Portonovo Beach Italy: 8 Insider Tips for Travelers


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Il tramonto scende sul mare della selvaggia spiaggia di Mezzavalle

Portonovo is a small gem on the Conero Riviera, south of Ancona. Its hidden beaches, impressive cliffs and charming paths offer a perfect retreat for those seeking a combination of sea, mountains and the serenity that only nature can provide.

We have decided to dedicate an article to this beautiful part of our Italian Adriatic coast. It is so fascinating and picturesque that it really deserves to be discovered and appreciated from everyone.

Portonovo is one of the favorite places of the people of Ancona because, compared to other Conero resorts, it has preserved its authenticity and wild character. It is truly an ideal place for those who want to disconnect from the world and immerse themselves in the natural environment. However, the preservation of these aspects is at the cost of a more difficult accessibility and a more limited range of services. In this article we will give you some tips and useful information to make the most of your vacation in this beautiful area of the Conero Riviera.

How Portonovo looks like

Portonovo is a small seaside village located directly on the sea at the foot of Mount Conero. Considering that it has about a dozen inhabitants during the winter season, it is not really a town.

It is nestled among small coves with spectacular cliffs overhanging the sea. The town is essentially divided into two parts, the southern and northern areas, which are connected by a single main road.

The roads and paths that branch off from the main road and plunge into the vegetation will lead you into the heart of nature, amidst the scent of the maritime pine trees and the sound of the cicadas.

How to reach the bay

Portonovo can only be reached by a single road. It begins at the roundabout between the hamlet of Poggio and the beach of Mezzavalle and winds along the coast. This road offers spectacular views of the coastline, is often busy and has some narrow spots.

To avoid long traffic jams, we recommend that you travel this road in the early morning, midday or late afternoon. At these times, you are more likely to avoid the endless traffic jams of people looking for a place to park and you will have an easier time getting to the location.

Portonovo Beach Italy: Where to park your car?

In the Marche region of Italy and in the Conero Riviera in general, finding a place to park your car can be a real nightmare!

In Portonovo there are two paid public parking areas: the La Torre parking lot and the Lago Grande parking lot, which can also be paid through apps such as My Cicero. During the high season, these two parking lots tend to fill up early in the morning. Therefore, unless you are staying nearby, we recommend arriving as early as possible to guarantee a spot.

If you are unable to find a space in either of these parking lots, an alternative may be the Monte and Mezzavalle parking lots, located near the Poggio roundabout. From here you can take a shuttle down to the village.

There are also private parking lots run by the bathing establishments, such as the Emilia or Capannina, which can be reserved by phone call.

Where to stay overnight at Conero riviera?

In this small area, surrounded by nature, the range of accommodation is rather limited. There are some high-end facilities such as the Seebay Hotel and the Napoleonic Fort. However, there are also cheaper alternatives to be found.

As a point of reference, we have a beautiful B&B surrounded by nature, just two minutes walk from the Capannina beach. This solution turned out to be the best of the various experiences we had in other places, because it allowed us not to move the car, especially considering the parking problem we mentioned earlier.

Bear in mind that the price of hotels in Portonovo can be a bit high due to the limited number of establishments (around 100 euros per person), while if you opt for a simpler establishment such as a bed and breakfast, the cost will be lower (around 60 euros per person).

La torre dell'hotel Fortino Napoleonico svetta sulla spiaggia di Portonovo

the Fortino Napoleonico

Local services

As expected, the town is very small and offers few services: there are no pharmacies or supermarkets, but you will find a tourist information office and a tobacconist’s at the Portonovo roundabout. Therefore, if you need special services, we recommend that you stop in the Ancona area to buy food, medicine or anything else you may need.
Remember that there are no gas stations. The nearest one is on the provincial road to Sirolo.

Portonovo beach Italy: The coves and equipped beaches

In Portonovo there are two main bays: one near the parking lot of Lago Grande and the other near the parking lot of Capannina. In addition, there are other not equipped beaches near the Napoleonic Fort, but they are mainly made up of rocks or rock and concrete terraces.

In the main coves you will find both equipped beaches managed by the bathing establishments and not equipped ones. The beaches are mainly located in the north, near the beach of Mezzavalle, and in the south, near the beach of Vela. The beaches are small, so if you are interested in a beach umbrella and sunbed, it is advisable to book in advance by telephone, as there is great demand.

The coves of Portonovo have crystal-clear water, with the green of Mount Conero in the background, and white pebble beaches.

Il Monte Conero e le sue pareti coperte di vegetazione sovrastano la spiaggia di Portonovo

La Capannina beach establishment

Le acqua azzurre e cristalline e la sabbia bianca della baia di Portonovo

Beach down to the bay

When to get to it?

This seaside town is located on the Adriatic coast of central Italy, so the climate is mild and Mediterranean. During the summer, the weather is generally nice. However, even during the hottest months, such as July and August, there can be little surprises.

We recommend avoiding the central summer months if possible and prefer May, June, September and the first half of July as it is a very busy and crowded place.

Food and restaurants

In Portonovo you will find some of the best restaurants of the Conero Riviera, and they all have one thing in common, which makes them charming and romantic: overlooking the sea. In fact, most of the restaurants, such as Giacchetti, transform the beach in the evening. They remove the umbrellas and deck chairs and place small tables on the sand where you can dine by candlelight, just a few steps from the sea. Others, such as Moreno Cedroni’s famous “Clandestino Susci” bar, offer a terrace that gives the impression of dining on the sea.

Of particular note is Emilia’s Restaurant, one of the area’s historic culinary institutions. This elegant trattoria, handed down from generation to generation, offers the traditional dishes of the Conero Riviera and of the Marche region, faithfully prepared according to Grandmother Emilia’s recipe book.
In this place you cannot miss the “moscioli”, wild mussels that grow only in the this bay, with a tasty and delicate flavor, served au gratin or “alla marinara”.

Another product that comes from this area is the “paccasassi” (or “spaccasassi”), which encapsulate both the sea and the land in their savory and aromatic flavor. These are plants that, as the name suggests, grow between the rocks of Mount overlooking the sea, absorbing the brackish air that gives them a special flavor. They are combined with fish, but can also be found in excellent mortadella sandwiches.

Il tramonto scende sulla spiaggia di Portonovo e si accendono le luci nei ristoranti sulla spiaggia

Emilia restaurant at the sunset

We hope this article has made you fall in love with Portonovo and enticed you to discover a hidden corner of Italy! Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any information and, as always… trip to try!

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