Portofino Port and
Tendering Procedure

"From Portofino Port you will walk for some 2-3 minutes to get to the Piazzetta di Portofino"

Portofino port day isn't crew's favourite day. And oh, no, it's not that we don't like the little gem town with colourful trompe l'oeil facades, the megayachts moored, having a cappuccinno sitting on the terraces with crisp white tablecloths and the smell of the olive groves and pines.

It's just that we really don't like Portofino port tendering.

Super limited with our time off (lucky are those who get some) the whole procedure with waiting for the boats, and not knowing how long the ride will be due to the traffic in the harbour or weather conditions, is not very practical.

But being a  cruise guest, you  don't even have to worry about that. And noone will mind if you come back onboard with the very last tender boat.

It's perfectly understandable you will want to soak up the very last little breath of La Dolce Vita.

ship anchored in portofino port

Where is the cruise port of Portofino?

While Portofino itself does not have a cruise port capable of accommodating large cruise ships, it is a popular destination for cruise passengers.

Cruise ships typically anchor in the harbor just off the coast of Portofino. Passengers are transported from the anchored cruise ship to the town by smaller boats, often referred to as tenders. These tender boats ferry passengers to and from the cruise ship to the small harbor in the town center.

The reason for this arrangement is that Portofino's harbor is not deep or large enough to accommodate larger cruise ships.

However, the experience of arriving in Portofino by tender can be quite scenic, offering beautiful views of the town and its surroundings.

During the ride, you will have a fantastic view of the village of Portofino, the Promontory with the lighthouse on the left and the Santa Marguerita di Ligure on the right. As well as all the beautiful villas with their little private docks and bathing areas.

portofino10Some fabulous villas with their private bathing areas in Portofino

So, while there isn't a traditional cruise port in Portofino, it remains a popular stop on many Mediterranean cruise itineraries, allowing cruise passengers to explore the charming town, its shops, cafes, and the stunning Italian Riviera coastline.

Of course, if you want to maximize your day in Portofino, I suggest you get on one of the tours with the local guides:

Plan your getting off in Portofino port ahead as there are better and not-so-good times to get off.

I suggest you either get off on one of the first tender boats, which is normally some 30 minutes after your ship anchors (check the anchoring time in the ship's newsletter), or wait until the rush is finished (after 11 a.m.).

Remember that it is always the security department members who have to go ashore first so they can set up their station ashore, then there is the bar staff who set up the refreshment station, shore excursions staff, etc.

Then you might be lucky to get on one of the tender boats before shore excursions come down to shuttle on land together. Depending on the size of the ship, the tour offloading procedure can take some time so if you miss those first tender boats you might not be able to get off then.

Or you can stand on the side of the offloading area and wait if there are a few extra spots on tours' tenders.

As already mentioned above, the tender ride itself can last anywhere from 10-20 minutes. If everything goes smoothly, you will have just enough time to take some nice shots of the village and the coast from the boat and you'll be there.

portofino cruise ship tender station

But then again, the traffic in and out of the harbor might be busy and your boat could be destined to sit at sea just outside the Portofino port for 10-15 minutes until it gets cleared to dock. Namely, the same little port is used by fishermen, small ferries/shore excursion boats, and yachts. Hopefully, you don't mind the rocking while waiting.

Because of the tendering, in spring and autumn ships can entirely cancel the Portofino day if the captain decides the procedure would be endangering the guests and the crew.

Walk to Piazzetta di Portofino

In that case, the ship might get a spot to dock in Genoa which is not so far from here. If that doesn't work out, you might have a day at sea. That's why, if Portofino is the only reason you're coming on the cruise, make sure you book one in summer.

If everything goes well and your tender boat docks ashore, you will be right there in the miniature Portofino port and harbor.

It takes a 2-3 minute walk to get to the Piazzetta di Portofino, and on the way there you can gawk at the megayacht decks, you might see someone famous. Don't be surprised if you do.

If you're with the shore excursions, just keep in mind the buses can't wait for you right by the tender drop off as there are no cars allowed into the village itself. So you will walk for some 5-7 minutes until you get to the parking lot just outside the village.

Portofino port public toilet

Some tours will take boats to Sta Margherita and those will be leaving from the pier just 2 minutes walk from the tender boat drop off.

If you need to use the toilet before you set off on your tour, no problem, there is one right there in Portofino port, and as expected, it's quite classy too.

If you need to draw some money from an ATM before you need to go on a tour make sure you ask your tour guide if there's enough time to do that as the closest machines are on the road straight up from the Piazzeta, past the Panerai shop.

If there's no time, you will always find one in Sta Margherita or Genoa.



Hello! My name is Martina and I have been living, working and cruising in the Med for the past 20 years. Now I want to make you Med confident! Read more about me...


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2. Port of Venice

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