Are you thinking about organizing your next outdoor adventure in the Portofino Park? Are you familiar with the Park of Portofino already, but on the lookout for new and stimulating ways of getting to know it better? This article will offer you lots of ideas, advice and useful information.
Portofino Park: where is it?
The Portofino Regional Natural Park is set in the heart of the Ligurian Riviera, in Genoa province. The territory’s area is shared out over the municipalities of Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. The promontory making up the park’s surface looks out over the waters of the Protected Marine Area of the same name, which divides the Golfo Paradiso (to the West) and the Golfo del Tigullio (to the East).
Here, just like in other places in Liguria, man and nature have always lived together: in this mosaic made up of wild nature, tiny colorful villages and cultivated terraces.
Portofino Park is particularly important because of a series of its aspects:
- Wildlife: thanks to its climate and geomorphology, it has about 900 species of different plants and a rich variety of animal species.
- History: there are various historical buildings from different eras that you can visit within the park. Amongst the most interesting ones are the Saracens’ Tower and San Fruttuoso Abbey, the ruins of the ancient water mills in Paraggi’s valley and the second world war coastal batteries above Punta Chiappa.
Portofino Park: how to get there
The various visiting itineraries of Portofino Park start off from different locations. These can be reached either with your own means or by public transport.
This is the famous town that gives the park its name. Various trails begin from its centre and from places nearby (Niasca, Paraggi, San Sebastiano).
- by car: you can get to Portofino by car by travelling along the panoramic SP227 road, although it is not recommended, owing to the lack of parking there.
- by bus: the number 82 bus takes just a few minutes to reach Portofino from Santa Margherita Ligure.
Click here for more info on how to get to Portofino and what to see nearby.
There is a magnificent view over the entire Tigullio Gulf from this tiny hamlet in the municipality of Santa Margherita Ligure.
- by car: from Santa Margherita’s town hall square or port, follow the indications signposted along the steep and winding road that leads you up to Nozarego church, where you will be able to park.
- by bus: the number 77 bus takes you straight to Nozarego from Santa Margherita Ligure station.
This is a strategic starting point from where you can easily visit the entire park.
- by car: once you arrive at Ruta di Camogli, take the old road off the SS1 that used to lead to Portofino Kulm Hotel. You can park by the hotel (currently closed).
- by bus: the nearest stop is in Piazza Gaggini (Ruta di Camogli) with buses arriving from Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, Recco, Camogli and Genoa. There is an easy trail that climbs up to the park entrance starting behind the parish church above the square.
This picturesque hamlet of Camogli municipality dominates the entire Golfo Paradiso from up on high. Trails taking you to the various panoramic points of the park all start from here, as well as those leading down to the sea.
- by car: when on the SS1, take the turn-off towards San Rocco near to the Ruta di Camogli tunnel. Follow the road until you reach a large paying car park.
- by bus: the number 74 bus departs from Ruta di Camogli’s town square and takes you all the way to San Rocco’s church courtyard.
Reaching Portofino Park by bike:
Here is an eco-friendly choice that allows you to forget about any parking woes. You can rent bikes and e-bikes right next to Portofino Park in the centre of Santa Margherita. You can easily reach both Portofino and Nozarego from there. And with a 5 minute train ride you can get to Camogli station, from which the road for both San Rocco and Portofino Vetta starts.
Remember too that transporting your bike on the train is free within the Liguria region!
Portofino Park: what to do
There are different ways that you can explore and get into contact with nature in Portofino Park. Whether you are a complete beginner or more expert trekker, anyone can peacefully enjoy the beauty of the park with a simple stroll or by testing their outdoor explorer skills trying more challenging activities.
Thanks to the mild climate and the topography of the area, which is divided between sunbaked maritime slopes and cooler, wooded areas, you can enjoy the park all year round!
Following are 5 very different activities that will allow you to discover the Portofino Park in a genuine and original way.
5 suggestions for exploring Portofino Park:
A timeless classic suitable for everyone.
Despite its fairly small dimensions, the park offers an extensive network of hiking paths (about 80 km!). The trails are all constantly maintained and are well signposted with frequent information panels.
Anyone can find a trail suitable for their ability and level of fitness, when equipped with the right gear. Ranging from relaxing walks along trails of historical and naturalistic interest, to longer and more technically challenging excursions, like the panoramic trail to San Fruttuoso or the interesting “via dei tubi”, the tube trail.
You can access the official Ente Parco di Portofino portal here to check out the trails in detail and download the comprehensive map.
For the more observant and curious.
In these times in which we are used to live and navigate with mobile phone technology, orienteering breaks the mold and takes us back to basics. As well as learning to use map and compass in order to get our bearings and find our way, the true value of this activity is in the way it teaches us to observe and read the territory all around us.
Making an effort to recuperate our sense of orientation is fundamental for learning to live and tackle natural adventures with proper safety.
Outdoor Orientation Courses provide useful training to tackle this activity independently. Alternatively, there are many other orienteering proposals suitable for groups of friends, classes, families, team building groups and anyone who would like to put their sense of orientation to the test and at the same time have fun together.
3. MTB (Mountain Bike):
For sweat and adrenaline lovers!
For the two-wheel enthusiasts, Portofino Park offers a series of really interesting paths to get your MTB’s teeth into! These are great fun both for expert riders and amateurs too, thanks to the opportunity of renting an electric mountain bike.
Just like with the trekking trails, fairly long and tough loops have been developed, even though it is a relatively small space. An example is the approximately 20km panoramic loop that allows you to visit all of the park’s wooded slope (You can find the detailed itinerary description here).
Do note: given how popular the park is, bike access and transit is only allowed on the marked bike trails. Furthermore, bike circulation is forbidden on Sundays, holidays and days before holidays, every year in the period that runs fromApril 1st toJune 30th.
For those seeking a real adventure.
When you really need to free your mind from the stress of city living and recharge your batteries, surrounded by nature, survival activity is ideal. This activity unites trekking, orienteering and bushcraft techniques. Its winning formula is simple:
Minimum gear necessary + mastery of survival techniques + pristine wilderness = all-around adventure
Approaching natural survival in the wild means gradually learning to observe and interpret the environment around you and learning primitive survival techniques (like finding your bearings, lighting a fire, building a shelter) aimed at finding balance and harmony between ourselves and nature.
Survival proposals are ideal for small groups and can be structured over one or more days, including the chance to spend the night in the Park, either in a tent or in the basic lodge at Semaforo Vecchio.
Observing the park from a different point of view.
One of the peculiarities of Portofino Park is the fact that it overhangs the sea. As well as giving us breathtaking views, this characteristic also opens the doors onto a series of adventures that blend land and sea.
One of these is coasteering. With coasteering, you can combine a bit of rock climbing, trekking, diving and brief swims. It is certainly the best and most original way of exploring the rocky coast of the cape, having fun playing with the waves within the coves.
This new sport is still virtually unknown in Italy and at the moment the sea-cliffs of Portofino Park are the only place in all Liguria where guided tours are conducted.
Here is a quick and fun video about approaching coasteering and understanding better what it is all about:
This is just a taste of what Portofino Park can offer: a territory rich in history, nature and sport! A park to be discovered and lived in its entirety.