The Fashion Bug’s Story: Another place that has always been on my bucket list is Portofino, and seeing as it was just a 2.5 hour drive from Lake Como it fitted in perfectly into our minimoon plans. Lake Como was difficult to top but Portofino (and the other places we visited close by such as Cinque Terre) was equally beautiful. Portofino and the surrounding towns are known for their candy coloured houses, which are of course very pretty to look at. But there is a more important reason why the houses were painted in this way: these were fishing villages and when sailors were returning from sea it was easier for each of them to identify their own.
We arrived in Portofino on Thursday late in the afternoon (after an incredibly scary drive on narrow windy roads) and checked into the Belmond Splendido hotel. We decided to spend a few hours walking around discovering the town. Because Portofino is very small, you can easily walk around the town in less than 30 mins. There are some amazing shops – Missoni And Pucci being my personal favourites – and at night the town gets lit up entirely. Sometimes a pianist dressed in all white comes to play in the middle of the main square on a proper old school piano. It is very romantic. The icecream is to die for…I must have had at least 2 scoops a day. And the food is very good. Like really mouthwateringly delicious. Get a pasta dish. Or some fresh fish. Or both. Together. Basically just make sure you eat. Alot!
During the days we opted to take out a private boat instead of resting at the (very picturesque) pool of the hotel because we had heard alot about the surounding areas. On the first day we visited San Fruttuoso di Camogli – an old monastery in its own private bay that can only be reached by boat or by hiking by foot from Portofino. Sadly the beach itself is very overcrowded but the monastery is beautiful and you can climb above the beach to a restaurant and admire the views away from the crowds. We then ventured on to another fishing village called Camogli which is much bigger than Portofino and a great place to stop for lunch. If you get an experienced captain they will also know all the best spots to stop the boat for some swimming with the clearest crystal water imaginable.
On the second day we visited The Cinque Terre, which essentially are five villages close to each other on the coastline of the Italian Riviera all of which are part of the Cinque Terre National Park. These five villages are called Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. You can see them all from sea, but unless you go on a large public ferry (which I would definitely NOT recommend!!) then you can only go on land at Monterosso and Vernazza. Or you can hike from one to the other. Or catch a train. But we love being on a boat and when you get your own you have the added bonus of the captain giving you all the background and history of all the places you visit. We stopped in Vernazza for lunch which was perfect because that was for me the most beautiful one of the five villages anyway. And it also has the most character. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that the only way to get to Vernazza from your boat is by being picked up by an old Italian man in a tiny boat wearing an even tinier pair of Speedos. He works for free but without him you wouldnt be able to get to land. He gets lots of tips and I think he is very happy simply working on his tan. Our captain described him in a simple but very accurate way: “big man, big personality!”
Our time in Portofino went far too fast but left me with some beautiful photographs I wanted to share with all of you. I hope you enjoy them xx
The Fashion Bug’s Tips for Portofino:
Stay: At the Belmond Hotel Splendido. The main hotel, situated on top of a hill overlooking the town and port, is a stunning building with amazing sunsets. The sister hotel in town has more charm and has a restaurant/bar at the front of the building great for people watching!
Dine: At Taverna Del Marinaio in the main square. Also at La Terrazza restaurant at the Belmond Hotel Splendido – make sure you try the Elizabeth Taylor pasta with 3 different types of tomatoes. And finally Da Puny is an institution in town and definitely needs to be visited at least once.
Visit: The Cinque Terre. Boat prices start from 150€ per hour. A day trip to Cinque Terre starts from 800€. But its definitely worth it.