Cruise Port Atlas | Portofino, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

Portofino, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

Nearby Ports: Santa Margherita, Rapallo

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Portofino: Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea

Cruise lines that visit Santa Margherita: Azamara Club Cruises, Seabourn, Holland America

Cruise lines that visit Rapallo: Star Clippers, Cunard

Key Attractions: Portofino Yacht Harbor, Brown Castle, San Fruttuoso Abbey, Christ in the Abyss, Genoa Historic Center, Genoa Aquarium, Rolli Palaces, Genoa Cathedral, Plaza de Ferrari, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Montallegro, Sestri Levante, Bay of Fables, Bay of Silence, Paraggi Beach, Cinque Terre

Brown CastlePortifino Sights

Port to Castle - 0.5 KM, 10 minute uphill walk

The tiny village of Portofino is situated in a small bay surrounded now by colorful seaside buildings whose lower floors are restaurants, shops and other tourist oriented businesses. The setting is so striking that a close replica was created for the Loews Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando. At the end of the narrow bay are the two main streets which begin after a small square. (A close friend had a cruise visit in Portofino a couple years ago when a yacht pulled into the harbor with Madonna and her current beau disembarked. That's the kind of place this could see anyone.) Besides the lovely atmosphere and views, the other attractions are Brown Castle (Castello Brown sounds better doesn't it!) and 3 churches of varying ages. The views of the village during the walk up to the castle are the best.

Small Beach Area in the harbor   Surrounded by hilly parklands   Sea and Garden views  

Uneven surfaces and hills    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Brown Castle by Stan Shebs

Christ of the AbyssSan Fruttuoso

Port to Fruttuoso - 30 minutes by ferry, 90 minute vigorous hike

San Fruttuoso is accessible only by ferry (30 minutes) or by hiking (a vigorous 90 minute walk). The hike has some great views along the way and some deep wooded areas. If you enjoy hiking this may be the best part of the journey. The Abbey dates back 1000+ years and the present structure was built in the 13th century. Tours are available. There is a rocky beach and cafes. The most famous site in the little bay is the statue of Christ in the Abyss, which is underwater and best viewed while diving. Several area dive centers offer dives in the bay.

Pebble Beach   Park Hike   Sea and Wildlife   The Abbey   SCUBA  

Strenuous Walking    No Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo of Christ of the Abyss by Yoruno

Genoa's Historic CenterGenoa's Historic Center and the Aquarium

Port to Genoa - 40 Km, 50 minutes

Genoa is a great city to visit that is underappreciated. Europe's second largest aquarium is in Genoa harbor. The historic city center is the largest historic district in Italy and includes districts from medieval to baroque. From the port area the incline into the center of the city can be pretty steep, but fortunately the city has an excellent transportation system including a funicular. Piazza de Ferrari is a great place to start with the stunning baroque Opera House and fountains. A few blocks away is the Ducal Palace, originally built in the 13th century and now housing a museum. The mainly Romanesque Genoa Cathedral of San Lorenzo has been the spiritual center for the city since the 12th century and offers sacred works primarily from the Renaissance. Genoa was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006 with the inclusion of its Rolli Palaces on the list. These great homes were built during the Renaissance for the powerful families of the city along Via Garibaldi. Palazzo Spinola and Palazzo Reale both have been converted to museums with lovely period furniture and art. If you just like to wander, the narrow medieval alleys of Genoa offer an opportunity to imagine that you are lost in the distant history of this wonderful city

Medieval to Baroque including the Rolli Palaces   Huge Aquarium on a pier in the port   In the cathedral and palaces   World Heritage Site  

Hilly terrain and uneven surfaces    Some areas are Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Genoa by William Domenichini

Sestri Levante

Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo and Sestri Levante

Port to Santa Margherita Ligure - 6 KM, 10 minutes
Port to Rapallo - 9 KM, 15 minutes
Port to Sestri Levante - 34 KM, 40 minutes

To reach Genoa from Portofino, you have to travel east along the coast to go west on the inland highway to Genoa. Santa Margherita Ligure is the first large coastal town you will see. The lovely little town is more modest than Portofino, but offers a castle, basilica, a historic abbey, and two 16th century villas that can be toured.

Rapallo is the largest town on what is known as the Italian Riviera and in its port is the iconic Rapallo Castle, built to protect the area from pirates. The small city harbor area is filled with pedestrian shopping streets, rustic restaurants, and a good number of historic building. There is also a funicular that will take you to the top of Montallegro for great views of the area.

Sestri Levante was originally settled during the Roman era on a peninsula between two bays, the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fables. The city has spread from the peninsula onto the mainland and is very popular with Italians. Once again, the main activities are eating, drinking, shopping and taking pictures of the stunning scenery.

Historic ports   Ligurian culture and cuisine  

Uneven surfaces and hills    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Sestri Levante by Jiuguang Wang

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible