and Bars in Portofino

Photo by Klaus Nielsen

Taverna del Marinaio 

For a more casual dining experience, head to Taverna del Marinaio, a cosy trattoria located near the harbour. This family-run establishment captures the essence of Portofino's maritime heritage, offering a menu that showcases the freshest seafood caught daily by local fishermen. 

Begin your meals with a plate of marinated anchovies, which is a classic Italian delicacy. Savour the flavours of the sea with their signature dish, "fritto misto di mare," which is fried seafood that usually includes shrimp, calamari, and fish. The warm and welcoming atmosphere, combined with the mouthwatering cuisine, will leave you feeling like a local.

Da Puny 

No visit to Portofino would be complete without trying the renowned pesto sauce, and Da Puny is the perfect place to do just that. This charming trattoria offers you a relaxed ambience and a menu that celebrates Ligurian cuisine. You can treat your taste buds to their homemade pesto pasta, prepared with the freshest basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. The delicate balance of flavours will transport you to the heart of Liguria!

If you have an adventurous palate,  make sure to sample their "trofie al nero di seppia," a unique black pasta infused with squid ink and served with a rich seafood sauce. Da Puny uses local ingredients which ensures you an authentic and memorable dining experience!

Da Ö Batti

For a culinary adventure steeped in tradition, look nowhere but at Da Ö Batti. This family-run trattoria offers you authentic Ligurian cuisine that will leave you wanting more. It's best to begin your meal with a plate of freshly caught calamari fritti or the quintessential Caprese salad made with juicy tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. Since pesto is a must, dive into the rich flavours of homemade pesto pasta, which is a true Ligurian speciality. The tagliolini with scampi or the seafood risotto are also highly recommended. If you want to opt for alcohol, Ligurian wine is a good choice. Make sure to save room for the sweet finale—a slice of torta di noci, a walnut cake that will transport your taste buds to heaven! 


If you're looking for a quick bite without compromising on taste, L'Isolotto is the go-to place. Located near the seafront, this casual eatery serves up delicious wood-fired pizzas in both traditional and innovative flavours. Bite into a classic Margherita pizza, where the simplicity of fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil shines through. For an adventurous twist, try their pizza topped with locally cured anchovies, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Wash it down with a refreshing local Italian beer or aperitif for the perfect dining experience by the sea.

I Gemelli

This place is a haven for delicious seafood dinners in the heart of Portofino. Operated by twin brothers who own this restaurant, I Gemelli won't fail you with their passion for food and wine. It's a wonderful place that bestows you with exquisite views that go beyond delectable seafood and pasta.

Ristorante Lo Stella

Overlooking the stunning sea, Ristorante Lo Stella is best known for their Ligurian seafood, pasta & desserts. This long-standing locale with a terrace overlooking the harbour is famous with the locals, which is why you should make your way here to be served with authentic Italian taste.

ö Magazín

Converted from a warehouse to a lovely dining space, ö Magazin leaves you in awe with its yummy food. The seaside views of Camogli, as you sip on a glass of wine, are a game changer for many who visit here. Usually a lunch spot, you can visit the restaurant for dinner to enjoy the sparkling sea views as well. The pastas are famous here, so make sure to get your hands on them! 

Trattoria Concordia

The serenity of Trattoria Concordia is unparalleled. You'll want to keep eating as much as you can, and still will want more! Once you're at Trattoria Concordia, make sure to try the Trennete o Mandilli al pesto, which has a rich creamy base pesto that will leave its lingering taste forever in your memories. It also serves the best seafood risotto you've ever had and the crab spaghetti is delightful. 

Winterose Wine Bar

If you're looking for a beautiful bar for an aperitivo, the Winterose Bar is the place for it. It is known for its vintage and best collection of Italian wines and champagne. Not only does it offer a stunning view of the port, but it also serves up some of the best charcuterie boards in Portofino. It is on the pricier side, but the quality of the food and wine is truly exceptional! 

La Terrazza

Perched above a hill overlooking the harbour of Portofino and located within the legendary Belmond Splendido, La Terrazza boasts a beautiful view as you enjoy the local cuisine with a touch of royalty. From cocktails to dessert, this place is famous for its delicious food and its instagrammable backdrop. 

Gelateria Bar San Giorgio 

And finally for dessert, when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, Gelateria San Giorgio is a must-visit. Located in the heart of Portofino, this gelateria has been serving up artisanal gelato since 1979. Make sure to dive into their wide array of flavours, ranging from classic favourites like pistachio and stracciatella to creative combinations such as lavender and honey. Each scoop is made with love and high-quality ingredients, resulting in a velvety texture and intense flavours. If you'd like to enjoy your gelato, take it in a to-go cup and stroll along the marina, enjoying the breathtaking views! 

Best Day Trips to Portofino

Boat Tour From Genoa

If you're visiting Genoa and would like to experience the magic of Portofino, while spotting dolphins along the way, I highly recommend joining this boat tour. It is a great way to explore the main highlights and explore Portofino in one day.

Day Trip to Genoa and Portofino from Milan

Another great way to visit Portofino in one day is to sign up for a tour like this from Milan. You can always research and find similar tours that leave from other major Italian cities like Florence, Rome or Turin.

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