One Day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy

One Day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy - Lucy Williams Global

Santa Margherita and Portofino are the perfect day trip from Genoa or Milan. Located on the Ligurian Coast in the north-west of Italy. Here is how to spend one day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy.

They are very close to Genoa by car it, takes 30 – 45 minutes depending on traffic and 45 minutes by train, From Milan, it takes just over 2 hours.

Portofino is Santa Margherita’s neighbour and takes another 15 minutes by car to get to. If you take the train you will have to take a bus from Santa Margherita to Portofino that takes around 30 minutes.

The region of Liguria has lots of beautiful seaside towns to explore and in my last post I wrote about Camogli and why is it is a hidden gem, but for now here is how spend one day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy.

Santa Margherita and Portofino are both well known towns, so are full of tourists. Not so much in the winter as most of the restaurants and shops are closed, in the summer months both are packed.

We went for a day trip from Genoa to explore and it was a beautiful day for January, cold, but sunny. From the photos, you would think it was a summers day.

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One Day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy


Portofino is a beautiful tiny town, it is basically a small harbour with shops and restaurants that line the harbour waters. You can walk to the church and Brown’s Castle and walk around the harbour and that is it.

If you like taking photos it is a great place for that as the colourful building contrast nicely against the water.

Coffee, lunch or an aperitive are lovely to have sitting by the water, but you will pay a high price for the privilege.

I spent season sailing around the Mediterranean when I was still working on the cruise ships and we came to Portofino every ten days. I spent a lot of money posing, but I had a good time!

Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita is a bigger than Portofino and is a lovely seaside town. The promenade is lined with shops, restaurants and bars.

In the summer it is a lively place as all the restaurants have outside seating. The town centre is just a short walk from the seaside and has churches, restaurants, bars and shops.

The prices are high to medium if you would like to eat on the seafront, but not as high as Portofino. In the town centre, the prices are more reasonable.

Whilst we were there our friend wanted to find a restaurant and led up the garden path with his map on his phone.

But we did stumble across a gorgeous little cream church and a park, so it was worth it for the photos! We didn’t find the restaurant, but we found another that was very good. I had a local dish of stuffed vegetables with cheese and ham and some local red wine, delicious!

Santa Margherita and Portofino are both beautiful places to visit for the day, have a walk around and have lunch. If you are into hiking you can hike from Santa Margherita to Portofino.

Essential Info for One Day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy

  • Weather: Winter 5*C – 13*C/ Summer 20*C – 30*C
  • Language: Italian and English is spoken
  • Currency: Euro
  • Bring your camera!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Portofino and Santa Margherita. Please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been? What did you do?

Happy Travels

One Day in Santa Margherita & Portofino Italy - Lucy Williams Global


  1. January 23, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Lovely pictures! We went on a mini tour of northern Italy and the ligurian coast last summer and stopped for the day in Portofino. I absolutely loved it! We didn’t spend any time in Santa Margherita but it looks really pretty.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 1:50 pm

      Thank you very much! The Ligurian coast is gorgeous and Portofino is very pretty little town. I hope you make it to Santa Margherita in the future.

  2. January 26, 2018 / 12:34 am

    Great pictures, I love Italy, such a great idea for a day trip!
    xo Kam

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:12 am

      Thank you so much!

  3. Joscelyn
    January 27, 2018 / 2:58 am

    What a beautiful country! We went to Italy a few years ago, but the we only visited the Amalfi coast. I really want to see these charming sea towns next time!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:14 am

      The Amallfi coast is beautiful and if you liked it there, I’m sure you will love the Ligurian coast too.

  4. January 27, 2018 / 3:29 am

    Wow! Portofino looks like a little fairy tale town – beautiful and magical. Love the idea of having lunch and coffee sitting by the water. The church looks fascinating.Your lovely photos truly justify the beauty of both the places.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:15 am

      Thank you! They are both beautiful towns to visit, I hope you get to visit soon.

  5. Rye Santiago
    January 27, 2018 / 4:52 am

    I love coastal towns because I like the combination of culture, nature, and energy of those places. I can imagine myself sitting in a coffee shop while staring at the sea.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:24 am

      Me to,p and being by the sea is calming.

  6. January 27, 2018 / 11:20 am

    Both seem to be such lovely places. The colorful facades of Portofino are so photogenic. Coastal town always are colorful I have noticed. Missed visiting them when I was in Milan.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 10, 2018 / 5:53 pm

      I hope you get to visit next time you are in Milan or the Liguiran region, as they are beautiful places to visit.

  7. Anuradha Goyal
    January 27, 2018 / 12:20 pm

    Portofino looks beautiful. I am sure you enjoyed it every time your cruise ship passed by. I like the idyllic places that let you pause and think about the beauty of this world. It looks like Goa that shuts down a lot of tourist outlets in summers to open back in winters.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:25 am

      I love Portofino and Santa Margherita, beautiful and especially nice when quiet!

  8. January 27, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    OMG I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and you’re post motivates me even more!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:26 am

      I hope you get to go to Italy very soon, as it is a beautiful country.

  9. January 27, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    You’re right when you say that Portofino and Santa Margherita are very crowded! Yet they’re amazing and the pesto is absolutely delicious!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:28 am

      Once everybody know about beautiful parts of the world, the world want to see them! The pesto is is yummy!

  10. January 27, 2018 / 10:53 pm

    I’ve only been to Liguria once – on a short trip to Genoa, with an overnight to Cinq Terre. I’d love to go back – there’s plenty more to see from your post. Santa Margherita looks stunning. I was in Genoa for the world pesto championships – definitely worth dropping in on if you happen to be there in February!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:31 am

      Between Genoa, Portofino, Santa Margherita, Camogli and Cinque Terre there is so much to see. I will be in Genoa in February, so I will looking out the pesto world championship!

  11. Nicole
    January 28, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    This is an area of Italy I am hoping to revisit. Its just stunning but I need to go in the off season as the crowds are too much. I hope to be there in November! I’ll keep this bookmarked for my trip.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Have a lovely time in November and if you have any questions, let me know.

  12. Nisha
    January 29, 2018 / 3:12 am

    I have never been to Portofino or SAnta Margharita or even heard of them :(. We have gone to Italy but mostly covered the more prominent regions. The church facade is just beautiful and I am sure the insides are too.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:34 am

      If you go back to Italy, I recommend the Ligurian region as it is very beautiful and there is so much to see.

  13. January 29, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    Oooh I wish I had known about the day trip option from Milan on my last trip – we liked Milan, but I didn’t really find a whole heap of stuff I liked to do. Santa Margherita and Portofino though sound incredible, such beautiful and charming seaside towns. I love how the colorful buildings of Portofino contrast against the water – the photographer in me is excited to get there for those shots. The cream church in Santa Margherita is quite beautiful too – what a fun way to spend a day, wandering between the streets to find charming buildings.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:37 am

      If you make it to Italy again and are in the Ligurian region, I highly recommend visiting; Genoa, Portofino, Santa Margherita and Camogli as they are beautiful parts of Italy. It is a photographers paradise.

  14. January 30, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I had no idea these places existed when I was visiting Genoa a couple years ago. They remind me of Cinque Terre, but without the massive tourism. I need to get back to Italy and visit more Italian villages like this.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:38 am

      When you go back to Genoa, go to Camogli, Portofino and Santa Margherita. Spring or the end of the summer is the best time to go.

  15. January 30, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    The Santa Margherita and Portofino both looks nice for a day trip. I will love those colorful houses contrasting with water, while sailing down there. The cream church too looks great. I will love visiting both these places while touring in Italy.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:40 am

      Highly recommend visiting as the Ligurian coast as it is gorgeous part of the world.

  16. January 30, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    My husband was in Milan several times, but he didn’t took any day trips. Santa Margherita and Portofino look like perfect ideas for such short trips! I’d go more with Santa Margherita and just stroll the streets, admiring the view! I’d love to see the church and to take a tour along the garden path!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      February 1, 2018 / 9:42 am

      If you are in Milan again, make a trip to Santa Margherita as it is worth visit. It is a very beautiful part of the world.

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