Paddling around Portofino (KAPO4)
Comfort level
4 day kayaking trip with 2 bases


Paddling around the Portofino Peninsula

The Peninsula of Portofino is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Italy. Located halfway Genova and the now famous Cinque Terre, it has been a sough-after destination for wealthy tourists since the beginning of the 19th century. The landscape is dotted with beautiful villa’s and a few picturesque colourful villages. Of course there is colourful Portofino itself, resort for the Italian jet-set, but perhaps Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure are even more beautiful.

Perhaps the main feature of the Peninsula of Portofino, is its stunning nature. Now a protected area& Marine Reserve, you will be astonished by the abundance of sea life. On several occasions you might take the chance to do some snorkeling, and together with our marine experts, discover the beauty of the Mediterranean.

Paddling around the peninsula, you will be impressed by the sheer cliffs and discover several minor inlets. You will paddle around the castle and lighthouse of Portofino, an impressive sight ! Like is approaching Camogli, the ‘City of the 1000 white sailing boats’ in a kayak. You’ll be astonished to se these high-rising colourful painted houses set in this stunning coastal scenery.

We’ll go ashore for one night at the a beautifully located Abbey of San Fruttuoso, dating back to the 11th century. San Fruttuoso is set in its own cove and reachable only by boat or on foot. Staying at this isolated inlet of this beautiful coastline is an unforgettable experience!

You will discover that with reason Portofino has become one of Italy’s most sought after places, but as well that it takes only a little effort to get ‘off the beaten track’. At only a few hundred metres away from the famous places, you will find yourself surrounded by nature. Its dramatic coastline offers wonderful views, different every step you take, and every metre you paddle…. Your vision will blur as you focus on the wonderment of history displayed along this amazing stretch of coastline. It offers an extraordinary palette of colours, with deep azure skies, white limestone cliffs, deep blue seas, and bright citrus orchards lit by the dazzling Mediterranean sun. This intoxicating sensual feast inspires a celebration of the goodness of life itself.

Paddling in the waters of the Marine Protected Area of Portofino, you will have the chance to admire the crystalline waters populated by a great fish variety. Kayak, snorkeling and a night over at San Fruttuoso; sea and mountain will help you to knock off from the daily stress and recover the contact with nature. On this tour we take you beyond the crowded beaches, and you’ll be lying on isolated beaches and paddling alone with the seagulls…. In short, you’ll discover the real Italian paradise.

This tour is the first ‘leg’, only the Portofino part, of a longer tour, which includes also the Cinque Terre, Portovenere & the Gulf of Poets. This longer tour gives you the opportunity to explore the amazing variety of the Liguria Coast.

We recommend this kayaking tour in combination with one of our ‘Cinque Terre & Portofino’ walking tours, but can as well be done ‘just’ by itself. We run this trip with a minimum of 4 persons. The standard starting accomodation is a good 3- or 4-star hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure, but Genius Loci Travel can book any hotel on the Peninsula of Portofino, ranging from 3- to 5-star.

Please note: this is a moderate to demanding trip which is suitable only for those who have experience with sea kayaking and a good general physical condition. Although the waters of the Mediterranean are usually calm, occasionally we can encounter a rougher sea.



Day 0 Genova/Pisa (or Santa Margherita Ligure)

Arrival in Santa Margherita Ligure in case you arrive a day earlier. The nearest international airports are Pisa and Genova, from where Santa Margherita can easily be reached by train. Also from Milan, Rome (and many other cities) there are many (direct) trains. Several hotels can be booked in Santa Margherita Ligure or nearby Portofino, ranging from 3 to 5-star, either ‘downtown’ centrally located, or near the harbour or train station.

Day 1 Arrival – Santa Margherita Ligure

Arrival in Santa Margherita Ligure. After settling in your hotel, at literally two steps from the beach, you can already go for a short stroll, or maybe there is some time for a dive into the Mediterranean.
Halfway the afternoon we meet our tour leader and the rest of the group. After a brief introduction of the tour, you are being brought to the charming small hamlet of Niasca, close to Portofino. Here we will outfit everyone with paddle and PFD and offer some basic kayaking instruction. Starting on the beach, the guide describes the paddling technique and the basis of kayak. Then we go for a short introduction trip, towards the amazingly beautiful natural harbour of Portofino. We go ashore near the lighthouse and with a short stroll we reach the perfect spot for our relaxed ‘aperitivo’. Then we slowly paddle back to Niasca, after which we are being brought back to our hotel. In the evening we have a great meal in a nice restaurant close to our hotel.

Accommodation: Santa Margherita Ligure – Meals included: 1 ‘aperitivo’, 1 dinner

Day 2 From Portofino to the bay of San Fruttuoso

Today we’ll discover the best parts of the promontory of Portofino, now a Protected Marine Area. Starting from Niasca’s bay, the tour destination will be San Fruttuoso di Camogli. The first bay where we pass is the amazing harbour of Portofino itself. Its colourful houses make up a stunning panorama, complete by its beautiful natural harbour, coloured thanks to the typical fisherman’s boats moored around. From the sea you can spot San Giorgio’s Church and the famous Lighthouse, reference point for all sailors. Around midday we reach the Vitrale Inlet, a sort of tiny fiord in which you enter zigzagging through the rocks. It’s a natural swimming pool where we take off from the kayaks, wear mask and fins and dive in the clear waters sighting the great variety of fish. You will see groupers, sea breams, and barracudas, besides anemones, starfish, octopus and much more. It’s time to have a little rest, lie down on the rock and have lunch with the typical Genoese focaccia. Arriving in San Fruttuoso di Camogli you will be charmed by the medieval Abbey, which its columns in the sand; close to the mountain, near the sea, it represents the richness of our territory.

Another plunge is due, this time to appreciate one of Italy’s most famous statues: the underwater (!) statue of the ‘Cristo degli Abissi’.  An aperitivo on the beach staring at the sunset, a quick change of clothes and everything is ready for the short walk that will bring us to our base for the night, the ‘agririfugio’ Molini, a restored old mill, surrounded by century-old olive trees. You will be lucky to stay here! Dinner is entirely made of local organic products from the agririfugio’s vegetable garden. You’ll have a great rest, gently lulled by the sound of the waves.

Accommodation: San Fruttuoso (Camogli) – Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 picnic lunch, 1 dinner

Day 3 From San Fruttuoso to Punta Chiappa (Camogli) and return to Niasca

Today we’ll discover the other side of the Portofino Peninsula. Sun is high in the sky again and time has come to take our kayaks again; but first, a last sight to the panorama that San Fruttuoso’s Gulf donates, directly from the terrace precipitous on the sea where you will be served breakfast.
We first set off in western direction and shortly find ourselves underneath the impressive towering cliffs of the South Coast of the peninsula, rising up over 500 m. above us. It is possible to have a little deviation arriving to Punta Chiappa and leading towards Porto Pidocchio, two “pearls” just behind the Mountain. From here we can already admire Campogli (experienced paddlers can make the detour and go ashore in Camogli).
Then we return towards our base near Portofino. At lunchtime  we reach Cala degli Inglesi, a small creek between the rocks where we will eat lunch, do some snorkelling and lay down for sunbathing. Paddling in total relax we take our way back to Niasca where we will arrive shortly before sunset. After perhaps a last swim, we return to Santa Margherita Ligure. In the evening we can all join for a great evening meal  or you might choose yourself from a large choice of restaurants, ranging from simple pizzeria’s to exclusive restaurants. After dinner we might decide to make a short stroll along the amazing coastline or go for a drink together.

Accommodation: Santa Margherita Ligure – Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 picnic lunch (dinner free)

Day 4 Departure
The tour ends in Santa Margherita Ligure after breakfast today (unless you booked an extension – extra days available upon request). You can easily make your own way by train from here, either to the Cinque Terre, or to Genova or La Spezia, from where you travel on by train to Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples….

Day Itinerary & Activities Distance Notes
Introduction trip
 SM. Ligure 4-8 km. several options
2  Paddling from Niasca, along Portofino
to San Fruttuoso
 S. Fruttuoso  11 km. – – –
3 Paddling to Punta Chiappa (Camogli) &
return to Niasca
SM. Ligure  12 – 19 km. several options
xtra Optional extra
(walking/sightseeing) day
several options  several options  several options
4 Departure from
Santa Margherita Ligure
– – –

Tour details


Two nights are spent in a beautiful characteristic 3 or 4-star hotels (we can book superior 4/5-star on request), while one night is spent in a very special ‘agririfugio’. All rooms have en-suite facilities.

Breakfast is included, in all accommodations. A number of evening meals is included, for which we have selected the best available restaurants.

Also a (picnic) lunch is included in the tour price. These we can enjoy on the beach, while on other days we’ll have either a picnic lunch or a nice lunch in a restaurant on a nice beach.


  • Private English speaking tour leader for 4 days
  • Professional guiding service for each activity
  • Accommodation in beautiful ***/**** hotels
  • Meals: 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners in fine restaurants, 1 lunch
  • Welcome drink
  • All private & public transfers as indicated throughout the entire itinerary
  • Rental of high-quality sea kayaks
  • Group equipment and technical gear for each activity
  • Special activities as outlined in the day by day itinerary
  • 24/24 h local assistance
  • Luggage transport
  • All gratuities for baggage, porters & hotel service


  • Visas & Departure taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional additional tours or activities
  • Tips
  • Items of a personal nature


Moderately easy (level 2): This tour is suitable for kayakers with a minimum of sea kayaking experience. Our helpful guides/instructors will work with you to help you learn a new sport or become more comfortable with the outdoors. The waters of the Mediterranean are usually calm, and you’ll encounter only short open water crossings.

Fitness: A good standard of fitness is necessary. You should be able to paddle for up to 3 hours.


The tour starts and ends in SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE, a town with a train station, very well connected with Genova, la Spezia/Pisa and all other major Italian cities by a frequent (high speed) train service.

The nearest city with an international airport is GENOVA. A pick-up service from/to the train station (or other places) can be arranged on request.

Dates & Prices

There are only a few scheduled departures for this tour in 2020, but on request a tour can be planned at any date for private groups. Just contact us!

We can then also personalise the tour with respect to duration and lodging. We can offer you a large selection of ‘Premiere Inns’, very good hotels, many among the world’s best hotels, as acclaimed from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure and many others. Genius Loci Travel, as the leading adventure travel company in Italy, can book your room in any hotel you could dream of!

Please contact us for the latest prices

N.B. Prices are valid for the seasons as indicated – and based on groups of 4 participants. Private departures (minimum 2 persons) can be planned on any date. In this case it is possible to opt for small changes to the itinerary, an upgrade, as well there is the possibility to stay in cheaper accomodations. Availability & prices on request.

AvailablePlaces available. You can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.
GuaranteedGuaranteed Departure. Still some places available.
LimitedThere are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.
On RequestAvailability and prices on request.
Fully Booked. Departure closedFully Booked. Departure closed.
  • Prices are per person and based on 2 people sharing double or twin accommodation.
  • Single rooms (mostly double rooms - single use) are available on all trips. The supplements listed apply.
  • Prices are expressed in Euro's. There will never be a currency surcharge.
  • Actual exchange rates: GB £ - US $ - CAN $ - CHF - DKK - SEK - NOK - Other currencies.

Tour variations

It is possible to include some extra nights before or after your tour, in any of the accommodations ‘en route’. For those who love hiking too, a few days in the Portofino Peninsula, but also in the nearby Cinque Terre are strongly recommended. Some of the world’s most famous walks can be done there.

At the beginning or the end of the tour there is the also the opportunity to visit Genova (a unique city) and/or Pisa, Lucca and Florence. The tour can easily be extended with a few days here. Also an extra night in Portovenere is strongly recommended. Details & prices on request.


On our ‘standard tours’ we provide accommodation in very good, mostly 4-star hotels, with the best possible price/quality ration. On some dates however it is possible to book an upgraded version of this tour, staying in more luxurious 4- or 5-star hotels. Please ask us for details.


A longer version of this tour are also available, covering apart from the Portofino Peninsula also the famous Cinque Terre, Portovenere & the Gulf of Poets. See also our other Kayaking tours !


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Trip name
Paddling around Portofino (KAPO4)
Tour type
4 day kayaking trip with 2 bases Starting from: €
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