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An Excursion to San Fruttuoso

Much of the Monte Portofino Promontory can be approached only on foot or by boat, making it a prime destination for hikers. If you want to combine some excellent exercise with the pleasure of glimpsing magnificent views of the sea through a lush forest, arm yourself with a map from the tourist offices in Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino, or Rapallo and set out. You can explore the upper reaches of the promontory or aim for the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso ((tel) 0185-772-703), a medieval abbey that is surrounded by a tiny six-house hamlet and two pebbly beaches. It is about 2 1/2 hours away from Camogli and Portofino by a not-too-strenuous inland hike, or 3 1/2 hours away by a cliff-hugging, up-and-down trail. En route, you can clamor down well-posted paths to visit San Rocco, San Niccolò, and Punta Chiappa, a string of fishing hamlets on the shore of the promontory.

Once you reach San Fruttuoso, you may well want to relax on the pebbly beach and enjoy a beverage or meal at one of the seaside bars. You can tour the stark interior of the abbey for 6€ (open June to mid-Sept daily 10am–5:45pm; May Tues–Sun 10am–5:45pm; Mar–Apr and Oct Tues–Sun 10am–3:30pm; and Nov–Feb Sat–Sun 10am–3:30pm). Note, though, that despite these official hours, the abbey tends to close whenever the last boat leaves). Should you have your scuba or snorkeling gear along, you can take the plunge to visit Christ of the Depths, a statue of Jesus erected 15m (49 ft.) beneath the surface to honor sailors lost at sea.

 

You can also visit San Fruttuoso with one of the boats that run almost every hour during the summer months from Camogli. A round-trip costs 12€ (9€ one-way if you then plan to head southward from the abbey) and takes about 30 minutes. For more information, contact Golfo Paradiso (www.golfoparadiso.it; (tel) 0185-772-091). Note: You can also reach it by hourly (in summer) Tigullio boats (www.traghettiportofino.it; (tel) 0185-284-670) from Portofino (20 min.; 8€-12€ round-trip), Santa Margherita (35 min.; 10€–16€ round-trip), and Rapallo (50 min.; 10.50€–17€ round-trip). Bear in mind that the seas are often too choppy to take passengers to San Fruttuoso, because docking there can be tricky. In that case, there are private boats you can take—smaller, rubber crafts capable of bad-weather landings—though they are expensive: From Portofino, you will likely be charged 100€ for up to 12 people.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.