A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Portofino vs. Milan for Food, Nightlife, Old Town, and Couples

Should you visit Portofino or Milan?

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

Should I visit Portofino or Milan? 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. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. It's also popular because of the nightlife, food, and beaches.

Milan

Milan is a trendy, chic, and cultural city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the food, shopping, and museums.

Portofino and Milan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • 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
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Portofino or Milan?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Milan. Although Portofino and Milan are both popular with visitors, Milan has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Milan is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, music, historical sights, shopping, and big city activities, while Portofino is known for its resorts, beaches, hiking, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. Portofino is more touristy than Milan and is popular for its picturesque harbor, high end shopping, strikingly blue waters, and popularity with superyachts. Milan is popular for its grand squares, dramatic architecture, and its leadership in the fashion world. It is also home to Piazza del Duomo.

How is Portofino different from Milan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Milan 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 Milan?

Portofino
Milan

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

Milan offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The Milan Cathedral is the most famous landmark in the city, but other sights include Castello Sforzesco, Pinacoteca di Brera, and Sant'Ambrogio.

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 Portofino or Milan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Portofino
Milan

Milan 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, Milan is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city has a mix of traditional dishes combined with modernized, trendy restaurants. You can try a new dish by a groundbreaking chef, or sample a long running favorite like risotto alla Milanese.

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 Milan Better for Nightlife?

Portofino
Milan

Milan 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 Milan is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. The city has a huge number of students and young professionals, which make it a fun place with an active nightlife. There are cocktail bars, trendy clubs, and relaxed pubs that you can chose from.

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 Portofino or Milan Better for Music?

Portofino
Milan

Milan 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 Milan The diversity of music ranges from classical concerts to techno raves. Popular venues include Blue Note Milan, Santeria Social Club, and Spirit de Milan.

Portofino is not a live music destination.


Is Portofino or Milan Better for Resorts?

Portofino
Milan

Portofino is an amazing seaside village to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Milan 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.

Milan is not a resort destination.

Is Portofino or Milan Better for Beaches?

Portofino
Milan

Portofino is a seaside village with good options for the beach. However, Milan is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Portofino. 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.

Milan is not a beach destination.

Is Portofino or Milan Better for its Old Town?

Portofino
Milan

Milan 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, Milan offers plenty to see. Known as the Centro Storic, this area is the most popular with tourists. It's where you'll find the most historic buildings and beautiful sights in the city.

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 Milan Better for Hiking?

Portofino
Milan

Portofino is great for hiking. However, Milan is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Portofino for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful hikes and treks along the coastline that pass by scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.

Milan is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Portofino or Milan?

Portofino
Milan

Milan 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 Milan make it a world-class shopping destination. Famous as the fashion capital of Italy, shopping is the thing to do here. There are many streets that are lined with the biggest designers in fashion. Make sure you check out Via Monte Napoleone, Via Della Spiga, and Corso Buenos Aires.

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 Portofino or Milan Better for Families?

Portofino
Milan

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

Milan is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has a science museum and a children's museum, MuBa, that is great for the kids. There are also a number of parks to explore as well as playgrounds where the kids and get out their energy.

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 Milan Better for Couples?

Portofino
Milan

Portofino is an amazing seaside village to visit for couples. Also, Milan is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

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.

Milan is a very popular place to visit for couples. There are many beautiful buildings, excellent shopping, and romantic restaurants that make for a wonderful couple's getaway.

Is Portofino or Milan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Portofino
Milan

Milan is notable for backpackers. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for backpackers and budget travelers.

Milan is a great city to visit for backpackers. While not as popular with backpackers as some Italian city's, there are a number of hostels and great activities that are fun for visitors.

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 Milan Better for Students?

Portofino
Milan

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

Many students frequent Milan. It is one of the more popular city's for international students in Italy. It is very livable with a lot of culture and a fun nightlife, so you're sure to have the experience of a lifetime.

Portofino is not popular with students.


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

Portofino
Milan

Milan is an unbeatable place for its public transit. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for times when you don't have a car.

Visitors in Milan can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. Options include metro, bus, tram, and train lines.

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 Milan a more walkable city?

Portofino
Milan

Portofino and Milan both are terrific 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 Milan. In particular, the city center is walkable.

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

Should I spend more time in Milan or Portofino?

How long in Portofino or Milan?

In either Portofino or Milan, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Milan has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Milan than Portofino. In general, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Portofino, and 1-5 days is enough time in Milan.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Milan 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 Milan.


  • How many days in Portofino or Milan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Portofino 2-5 
    Milan 1-5

One day in Portofino or Milan?

Even though Portofino is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This seaside village offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

People visit Milan because there is so much to do. Visiting the old town is also a must. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Milan has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Portofino or Milan?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portofino. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

People visit Milan because there is so much to do. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Portofino or Milan?

Portofino is a fun place to experience. Portofino is a small town with plenty to do. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

People visit Milan 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.

A week in Portofino or Milan?

Portofino is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Milan 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, Milan 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 Milan is €166. 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 Milan in more detail.



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

Looking for a hotel in Portofino or Milan? 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 Milan


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 Milan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Portofino 23
    Milan 35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portofino

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portofino:

  • CAR 3 PAX TRANSFER TO AIRPORT MILANO MALPENSA: $879
  • Private Transfer - Portofino Cruise Port to Florence Airport(FLR): $157
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Florence hotels: $157
  • Portofino hotels to Genoa Airport (GOA) - Departure Private Transfer: $53
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa Airport(GOA): $49
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa city hotels: $49

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Milan

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


  • Train to Airport
    7.00
  • Malpensa Airport Train (for Two)
    22
  • Taxi From Airport
    90
  • Public Transit Day Pass
    4.50
  • Short Taxi Ride
    7.13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Milan

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

  • Linate Airport to/from Milan Central Station Transfer: $5.33
  • Bergamo Airport Transfer: $11
  • Bus Transfer from Malpensa Airport and Milan Central Station: $11
  • Direct Transfer between Malpensa Airport and Center: $11
  • Bus Transfer from/to Bergamo Airport: $11
  • Transfer from Malpensa Airport to Milan city center: $12
  • Transfer Milan city center - Bergamo Airport: $12
  • Transfer Milan city center - Malpensa airport: $12
  • Serravalle Designer Outlet Roundtrip Bus Transfer: $27
  • Linate Airport Milan (LIN) to Milan - Arrival Private Transfer: $28
  • Milan to Linate Airport Milan (LIN) - Departure Private Transfer: $28
  • Private Luxury day Transfer from Linate Airport to Milan: $37

Is it cheaper to fly into Portofino or Milan?

Prices for flights to both Milan 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
    Milan 39

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: $244

Typical Food Prices in Milan

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Milan:


  • Snack at Train Station
    8.60
  • Restaurant Pizza
    6.60
  • Casual Cafe Lunch (for Two)
    27
  • Three Course Dinner (for Two)
    64
  • Cappuccino
    1.63

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Milan

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

  • PYT Milano Dinner Show with Live Music and DJ Set: $21
  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $29
  • Milan Gourmet Food Tour and Sightseeing with Local Guide: $38
  • Gourmet Street Food Tour with Sightseeing and Tasting: $45
  • Delicious Milan Street Food Tour Tasting and Sightseeing with Local Guide: $46
  • Eating Milan Street Food Tour with Guided Tasting and Sightseeing: $46
  • Devour Milan Street Food Tour and Sightseeing: $46
  • Tasty Milan Street Food Tour with Local Guide: $46
  • NO DIET CLUB - Best Food Tour in Milan !: $59
  • NO DIET CLUB - Best Food Tour in Milan !: $60
  • Local Market and Cooking Class with an Italian Chef: $69
  • Italian Cooking Class with Food and Wine: $69

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Portofino 27
    Milan 31

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: $53
  • Portofino Kayak Tour: $53
  • Portofino Private Walking Tour: $266
  • Portofino Stand Up Paddleboard Experience: $52
  • Portofino and San Fruttuoso Boat Experience: $107
  • Portofino and Santa Margherita Private Tour of Ligurian Gems: $243
  • Coasteering Tour: $74
  • Private Sunset Boat Tour with Aperitif of Ligurian goods: $479
  • Private Tour of Genoa and Portofino from Genoa: $711
  • Scenic Private Hiking Tour from Portofino to S. Fruttuoso: $239

Typical Entertainment Prices in Milan

For Milan, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Stairs to Duomo Rooftop
    7.00

Tours and Activities in Milan

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Milan.

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • The City Storytelling Experience: Art, History and Myths Come Together: $3.25
  • Milano Walking Tour with Audio and Written Guide by a Local: $4.18
  • Giuseppe Verdi in Self-Guided Audio Tour: $4.58
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour Exploring the Famous Five Days: $4.58
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour Exploring Age-Old Plants: $4.58
  • Unique Self-Guided Audio Tour on Alessandro Manzoni: $4.58
  • From Italy eSIM Tourist Roaming Data Plan: $4.79
  • Self-guided Audio tour of Milan's Duomo in French: $5.54
  • Secrets, Myths & Tales Unveiled on a Self-Guided Tour: $5.96
  • The Best of A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.34

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Portofino 16
    Milan 24

Typical Alcohol Prices in Milan

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


  • Cocktail at a Bar
    8.40
  • Beer
    3.35

Sample the Local Flavors in Milan

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

  • Wine Tasting Experience in the City Centre: $43
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Milan city centre: $44
  • Milan Wine Tasting Experience: $52
  • Milan Wine Tasting Aperitivo: $55
  • Private Food and Wine Tasting Experience in the Center of Milan: $87
  • Wine Tasting with an Italian Sommelier: $93
  • Best of Guided Tour with Duomo, Food & Wine Tasting: $159
  • Food and Wine Tasting enjoying the New Milan: $163
  • Brescia & Franciacorta Guided Tour with Wine Tasting: $180
  • Cesarine: Small Group Veggie Class & Wine Tasting in Milan: $184
  • Brescia and Franciacorta winery area. Cultural and wine tasting small group tour: $184
  • Barolo wine Tasting, Alba, UNESCO Castle: Small Group from Milan: $206


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

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


Which is Bigger, Portofino or Milan?

Milan has a larger population, and is about 2470 times larger than the population of Portofino. When comparing the sizes of Portofino and Milan, 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.