A peninsula village with celebrity status
Portofino has long been the darling of celebrity jetsetters, with everyone from Condé Nast Traveller to Vogue waxing lyrical about this little village on the north-west coast of Italy.
Half the charm lies in the location. It perches on the tip of a peninsula on the Italian Riviera, where stylish towns jostle for attention. Rose, orange and lemon townhouses line up along a yacht-dotted harbour that's backed by forested hills.
Head for the restaurants along the waterfront or in the pint-sized piazza for homemade pasta, Ligurian wines and celebrity-spotting. Meanwhile, the interwoven side streets are a lesson in luxury shopping – think Vuitton, Gucci and Armani.
Climb up to San Giorgio Church for the best views over Portofino and the Italian Riviera. Alternatively, hop on a boat and explore the craggy coastline and protected waters of the Portofino Regional Natural Park (Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino). You could head south to the Cinque Terre villages and vineyards or chug north to the maritime city of Genoa.
Direct flights from the UK to Genoa (usually the best airport for Liguria) take approximately two hours.
Transfer time from Genoa airport to Portofino is approximately 1 hour.
Summer is a fantastic time to visit Liguria – temperatures can reach 30 degrees, and the coastline (particularly the colourful villages of the Cinque Terre) looks particularly lovely when the sun is shining. May, September and October are also great times to visit, with temperatures in the early 20s – ideal for walks along the coastal paths. From April to October, while the weather is pleasant, boats run up and down the coast stopping off various towns and villages along the way.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.