The Portofino National Park is one of the most important protected areas of the north Tyrrhenian coast with its Mediterranean woodlands, shrublands and olive groves.
From the spectacular conglomerate crags you can enjoy views on the wonderful blue sea below (Portofino Marine Reserve) and on the Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte in a small bay which can be reached only by boat or foot, and on the fabulous scenic Portofino village.
The peaceful Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino, the natural park of Mount Portofino, is in between Genoa and Cinque Terre and it comprises the promontory that overlooks the Tigullio Gulf, on the top of which is Monte Portofino.
Protected since 1935, among pine-woods, the promontory nestles cool Appennine forests and warm Mediterranean bush, has witnessed past civilizations founded on chestnut woods and olive groves, and has been part of farming and seafaring traditions.
The views from the top are splendid: you can see the two bays around the promontory, from the Bay of Tigullio to Sestri Levante, from Paradise Gulf to the island of Bergeggi and, in the distance, the French island of Corsica, one of the largest in the Mediterranean.
Portofino is a paradise for hikers
Portofino Natural Park is a perfect place to hike in all seasons. It is crossed by many trails and you can chose to walk on coastal trails or, especially in hot summer days, inland under the shadow of centenary trees like oaks and holms.
The network of trails connects the beautiful villages of Camogli, San Rocco and Santa Margherita and allows you to reach the incredible San Fruttuoso Abbey, a medieval pearl that overlooks an untouched beach of pebbles.
Besides the beauty of the Mediterranean nature, you can always combine a visit to one or more characteristic villages. I especially like to walk along the paths guided by an expert environmental guide fascinating me talking about the particular nature and geology of this promontory.
Along the way you will enjoy incredible views of the Mediterranean sea which blue here is particularly intense due to the depth of the waters of this area and, approaching to the villages, you will be charmed by the view of the colorful houses of the picturesque fishing villages.
Another point of strength of Portofino’s trails is that they are definitely less crowded than the ones in Cinque Terre area and less hot in summer days.
My preferred trails in Portofino Park
It is really difficult to choose among so many beautiful alternatives! I’ll tell you about the trails I like best that are the coastal ones with amazing panoramas and, why not, the possibility to bathe in the crystalline sea after your effort.
From San Rocco, a little village just above Camogli with an incredible panoramic terrace facing the Paradise Gulf, I love to walk till San Fruttuoso Abbey. It is a rather difficult path because it has some narrow passages on the rocks overlooking the sea where you must keep to ropes.
Do not do it if you suffer from dizziness, but the views are truly breathtaking.
If you’re lazy, you can choose to descend directly from San Rocco to Punta Chiappa, a beautiful slab of rock where you can swim and sunbathe. Here are also some delicious restaurants.
Another of my favorite tracks is the one that reaches San Fruttuoso, starting from the village of Portofino.
Going up from the village you will pass elegant VIP’s villas surrounded by terraced gardens. Then you will walk along a path, skirting the beautiful bays of the promontory and then descend on the beautiful village of San Fruttuoso.
Here you can relax on the beach and enjoy a delicious fried fish and, if after a few glasses of wine you don’t feel like walking back, you can always choose to use the public boat.
Hiking gourmet in Portofino
But what about adding a gourmet touch to your hiking day? I discovered and felt in love with a special place. A small country resort overlooking San Fruttuoso bay where Emanuela and her family share with guests their