Quick guide // Portofino, Italy

I have always imagined Portofino as a quite large and buzzing town, much like Cannes or Nice. Great was therefore my surprise when the ferry boat approached this tiny and charming port last summer – it is really small.

Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, the port of dolphins, due to the many dolphins that were in the Tigulian Gulf where the town is located. It was originally a small fishing port, but is now mainly dependent upon tourism. Only a few people live here permanently. The thousands that visit each year leave behind enough money to support the community through the summer months. In the winter, from October to April, many collection unemployment benefit in order to survive.

Most tourists come to Portofino by boat, having flown in to Nice, France, Genova or Milan: Some come by ferry from Cinque Terre or another of the popular tourist destinations in the region, many by their luxury yacht that they anchor up in the little bay.

Portofino has a small selection of shops catering to the (ûber) rich, some souvenir shops and a range of cosy restaurant and bars. Last year we ate at a resturant located 1,5 metres from the water; this time we chose a restaurant up one of the narrow streets. Whereever you eat, I don’t think you can go wrong, as they serve the freshest and yummiest seafood and produce available!

When in Portofino, simply soak up the pittoresque ambience and take your time exploring the narrow streets, popping into the little shops and taking lots of photographs. If you study the buildings more closely, you will see that the stucco isn’t real – all the facades are painted to look like they are fancily decorated!

If you feel energetic, climb the hill and visit the church and the castle. Continue into the idyllic park and make your way to the light house, passing the mansion of Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana on your way.

I’d also suggest that you take the ferry to nearby San Fruttuoso, visiting the monastery with the sculpture of Christ of the Abyss that is only accessible by the sea. Go for a dip in the clear and lukewarm waters – it is an unforgettable experience!

Finish the day with a nocciola or pistachio gelato (my favourite flavours) from one of the many icecream shops  in Portofino, before you reboard the ferry and head home. Or do like me, and pick up a pair of K Jacques sandals that you have been dreaming of since last year, put them on and walk with a spring in your step the rest of the day!
The view as you approach Portofino by boat


Just another wee boat in the harbour…
I’m wearing:
By Malene Birger fuschia top // Lindex striped skirt
Zara embellished grey sandals // Longchamp floral handbag
Castello Brown
Mr Dolce and Gabbana’s secluded mansion


Chiesa di San Giorgio, whose interior is very plain and badly water damaged. Love the pebble mosaics, though!
The idyllic path through the park to the lighthouse


The “battello per San Fruttuoso”
San Fruttuoso is totally isolated, only accessible by boat
My version of a Gray Malin photograph!