Portofino is one of the most beautiful and well-known touristic seaside resorts on the Ligurian Riviera.
There are many beaches that can be visited nearby and that offer truly breath-taking views.
So, here is my personal guide to the best free beaches in Portofino Italy and the surrounding areas, to allow you to choose the one that will enchant you the most.
1-Hour Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay, Portofino
You can decide to spend your holidays in Portofino for the clubs and the nightlife, which are certainly not lacking, but the choice to travel to this corner of Liguria can undoubtedly only be made for the beautiful sea that bathes the famous resort.
There are so many beaches and coves that you can discover in Portofino: there are so many that you can choose a different beach every day and find yourself facing a completely different experience and a sea of contrasting shades.
The easiest beach to reach is the one in the tourist port of Portofino.
It is a rather small beach that shares its space with the port, so it is definitely not the best solution if you are looking for tranquillity and relaxation.
However, there are alternatives, and they are all within walking distance, often in the green or along the sea.
If you’re a couple and you’re looking for a romantic beach, then Baia del Cannone (Cannon Bay) is the name you need to keep in mind.
For a day of sun, sea and quiet relaxation, however, the most suitable option is that of Paraggi or, if you are willing to drive, the Baia del Silenzio (Bay of Silence) that owes its name to the particular serenity that you breathe there.
Don’t know which beach to choose in Portofino?
Here are my notes on the most beautiful ones a few steps from the center of the resort.
Just remember that most beaches are quite small so it’s best to go very early to find a vacant spot on the public beach or you can opt to go to one of the many private beaches.
Free beach near Portofino
The nearest free beach you’ll find in Portofino is its port.
Obviously, it is a very small beach because most of the outlet to the sea is occupied by the marina.
If you can find a place, however, you can enjoy a clean beach and a beautiful sea, but it is certainly not a quiet area given the proximity to the center and the many businesses.
There are, however, several alternatives that you can consider.
For example, the Baia del Cannone is small and intimate but is considered one of the most romantic beaches in the world.
The beach is set in a frame of rock and pine trees that give the whole area a wild air.
The sea is crystal clear and touches the shades of green and blue.
Beach of Paraggi
The most famous beach in Portofino is perhaps that of the Bay of Paraggi: it is certainly one of the most popular for both tourists and locals.
This beach can be easily reached by a nice walk along a footbridge that runs along the sea: Paraggi, in fact, is located at the foot of a green promontory at the top of which there is a perfectly preserved castle from the seventeenth century.
This particular conformation makes it a very quiet beach where you can choose whether to take advantage of the private beach or the free beach, finding in both options the same cleanliness and comfort.
The beach consists of a mix of sand and pebbles.
The waters are of an intense emerald colour due to the reflection of the vegetation in the sea but also due to its deep and rocky seabeds.
The bay of Paraggi is a paradise for divers who want to immerse themselves in its crystal-clear waters and discover the world that lies below sea level, which also includes the wreck of a merchant ship sunk in 1917.
In the Bay of Paraggi, there are several beaches, but the free one most loved by all is undoubtedly the one called the Castle, which is located just below the manor.
Here the beach is made up of golden sand, and you can take advantage of numerous services such as free public baths to spend the day at the beach more comfortably.
1-Hour Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay, Portofino
San Michele di Pagana beach
It is a very small beach that is located just behind the main square of the resort, and this gives you the opportunity not only to easily reach it but also to take advantage of all the shops and services that are located there.
If you decide to visit this beach, you should plan to arrive early enough to find your place in the sun.
The effort, however, will be rewarded by the sight of one of the most beautiful places in Liguria.
First of all, the beach is divided into two parts, on the one hand, the bathing establishment and on the other the free beach.
The latter is very well maintained and has several facilities that make the stay of bathers really enjoyable.
San Michele di Pagana has a beach made of small grey pebbles that are round because they have been smoothed by thousands of years of erosion by the slow waves of the sea.
he water in the bay is green because of the reflection of the many marine pines that emerge from the surrounding rock that creates a very special colour.
An area made up of rocks that is positioned laterally to the beach is a kingdom of small fish, crabs and other numerous inhabitants of the sea.
Beaches in Liguria near Portofino
If your holiday destination is Portofino and you have enough days available, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it and visit the beautiful places that are in its vicinity, especially if you wish to discover the beautiful beaches that can be visit on a day trip from the town.
One of the most beautiful and famous places in the immediate vicinity of Portofino is Santa Margherita Ligure.
Here you will find a fairly spacious beach and, unlike in most places in the rest of Italy, it has spacious and well-maintained stretches of free beach.
Another pearl that you can easily reach from Portofino is the beach of Camogli.
Here you can find several coves, the most beautiful and unusual one perhaps being that of San Fruttuoso, which is located on a slice of beach between the sea and cliffs on which the Torre Doria has been standing from the year one thousand.
Slightly further away is the beach of Cavi di Lavagna.
This beach, as well as the previous ones, has been a Blue Flag beach for years and will offer you the spectacle of lush nature, the green of which contrasts the blue waters of the sea.
Here, too, you’ll find a well-kept free beach, spacious enough to hold all the visitors who choose to spend their day here in this little grey paradise – called this due to the particular colour of the sand. I’ve written a detailed description of the best beaches around Portofino below.
Santa Margherita Ligure beach
When we talk about the free beach of Santa Margherita Ligure, in most cases we are referring to the beach of Minaglia.
Unlike all the other beaches in Liguria, this is quite spacious and is equally distributed between free stretches and stretches occupied by the beaches.
Also, in this case, it is a beach characterized by small pebbles that slowly slope down to the sea, giving it a characteristic transparent blue colour.
Behind it, instead, a hill covered with trees that can represent a cool refuge in the hottest hours.
On both sides of the bay, there are reef areas that are ideal for a swim away from the waves or to hunt for crabs and tellinas.
If you decide to linger on the stretches of free beach, you will find a well-kept beach, and you can also take advantage of the various bars and kiosks that are located near the establishments to buy fresh drinks, a snack or ice cream.
Because of its special location, the beach of Minaglia in Santa Margherita Ligure is kissed by the sun from early morning until sunset and is therefore ideal if you are one of those people who prefer to bask on a sun bed or on the beach while the sunlight allows it.
The beach of Camogli is one of the most unique in the surroundings of Portofino.
It is, in fact, a beach composed of a mix of sand, pebbles and gravel that perhaps makes lying down a bit uncomfortable, but allows you to experience a truly spectacular colour of the sea that takes on all shades of green, blue and navy.
The most famous beach of Camogli is San Fruttuoso, which can be reached either by land or, more comfortably, by sea.
In front of the blue sea is a beach made of pebbles, behind the imposing abbey of the same name of San Fruttuoso which gives the beach a truly unusual atmosphere, and makes it unique due to the dense green vegetation behind and the centuries-old Tower of Doria dating back to the year 1000 that watches over everyone from above.
The beach of San Fruttuoso di Camogli is divided equally between free beach and organized beaches.
Like all beaches in this area of Liguria, it is not very large, but the spaces are organized in such a way that it won’t be an issue.
Even the free beach is kept impeccably and is extremely clean so it can be frequented even with children without having to worry about their safety.
Beach of Cavi di Lavagna
To reach the beach of Cavi a Lavagna you have to spend at least 45 minutes in a car, traffic permitting, but upon your arrival, you will not be weighed down by the fatigue.
The beach of Cavi di Lavagna is one of the largest in Liguria, located on the Riviera di Levante and is 4 kilometres in length.
Due to the purity of its waters in recent years, it has been awarded the blue flag.
The beach is a mixture of pebbles and sand and takes on a very special colour that tends to grey.
Also, you can choose to take advantage of the free beach or use one of the many beaches that follow one another along its 4km.
In any case, the free beach is still equipped with a kiosk where you can stock up on fresh drinks and sandwiches or ice cream if you do not want to prepare lunch at home.
Given the wide spaces and the many services available to bathers, the beach of Cavi di Lavagna is certainly suitable for those who want to have a living space suitable for the sea and families with children who can have fun here on the beach without danger and without bothering other bathers with games and sand castles … or stones given the consistency of the sand!
Baia del Silenzio
On the opposite side of Portofino to the Bay of Cannone is the Bay of Silence, about a fifty minutes’ drive from Portofino.
The name derives from the tranquillity that can be perceived in this area of sea that is so collected and separated from the rest of the coast that is often lacks in tourists.
On this beach, at sunset, you can see the beauty of the light effects that create very special optical effects on the sea.
Both at the Bay of Cannon and the Bay of Silence you will find both bathing beaches and free beaches, well-kept and equipped for bathers.
The Bay of Silence has been placed fifth in the ranking of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
How to get to Portofino
Portofino can be easily reached by train, bus or by taking your own car.
Being a very popular tourist resort, in fact, can boast connections up to its fame.
This is how you can get to Portofino.
By car, the reference motorway to reach Portofino is the A12, or Genoa – La Spezia, with an exit at Rapallo. It must be said, however, that almost the entire historic center of Portofino is a pedestrian area, so I recommend you leave your car in the large 24-hour pay car park located in Piazza Martiri della Libertà. It is a fairly central area, so it is quite easy to move from there even on foot.
To reach Portofino by train, the nearest railway station is Santa Margherita Ligure-Portofino, which is located right in the middle of the path that connects Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino. From Genoa there are many regional trains that arrive here in no more than 45 minutes. From the station to the centre of the Ligurian town it is possible to take the bus 82.
To reach Portofino by bus, the place of departure is Genoa. Near the station, there is a stop for ATP vehicles, i.e. the Azienda Trasporti Provinciali (Provincial Transport Company), which take you to Santa Margherita Ligure station. From there, you can take line 82.
Well, we have come to the end of this article on the best beaches near Portofino.
Have you been able to find the one that’s right for you?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.