A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Barcelona vs. Portofino for Nightlife, Couples, Backpackers, and Attractions

Should you visit Barcelona or Portofino?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Barcelona and Portofino can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Barcelona

Barcelona is a historic, cultural, and friendly city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Portofino

Portofino is a luxurious, glamorous, and picturesque seaside village. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. It's also known for nightlife, food, and beaches.

Barcelona and Portofino: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Basilica Sagrada Familia
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Barcelona or Portofino?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Barcelona. Although Barcelona and Portofino are popular destinations, Barcelona has more sights and attractions for tourists. Barcelona is very popular for its museums, nightlife, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Portofino attracts visitors for its resorts, hiking, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Barcelona is famous for its landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí, its wild nightlife, and its urban beaches. It is also well known for Basilica Sagrada Familia. Portofino is famous for its picturesque harbor, high end shopping, strikingly blue waters, and popularity with superyachts.

How is Barcelona different from Portofino?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Portofino and Barcelona. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Barcelona or Portofino?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is notable for its sights and museums. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for its museums and history.

Barcelona offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Architecture and history all contribute to the city's impressive sights and museums. Famous landmarks include the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and the Palace of Catalan Music. In addition to Casa Milà, there are several other landmarks that are designed by Gaudi. You can expect a crowd outside any of his creations.

While most people don't head to Portofino specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The village is mostly about soaking up the atmosphere, but you can also visit sights such as Sun Church of St. George and Cervara Abbey.


Is the Food Better in Barcelona or Portofino? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Barcelona
Portofino

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at excellent restaurants in both Barcelona and Portofino.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Barcelona makes for a great culinary experience. With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. While some restaurants are more touristy, particularly along Las Ramblas, there are also many local options that offer higher quality dishes. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and jamon iberico. Many visitors enjoy taking a cooking class while they're in town as well.

Portofino has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Located by the sea, you'll enjoy tons of great seafood here. Make sure you try the mussels, swordfish, and salt cod.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Nightlife?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is an unbeatable place for nightlife and partying. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Barcelona is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.

Portofino has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Most of the nightlife is found around Piazzetta (Oliveri Square) and Molo Umberto I. Happy hours (aperitivo) start around 5pm or 6pm and then as the evening continues, the party often moves to Paraggi Beach.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Music?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is an unbeatable place for its live music scene. However, Portofino is not a live music destination.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Barcelona Popular music venues include Tablao de Carmen, Razzmatazz, and Jamboree.

Portofino is not a live music destination.


Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Resorts?

Barcelona
Portofino

Portofino is renowned for its resorts. However, Barcelona is not a resort destination.

Portofino is a world class resort vacation destination. Known for it's exclusive luxury, there are a number of high end resorts in the area. Popular options include Splendido, Sublimis Boutique Hotel, and Grand Hotel Miramare.

Barcelona is not a resort destination.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Beaches?

Barcelona
Portofino

Both Barcelona and Portofino are considered to be nice beach destinations.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Barcelona. The city features long sandy beaches where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun right in the heart of town. Many of the beaches can get crowded during the warmer months, but if you're looking for a party, then this is the place. These are urban beaches, so don't expect the pristine coastal setting that you might find in a more remote areas. Popular beaches include Bogatell Beach, Barceloneta Beach, and Nova Icària.

Portofino offers a nice beach destination. Like much of the Italian coast, the beaches in the area are dramatic and beautiful. They're also rocky and pebbly and can get a bit crowded during the summer months.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for its Old Town?

Barcelona
Portofino

Both Barcelona and Portofino have excellent historic old towns worth visiting.

Barcelona is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. Dating back 2,000 years the Gothic Quarter remains a hub of life and activity. It's fun to explore the wandering streets or people watch in one of the plazas. There are also many fascinating boutique shops and restaurants. Many people consider the Gothic Quarter to be one of the best parts of Barcelona.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Portofino. Despite evolving into a famous resort town, Portofino still holds on to its fishing village charm.


Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Hiking?

Barcelona
Portofino

Portofino is a well-known place for the nearby hiking options. However, Barcelona is not a hiking destination.

Portofino is a popular spot for hiking. There are many beautiful hikes and treks along the coastline that pass by scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.

Barcelona is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Barcelona or Portofino?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is an unbeatable place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in Barcelona make it a world-class shopping destination. Head to Portal De L'Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Portofino. The quaint cobblestone streets are lined with high end boutiques that target the opulent jet-setter crowd that frequents Portofino. Much of the shopping is around Martiri dell'Olivetta Square.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Families?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is a popular place for its family-friendly activities. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for its kid-friendly activities.

Barcelona is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has a bit of a party vibe, but there are also kid-friendly activities everyone. With a number of museums, an aquarium, and lots of parks, the whole family can stay entertained. There's also a playground with a great view right by Sagrada Familia. Also make sure you check out the Magic Fountain Show near Plaça d'Espanya, wander through the aquarium, or sample some chocolate at the Chocolate Museum.

Portofino is not always a place people visit with their families. The town has a picturesque setting and some beautiful pebbly beaches. It's fun for kids to run around the town, explore by kayak, or play in the waters edge.


Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Couples?

Barcelona
Portofino

Portofino is renowned for romance. Also, Barcelona is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its romantic activities.

Portofino is a great seaside village for couples, as it has plenty to offer. Set beautifully against the ocean's edge, this famous Italian town makes for a truly romantic holiday. Ogle the mega yachts in the harbor and then wander the charming streets while you soak in the atmosphere.

Barcelona makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's an active city with a party atmosphere, so young couples will enjoy their time here. Couples can take a sunset cruise or enjoy a Flamenco show. There are also many great viewpoints around town.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is an unbeatable place for backpackers. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Barcelona. There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers. Backpackers will also appreciate the young vibe and late night party venues that keep the city fun and entertaining.

Portofino is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Known for it's high prices, the town isn't particularly popular with the backpacker crowd. It is possible to stay outside of town and head in for a day trip.

Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Students?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is an unbeatable place for students. However, Portofino is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Barcelona. This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do. It's also a lively city, but do expect the price tag to be higher than other Spanish cities.

Portofino is not popular with students.


Is Barcelona or Portofino Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Barcelona
Portofino

Barcelona is notable for its public transit. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit in Barcelona can get you to some places easily. There's a metro, bus, and tram system that navigates the city. It's a huge city, and while many places are accessible by public transit, sometimes the trip can be hot and frustrating.

Public transit is mostly limited in Portofino. The closet train stations are Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli. You can catch a bus from the Santa Margherita train station. There are also some ferry options.

Is Barcelona or Portofino a more walkable city?

Barcelona
Portofino

Portofino is renowned for its walkability. However, Barcelona is not a good city for its high level of walkability.

It is easy to get around Portofino on foot. It's easy to walk around the village and then explore the countryside on one of the nearby trails.

Barcelona is generally not a very walkable city. The city is more spread out than many other major European cities and you'll find wide roads with lots of car traffic. There are some neighborhoods and plazas that are fun to explore on foot and the city has designed "superilles," which are areas where car traffic has been directed around pedestrian-friendly plazas so visitors can explore, relax, or play.

For even more information, also check out Is Barcelona Worth Visiting? and Is Portofino Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Portofino or Barcelona?

How long in Barcelona or Portofino?

In either Barcelona or Portofino, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Barcelona than Portofino because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Barcelona, and 2-5 days is enough time in Portofino.

Families should spend more time in Barcelona than Portofino. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Barcelona, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Portofino than Barcelona. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Portofino that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Barcelona than Portofino if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Barcelona.


  • How many days in Barcelona or Portofino? Ideal Length of Stay
    Barcelona 3-7 
    Portofino 2-5

One day in Barcelona or Portofino?

People visit Barcelona because there is so much to do. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Even though Portofino is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Barcelona or Portofino?

People visit Barcelona because there is so much to do. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Portofino is a small town where visitors enjoy the shopping and nightlife. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this seaside village has to offer. This seaside village offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Barcelona or Portofino?

People visit Barcelona because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

Portofino is a small town with plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this seaside village makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this seaside village has to offer.

A week in Barcelona or Portofino?

Barcelona is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Barcelona, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Portofino is a popular choice for travelers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain, The Best Historical Tours in Italy, and The Best 10-Day Tours in Italy.


Which place is cheaper, Portofino or Barcelona?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Barcelona is €158, while the average daily cost in Portofino is €326. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Barcelona and Portofino in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Barcelona 96
    Portofino 190
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Barcelona 192
    Portofino 380
Compare Hotels in Barcelona and Portofino

Looking for a hotel in Barcelona or Portofino? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Barcelona


Hotels in Portofino


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Barcelona Hotel Prices and Portofino Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Barcelona 19
    Portofino 23
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • 10 Trip Metro Ticket
    7.80
  • Airport Bus
    5.00
  • Metro
    2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Barcelona

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Barcelona:

  • One-Way Shared Transfer to/from Airport and City: $10
  • Roca Village Shopping Mall Transfers: $13
  • Transfer departure Shuttle Barcelona Port to Barcelona Airport: $19
  • Barcelona Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) Private Transfer: $25
  • Transfer arrival Shuttle Barcelona Airport to La Pineda: $28
  • Barcelona Airport Departure Transfers: $30
  • Barcelona Departure Private Transfer From City To Cruise Port: $30
  • Private Transfer: El-Prat Airport (BCN) to Barcelona City Center: $31
  • Private Taxi transfer from Barcelona Cruise port to Airport: $31
  • Barcelona City to Cruise Port Private Transfer: $31
  • Barcelona Airport Departure Transfers: $32
  • Departure Private Transfer from Barcelona City Hotels to Airport: $32

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portofino

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portofino:

  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa Airport(GOA): $50
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa city hotels: $50
  • Portofino hotels to Genoa Airport (GOA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Private Transfer - Portofino Cruise Port to Florence Airport(FLR): $161
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Florence hotels: $161
  • GENOA: LUXURY TRANSFER TO PORTOFINO - HALF DAY TOUR: $816
  • CAR 3 PAX TRANSFER TO AIRPORT MILANO MALPENSA: $1,002

Is it cheaper to fly into Barcelona or Portofino?

Prices for flights to both Portofino and Barcelona change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Barcelona 33
    Portofino 118
Typical Food Prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of dining costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Hot Cocoa & Churro
    4.15
  • Sandwich
    1.70
  • Baguette & Horchata
    3.80
  • Tapas on the beach
    8.28
  • Gelatto
    2.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Barcelona

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Barcelona.

  • Flamenco at El Patio Andaluz with Optional Dinner: $27
  • Barcelona Street Food Tour with Local Market & City Center Visit: $39
  • Flamenco Casa Sors & Guitar Museum with Dinner or Drink: $41
  • Wine Tasting and Tapas 5-Course Pairing Dinner: $60
  • Rooftop Terrace Paella Cooking Lesson: $65
  • Private Evening Cruise with Dinner and Drinks: $70
  • Paella Cooking Experience & Boqueria Market Tour: $75
  • Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona: $77
  • Spanish Culinary Experience: Paella & Tapas Cooking Class: $84
  • Barcelona´s Lunch or Dinner Tapas Tour: Food, drinks, happiness!: $85
  • Vegan "crash" cooking course at In Bloom: $86
  • Paella Seafood Master Cooking Class with Sangria: $86

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portofino

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Portofino.

  • Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch: $250

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Barcelona 33
    Portofino 27
Typical Entertainment Prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Picasso Walking Tour and Museum Pass
    42
  • Souvenir Gaudi Book
    8.55
  • Admission to Museo Picasso
    6.00

Tours and Activities in Barcelona

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Barcelona are as follows:

  • History & Legends Comedy Tour: Barcelona Gothic Quarter: $2.18
  • Gaudí Free Walking Tour: $2.18
  • Alternative Free Tour of the Raval: $3.26
  • Barcelona Free Tour: Gaudi Highlights and La Sagrada Famila: $3.26
  • Gothic Quarter Free Walking Tour in English: $3.26
  • Self-Guided Tours 150+ Captivating Audio Stories: $3.33
  • Self-Guided Private City Tour in Barcelona's Best Kept Secrets: $3.33
  • Premium El Born: History & Legends Comedy Tour: $3.33
  • Barcelona Gothic Quarter: History&Legends Comedy Tour: $3.33
  • Gaudí & Sagrada Familia Free Tour in English : $3.34
  • Barcelona, Gothic Quarter: Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Tour: $4.50
  • Barcelona:Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $4.95

Tours and Activities in Portofino

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Portofino are as follows:

  • Genova: Sunset Cruise to Portofino with Free Time to Explore: $28
  • 1-Hour Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay, Portofino: $42
  • Snorkel Tour in Paraggi Bay: $43
  • Portofino Stand Up Paddleboard Experience: $53
  • Easy Kayak Tour to Portofino with Optional Snorkeling: $53
  • Paddle Boarding Experience in Portofino: $54
  • Portofino Kayak Tour: $54
  • Coasteering Tour: $75
  • Sunset Boat Tour for Small Groups: $83
  • Boat Tour to Portofino and San Fruttuoso for Small Groups: $100
  • Portofino San Fruttuoso and Camogli One Day Boat Tour: $150
  • Portofino Private Walking Tour: $272

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Barcelona 17
    Portofino 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Barcelona

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Barcelona:

  • Barcelona Pub Crawl by King - Bar & Nightclub Hopping Tour: $14
  • Pub Crawl Party Tour with 1-Hour Open Bar: $16
  • Legendary Pub Crawl by I'm Barcelona VIP: $16
  • Estrella Damm Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting: $16
  • Guided Bar Crawl with Shots and Nightclub Entry: $16
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl by KING -The Best Party tour & VIP Club Entry: $17
  • Original Pub Crawl: $17
  • Estrella Damm Brewery in El Prat de Llobregat tour with Tasting: $17
  • Pub Crawl in Barcelona: $17
  • Barcelona Bar Crawl: 4+ Venues, Free shots, Free Club Entry: $19
  • Estrella Damm Old Brewery Tour with Tasting: $22
  • Pub Crawl Barcelona by EVOLVE The BEST night experience: $22


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Barcelona and Portofino, we can see that Portofino is more expensive. And not only is Barcelona much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Barcelona would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Barcelona and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Portofino would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portofino than you might in Barcelona.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Barcelona Expensive? and Is Portofino Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Barcelona or Portofino?

Barcelona has a larger population, and is about 2990 times larger than the population of Portofino. When comparing the sizes of Barcelona and Portofino, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.