Summary. From Cinque Terre, travel by train, roughly 60-90 minutes, to the town of Santa Margherita. Stroll the manicured parks and streets of this fishing village turned resort town, before taking a tram to Portofino, the world-famous upscale centuries-old tourist destination. We basically bought nothing except Gelato in Portofino (holy molly prices were high), however, there's plenty to see just by strolling these gorgeous, classy towns.
Getting there. From Manarola, we took an early morning train to the Santa Margherita Ligure-Portofino train station. Direct trains take about 60 minutes. Upon arrival we walked to a café to enjoy a cup of coffee and pastries before heading to the harbor to walk the Santa Margherita Harbor.
Portofino. While it was still early in the day and in order to avoid crowds, we headed out to Portofino by taking the local shuttle bus. There is a ferry that can take you for about $11 per person but we opted for the bus at just $2 each. Both take about 15 minutes. We've heard you can walk the 3 miles stretch but there are sections of the road that seemed too narrow for foot traffic, if you ask us.
Once in Portofino, we walked to the marina, where several expensive yachts were docked. From the marina, there is a trail entrance that takes you straight up to Castello (Castle) Brown. The path up to the Castle has manicured gardens and is shaded. From the Castle grounds we took photos of Portofino below and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade. We did not go in the Castle.
After walking back down, we window-shopped a bit before enjoying our daily Gelato treat (yes, daily, what can we say....). We then caught the next bus back to Santa Margherita as apart from viewing this amazing picturesque town, there was not much for us to do or see.
Back in Santa Margherita, we walked the streets and enjoyed some additional window shopping and people watching. It's a beautiful City and we enjoyed simply just walking the streets. Towards the end of the day, we took a train back to Manarola where we enjoyed another amazing dinner, at more affordable prices than Portofino or Santa Margherita.