Portofino © Alan Kotok
Nestled in a sheltered inlet within the stretch of the Italian Mediterranean is the coastal fishing village of Portofino which is famous for its picturesque harbour and has become an upmarket resort. It has long been the playground for the rich and famous, attracting the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace. It is not surprising, therefore, that its prices rose to match the exclusivity demanded by its holidaymakers. The scenic surrounds can be explored from the outlying nature reserve, graced with cypress and olive slopes. Set off from here on a 90-minute trek to San Fruttuoso, or a two-and-a-half hour hike to Santa Margherita. Other sights around Portofino include its castle and the lighthouse (faro), with its breathtaking view of the coastline. The most famous beach in the area is the beautiful Paraggi Beach, which is a few minutes up the coast. Other popular beaches nearby include Camogli, Chiavari, Lavagna, and Sestri Levante. Portofino is sometimes a victim of its own popularity and can get uncomfortably crowded in the summer months, but it is well worth the effort to spend a few hours exploring this famously scenic and famously celebrity-packed village.