I’ve already written about the interesting port city of  Genova  and the places of interest to visit there. The nice thing about Genova is that it’s also a great base for exploring the picturesque Ligurian seaside towns, such as Santa Margherita and Portofino.

On a recent trip to Genova, we took the train from Genova’s Brignole station to Santa Margherita di Ligure on the Gulf of Tigullio. (In the spring and summertime, regular ferry boat service runs between Genova’s harbor and Santa Margherita and Portofino).

Santa Margherita developed in the 1800s as an elegant seaside resort town. The town’s pleasant beach and its lovely architecture make it an ideal place to visit. The Villa Durazzo sits high up on a  hill, with stunning views down to the town and the gulf below. Construction on the villa began in 1560 and still houses a collection of paintings and original furnishings. The garden is open to the public and a pleasant café is set in its relaxing gardens.

Neighboring Portofino is not along the train line. It’s an easy 5-kilometer walk from Santa Margherita to Portofino, with beautiful views along the coastline. Most of the route is a pedestrian path alongside the road. When the road becomes narrower, the pedestrian path continues above the road, on a wooded, marked path through a protected park area filled with chestnut trees. It leads right  into town. There’s also a public bus (#82) that runs between the towns. We chose to walk to Portofino and take the bus on the return trip.

Settlement in Portofino dates back to the Roman Empire, when it was known as Portus Delphini. Today it’s more well-known as an exclusive tourist destination. The town itself deserves its reputation and joins the long list of destinations where I would love to have my room with a view , albeit in the off-season before the well-heeled tourist masses descend on this picture-perfect little enclave.

A walk up to the castle provides stunning views over the town. We didn’t have time on this visit, but next time we’ll be sure to take the hike down to the nearby San Fruttuoso, a 13th century Benedictine Abbey that can be reached by a hiking path that originates in Portofino.

Enjoy your day of paradise in two of Liguria’s stunning coastal towns.