Portofino Peninsula by Campervan
Our Italian Tour Continues from Genoa towards the glorious inlets of the Portofino Peninsula. Beginning our tour of the Portofino Peninsula by campervan!
Portofino Peninsula by Campervan – Camolgi
To the East of Genoa begins a glorious stretch of coastline and we couldn’t wait to explore.
This area, from Camogli is simply beautiful with a crystal clear blue sea and stunning pastel villages. 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 approach along the narrow coast road, we have our first glimpse of the village itself. Then as expected we discover that parking with the campervan is not even worth attempting.
Instead, we chose the sensible option of a dedicated Sosta motorhome parking, located above the town.
Before we know it, we’ve reached this little gem of a place, high above the sea and Camogli. So, sit back and relax because this is where we begin our tour of the Portofino Peninsula by campervan.
San Rocco and our Village Sosta Parking
It turns out to be a perfect little find to explore this delightful stretch of coast. And 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 is actually quite a large parking area. There’s plenty of room for manoeuvring and before long, we’re joined by a delightful Italian couple. They’re travelling in their motorhome and are on a weekend getaway along with their pet owl!
Exchanging pleasant conversation, the friendly couple soon provide a list of places to visit along the coast. There’s some really useful tips and it’s lovely to meet them and their pet Owl.
San Rocco is perfectly placed, 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 settle in for a cocktail and nibbles. Soon feeling at home amongst the forest setting, where wild boar roam – we see 3 by the way!
Counting the 700 Steps to Camolgi
From San Rocco, we take advantage of the many walking routes. Taking one path which involves walking 700 steps down to the beautiful fishing village of Camogli itself. Loosing count after a few hundred steps, 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 is 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 have some 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!
Portofino – a favourite haunt of the rich and famous
Portofino is a favourite jaunt of the international jet set on their super yachts. The Walmart family are 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 are evident for the first time on our tour. This region, obviously being more of a hot spot destination for the general tourists, flying in on Summer breaks.
The best part of the experience for us is the walk to reach Portofino itself. Cars are not permitted, so campervans are a definite “no go”.
Portofino National Park
Instead, we take the hiking trail to Portofino Mare, through Portofino National Park. Starting from the Sosta parking for motorhomes, in the hilltop village of San Rocco.
A steep stone staircase, which seemed to go on forever, leads us to the best part of the route. Following a tree-lined stone track with information boards displaying historic and natural facts proves delightful.
Luckily, plenty of water fountains and picnic benches are en-route. After a little over 2 hours, we reach the upmarket resort of Portofino.
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 find a selection of designer shops, added to the high end feel. However, we prefer 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 board a ferry boat back towards our base to Camogli.
First though, we just have to stop at a very unusual little beach!
Beautiful San Fruttuoso
San Fruttuoso Abbey sits on a secluded bay in Portofino National Park. This perfectly white stone structure, reflects beautifully in the turquoise waters as we approach 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 choose a leisurely ferry boat, followed by a well deserved swim in the clear blue sea.
Although, a little too crowded for our liking, it’s still a pleasure to visit. Seeing this little gem of an 11th Century Abbey for ourselves is well worth the stop.
The approach by boat is just beautiful and when the sun is hot and the sea is blue, there is just no better way to enjoy the view!
A Boat Back to Camogli
To be honest, it’s so busy here and we can’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’s 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, the intense heat is still beating down upon us, despite it being early evening. We’re ready to put our feet up and relax back at the van!
Cost for Sosta and Boats
The motorhome Sosta parking at San Rocco village is ideal to explore this Portofino Peninsula. There aren’t any facilities although the nearest dump/fresh service area 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