Top 8 Beautiful Beaches in Portofino Italy
by Coco Tran On October 26, 2023
Portofino, a picturesque fishing village on the Italian Riviera coast, is renowned for its colorful houses, high-end shops, and luxurious yachts docked in the harbor. But beyond the village lies the area’s biggest draw – beautiful beaches flanking the turquoise Ligurian Sea. With crystalline waters in shades of emerald and sapphire, these stunning beaches offer relaxation whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with the entire family.
From secluded coves to expansive sandy shores, I’ve visited and carefully curated this list of the top beaches near Portofino. Read on for the best places to swim, sunbathe, or just take in the gorgeous scenery during your vacation on the Italian Riviera.
8 Most Beautiful Portofino Beaches
Paraggi Beach Portofino Beach
One of the most popular beaches Portofino has is Paraggi Bay. Located at the foot of a green promontory topped by a 17th-century castle, this protected cove offers both public and private beaches.
- Mixed sand and pebble beach
- Translucent blue-green water
- Snorkeling and diving at shipwreck site
- Beach clubs and restaurants line the coast
- Walking distance from Portofino village
The sand is mixed with small pebbles that extend into the translucent water. Snorkelers and scuba divers can explore an old shipwreck just offshore. Kids can splash around in the shallow areas while couples relax under striped beach umbrellas. Beachside restaurants line the coast for refreshments and classic Italian cuisine like wood-fired pizzas and fresh seafood. After sunset, the pastel buildings glow under the evening light for a romantic atmosphere.
How to get there: The bay is a 20-minute walk via a scenic coastal footpath from Portofino village. You can also take a 3-minute taxi boat ride across the harbor.
San Fruttuoso Portofino Beach
Tucked between the mountains and the sea just past Portofino Point lies the secluded beach of San Fruttuoso. You can reach this beach only by hiking about 2 hours on centuries-old trails or taking a boat. Upon arrival, you’ll be rewarded with a crescent of pebbles bookended by ancient watchtowers.
The beach sits right beneath the impressive 10th century Benedictine Abbey of San Fruttuoso, which adds to the setting’s allure. With few crowds, the beach’s atmosphere is tranquil and pristine. Snorkel alongside schools of fish or relax on a beach chair listening to the waves gently lap the shoreline.
There’s both a public section and beach club area with amenities. The hike itself through fragrant pine and oak forests offers spectacular views of the Italian Riviera coastline.
- Secluded pebble beach below a 10th century abbey
- Reachable only by boat or hike
- Excellent snorkeling in translucent waters
- Both public and private beach areas
- Peaceful, uncrowded atmosphere
How to get there: From Portofino harbor, catch a boat taxi for a 30-minute scenic ride to San Fruttuoso. You can also hike down from Portofino on foot along the San Fruttuoso Trail.
Camogli Beach Portofino Beach
Just beyond Portofino village lies the coastal village of Camogli, its rows of colorful buildings stacked along the beach like rainbow dominoes. Camogli’s main beach is a long stretch of gray pebbles bordering the quaint fishing port filled with boats.
The sloping seabed gives the water brilliant shades of emerald green and sapphire blue. Relax on a beach chair on the public area or visit one of the private beach clubs dotting the coastline. Let the kids build sandcastles and splash in the gentle waves.
Take a break for fresh seafood, focaccia, and a chilled glass of local white wine at a beachfront cafe. The velvety blue Camogli Beach has a laidback vibe perfect for families and couples.
- Long pebble beach beside a colorful fishing village
- Vibrant emerald and sapphire water
- Public and private beach areas
- Kid-friendly with gentle waves
- Beachfront cafes and seafood restaurants
How to get there: Drive 10 minutes west of Portofino or take a short train ride to Camogli village. The beach is right in town.
Baia del Silenzio, Sestri Levante Beach
Just past Portofino lies Sestri Levante, a lovely seaside town graced with two picturesque bays. Baia del Silenzio or “Bay of Silence” is the more intimate beach, fringed with pastel buildings and fishing boats floating calmly in the harbor
. Flowering oleander bushes perfume the air as you recline on the beach’s smooth rocks or splash in the transparent waters of the cove. Both public areas and private beach clubs offer umbrellas and amenities.
Paddle in sea kayaks, then unwind at a terrace cafe to watch the sunset kiss the sea with shades of pink and gold. Thanks to its protected location, the Bay of Silence has a peaceful ambiance befitting its name.
- Quaint Bay of Silence with peaceful ambiance
- Pastel waterfront houses and calm harbor
- Public and private beach areas
- Sunsets light up the bay in pink and gold
- Sea kayaking and terrace cafes nearby
How to get there: Drive 25 minutes northeast of Portofino or take the train. The beach is right in Sestri Levante’s town center.
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Monterosso Beach, Cinque Terre Beach
On the Cinque Terre coast just north of Portofino sits Monterosso Beach, the only extensive sandy beach in the Cinque Terre villages. Brightly colored umbrellas dot the long stretch of fine golden grains that extend into blue-green waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling
. Relaxation zones with beach chairs and kids play areas make it ideal for families. Teenagers meet up for beach volleyball matches at the nets near the adjacent village streets lined with gelato shops and trattorias.
This spacious beach has a lively yet laidback vibe. Hike scenic coastal trails to the hillsides vineyards overlooking the beach or walk through the medieval streets of Monterosso village. With both public and private sections, Monterosso Beach is one of the finest in the Cinque Terre.
- Only Cinque Terre village with a long sandy beach
- Umbrellas and beach chairs for relaxing
- Beach volleyball and play areas for kids
- Adjacent to Monterosso village and hiking trails
- Lively atmosphere with restaurants and shops nearby
How to get there: Drive 20 minutes north of Portofino or take a short train to Monterosso village – the beach is right in town.
Baia di San Fruttuoso, Camogli Beach
Just south of Camogli village, you’ll find the spectacular Baia di San Fruttuoso beach nestled between mountains and sea. Also reachable only by boat or hiking trails, this curving bay rewards visitors with beach chairs lining pebbles that extend into some of the most turquoise waters on the coast.
Gentle waves make it an excellent and safe choice for families with small children. Pack a picnic lunch to eat at the picnic tables near the trees providing shade.
For breathtaking views of the beach and sea, climb up the steep hiking path to the medieval watchtower perched dramatically on a cliff high above the bay. With its picturesque setting, Baia di San Fruttuoso is one of the prettiest beaches near Portofino.
- Secluded beach accessible only by boat or hiking
- Gentle waves ideal for families with kids
- Crystal clear turquoise water
- Picnic area shaded by pine trees
- Hike up to clifftop medieval watchtower
How to get there: From Camogli harbor, take a 10-minute boat ride or hike 45 minutes on the San Fruttuoso Trail.
Santa Margherita Ligure Beach
Just a 10-minute drive east of Portofino, you’ll discover the long expanse of Santa Margherita Ligure Beach, lined with beach clubs as well as free public areas. This beach lies in the heart of Santa Margherita Ligure, a charming town graced with an ancient castle and marina filled with sleek yachts.
The beach itself consists of small gray pebbles that slope gently into the sea – perfect for wading with small children. Shaded pine trees intersperse sun chairs and umbrellas, both private and public sections.
Beachside bars and excellent seafood restaurants are steps away in town. It’s an easy beach to access and offers conveniences along with scenic views of the turquoise waters hugging the Italian Riviera coastline.
- Long pebble beach with private and public areas
- Kid-friendly with gentle slope into shallow water
- Pine trees provide shade on the beach
- Walking distance to restaurants and shops in town
- Conveniently located near Portofino
How to get there: Drive 10 minutes east of Portofino or take a short bus ride to Santa Margherita Ligure town center. The beach fronts the main town.
San Michele di Pagana Beach, Rapallo
Tucked halfway between Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure lies the diminutive beach of San Michele di Pagana. Enclosed by the harbor wall of the tiny fishing village of San Michele di Pagana, the beach has a mix of public and private areas all fronting gorgeous emerald waters.
The small gravel beach gets crowded during peak season but offers impeccable views of the colorful village houses built up the hillside. The azure waters are excellent for snorkeling. Beachgoers seeking refreshments can find bars and cafes just steps away in the main piazza.
Arrive early to stake your spot on this petite yet lovely beach near Portofino.
- Small pebble beach between Portofino and Santa Margherita
- Public and private areas with emerald water
- Views of colorful fishing village houses on the hillside
- Bars, cafes, and snorkeling spots nearby
- Gets crowded so arrive early
How to get there: Drive 5 minutes southeast of Portofino or take a bus to San Michele di Pagana village. The beach is right in town.
Public Beaches in Portofino
While some of the beaches in Portofino have private beach clubs or amenities, there are also public sections that anyone can enjoy for free. Here are some of the best public beaches:
- Paraggi Bay – This popular bay has both private and public sections. The public beach, called the Castle, is located below the castle on the point and has golden sand leading into the turquoise water.
- Camogli Beach – The long pebble beach has areas that are public and free to enjoy. Relax on the gray stones or wade into the brilliant green and blue water.
- Santa Margherita Ligure – This expansive beach is partly private but also has stretches of free public beach covered in small pebbles and offering views of the sea.
- Monterosso Beach – The lengthy sandy beach has both private beach clubs and open public areas for swimming and sunbathing.
- San Michele di Pagana – Enclosed by the fishing harbor, this small beach has sections that are public and free to use.
Packing Tips for Portofino Beaches
Once you’ve decided which beautiful beaches in Portofino you’ll be visiting, use this packing list to help prepare:
- Swimsuit, cover-up and sandals
- Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Beach towel and mat
- Snacks and water
- Mask, snorkel and water shoes if snorkeling
- Light jacket for cool evenings
- Beach bag
- Umbrella for extra shade
- Entertainment: books, portable speakers, etc.
Experience Best Beaches in Portofino Italy
With its spectacular seaside setting in the heart of the Italian Riviera, Portofino offers access to some of the region’s most scenic beaches. From secluded coves to family-friendly shores, you’ll find the perfect spot to experience the beaches and vivid turquoise waters of the Ligurian coast. Use this guide to choose your ideal beach destination and start planning your relaxing Portofino vacation.
Does Portofino have good beaches?
Yes, Portofino has several stunning beaches nearby that are considered some of the best in Italy. While Portofino village itself doesn’t have a beach, it is surrounded by scenic coves and bays with crystalline waters in beautiful shades of blue and green. Some of the best Portofino beaches include Paraggi Bay, San Fruttuoso, Camogli Beach, and Baia del Silenzio.
Are there sandy beaches in Portofino?
There are not sandy beaches directly in Portofino, but one of the best sandy beaches near Portofino is Monterosso Beach located in the Cinque Terre region just north of Portofino. Monterosso Beach has soft golden sand that leads into emerald green waters, making it a popular choice.
What is the most popular beach in Portofino?
Paraggi Bay is likely the most popular beach near Portofino village. This sheltered cove is just a 20-minute walk from Portofino along a scenic coastal trail. It offers both public and private beach areas with a mix of sand and pebbles overlooking the brilliant blue Ligurian Sea.
Can I swim at Portofino?
While there is no swimming directly in the harbor of Portofino village, there are several stunning beaches located just a short distance outside of town where swimming is possible. Some of the best swimming spots include Paraggi Bay, Camogli Beach, and Baia del Silenzio.
Are there beaches in Portofino?
There are no beaches directly in the village of Portofino itself. However, just outside of town are some spectacular beaches and coves where you can sunbathe and swim in the turquoise waters of the Italian Riviera. These nearby beaches like Paraggi Bay and San Fruttuoso are easily accessible from Portofino by foot, boat, bus, or car.
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