Portifino consists 5 small fishing villages off the coast of northern Italy.
If you are on a budget, I think the best way to see the 5 fishing villages is to stay in La Spezia at an Airbnb.
If you want to stay at a hotel in one of the villages, La Torretta in Manarola or Hotel Palme in Monterosso, are more flat of the five villages so these would be the best places to stay when you are hauling around luggage but be prepared to walk up some steep hills. There are no 5 star hotels in these villages but these look like the closest thing you can get to that.
Corniglia: Extremely high up on a hill, probably very difficult to get to with luggage.
Manarola: second smallest of the 5 villages. Beautiful sunset, some great restaurants including the “instafamous” Nessun Dorma. This restaurant can get very crowded, so I would go sometime after lunch, but before dinner. We went around 4pm and stayed close to sunset and we were able to get a good table with no wait.
Monterosso al Mare: Largest of the fishing villages with a proper beach.
Riomaggiore: a small u-shaped village, which is said to be the most photographed village, few restaurants overlooking the harbor. a few boats in the harbor you can rent or do some trips to the other villages. Also able to swim in the harbor, bring your goggles, it is extremely clear water.
Vernazza: Beach, boutique shops, and harbour. Doria Castle is here which was used as a look out for pirate raids back in the day
How to get to the villages:
Boat: If you are staying in La Spezia, there is a port with boat rentals that will take you to each of the villages. You can go on the public boat, which I can only imagine will be quite crowded in the high season, or you could rent a private boat with a skipper.
Train: Traveling by train, it is easy to get from one village to the next. There is a central station in La Spezia that takes you straight to the fishing villages.
What to do:
Sentiero, also known as the “blue” coastal trail. This trail goes through all 5 villages. The hiking path is said to have spectacular views and is part of the UNESCO world heritage site. You can start in Monterosso and head south or Riomaggiore and head north. Check out the status before you leave, certain times of the year some of the trails will close down for safety precautions due to landslides.
Fried cone seafood in Riomaggiore.
Geloato! This can be found in all the villages.