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Day trip to Portofino

We're traveling from Vernazza to Monaco by train and hoping to stop for a few hours in Portofino on the way. We planned to take the ferry or bus from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino, but there is no baggage storage at the Santa Margherita station and schlepping our bags with us around Portofino doesn't seem like a good idea. Are there any baggage storage options near the Santa Margherita station or in Portofino? Alternatively, we may try to make a day trip to Portofino while staying in Vernazza (though would prefer not to give up the time in Cinque Terre). Are there ferries between Vernazza and Portofino on Wednesdays or Thursdays in August? Any other ideas? Thanks!

Posted by
16893 posts

It is day-tripable, as most train connections from Vernazza to Santa Margherita Ligure take just one hour each way, though a few have longer layovers. Also, a few early-morning departures and afternoon returns are direct, with no connection.

Or, Rick's Italy book (p. 420) says that the bar/café facing track 1 at S. Margherita station stores bags for €2.50/each per day, as well as selling bus, train, and boat tickets. Sounds like a handy stop!

Posted by
32198 posts


Visiting Portofino as a day trip from Vernazza would probably be a better idea than stopping there on the way to Monaco. The rail trip from Vernazza to Monaco is going to be 5-6 hours with 2-3 changes, so that's going to be a long trip in itself. If you made a very early departure it would be more tolerable, but that will limit the time you'll have to look around in Portofino (not that there's much to see).

Keep in mind that the trip from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino is likely going to take an hour or more each way. As I recall, the Ferries only depart about once per hour. You'll also have to allow for time to walk down the stairs from the station, cross the street and then along the waterfront to get to the Ferry dock. When you depart Portofino, you'll probably also have a wait for the Ferry and allow time for the walk back to the station.

As Laura mentioned, you can buy tickets for the Ferry at the Bar at SML station. As I recall, it's to the left when you exit the back of the station.

Posted by
1210 posts

Hi Julie. We did this a few years ago, although we were training from CT to Milan, so not as long a train ride as to Monaco. If you got an early start it would work fine; find out the train options for CT to SML and SML to Monaco. Thoughts from our experience:
- we stored bags at the cafe at SML train station - not formal; she just put the bags behind the bar I think; but it worked fine.
- if you enjoy walking, you can walk one or both ways between SML and Portofino; probably about 2 miles? Very scenic and a nice way to stretch legs between train rides. That was the highlight for us. Other options are bus or boat.
- as far as Portofino, it's not that different from the CT towns you will have already seen. Except that there are some huge private yachts, either at the docks in town or more likely anchored off shore, and the stores are expensive. Once there, an hour was enough.
Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
16893 posts

Bob's right. Portofino looked more like the Cinque Terre than I expected, but with Ferragamo, Missoni, and Pucci stores.

Posted by
743 posts

Last month we walked on the new "red carpet" trail from S. Margherita Liguria to Portofino. It was an absolutely beautiful hike along the seaside. After lunch in Portofino, we stopped at a little cove on the way back for a swim. It was a wonderful day!