Our Italian Tour Continues from Genoa towards the glorious inlets of the Portofino Peninsula. Beginning the tour of the Portofino Peninsula by campervan!
To the East of Genoa begins a glorious stretch of coastline.
This area, starting from Camogli is simply beautiful. However, it’s not for the nervous driver or probably not too suitable for anything much bigger than our 5.9m long van!
The roads are narrow, hilly and winding. Traffic is chaotic and you soon find yourself in the smallest of streets, reminiscent of a driveway back home!
However, we really wanted to visit Camolgi. Tempted by those pastel coloured buildings and quaint harbour of the picture postcards, we had high hopes!
As we approached along the narrow coast road, we had our first glimpse of the village. As expected parking was not even worth attempting! Instead, we chose the sensible option of a dedicated Sosta.
Before we knew it, we’d reached a little gem of a place, high above the sea and Camogli. This is where we begin our tour of the Portofino Peninsula by campervan.
It turned out to be a perfect little find to begin this stretch of coast. Brilliantly located for Portofino National Park, at the hilltop village of San Rocco.
It may sound bizarre to be deliberately attempting to park up in such a place. However, the motorhome Sosta parking was actually quite a large parking area. Plenty of room for manoeuvring and before long, we were joined by a delightful Italian couple in their coachbuilt motorhome along with their pet owl!
San Rocco is perfectly placed too, with direct access to Portofino National Park and numerous walking routes. It’s a gorgeous village, where access to some properties is by scooter only! Streets are the size of pavements and these lead to beautiful view points.
Finding a fabulous bar located in a cave, we settled in for a cocktail and nibbles. Feeling at home amongst the forest, where wild boar roam…we saw 3!!
From San Rocco, we took advantage of the many paths. Taking one route which involved walking 700 steps down to the beautiful fishing village of Camogli itself. Loosing count after a few hundred, we’ll presume the amount is correct!
Pastel coloured homes line the harbour, as ferry boats take passengers to various locations around the park, including Portofino.
Walking the 700 steps back was part of our fitness regime for the day, but there is a bus if you need it for just €3.
The Sosta parking is €15 per day, but it’s free between 8pm and 8am.
Thankfully, we had shade from the trees, as the heat here is intense. Temperatures are well in the 30’s but humidity also feels high.
The sea is superb, clear blue and so warm, there’s no need to brace yourself for any chill!
A favourite of the international jet set on their super yachts. The Walmart family were in town on our visit, with their beautiful floating masterpiece moored out just beyond the harbour.
Portofino is delightful, yet in our opinion, probably not outstanding. We think it was mainly due to feeling a little too touristy for our liking. Although, it’s beautiful all the same. Lots of English speaking voices were evident for the first time on our tour. This region, obviously, being more of a hot spot destination for the general tourist.
The best part of the experience for us, was the walk to reach Portofino itself. Cars are not permitted, so campervans are a definite “no go”!
Instead, we took the hiking trail to Portofino Mare, through Portofino National Park. Starting from the Sosta for motorhomes, in the hilltop village of San Rocco.
A steep stone staircase, which seemed to go on forever, lead us to the best part of the route. Following a tree-lined stone track with information boards displaying historic and natural facts proved delightful. Luckily, plenty of water fountains and picnic benches were en-route. After a little over 2 hours, we’d reached the upmarket resort itself.
There are numerous hiking trails through the National Park, many of them stating at San Rocco. Therefore, this is a perfect base to explore on foot, with the advantage of the motorhome Sosta parking right beside the access to the trails.
Back in Portofino, we found a selection of designer shops, added to the high end feel. However, we preferred to stroll the waterfront and find a shady spot to watch the world go by.
After a few hours, including the necessary swim to try and cool off from this intense heat. We took a ferry boat back towards our base to Camogli.
First though, we just had a stop at a very unusual little beach!
San Fruttuoso Abbey sits on a secluded bay in Portofino National Park. This perfectly white stone structure, reflected beautifully in the turquoise waters as we approached by boat from Portofino.
The only route to the Abbey is either by foot, through the picturesque hillside or by boat from one of several harbours around the peninsula.
Having already walked to Portofino from San Rocco, we chose a leisurely ferry boat, followed by a well deserved swim in the clear blue sea.
Although, a little too crowded for our liking. It still was a pleasure to visit and see this little gem of an 11th Century Abbey for ourselves.
The approach by boat is just beautiful and when the sun is hot, the sea is blue, there is just no better way to enjoy the view!
To be honest, it was so busy here, that we couldn’t wait to board the boat back to Camogli. Unfortunately, August brings the mass tourists, high temperatures and crowded beaches as a result.
Probably Spring is a better time to visit. For us though, it was time to catch a bus from the lovely town of Camogli back up the hillside to San Rocco.
With our legs and feet feeling the burn and the intense heat beating down upon us, despite it being early evening. We were ready to put our feet up and relax back at the van.
Finally if you enjoyed reading about the Portofino Peninsula by campervan, here’s another blog:
The motorhome Sosta parking at San Rocco village is ideal to explore this Portofino Peninsula. No facilities, nearest dump/fresh is at the village of Santa Margherita.
Parking is payable at the meter from 8am-8pm – 15 Euro
Boat between Portofino and San Fruttuoso – 9 Euro each
Boat between San Fruttuoso and Camogli – 9 Euro each