Portifino is much beloved of the celebrity (starting with Truman Capote and Guy de Maupassant), jet set and well preserved crowd. In summer it must be hell (50 euros just to park) and single track coast roads with very confident bus drivers. But in winter (even December) it was heaven: bright sunshine, enough warmth to fling the windows open and gaze at the bright turquoise Ligunan Mediterranean sea. We walked the ancient cliff paths (the coasts used to be cut off to cars till decades ago and the town still is car free) hardly meeting anyone gazing at the endless views. It is an almost surreal cute seaside town - and very close to the recent unesco heritage site of ' five villages/cinque terre' with its network of 15th century footpaths and grapes harvested by boats because the cliffs are so steep. But our bargain tip: We loved it all the more because we booked a luxury four-star hotel (which in high season is 500 euros) for the princely sum of 58 euros (including an extensive lazy breakfast in the sunshine and a check out at 12) , on a late booking website. Domina Home Piccola has a private beach, wonderful views, lovely staff and a footpath direct to the harbour. It is closely located next to Hotel Splendido, the hot spot of Portfino at a constant 600 plus euros. We could not believe our luck and spent the day wandering up to the old church in the national park that backs onto the village. However be warned and don't visit Restaurant Delfino, we nearly lost our savings on the hotel room by paying a not advertised cover charge plus service charge. Avoid Avoid.
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