Hike from Rapallo-Santa Margherita-Portofino

An itinerary which is still “fashionable” and with a beautiful landscape: one to enjoy

An excursion we suggest for hikers, those who love breathtaking landscapes, or simply for tourists who would like to maybe run into one or two VIPs. The itinerary that goes from Rapallo to Portofino, passing through Santa Margherita, will be agreed upon by everyone: an eight-kilometre long trail, that will leave its mark. The backdrop is the splendid Piazzetta in Portofino: which has always been a meeting place for many well-known faces from TV as the destination for their holidays in the Tigullio area.


The difficulty level is moderate; you will need a minimum level of fitness to hike eight kilometres.



  • Length: two hours.
  • Cost (excluding food): zero euros.
  • Period: May-September



The starting point for our excursion from Rapallo to Portofino, passing through Santa Margherita is from the boardwalk in Rapallo. We recommend using the train, as the train station is only a few minutes’ walk from the Castello of the Ligurian city: point of reference for the beginning of our itinerary. This is a very spacious area and, continuing for about fifteen minutes, leads to the port of Carlo Riva, a private area of the seaside town.


This is where the first uphill part of the trail begins up to San Michele: a slightly difficult tract for those who aren’t in the best shape, but nothing impossible to do. Many people choose to come here to go to the beach. This is an area that readers of LN know well, as from Prelo, near San Michele, is where many of our kayaking trips have started from. The beach is always full of tourists in the summer and sometimes it is difficult to find a place to lay out your towel.


At this point, we took a small detour: instead of continuing straight, we went down to the beach rather than walk through cars, scooters and buses. In order to do this, you need to follow the first turn off to the left after the beach in San Michele: the landscape here is truly splendid,  something marvellous. At sunset it is even more so.


We lengthened the hike a little bit, but it was worth it. We are about forty minutes into our hike. We went back onto the main road, and shortly after, reached Santa Margherita: walking past Piazza del Sole and the city gardens, we then reached the marina. We followed the coast until we reached the well-known club, Covo di Nord-Est: this is where the panoramic part of our hike begins, and we head towards Paraggi.

Rapallo-Santa Margherita-Portofino Hike: Walking to Paraggi

Going along this area is magnificent, admiring the sun’s rays reflecting off the water is incredible. If you are lucky enough to have a bright, sunny day, you will feel like you are in heaven. Going past the particular chair-shaped rock and passing the little beach of Niasca, we nearly reached the end of our hike. Just a note: in the summer, there are a lot of people running along this part of the route, so please be mindful.


After an hour and a half walk, we made a second diversion. We decided to go along the Sentiero dei Baci: a characteristic and panoramic area that gives us a beautiful view and leads us a short distance from the Piazzetta. The trail goes down shortly before the Church and after a twisty climb up the hill, we finally reached Portofino: describing it seems superfluous, there is a reason tourists come from all around the world to see this beautiful gem in the Tigullio Gulf.


To end our hike, we took Salita San Giorgio and admired the view from above: one final, brief effort that we heartily suggest. We finally reached the end of our walk, after over two hours we reached our destination.



A large breakfast is a must so you have enough energy to walk from Rapallo to Portofino through Santa Margherita. Once you have reached your destination, you can enjoy a quick lunch in the Piazzetta, just a word of advice: the view is unrivalled, but so are the prices!



To reach Rapallo we suggest taking the train, seeing as parking is very difficult in the summer, while to return from Portofino we suggest using the buses: the bus stop is only a short distance from the centre.


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