Enjoy the charm and elegance of Portofino

Just like most retired couples, the Blairs have been taking it easy since Tony stepped down as prime minister.

However, while many settle for a week’s caravanning in the south of England, the couple have been soaking up the sun on the French Cote D’Azur and the Italian Riviera, courtesy of their good friend Bono.

The U2 front man, who became close to Tony through his campaigning for Africa, played host on his yacht in the Italian fishing village of Portofino, well regarded as being one of the most beautiful of Mediterranean ports.

Easily accessible for those without their own boat from the nearby city of Genoa in the north-west of the country, the village has long since counted tourism rather than fishing as its major industry after the British and French aristocrats of the 19th century put it well and truly on the map.

So picturesque is Portofino that it has been recreated as the idyllic harbour village at both Tokyo’s DisneySea theme park and Universal’s Orlando Resort, though it would be impossible to reproduce its natural charm and easy-going nature which make the village stand out from its Riviera neighbours.

Befitting its status as the summer destination of choice for the great and the good, Portofino boasts high-class accommodation, with the best rooms coming with views over the azure Mediterranean crashing onto the rocks, while the cuisine and locally-produced wine really is fit for a king or former prime minister.

One highlight is to take a trip out to sea with one of the fishermen to get a true appreciation of the beauty of the Italian coastline while also being sure to check out the underwater statue of the “Christ of the Abyss” put into the harbour in 1954 to protect the local sea-farers.

How to get to Portofino

Flying
Fly to Genoa. Portofino is 45km east of Genoa airport on the A12 motorway.

Alitalia, British Airways and Ryanair all fly to Genoa and then you get get public transport, a taxi or hire a car to get to Portofino.

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