Escape to Northern Italy for an Unforgettable Portofino Honeymoon

Sea breezes, luxury hotels and delicious pesto make Portofino the perfect getaway.
Beautiful bay with colorful houses in Portofino, Liguria, Italy
Photo: Olena Z | Shutterstock
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
The Knot Contributor
  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on and
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.
Updated Apr 12, 2024
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Local laws may restrict service availability to all. See the Equality Index for more information.

A Portofino honeymoon offers an idyllic setting that's hard to match, nestled along the Italian Riviera and often compared to San Tropez by tourists and travel pros alike. When it comes to the best honeymoon destinations, this location often rises to the top of couples' lists—and for good reason.

This under-the-radar spot is worth considering if a fairy-tale-like Italian honeymoon is on your bucket list. Its luxury hotels and gorgeous views have drawn celebrities like Liz Taylor and Jennifer Aniston to its shores for decades. Plan your perfect romantic getaway with the help of this guide—you won't regret it.

Portofino Honeymoon Tips in this Article:

    Castello Brown in Portofino
    Photo: Footageclips | Shutterstock

    Best Time to Honeymoon in Portofino

    Portofino's temperatures are relatively mild year-round. Winters are a bit chilly, but the temperatures rarely fall below 40 degrees and tend to stay in the 50s. Spring and fall bring 60- to 70-degree weather. If you're looking to dip your toes in the water, the best time to visit will be the summer months. Temperatures hit the low 80s in July and August.

    Best weather: May to September.
    Festival highlights: The Fish Festival in Camogli in May, where you can enjoy delicious seafood and local traditions and the International Boat Show in Genoa in September, perfect for maritime enthusiasts. Summer also brings numerous local sagre (food festivals) and open-air concerts in and around Portofino.

    Portofino Honeymoon Planning Tips

    If you're planning on jetting off for a honeymoon in Portofino, leave some time for travel. It's about eight hours from New York City to the Genoa Airport, and the town of Portofino is about a 45-minute drive from there. Honeymooners traveling from Atlanta will have about a 12-hour flight, and San Francisco couples should anticipate spending 14 hours or more in the air.

    Portofino is often considered a great day trip from Milan (located about 2.5 hours away). But a Portofino getaway can absolutely stand on its own if newlyweds want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on upscale relaxation.

    The picturesque Mediterranean destination on the Ligurian coast is home to fewer than 400 residents. But it's full of romantic hotels with first-class service. The gorgeous views of yacht-filled harbors, cypress trees and colorful buildings make for a scenic backdrop for meals and adventures. It also serves as a good home base for jaunts out to the villages of Cinque Terre (1.5 hours away) and other seaside towns.

    Portofino is a prime location to unwind, but you won't experience all Italy has to offer by spending a week there. Couples who want to really get out and explore the art, history and wine Italy is known for will want to look into trips to spots like Rome, Florence and Lake Como. Honeymooners who want to go on a multi-destination vacation in Europe can also combine Portofino with a trip to the Northern Italian city of Milan.

    Entry requirements: You'll need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months. Starting in 2025, US citizens will also need to have an ETIAS for Italy. It's valid for 3 years and can be obtained online.
    Location: Portofino is a charming fishing village located on the Ligurian Sea coast, in the northwest of Italy.
    Currency: The Euro (EUR).
    Flight time to Destination: From New York City, direct flights to Genoa (the nearest major airport) take approximately 8 hours.
    Getting around: The best way to explore Portofino is on foot, as the village itself is quite small and pedestrian-friendly. For visiting nearby attractions, public transportation like buses and ferries are convenient options. You could also rent a car, but parking can be difficult to find in Portofino.

    Pro tip: Find travel agents near you on The Knot Marketplace for Portofino honeymoon planning expertise.

    Places to Visit in Portofino

    Castle of Rapallo
    Photo: Max Wave | Shutterstock

    Santa Margherita Ligure

    This charming, small fishing town along the Italian Riviera makes for a worthwhile day trip. Cafés, bustling bars and boutiques line the lively waterfront promenade, and the landscape is punctuated by brightly colored buildings. But the laid-back beach tends to be the main draw. It's also home to a pair of centuries-old castles: Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure and Castello di Paraggi.


    Camogli, a small fishing village with a resort-town feel, is about 30 minutes from Portofino. The focaccia alone makes a trip here a must. It's nutty, chewy and utterly delicious. You can find it at a café by the seaside, pedestrian-only promenade. Walk the village to see the colorful buildings painted with pretty hues like apricot and cinnamon. Couples can also relax on the beach or pop in and out of boutiques for unique and high-end souvenirs.

    Monterosso al Mare

    Monterosso al Mare is about an hour or two from Portofino by train or taxi. The largest of the five villages of Cinque Terre, its landscape is dotted with lemon trees and olive branches. The Aurora Tower, a medieval structure on the hill of San Cristoforo, separates the old and modern parts of the town. Couples can explore the Church of San Francesco, home to a notable painting of the crucifixion by Anthony Van Dyck. Meanwhile, the beach's clear-blue waters exude a tranquil ambiance.


    A 30-minute ferry ride and a 20-minute drive from Portofino, Rapallo offers stunning views of the Italian Riviera coastline. It's best known for its hilltop Sanctuary of Montallegro, situated nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. Couples can take a seven-minute ride to the sanctuary, built in 1558, via cable car. Castello di Rapallo—a 16th-century fortress on the sea—is currently under construction, but honeymooners can still view the landmark from the beach.

    Best Portofino Honeymoon Hotels and Resorts

    Portofino offers a range of honeymoon accommodations, from luxury hotel suites with breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea to cozy, boutique options nestled in the heart of the village. Many romantic hotels in Rome provide romantic packages, including amenities like welcome champagne, private tours and spa services.

    Houses on the coast of the Ligurian sea in Portofino
    Photo: Anton_Ivanov | Shutterstock

    Splendido, A Belmond Hotel

    Splendido overlooks the water and is nestled amongst shops and colorful buildings. It boasts a saltwater swimming pool, a beautiful garden and balconies with views of the sea. The Dolce Vita suite offers the grandest accommodations, including a private garden and panoramic bay vistas. For a truly intimate experience, honeymooners can book a sunset cruise and dinner on the San Fruttuoso Bay through the hotel.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel

    Splendido's sister hotel, Splendido Mare, epitomizes laid-back seaside sophistication. It sits in the central piazzetta (main square) along the Portofino harbor. The rooms are bright and airy, with white walls and linens and large windows giving way to village or sea views. Guests can choose from 14 rooms or suites, and have access to a complimentary shuttle to the beach. Boat tours and nature walks are among the experiences couples can book through the hotel.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Grand Hotel Miramare

    This chic hotel is known for its gorgeous views of the Ligurian Sea and the friendly staff that provides an upscale experience from check in to check out. Grand Hotel Miramare features rooms that are painted in light hues, like whites and pastel pinks, and decorated with tasteful art. Guests can take a dip in the seasonal saltwater pool or choose various spots to sip cocktails and indulge in food. On-site options include a piano bar, a poolside restaurant and bar, and the white-tablecloth Vistamare Restaurant.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Eight Hotel Portofino

    A refined spot located close to the Ligurian Sea, guests at Eight Hotel Portofino can get to Castello Brown in less than 15 minutes by foot. Inside, the warm and inviting rooms boast comfy beds and stunning interiors. An outdoor jacuzzi sits underneath chestnut trees and is a prime spot for relaxation. Guests can book seafaring excursions through the hotel.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Pro tip: If you're looking for Portofino honeymoon accommodations that'll provide you more privacy or lower prices, you might also want to consider staying at a cute Airbnb or VRBO property.

    Portofino Honeymoon Itinerary Ideas

    For newlyweds, Portofino is both a relaxing and adventurous honeymoon destination. Enjoy leisurely days sunbathing at the beach, take a romantic boat tour along the coast, explore the nearby Cinque Terre villages or dine al fresco in a waterfront restaurant; you really can't go wrong.

     The bay of San Fruttuoso
    Photo: AlePana | Shutterstock

    Make Pesto

    Portofino is known for producing some of the world's best pesto. Newlyweds can treat themselves to a lifetime of otherworldly Sunday dinners by becoming pesto connoisseurs. At pesto-making classes, pros will teach students how to make it using a traditional mortar and pestle. Niasca Portofino's course includes a walk around the property, where the village vistas are gorgeous and the basil is delicious. Then, a guide takes people through the pesto-making process and finishes with a tasting. Another option, run by My Experience Portofino, includes a class and a light lunch. Couples can book this experience on TripAdvisor.

    Visit Abbazia di San Fruttuoso

    This Benedictine abbey dates back to the 10th century. Abbazia di San Fruttuoso sits along the Bay of Camogli, which is on the west side of the Portofino peninsula. Though it is not a grandeur display of history like the Westminster Abbey in London, the small museum is worth a quick visit to take in architecture from the Middle Ages. Afterward, relax on the beach, taking in the sparkling waters. (Prepare to rent a lounge chair—the shore is rocky.)

    Learn About History at Castello Brown

    Built in the 1500s, Castello Brown served as a military fortress during Roman times. Today, it continues to tower over Portofino Bay as a historic house museum. It's small as far as castles go. Inside, there is some modern art. But the once-in-a-lifetime photos are best saved for outdoors. The elevated views of Portofino Bay are simply stunning. Guests can walk the grounds, browsing the gardens and literally stopping to smell the roses.

    Pro tip: Add Portofino honeymoon experiences to your gift registry so that loved ones can give you a fun couples activity. Post photos of your adventures to your wedding website—this way all of your guests (including those without social media accounts) can see what you're up to.

    What to Pack for a Portofino Honeymoon

    View on the famous yellow Villa Catalina in Portofino, Liguria, Italy
    Photo: Markus Gebauer Photography | Getty

    Portofino invites guests to enjoy a laid-back vacation—wardrobe included. Think resort-style pieces you can layer in case sea breezes leave you a bit chilly on a balmy day. Tank tops, polos, sundresses and cardigans are perfect additions to your packing checklist. As for bottoms, shorts and lightweight pants fit the bill. If you plan to swim, you'll want a bathing suit and maybe a coverup in your honeymoon luggage.

    Sandals and sneakers are ideal footwear. Italy has different outlets than the US, so pack an adapter or plan to get one upon arrival.

    Brittany Barber contributed to this article.

    Up Next
    • The 8 Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe From the US
      The 8 Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe From the US