In order to enjoy Portofino to its fullest, plan on spending at least two days there. Once you decide on the best time to go, you can purchase a train ticket at Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence. A ticket costs approximately €30 round-trip. Unfortunately, you must switch trains at least once along the way because there are no trains which go directly to Portofino. Luckily, it is not necessary to repurchase a ticket each time you board a new train. All together, the train ride can last between three to four hours depending on how many times you switch trains. While on the train, be sure to glance out the window and admire the beautiful Italian countryside. As you appraoch the shore, there will be short breaks through the tunnels in the mountains where you can see breathtaking views of the beach from above. When you finally arrive, you will be getting off at Santa Margherita which is literally a five to ten minute car drive from Portofino.There are so many wonderful places to stay directly outside of Portofino in the Santa Margherita area. An incredible five star hotel called Grand Hotel Miramare has been named as one of the leading hotels of the world. The location is perfect and the staff treats you like royalty. Sadly, nothing in life is free and staying here will cost you a pretty penny. The cost of a room is €320 per night for two adults. This price includes a breakfast buffett, access to beach (with chair, umbrella, and towel), air conditioning, hairdryer, minibar, and satellite television.
Another more affordable place to stay is the four star Best Western Regina Elena also in Santa Margherita. The cost of the room is approximately €200 per night for two adults. This price includes a breakfast buffett, air conditioning, hairdryer, minibar, and television. However, if you want to soak up the sun it will cost an additional €12 for the day which includes a beach chair, umbrella, and towel.
If laying out in the sun does not appeal to you, Portofino and Santa Margherita has some great shopping! There are countless boutiques with tons of hip clothing and shoes. For more of the designer shopper, there are stores such Gucci, D&G, and Tod’s.
For all of you seafood lovers, the Portofino/Santa Margherita area has incredible restaurants! The best way to find fresh fish is to travel to the seashore. If you are looking for friendly faces and quality seafood, try Trattoria del Pescatore where fish is their specialty! From clams to mussels and shrimp to prawns, freshness comes first! After a delicious meal, cool off with mouth-watering gelato which can be found everywhere in town. If you find gelato too rich, try something a little lighter called granita which is a mixture of fruit, sugar, and ice.
Overall, Portofino/Santa Margherita is a magical place to visit and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing escape from the stresses of everyday life.