A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Volterra vs. Portofino for Food, Old Town, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Volterra or Portofino?

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

Should I visit Volterra or Portofino? 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.


Volterra is a historic, charming, and medieval town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. 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 food.


Portofino is a luxurious, glamorous, and picturesque seaside village. As this is a charming small town, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. It's also known for beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Volterra and Portofino: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • 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

Is there more to do in Volterra or Portofino?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Portofino. Although Volterra and Portofino are popular destinations, Portofino has more sights and attractions for tourists. Portofino is very popular for its nightlife, resorts, beaches, hiking, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Volterra attracts visitors for its museums, food, and historical sights. Portofino is more touristy than Volterra and is known for its picturesque harbor, high end shopping, strikingly blue waters, and popularity with superyachts. It is also well known for its scenic harbor. Volterra is famous for its medieval history, its hilltop setting and its alabaster.

its scenic harbor
Its scenic harbor

How is Volterra different from Portofino?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


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

Volterra offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. For such a large town there are a huge number of historic sights packed into a small area. Check out the Roman Theater, the Etruscan Museum, and the Duomo.

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 Volterra or Portofino? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Volterra 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, Volterra is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The town is surrounded by the region of truffles, so you'll find this item included in all kinds of recipes. Pumpkin sauce is also a specialty of the area and there are also many local cheeses. Many restaurants also have bruschetta as an appetizer.

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 Volterra or Portofino Better for Nightlife?


Portofino is well known for nightlife. However, Volterra is not particularly known for nightlife and partying.

Portofino is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. 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.

Volterra doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. There are cozy bars and cafes where you can sip wine and soak up the atmosphere, but the town isn't known as a nightlife destination.

Is Volterra or Portofino Better for Resorts?


Portofino is terrific for its resorts. However, Volterra is not a resort destination.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Portofino is a great choice. 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.

Volterra is not a resort destination.

Is Volterra or Portofino Better for Beaches?


Portofino is a popular place for its beaches. However, Volterra is not a beach destination.

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.

Volterra is not a beach destination.

Is Volterra or Portofino Better for its Old Town?


Volterra 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, Volterra offers plenty to see. The walled town is perched on a hilltop and dates back to the 8th century BC. Visitors come specifically to explore its winding streets and stunning setting.

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 Volterra or Portofino Better for Hiking?


Portofino is well known for its hiking experiences. However, Volterra is not a hiking destination.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Portofino. There are many beautiful hikes and treks along the coastline that pass by scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.

Volterra is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Volterra or Portofino?


Portofino is well known for shopping. Also, Volterra is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping opportunities.

Portofino is an extremely popular place for shoppers. 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.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Volterra. Some of the streets are lined with boutique shops and one of the most popular things to buy in town is Alabaster. You'll also find plenty of Italian wine from the nearby vineyards.

Is Volterra or Portofino Better for Families?


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

Volterra is a family-friendly place to visit. If you have a Twilight fan, this town is home to the Volturi, who are the royal family of vampires. For everyone else, its a charming town with medieval walls and wandering alleys that kids will enjoy exploring.

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 Volterra or Portofino Better for Couples?


With fun activities for couples, both Volterra and Portofino make for a first-rate place to visit.

Volterra makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. It's unique atmosphere, amazing food, and medieval style make for a unique and world class couples destination. While many people visit as a day trip, you can spend the night and soak up the evening atmosphere as well.

For those traveling as a couple, Portofino 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.

Is Volterra or Portofino Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


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

Plenty of budget travelers visit Volterra. There's only one or two hostels in town, so if you're looking for a more social backpacker setting, then this may not be your spot. It does make for a great day trip though and if you're more interested in culture than meeting other backpackers, then definitely stop by.

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


You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Volterra and Portofino.

Public transit is generally limited in Volterra. Public transit isn't necessary as the city is best explored on foot.

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 Volterra or Portofino a more walkable city?


Volterra and Portofino both are first-rate when exploring on foot.

Getting around Volterra on foot is easy. Most people explore the town on foot.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Portofino or Volterra?

How long in Volterra or Portofino?

In either Volterra or Portofino, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Portofino than Volterra because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Volterra, and 2-5 days is enough time in Portofino.

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

Couples should spend more time in Portofino than Volterra. 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 Volterra 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 Volterra.

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

One day in Volterra or Portofino?

Even though Volterra is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Visiting the old town is also a must. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Volterra has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The beautiful seaside village of Portofino offers nightlife and food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Volterra or Portofino?

Volterra is a small town where visitors enjoy the museums and food. 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 town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Portofino is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this seaside village makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Portofino, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Volterra or Portofino?

Volterra is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Most people head to the area for the food. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Portofino is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Portofino, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Volterra or Portofino?

Volterra 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.

Portofino is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This seaside village offers something for everyone.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Italy, The Best Walking Tours in Italy, The Best Luxury Tours to Italy, and The Best Budget Tours to Italy.

Which place is cheaper, Portofino or Volterra?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Volterra is €101, 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 Volterra and Portofino in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Volterra 61
    Portofino 190
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Volterra 122
    Portofino 380
Compare Hotels in Volterra and Portofino

Looking for a hotel in Volterra 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 Volterra

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: Volterra Hotel Prices and Portofino Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Volterra 4.29
    Portofino 23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portofino

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portofino:

  • 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
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa Airport(GOA): $50
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa city hotels: $50

Is it cheaper to fly into Volterra or Portofino?

Prices for flights to both Portofino and Volterra 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 Meals for one day
    Volterra 36
    Portofino 118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Volterra

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

  • Buffet dinner at the farm: $49
  • Cooking class Cantuccini and Vin Santo: $77
  • Dining experience at a local's home in San Gimignano with show cooking: $93
  • Volterra - Olive oil tasting with lunch with lunch or dinner: $113
  • Pizza Cooking Class: $113
  • Fresh Pasta Cooking Class: $113
  • "Hands in dough" Cooking Class with Lunch: $121
  • Tuscan Cooking Class: $126
  • Tuscany: Wine Tasting Lunch or Dinner: $130
  • 5 hour cooking class with traditional food: $132
  • Cooking class in San Gimignano: $132
  • San Gimignano Romantic Dinner in the Vineyards : $137

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 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Volterra 11
    Portofino 27

Tours and Activities in Volterra

Here are a few actual costs in Volterra for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Experience: $13
  • Volterra by Night 2-Hour Guided Tour: $18
  • Cesani Wine Experience: $33
  • Private Wine, Evo Oils & Balsamic Vinegar Experience with Meal: $69
  • Cocktail Mixing Experience with Snacks: $76
  • San Gimignano, Volterra, St Galgano Abbey small group tour: $150
  • Private Tour in San Gimignano: $151
  • Volterra tour + Salt Mine visit by shuttle from Lucca&Pisa: $161
  • Piazza dei Priori & Cathedral Private Walking Tour: $162
  • Truffle Lunch & Hunting Experience in San Gimignano: $181
  • Volterra - Archeotour by e-bike with tasting: $189
  • Tuscany: Volterra Truffle Hunting Experience: $205

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
  • 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
  • 3 Hour Boat Tour in Portofino: $115
  • Portofino San Fruttuoso and Camogli One Day Boat Tour: $150
  • Portofino Private Walking Tour: $270

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Volterra 16
    Portofino 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Volterra

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Volterra:

  • Visit Best Wineries in Tuscany - Wine Tasting & Tour: $9.65
  • San Gimignano Wine Tour and tuscan lunch for small group : $13
  • Best Winery with Restaurant and wine tasting from Florence: $23
  • San Gimignano: Chianti wine tasting : $33
  • Wine tasting in San Gimignano: $33
  • Gourmet Wine Tour San Gimignano Wine Tasting - San Quirico Winery: $36
  • Casa Emma Wine Tasting : $38
  • Superior Wine Tasting in San Gimignano: $49
  • San Gimignano: Vineyard and Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting: $49
  • 5 Wine Tastings in San Gimignano: $60
  • Lunch with Wine Tasting: $60
  • "Gourmet" Wine Tasting at Cesani's: $66

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

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

Which is Bigger, Volterra or Portofino?

Volterra has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Portofino. When comparing the sizes of Volterra 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.

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