The distance between Portofino and Genoa is just 21 miles (34 km). Driving (with a rental car or private transfer) is the quickest way to make the journey, which takes around 50 minutes. Note that the center of Portofino is car-free, and the winding coastal route can get crowded during high season.
In the summer months, it is possible to take a ferry along the coastline—this is a very scenic way to go. Another option is to take a bus to the nearby town of Santa Margherita Ligure and then transfer by train to Genoa, which takes about 1.5 hours.
If you are planning to visit the Italian Riviera, you should also try to make time to see the famous Cinque Terre villages—extend your trip with this 14-day itinerary.
By Private Transfer, Taxi, or Rental Car
Duration: 50 minutes
While a rental car offers you the freedom to tour the other towns and villages of the Italian Riviera, the traffic on the roads leading to and from Portofino can be chaotic. The center of Portofino is also car-free and, in the peak months, finding a space can be a challenge and expensive.
There is a small 24-hour car park on the outskirts of the village at Piazza Martiri della Liberta, but you may have to queue for a space. We recommend parking in Santa Margherita Ligure and taking the bus or a ferry back to Portofino from there.
Duration: Min 1.5 hours
From March to October, a direct ferry runs from Portofino to Genoa with a stop in Golfo Paradiso. The journey takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It is more expensive than a bus or train, but it still offers excellent value for money, and you get spectacular coastline views. No reservation is required, although changes are possible if the weather is poor, and they do not run a service on Mondays.
They only offer one sailing each way per day, and the Portofino return to Genoa is usually late afternoon. There is also the option to take one of the more frequent ferries from Portofino to Santa Margherita Ligure and then take the train back to Genoa from there.
By Bus and Train
Duration: Allow 1.5 hours
There is no train station in Portofino. Most people take the bus to Santa Margherita Ligure (approx. 20 min journey, with buses every 15 minutes), and then the train to the central Genova Brignole Station. There are trains running every half hour. Depending on the line, the journey can take from 30 to 50 minutes.