Portofino + the Italian Riviera

Things to do in Portofino + the Italian Riviera

Vacationers wondering what to do in the Italian Riviera need look no further than the region’s beautiful, pristine beaches, and elegant restaurants that serve delicious, locally sourced dishes and craft cocktails. A trip to the region is all about indulgence.

There are more things to do in the Italian Riviera than just eating and lounging, however. The region is breathtakingly beautiful and offers visitors a wide range of scenic strolls, walks, and hikes. While the beach is a great place to lounge, it also offers up a range of stimulating activities, such as snorkeling, fishing, spear fishing, and kayaking.

Party-lovers looking for things to do in the Italian Riviera are in luck – the region attracts a high-flying crowd that knows how to celebrate life. Exclusive nightclubs and bars, where the rich and famous socialize, dot the region. Don’t leave without sampling some of the Italian Riviera’s local cocktails, including the Tintoretto (pomegranate-and-spumante) and a delicious local drink made from a mix of pineapple, gin, and curaça.

The park has beautiful trees and shrubs, in particular the camellias, which date back to the garden’s inception in 1840.

Italian brands from Gucci to Pucci tout their latest collections of beach, cruise, and yachting wear in the tiny boutiques lining Portofino's Piazza Martiri dell'Olivetta and surrounding streets.

The place in Recco for outstanding gelato.

Make yourself at home at this lively bar where the spirited barkeeps Paola and Lori bring out glasses of Prosecco.

Wander round the verdant pathways of the open-air sculpture park on the hillside above the port; it's home to works by more than 100 contemporary artists, from Giò Pomodoro to Lucio Fontana.

Follow the pathway up the Salita di San Giorgio, past the yellow Church of San Giorgio, to the 16th-century castle, named after a British consul in Genoa, Montague Yeats Brown. Tip: This is the best place to take spectacular photographs of the town.

Yacht and villa owners come to the 1970's-style Excelsior for the town's signature cocktail: a mix of pineapple, gin, and curaçao. But the bar is best-known for its Paciugo ice creams, with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Head to the terrace for a drink under the stars. Cocktails, such as the pomegranate-and-spumante Tintoretto, are served at candlelit tables beneath a cream canopy in this exclusive bar at the Splendido Mare.

Portofino's social scene revolves around Piazza Martiri dell'Olivetta—known simply as La Piazzetta—where A-listers and celebrity-watchers meet. At Morena, drinks are served with Ligurian olives and nuts on white linen–draped tables in the main square.

The wooden shelves of this traditional gastronomy store in nearby Santa Margherita are stacked with area delicacies, such as scented Ligurian olive oil and house specialties like quince-jam pie.

The unpretentious boutique sells moccasins, ballet slippers, and bejeweled sandals crafted by Tuscan artisans from original thirties, forties, and fifties models by owner Maria-Luisa Oneto's father.