Hiking Camogli and Portofino Promontory

Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:05 AM
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Hiking Camogli and Portofino Promontory

Hi folks,

I am looking to do some hiking, using Camogli as a home base from May 18-24. I would like to spend one day hiking the Portofino Park/Promontory. I don't think I want to hike the entire way from Camogli to Portofino or Santa Margherita Ligure. The two options I am considering are: 1) hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso, stopping for lunch near the Abbey, then catching a ferry to Portofino, walking to SML, then train back to Camogli, or 2) basically the reverse of #1- train from Camogli to SML, walk to Portofino, then walk to San Fruttuoso, lunch, then ferry to Camogli. Does anyone have any experiences or preferences for one route over another? Is one route more practical than the other? Is one significantly more arduous? Which would show off the region best, or have the best views? The Lonely Planet guide to hiking in Italy seems to favour walking in the Camogli to San Fruttuoso direction, while Taylor's 50 Hikes in and around Tuscany recommends walking from Portofino to San Fruttuoso. Thanks!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Hi Bopal,

It's been such a long time since we hiked what you are planning, but the best section then was between Camogli and San Fruttuoso along and above the water (not the inland trail). If you're lucky it will still be marked, "Pericoloso!" (Dangerous!). It wasn't bad, and your biggest danger is getting to San Fruttuoso by foot to find the water too rough for the ferry to dock.

Unless the trail is better, the route from Portofino to SML is inland. Some people were walking the road, which looked like a miserable experience with all the traffic.

Have a great trip.

JQ
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:06 PM
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I've not tried all your options, but I wouldn't walk to Portofino from Santa Margherita Ligure. I wouldn't want to miss arriving into Portofino by boat. It's the best part of going to Portofino. So I suggest taking a boat from Santa Margherita Ligure (or Rapallo) to Portofino. Instead of taking the train to those towns from Camogli, I suggest you take the bus, which has beautiful views, especially to Rapallo (and be aware that the descent into Santa Margherita Ligure is very twisty-turny, in case you get motion sick easily).

If you start your hike in Camogli, you will first be confronted by hundreds of stairs heading up to San Rocco di Camogli, about 25 minutes of stairs straight up before you even get onto the hiking trail (and more climbing). I suggest you instead take the bus to San Rocco di Camogli (pretty views!) and start from there to hike to San Fruttuoso. After lunch, take a boat to Portofino, but leaving Portofino, I suggest you take another boat to Rapallo so you can have a gelato at Frigidarium, near the boat dock, opposite the castle.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:17 PM
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PS: For views, the staircases down from San Rocco di Camogli to either Camogli or Punta Chiappa are both charming and pretty, as is the flat walk between Ruta and San Rocco di Camogli (but there are cars there).. Bus rides over the mountain via Ruta are thrilling. The Hotel Cenobbio dei Doge also owns the Portofino Kulm at the very top of the promontorio, and runs a shuttle bus between the two. There are spectacular views from the Kulm (and several ways to hike down the mountain in all directions). You might ask at the hotel if you can get a ride up.
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Old Apr 4th, 2011, 09:03 PM
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Zeppole, it does sound very appealing to take the boat to Portofino - JQ also seems to advise against walking to Portofino. Thanks also for the tip to take the boat from Portofino to Frigidarium - a nice reward after a long day of hiking!

In your opinion, would I be better off doing this hike on a week day rather than a weekend, to avoid crowds at San Fruttuoso and Portofino? Do ferries run less often on week days? Are the restaurants at SF closed on certain days?
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Old Apr 5th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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There are only a few less ferries on weekdays, and weekends can be chokingly crowded in both San Fruttuoso and Portofino if the weather is nice.

It is always advisable to ask your hotel to check about restaurants being open and making reservations, even on weekdays. Sometimes hiking groups come through and take up all the tables; sometimes restaurants close for no apparent reason for a day or two.
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