A coastal resort town in the N Aberdeenshire parish of Fordyce, situated on the A98 road between Banff and Cullen. Created a burgh of barony in 1550, it looks out onto Links Bay, an inlet of the Moray Firth, into which flows the Burn of Durn. Its old harbour was built by Patrick Ogilvie of Boyne in order to ship out local 'Portsoy marble', a beautiful variety of serpentine that is greenish or reddish in hue. In the 18th Century much of this marble was exported to France where Louis XIV used it in the making of two chimney-pieces at the Palace of Versailles.
A new harbour was built in 1825-28 by the Earl of Seafield to enhance the town's commercial trade and fishing industry. Destroyed by a storm in January 1839, the harbour was reconstructed in 1884 to accommodate an expanding herring fleet of 56 boats. After the arrival of the railway in 1859 the burgh developed as a resort. Today it has a sailing club and craft industries. To the east, beyond the wooded ravine of the Burn of Boyne stand the ruins of Boyne Castle, a stronghold of the Ogilvy family.