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Kathryn's Guide to Portofino

Kathryn (and her extended family: husband, mother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law and even her own mama) all headed to the Italian Riviera for a week of sunshine and spritz’s. The following is a rundown of her favorite pics and picks from her summer vacation in Italy!

How to get there:

Fly to Milan, drive or catch a train (2 hours) to this quaint little town (blink and you miss it) on the Italian Riviera. The port might be small but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have mega star power! One of these days we will be invited onto one of the major yachts parked in the harbor.


Where to Stay:

Looking for the ultimate in luxury? We have just the place. The  Splendido property has a hotel on a large hill that overlooks the port (this is also where the pool is located), but we opted to stay in their smaller hotel (appropriately named Splendido Mare) located in the town’s square a.k.a closer to where all the evening action is.



Where to Eat:

Lunch: La Gritta
 No questions asked, this is the best dock-side restaurant for clams and wine.
Cocktail Hour: The Town Square

Every cafe and restaurant has chairs spilling out onto the cobblestone square. Order an Aperol Spritz (the official drink of Italy) and it will come with chips, olives, tomatoes and a small meal's worth of appetizers. Aperol spritz + sunset + people watching + local kids playing soccer in the square = La Dolce Vita.

Dinner: Ristorante Puny 
Book! Ahead! Anyone in the know, knows that their fish specials change regularly and depend on what they've caught THAT day. It is absolutely de-lic-ious.



What to do:

Blue sky, sunshine, pool? Check! This is the place to go if you want to de-compress pool side and get your summer reading game on, glass of rosé in hand.


Recommended reading: 

By Jason Matthews: (don’t judge the book by the movie), this series is excellent, even if you never thought you cared much about Russian spy novels.

By Kristen Hannah: Beautifully written, had us all crying.



The lighthouse “Faro” walk: 
A 20 minute trail straight from town to the most gorgeous lighthouse with a local, cliffside bar that overlooks the breathtaking Ligurian Sea.
Hike from Portofino to San Fruttuoso:
A tiny enclave (formerly an abbey, the cove now houses a few seasonal restaurants and not much else) San Fruttuoso is only accessible by foot or boat. The hike is about 2 hours, so hike there (*the trails are super well-marked) and ferry back (it runs regularly to Portofino). The views are amazing and you’ll feel incredibly satisfied afterwards.
Lunch and pesto class at La Portofinese:
My mom and I stumbled upon La Portofinese by accident and are SO happy we did. The incredible property atop the Portofino hills is a six year old project working to recover the lands of Portofino; restoring them to their glory days of farming, honey production, cultivating hops for a local beer and growing vegetables. La Portofinese has restored a gorgeous old (200 years +) mill ("mulino”) in which they created into a beautiful outdoor space for dining, yoga, pesto classes and more! This spot is a must visit.
And you m.u.s.t. go with Andrea from Portofino Taxi Boat. The skippers are fantastic and you can cater your tour depending on your time and level of adventure - we boated to Camogli, a few towns over and reveled in the Italian cliff sides along the way. And of course you’ve got to jump in the ocean.



When you don’t want your trip to end: 

Spend a long weekend in Camogli!
The fishing village, known as “the city of a thousand white sails,” is less than an hour drive from Portofino and the perfect way to end vacation (partly because it’s a fraction of the price - so you splurge without the guilt). Camogli has much more of a local feeling than Portofino, with Italian tourists (from Milan and other cities) flocking to the fishing town for a weekend of sun and sand, just like us. While there, do not miss drinks at Bar Dai Muagetti on the hillside of San Rocco above Camogli (best views) and dinner at Do Spadin, where you have to take a water taxi to get there!




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