I’ve not posted a blog for the last few weeks because I’ve been away on a Mediterranean cruise with my family.
It was an amazing experience and I got to visit lots of places that I’ve never been to before. We sailed from Southampton and visited Barcelona, Corsica, Rome, Florence, Portofino, Marseille and Gibraltar. My favourite places by far were Florence and Portofino. I loved the architecture and the scenery (and they were two of the only places that were actually sunny when we visited).
With each port we docked in, we were free to book a staff-led excursion or explore the surroundings ourselves. Most of the time we booked transport into the main cities and then explored them on our own. I think this was better than the organised tours because it meant we had the flexibility to spend as long as we liked at the sights we wanted to see. It also meant we had the time to enjoy the places more by visiting the cafes, restaurants and local shops.
Our cruise ship docked at Genoa and we took a small boat to Portofino. I’d never heard of Portofino and didn’t really know what to expect. Sat out on top of the boat, we saw first-hand the beautiful views as we arrived into the port. The tiny port was scattered with boats and the main square was bursting with tourists, cafes and brightly, fun-coloured buildings.
We wandered around the square and up the tiny, cobbled streets, dipping in and out of boutiques, jewellery shops, cafes and restaurants. We also saw some of the popular sights including the Church of St. Martin and Castello Brown. I was very keen to try some of the renowned Italian gelato, so we found a cute little ice cream parlour and treated ourselves to some ice cream cones (which were delicious).
Because of the cruise schedule we only had a couple of hours to spend in Portofino. It would have been nice to spend a bit longer there but it was enough time to be completely dazzled by the place.
With little more than 500 permanent residents, Portofino is very small and probably best-suited to a relaxing weekend break or a day visit if you’re nearby.
It’s not one of the obvious, must-see places that people sing about seeing when travelling around Europe. However, I think it would make a nice contrast to the big cities that people usually opt for.
The tiny port area of Portofino looks like something out of a film set: the sparkling water is sprinkled with boats and lined with beautiful painted buildings. I’ve tried to capture how dreamy it was with photos but none of them quite do it justice. I would definitely recommend a visit to anyone looking to travel in Europe.