Why I *Probably* Won’t Return to Portofino

Let me start off by saying that Portofino, Italy is dream-like.

It’s absolutely beautiful. A picturesque seaside town with restaurants dotted along the harbor, each one painted with hues of warm reds to bright yellows. Hundreds of brightly colored boats slowly bobbing in the water to a light breeze. The cobblestone streets are lightly filled with couples walking hand-in-hand, shopping the strip or enjoying coffee over light conversation.

It looks like a scene from the movies… But I don’t think I will be returning any time soon. 




Let me start by pointing out that I am in college. Let me also point out I live in America and pay thousands of dollars to get an education. This further means that my travel budget is not where I would like it to be.

I’m not staying in hotels, eating fancy food, or buying souvenirs (even for myself). My choices are limited, but I’m okay with it. It means I get to roam cities in search of great food for amazing prices or experiencing bartering my way down for a leather purse.


In a simple statement, Portofino is NOT for a young traveler on a budget.  

Once you’re in Portofino, there’s no turning back. I was spending the afternoon there with my roommate just to see the views and grab lunch before making our way to Pisa for our flight. Just getting here is a nightmare in itself; requiring a train and a fifteen minute bus ride with sixty other tourists squeezed in like sardines. On top of that, there are only about 10-15 places to choose from for lunch. All of which are sitting along the harbor… and extremely out of my budget.


We walked to every restaurant to see which one had the best prices – the answer is none of them. Each restaurant had main courses starting around 15 Euros all the way up to 70 and 80 Euros. WHAT?! I was getting extremely frustrated.

We trekked on and found a place that was offering some simple dishes for around 10 Euros. My roommate and I decided to give it a try; we would be here for another couple of hours anyways.

For 12 Euros, I ordered Spaghetti Ragu, or, Spaghetti with meat sauce. A dish that is, well, really hard to screw up in my opinion. It was the worst pasta I’ve ever had in my entire life. The spaghetti was overcooked, the sauce was non-existent, and the plate itself was about the size of my hand. On top of that, the waiter had the nerve to make me pay for my dish when I sent it back and told him that I didn’t like it. It was a nightmare.

It may be the one restaurant, but either way the food I had in Portofino was awful and extremely over-priced.



The reason I say that I probably wont return, is because it looks like a great town to vacation in when you’re in your 50’s or 60’s, with your spouse, and have a lot of extra money to spend. I’m sure there is great food in Portofino, but a backpacker or college student like myself definitely cannot afford it.









Besides this, as I stated before, the views were gorgeous. My other two roommates decided to hike the five cities of Cinque Terre, Italy. From my roommate’s stories and experiences I would highly recommend going there rather than Portofino. The views look better anyways!