Portofino, a lovely day trip from Levanto
Levanto is a perfect holiday base, not only for all it has to offer in itself and for its strategic proximity to the Cinque Terre, but also for the stunning villages in the neighborhoods, a perfect excuse to extend your stay in the area.
With this new column on the neighborhoods of Levanto we would like to encourage you to explore the Italian Riviera, providing you with some ideas for unforgettable day trips from Levanto.
Let’s start with Portofino!
Getting to Portofino from Levanto
The first thing to know is how to get to Portofino from Levanto. The two villages are only at about 60 km from each other and Portofino is located further north on the Ligurian coast.
By car, you can get there in less than one hour (take the A12 highway Genova – La Spezia and exit in Rapallo), but then you should deal with parking problems… there’s only one paid parking upon arrival, on Piazza Martiri della Libertà (10€/hour). To park for free, the car must be left along the road between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino opposite the Covo Nord Est disco and then continue walking or by bus.
By public transport, you can take the train to Santa Margherita Ligure and then the 882 bus or have a lovely 90 minutes stroll. Otherwise you could take a taxi from the train station, quick, but definitely more expensive (about € 70- € 85 each way).
During summer, in July and August, you can also opt for a ferry day trip from Levanto, with tour of San Fruttuoso. It only leaves a couple of times per week though, from La Pietra pier, and you get only two free hours in Portofino.
What to do in Portofino
Portofino is one of the most characteristic and renowned villages of the Italian Riviera, part of the Regional Natural Park of Portofino, within the western end of the Gulf of Tigullio.
Portofino is unique because it stands on a natural bay surmounted by the homonymous promontory and is a typical Ligurian fishing village, with colorful houses arranged in a semicircle around the Piazzetta (i.e. tiny square) that over the years got very popular among VIPs. Portofino, in fact, is one of the most famous jet set destinations, chosen by the rich and famous who stay in their villas scattered throughout the area or moored in the bay on their luxury yachts.
As mentioned above, one of the symbols of Portofino is the Piazzetta, flanked by outdoor tables with bars and restaurants overlooking the pier. From the harbor starts charming via Roma, leading uphill and dotted with exclusive boutiques, shops and craft workshops.
Reaching the Church of San Giorgio, located outside the village in a dominant position, you’ll get one of the most beautiful views. The church dates back to the XII century and was entirely rebuilt in its original form after the Second World War bombing.
The Brown Castle, previously known as Castle of San Giorgio, is a defensive building and noble residence and is another wonderful location for an amazing view of the Gulf of Tigullio.
Finally, you can’t miss one of the historic attractions nearby, the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. The abbey, between Camogli and Portofino, was built in the X century and can only be reached by a steep footpath or by boat. The name derives from the saint whose ashes are kept in the abbey, which also houses the Museo del Monte, which tells the past monastic life. In the sea, only a few meters from the beach, there’s the famous Christ of the Abysses, a bronze statue symbolizing all those who dedicated their lives to the sea.