A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Portofino vs. Cinque Terre for Food, Old Town, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Portofino or Cinque Terre?

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

Should I visit Portofino or Cinque Terre? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Portofino

Portofino is a exclusive, luxurious, and glamorous seaside village. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. It's also popular because of the shopping, nightlife, and food.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a idyllic, quaint, and seaside coastal region. It also offers plenty of small town charm and also has plenty of sights and activities. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Portofino and Cinque Terre: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as many resort options
  • Less popular for shopping


Is there more to do in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Portofino. Although Portofino and Cinque Terre are both popular with visitors, Portofino has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Portofino is more popular for its museums, nightlife, resorts, and shopping, while Cinque Terre is known for its food, scuba diving & snorkeling, historical sights, hiking, and small town charm. Portofino is popular for its picturesque harbor, high end shopping, strikingly blue waters, and popularity with superyachts. It is also home to its scenic harbor. Cinque Terre is popular for its charming villages, beautiful vineyards, picturesque waterfront setting, and stunning walking trail.

its scenic harbor
Its scenic harbor

How is Portofino different from Cinque Terre?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Portofino is a decent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Cinque Terre does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Cinque Terre does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an unbeatable place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Cinque Terre is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. Like much of Italy, the area focuses on local flavors that include lots of seafood, as well as local fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The towns are known for their focaccia, which actually originated in nearby Genoa. Anchovies are a favorite here as well, and don't be turned off by your experience with anchovies outside of Italy. They don't compare. Also make sure you sample the pesto, mussels, and any fresh caught seafood.

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

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Nightlife?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Portofino is a very popular place for its evening party scene. However, Cinque Terre is lacking in good options for nightlife.

Portofino has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Cinque Terre. The whole point of a trip to the area is to soak up the quiet village atmosphere. There is basically no nightlife in most of the towns, but you will find a few bars in Monterosso.

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Resorts?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Portofino is renowned for its luxury resorts. However, Cinque Terre is lacking in good options for its resorts.

Portofino offers an unforgettable resort vacation. 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.

While Cinque Terre is not known as a resort destination, there are some nice places to stay. Most people stay in apartments or rooms in local hotels or family homes. There aren't many resorts in the traditional sense, but again, that's part of the charm of the area.


Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a popular place for its diving and snorkeling. However, Portofino is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Cinque Terre has a few good snorkeling spots. The surrounding waters are part of the of the Pelagos Sanctuary. The area has many rocky coves which are fun to explore with a mask and snorkel. There are also boat excursions available that may let you stop to snorkel, as well as a few dive spots in the area.

Portofino is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Beaches?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Portofino and Cinque Terre are good choices.

Portofino is a good option for a beach vacation. 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.

Many people head to Cinque Terre to enjoy the beach. The area is more about the towns than the beaches. The most typical beach setting is in the newer part of Monterosso. There's a long sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas available. There's also a beach near the town's old town. Several of the other towns have swimming areas, including a small stretch of pebbly sand in Vernazza. It's fun to swim between the months of May and October, when the water temperatures are fairly warm.

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for its Old Town?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an unbeatable place for its old town. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its historic old town charm.

With a famous historical old-town, Cinque Terre offers plenty to see. Each of the five towns have their own charming old town which have restaurants and local boutique shops.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Portofino. Despite evolving into a famous resort town, Portofino still holds on to its fishing village charm.


Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Hiking?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an unbeatable place for the nearby hiking options. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its hiking trails.

People visit Cinque Terre specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. The five towns are part of Cinque Terre National Park and there are 120 kilometers of hiking trails in the park. Most people hike along the trails that follow the coastline and connect the towns. There are fees for the most popular stretch of trails which connect Monterosso to Vernazza and then go from Vernazza to Corniglia. All other hiking is free in the area.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Portofino. There are many beautiful hikes and treks along the coastline that pass by scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.

Is the Shopping Better in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Portofino is a very popular place for its shopping areas. However, Cinque Terre is lacking in good options for shopping.

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.

Cinque Terre is a good destination for shopping. The towns are more about the atmosphere than the shops, but the best shopping can be found in the largest town of Monterosso. You'll find jewelry, clothing, and local food items that are fun to take home as souvenirs.

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Families?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

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

Cinque Terre is a family-friendly place to visit. The five towns are all about exploring on foot, so if that's your kid's thing, then they're in for a treat. The hilly terrain can be a bit tricky, particularly for the little ones, but for older kids this area offers the perfect amount of challenge. There are also a couple of beaches and swimming spots as well as a playground or two around. Food, like most of Italy, is very kid-friendly.

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 Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Couples?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

With fun activities for couples, both Portofino and Cinque Terre make for a fantastic place to visit.

Portofino makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

For those traveling as a couple, Cinque Terre has plenty to offer. These stunning five Italian villages are perched precariously on the water's edge. They're surrounded by beautiful vineyards and connected by impressive hiking trails. This area is truly a dream honeymoon destination and it is sure to make a memorable vacation for any couple who enjoys exploring charming village.

Is Portofino or Cinque Terre Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a popular place for backpackers. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Cinque Terre. There are a number of rooms available in the towns and there are even a couple of hostels including one in Riomaggiore and one in Corniglia. It's possible to find affordable food and accommodation, and your entertainment is simply wandering the area, which is perfect for budget travelers.

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

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a popular place for its public transit. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for times when you don't have a car.

Cinque Terre has a few public transit options. Most people arrive by train but there are also ferries available.

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 Portofino or Cinque Terre a more walkable city?

Portofino
Cinque Terre

Portofino and Cinque Terre both are fantastic when exploring on foot.

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.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Cinque Terre. Vehicle traffic in the towns are heavily restricted so it's very enjoyable to explore on foot. The terrain is hilly and uneven, but that's part of the charm. There are also hiking trails that connect each of the five towns.

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

Should I spend more time in Cinque Terre or Portofino?

How long in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

In either Portofino or Cinque Terre, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Cinque Terre has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cinque Terre than Portofino. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cinque Terre 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 Cinque Terre.


  • How many days in Portofino or Cinque Terre? Ideal Length of Stay
    Portofino 2-5 
    Cinque Terre 2-5

One day in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino is a small town where visitors enjoy the food and shopping. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the quaint coastal region of Cinque Terre. 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.

A weekend in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

You'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and food around the idyllic small town of Cinque Terre. 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 coastal region has to offer. This coastal region offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the traditional coastal region of Cinque Terre. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal region makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal region has to offer.

A week in Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Portofino is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Cinque Terre is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. 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 Historical Tours in Italy, The Best 10-Day Tours in Italy, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Italy, and The Best 2-Week Tours in Italy.


Which place is cheaper, Cinque Terre or Portofino?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Portofino is €326, while the average daily cost in Cinque Terre is €140. 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 Portofino and Cinque Terre in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Portofino 190
    Cinque Terre 72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Portofino 380
    Cinque Terre 144
Compare Hotels in Portofino and Cinque Terre

Looking for a hotel in Portofino or Cinque Terre? 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 Portofino


Hotels in Cinque Terre


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: Portofino Hotel Prices and Cinque Terre Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Portofino 23
    Cinque Terre 16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portofino

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portofino:

  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa city hotels: $49
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa Airport(GOA): $49
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Florence hotels: $158
  • Private Transfer - Portofino Cruise Port to Florence Airport(FLR): $158
  • Portofino hotels to Genoa Airport (GOA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cinque Terre

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Cinque Terre:


  • Ferry Day Pass
    15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cinque Terre

Also for Cinque Terre, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Cinque Terre to La Spezia by car or van: $139

Is it cheaper to fly into Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Prices for flights to both Cinque Terre and Portofino 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
    Portofino 118
    Cinque Terre 41

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: $246

Typical Food Prices in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Whole Pizza
    9.50
  • Panini
    3.75
  • Sitdown Dinner (for Two)
    52
  • Fresh Focaccia
    2.12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Home Cooking Class & Meal with a Local in Riomaggiore: $194
  • Cesarine: Sunset Spritz Masterclass with Dinner in Cinque Terre: $194
  • 3-course Cooking Class with seaview in Riomaggiore: $205
  • Cinque Terre Food Tour (half day): $271

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Portofino 27
    Cinque Terre 13

Tours and Activities in Portofino

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

  • 1-Hour Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay, Portofino: $42
  • Easy Kayak Tour to Portofino with Optional Snorkeling: $52
  • Paddle Boarding Experience in Portofino: $54
  • Portofino Kayak Tour: $54
  • Portofino Private Walking Tour: $266
  • Portofino Stand Up Paddleboard Experience: $52
  • Portofino and San Fruttuoso Boat Experience: $106
  • Portofino and Santa Margherita Private Tour of Ligurian Gems: $245
  • Coasteering Tour: $73
  • Private Sunset Boat Tour with Aperitif of Ligurian goods: $479
  • Private Tour of Genoa and Portofino from Genoa: $710
  • Scenic Private Hiking Tour from Portofino to S. Fruttuoso: $240

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cinque Terre

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cinque Terre's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Double Kayak Rental (One Hour)
    10
  • Bagni Eden Beach Club Umbrella
    16
  • Cinque Terre Card (One Day)
    5.00
  • Cinque Terre Card (Three Days)
    12

Tours and Activities in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Cinque Terre Pesto experience in Riomaggiore: $49
  • Marine Biology & Snorkelling Experience in the Cinque Terre : $59
  • Kayak experience with Carnassa Tour in Cinque Terre + Snorkeling: $73
  • From La Spezia: Cinque Terre Tour by Train with Limoncino: $88
  • La Spezia: Cinque Terre Guided Hiking Tour: $95
  • Cinque Terre Kayak Adventure from Riomaggiore: $98
  • Kayak tour from Monterosso to Vernazza: $98
  • Half Day Guided Tour of the Cinque Terre from the Sea: $103
  • 2-Hour Boat Tour at sunset in the Cinque Terre with Pesto tasting and focaccia: $103
  • Cinque Terre Hybrid Boat Tour: $109
  • The heart of the 5 Terre: Monterosso and national park ebike tour: $119
  • Cinque Terre Morning Tour: $130

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Portofino 16
    Cinque Terre 6.71

Typical Alcohol Prices in Cinque Terre

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Cinque Terre:


  • Glass of Local Wine
    2.90

Sample the Local Flavors in Cinque Terre

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cinque Terre:

  • BarCa Winery Cinqueterre Tour with Wine Tasting & Pesto Class: $60
  • Cinque terre wine tour and tasting with the somelier: $73
  • Eco Hiking and Wine Tasting in Cinque Terre : $97
  • Cinque Terre Walking Tour with Food and Wine Tastings: $168
  • Natural Wine Tasting with sea view in Riomaggiore: $194


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Portofino and Cinque Terre, we can see that Portofino is more expensive. And not only is Cinque Terre much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cinque Terre would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cinque Terre 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 Cinque Terre.

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


Which is Bigger, Portofino or Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Portofino. When comparing the sizes of Portofino and Cinque Terre, 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.