One of my favourite days out during our holiday in Italy was when we did a beautiful walk from Santa Margherita to Portofino. The walk is absolutely gorgeous, taking approximately 1.5 hours, all depending on how many stops you take along the way (it’s hard not to take any – the scenery is just too… well, scenic!).
I first heard about the walk through a post I spotted on Pinterest when doing research for the trip (how great is Pinterest?!) and fell in love with the photos of the beautiful sea views and all the colourful villas along the way. The walking route follows the coastline and there are lots of gorgeous holiday homes (well, I imagine they are for holidaying, anyway!) of the rich and famous along the way.
It’s not difficult to find the route, as it follows the coast pretty religiously. When coming out from Santa Margherita train station, you’ll immediately see the sea on the horizon and all you need to do it take the (very steep…) stairs down from the station and boom – you’ll find yourself on the beach boulevard!
From there, just start walking along the coastline (if you’re facing the sea, Portofino will be on your right) and keep walking. First, you’ll pass lots of bars, restaurant and different beaches, but as you start leaving Santa Margherita behind, the route will take you past breath-taking little alcoves and tiny beaches with the clearest turquoise water I have ever seen.
We took a little break at an area called Paraggi and ascended to one of its “beaches” (I use quotation marks as it was more of a rocky alcove!), put our towels down and jumped into the sea. The water was AMAZING – so warm, but still refreshing, and so, SO clear. Aside from Sirmione in Lake Garda last year, I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of swimming somewhere so beautiful.
There are lots of “real” beaches around here, too, but they are either very, very tiny and crowded or very, VERY expensive. You’re looking to pay anything upwards from £35 for a chair (probably lots more in the nicest bits with wooden decking) – it’s a very expensive area in general as Portofino is so close which in turn is favoured by a lot of celebrities and other people with deeper pockets!
When we were done with swimming and drenching ourselves in the sun, we continued our walk towards Portofino. Paraggi is about two-thirds of the way there, so we still had about 20-30 minutes of walking left to do. A little while after leaving Paraggi you will actually be able to spot arrows pointing to a specific hiking route towards Portofino – follow these to get a better view from above and also to avoid walking by the busy road!
The views from the hiking path are amazing. This is where you’ll really spot those colourful villas, as well as lots of ridiculously shiny and big yachts. You will have to go up and down the forest paths a bit, but I promise, it’s all worth it!
Portofino itself was left quite unexplored by us as it was so expensive. As beautiful as it is (and it is SO beautiful!) with its colourful houses and glistening sea, we needed to have lunch and simply could not face paying the expensive prices of Portofino’s restaurants. Instead, we paid €4 for a bus ride back to Santa Margherita and opted for a much cheaper option there. I went for a local pasta with pesto (a Ligurian speciality!) which was every bit as yummy as it sounds, and such a welcome treat after hours of walking in the heat.
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