How to visit Portofino and San Fruttuoso, and why you shouldn’t miss them

How to visit Portofino from Milan, Genova or the Cinque Terre. Discover Liguria poshest destination and amazing San Fruttuoso abbey and beach.

Portofino is not as renowned as Cinque Terre outside Italy, but it’s a lovely and beautiful place you shouldn’t really miss when visiting the region.

Actually, Portofino is one of the most upscale destination you may find in Italy, and its name is a synonym of Jet Set, Luxury and high life. It is a place for the rich and the famous, and for ordinary people that enjoy contemplating upscale way of life.

Portofino delightful colored tiny harbor hides fashion boutiques, starred restaurants and luxurious hotels. It’s completely different from Cinque Terre, and will give you a different flavor of Italian taste for beautiful locations.

In this post I will tell you how to visit Portofino in one day, either from Cinque Terre or from Milan. I will also disclose a hidden jewell you may miss otherwise: secluded San Fruttuoso abbey and its amazing cove.

How to visit Portofino: getting there

How to visit Portofino Map

Portofino is located about 45km east of Genoa on the eastern stretch of the Italian Riviera. It can be easy reached by train or boat from the Cinque Terre, and by train from Milan.

The closest train station to Portofino is Santa Margherita Ligure-Portofino. It is served by Trenitalia trains, click here for the schedule and to reserve your ticket. 

Getting to Santa Margherit Ligure from Milan is very convenient: there is a direct train that gets you there in a couple of hours. From Monterosso in the Cinque Terre local trains take 40 or 50 minutes.

When you get off the train in Santa Margherita, take some time to wander around this beautiful town, and maybe get a delicious focaccia in one of the many bakeries.

Here is how to get to Portofino.

By Bus:

From the station, there is a bus service to the Martyrs Square of Liberty in Portofino.  Journey time is about 15 minutes, service runs every 20 minutes.

There are taxis outside the station or you can catch the public bus which takes you to Martyrs Square of Liberty in Portofino (see below).

Fast, cheap and convenient, but not my preferred option.

By Boat

Taking a ferry from Santa Margherita to Portofino will give you a completely different flavor, and you will enjoy gorgeous views of the coastline.

The main Ferry company which connects Santa Margherita to Portofino is the Traghetti Portofino. This is the same company that you will use to proceed to Sana Fruttuoso. It also connects to beautiful Sestri Levante.

Other companies are Battellieri Genova and Golfo Paradiso.

Walking itinerary

How to Visit Portofino - Paraggi

Maybe my preferred option. Local council recently completed a really enjoyable trail which follows the coast from Santa Margherita LIgure to the beautiful Paraggi cove and then to Portofino. Sidewalk running along the seaside of the road makes it a safe, convenient option and really enjoyable option. You will need around one hour to walk from Santa Margherita to Portofino.

How to Visit Portofino_walking passway

How to visit Portofino: what to do and to see

There are many things you could do in Portofino while waiting for taking your boat to San Fruttuoso.

How to visit Portofino - the beach

Among the highlights:

  • Climb the Salita San Giorgio stairs to the Chiesa di San Giorgio to enjoy amazing views of Portofino from the above.
  • Explore Portofino back streets and admire high end fashion boutiques.
  • Taste local delicious focaccia con il formaggio (focaccia with cheese), originating from nearby Recco.
  • Walk along the Molo Umberto I pier and get to the Punta di Portofino light house. There is a nice bar where you can have a gelato.
  • Walk up to Castello Brown, another iconic viewpoint
  • Have a delicious sea food lunch in one of the many restaurants

How to visit Portofino: San Fruttuoso

How to visit Portofino - San Fruttuoso

San Fruttuoso is a gorgeous cove that you can only reach by boat or by foot. It’s a unique destination and one of the most scenic places in Liguria.

The easiest way to get there is to take a ferry from Portofino. The trail in the national park of Portofino is very enjoyable but will take much to long if you only have a day. Just use the

The Abbey of San Fruttuoso was named after martyr bishop Fruttuoso. Christian persecutors killed him in AD 259. He then appeared in the dreams of five monks telling them where to bury his remains. To this day his remnants rest in this church.

The lovely bay between Camogli and Portofino it’s surrounded by luxurious vegetation. Visiting the old abbey is surely a good idea, before relaxing on the beach and enjoying the the crystal clear water.

During summer time the bay can get fairly crowded, avoid getting there during week ends if possible.

How to visit Portofino_Monastery San Fruttuoso

Enjoy your day in Portofino!


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