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Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Glasgow
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120 posts
7 reviews
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Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Portofino or Rapallo, which? I'm planning a visit next summer (so far away!) and athough these place names have a magical quality I'm wondering how to distinguish between the two. Can anyone give me a brief summery of each place? Is one more 'quaint' and the other more grand? Is one more 'cultural' the other more likely to have a sophisticated nightlife? etc. etc. Hope you can help.

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Portofino
Portofino
Italian Riviera, Italy
Rapallo
Rapallo
Italian Riviera, Italy
UK
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for Venice
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1. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Basically Rapello is a big town quite a lot going on, Portofino is small pretty but very expensive,

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Portofino
Portofino
Italian Riviera, Italy
Princeton NJ
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207 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Babs and Al;

I find myself agreeing often with Sophie 8 (whose tips are always helpful to my wife and I when planning)

we visited this area for the first time this past May...we stayed at the excellent Excelsior Palace in Rapallo as a base for visiting the area...we were in the midst of a 17 day trip (Venice, Lake Como, Rapallo, Milan)...and so found Rapallo a great spot. It is more of a 'real" town...and we needed shops for mundane things like bandaids and socks...Portofino is picture postcard pretty, but small and filled with pricey boutiques....on a sunny day we took the small ferry from Rapallo to Santa Margherita Ligure (which had a neat old town) Portofino and the lovely San Fruttouso Abbey...they are about a 15 minute boat ride apart along this beautiful coast...also Rapallo is an easy train ride down to the Cinque Terre towns...enjoy Liguria is beautiful...

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Rapallo
Rapallo
Italian Riviera, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Portofino
Portofino
Italian Riviera, Italy
Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure
Italian Riviera, Italy
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Italian Riviera, Italy
Glasgow
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120 posts
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3. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Many thanks John and Sophie8 for the most useful information. Its exactly what I wanted to know. Now I can begin to plan (and dream)about next summer! Have either of you ever driven west and into the French coast? I quite fancy the idea of doing that too.

Princeton NJ
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207 posts
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4. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Actually on a previous trip we stayed in Nice as a base and drove the wonderful towns of the Cote D'Azur...Vence. St Paul de Vence, Mougins, Eze, Bealieu sur Mer, Villefrance, St. Jean...beautiful...the highways and other roads are excellent...might be very crowded driving along the coast in the summer...others would no better we were there in September...

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Vence
Vence
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
St-Paul-de-Vence
St-Paul-de-Vence
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
Mougins
Mougins
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
Eze
Eze
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
Glasgow
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5. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Thanks John. Can I ask - overall, which did you enjoy more - Italy or France? (Perhaps a silly question considering all sorts of factors can shape a holiday). Babs

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Italy
Italy
Europe
France
France
Europe
Princeton NJ
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6. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Tough question Babs...both wonderful, memorable vacations...the Cote D'Azur is more built up than Liguria....maybe more about seeing sights like the Matisse Chapel in Vence or the Ephrussi Gardens in St Jean Cap Ferrat...Liguria was relaxing and the coastline and Cinque Terre were breathtaking...you can't go wrong...my best advice...don't rush around trying to see too much in too few days..whatever you decide give it its due...staying in either the French or Italian Rivieras gives you countless opportunities for beatufil day trip drives (or ferries or train trips as the case may be)

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Vence
Vence
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Italian Riviera, Italy
Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

We just got back from a vacation on the Ligurian Coast. Rapallo is a town with a waterfront walk and a great view towards the bay, backed on all other sides by hills with villas. We stayed there for three nights. I choose the Grand Hotel Brisol (10-15 minute walk along the coast from the town) and I was glad I did: as there is really no beach to spek of in the town.....most of the bathing establishments are on stilts jutting out into the sea (very Italian picutre), with tiny pebble landfalls at waters edge. The hotel had a great pool and fantastic views over the bay. (My review should be up on the site in a day or so).

Rapallo has a carpark near the train station which was great as on street parking is difficult. I preferred Rapallo to stay in: more to do and more places to eat. SML is only down the road and well worth a visit: however the beach situation is not much better than Rapallo.

Portofino is best approached by boat from Rapallo or SML and is a sight to behold. However I imagine once the day trippers leave it would be very quiet at night, while Rapallo is buzzing with people taking an evening walk.

Hope this helps......if you are going down the coast....look into Lerici..

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Rapallo
Rapallo
Italian Riviera, Italy
Portofino
Portofino
Italian Riviera, Italy
Glasgow
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8. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Many thanks Grainnew. Again this is really useful to know and I appreciate everyone's attention. Babs

Bodega Bay...
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9. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

It all depends on your budget, and what you wish to do. Rapallo is larger, and has more restaurants and night life, while Portofino in more quaint and charming. We came by private yacht, so I have not stayed in Portofino in any local hotels. If you do come by boat, you must make sure your captain makes reservations up to a year in advance with the harbour patrol, as space is limited, and books quickly.

Portofino has some high end shops, and the ambiance is very inviting. Sit in the sun in the afternoon and have a glass of wine or a nice expresso. You will enjoy just people watching. All of Portofino can be seen in one day. Enjoy!

Hope this helps you.

Brad Buyse

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Rapallo
Rapallo
Italian Riviera, Italy
Portofino
Portofino
Italian Riviera, Italy
Glasgow
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10. Re: Portofino or Rapallo - which is nicer?

Thanks Brad-Buyse - you certainly paint a pretty picture - I felt quite transported! Babs

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