Portofino | Huge Yachts and Tiny Marinas

After spending the day in Genoa, I was keen to get out and visit somewhere new nearby. I had a look on my trusty pinning app to see if I’d ever pinned anywhere close by, and found a pin in a nearby place called Portofino. I couldn’t remember when or even why I’d pinned it, but trusting that my past self had good enough reason to, I made a plan to visit the next day. 

Up early, and after a quick walk to Genoa Piazza Principe I was on the train for the short journey to Santa Margherita Ligure Portofino station. Once in the small town of Santa Margherita, I jumped on the bus and enjoyed a scenic, though very tight and juddery ride to Portofino. I’d started off thinking I’d just walk back to the train station later as the views were stunning but I soon realised that the road was barely wide enough for two cars, I didn’t think pedestrians would be a good addition. 

As the bus pulled to a stop, myself and the other squashed in tourists wondered if this was Portofino. It sure didn’t look like the photos, and bus announcements aren’t commonplace on small buses, so after checking Google maps I jumped off and made my way through the town to the harbour. Although a bit cloudy and overcast, the quaint harbour was still so pretty. Even though I’d only just arrived, now felt like a great time to take a seat and make a more detailed plan than ‘go to Portofino’. While I’d stopped, I had a catch up with my mum back home, and then got the bill for my diet coke. €7,50. For a small diet coke. I double checked with the barman that it was correct because elsewhere I’d been paying about €2. Slightly fuming that I’d been ripped off, I quickly paid and made a move before I let the grumpiness get the better of me. 

I’d also found out that this was such a small town that everything seemed to be cash only. Having used up most of my cash on a drink, I was on the hunt for a cash point. I had doubts whether I’d find one as it’s such a small town, but thankfully I quickly came across one and could head back to the marina. It takes just minutes to wander from one side to the other, so I found a quiet spot at the end of the marina and just sat watching everyone bustling about, the ferries, boats and small dinghies coming and going and the tourists stopping for their selfies.

Not wanting to spend all day sitting, I had my sights set on a castle on top of the hill to visit. Heading up the hilly side street from the main square, I could feel my thighs getting a proper workout. Up, up and up I went, passing a small square that offered a great viewpoint over the harbour and boats. When I finally reached the top, I found a quaint church that was obviously part way through being renovated. A quiet spot for reflection at the top of the hill, I could see the attraction of the location. The small cobble stoned square out front was the perfect place to take some photos of the harbour and the lesser seen side of the other side of the rocky outcrop. Nothing to see but the rocky cliffs and sea, but still such an attractive view. 

Continuing along a cobble stoned pathway, hiking up the stairs up the hill, I found myself at Castello Brown. A charming, grand house perched on the top of the hill, I had a brief look around inside before stepping out into the courtyard. Fairy lights stretched from the house to the trees dotted around, the views of Portofino and along the coast were stunning and I instantly fell in love. A quick message home to let my parents know that I’d found where I’d be getting married, and I soaked up the views before heading to the upper floor of the house to watch a video about the history of Castello Brown and Portofino. 

Feeling much more informed about the town, I made my way back down to the harbour and bought a ticket for the ferry back to Santa Margherita – the clouds were rolling in and I wasn’t sure how much longer it’d stay dry for. Grabbing one of the last tickets for the penultimate ferry back to Santa Margherita, I had a bit of time to kill so watched some of the ferries attempting to park up in the marina before taking the short walk through the town to Chiesa di San Martino. Before I knew it, it was time to join the hoards of people attempting to board the ferry. I’m not one for pushing to the front and as such ended up with a top deck seat. In the open top ferry. When it was threatening to start raining.

Keeping my fingers crossed that the rain would hold off just a while longer, I enjoyed the journey along the coastline back to Santa Margherita. The weather stayed dry until I had made it to the train station, and I was glad I’d taken the day out to visit the small seaside town. The colourful buildings lining the coast had got me excited for my next stop in Italy – Cinque Terra! 

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