Posted by: trekguyd | October 8, 2010

Portovenere remains a popular hike

Over the last view months, Portovenere remained the most popular hike offered through Trekguyd. The feedback from young and old seems unanimous. “I am glad I did it”, say trekkers looking back over the mountain range on the boat ride back to Riomaggiore. But no matter how many times I trek through along the white and red marked trail, I always see something new. I plan to take it many more times.

At the very beginning of the hike, looking back at Riomaggiore, after a short incline seems worth it already. One has no idea of the layout of the town, unless looking at it from above. Looking over the vineyards and rusticos build into the mountain range really tells a story of the long history and agriculture in this area.


View over the village of Riomaggiore


Next we arrive at a plateau far above the sea with a beautiful church the “Santuario di Montenero”.  From there you can see all five villages of Cinque Terre and two other villages that are never mentioned. Here we take a short brake to take in the breathtaking views. Every year, in September, the famous “Schiacchtra”and other grapes are harvested and men are walking around with big crates on their shoulders replacing the hand-woven baskets  they once used. From this location, far in the distance, you can see lands end, which is the goal of this hike – Portovenere.


Santuario di Montenero


Leaving our first stop behind, we take the Portovenere trail. This is where the trail becomes a liitle complicated for inexperienced trekkers. We take a more scenic path, unlike following the markings, that lead to a paved road. On our chosen path (3A) we go through a wooded area where former vineyards used to be. The trail is narrow with a view of the sea below you. The dome of the Santuario will be a marker for the distance you have traveled.


Looking back from above to the Santuario di Montenero


The next stop will be a little church with a sign above the door which reads: “God don’t abandon me”. Depending on the weather this is a very appropriate warning. We usually take a short brake for fruit and water here. From this point you can really see how far you have come. The next incline will be on Nature’s stairway. This will bring us back out to the original trail.


Nature's stairway


The trail leads through open areas and forest regions until we reach the small village of Campiglia, which dates back to the 700’s, which is about 400 meters above the sea. Leaving Campiglia the terrain becomes very rocky and demands shoes with good traction. It is anything other than walking the easy trails of the Via’del Amore.


Lookout point to Portovenere


One really feels on top of the world hiking along the ridge of this mountain range. From this lookout point you can see Campiglia, where you just came from and the church on the point of Portovenere. It is a constant struggle to decide to watch out for the rocky terrain and wanting to take in the breathtaking views. But this rock seems to beckon to stop the trek and take in the views for a while, which we will do.

The trail continues and eventually descents into the town of Portovenere. A long set of stairs lead down to the center of town and runs along the side of the Doria castle. This is a very steep decline and the path consists of loose rocks.


View to Doria castle and San Pietro church


But the real treat comes in taking the boat ride back to Riomaggiore, where you can see the castle, the church, the town of Portovenere and the mountain range from the water.

Hope to take you there..

Pall (Trekguyd)



  1. Looks gorgeous. A place I have always wanted to travel. What is the best time of year? I was born in RI in 1951…small world.

  2. To our Trekguyd, Pall ~

    We’ve all decided that hiking to Portovenere and hanging out with you in Cinque Terre in October was a major highlight of our trip, so thanks again for making it all possible.

    From meeting us at our train in Riomaggiore, suggesting great restaurants (and going with us to the amazing Billy’s!) filling us in on the local scene and politics as we took that wonderful long hike ….as well as the shorter hike over to Manarola on the second day…..we are so happy we found you.

    Also, the apartment you found for us was perfect for our needs. Everyone had space and it was very quiet, clean and comfortable.

    As Ryen said, if we’d just been hiking from town to town on our own, it wouldn’t have been nearly so interesting or enjoyable. We wouldn’t have known the best paths to take or understood what we were seeing along the way.

    So if someone is thinking they can do the exploration on their own, they’re correct, BUT they won’t enjoy it half as much as we did.

    The only town we didn’t see was Corniglia ~ so we’ll be back to see you one of these days!

  3. I did the Portovenere trek with Pall in the second week of June 2011 and it was a fabulous experience. Pall really does know the area as well as or even better than the locals as he claims. Everyone knows him and as you climb the high trails, Pall knows where the delicious fruit trees are!

    The views on this trek are stupendous and unlike the lower trails, which really are cattle trails and not the ‘true’ Cinque Terre for me, we must have seen a total of between 12-15 people in six hours on the paths which Pall took. Some of these paths are unmarked or only partially marked-we often saw others who were unsure of where to go, and Pall’s experience really pays off. He has led a fascinating life, and will keep you entertained with his stories and extensive knowledge of the area as you climb. I capped off the trek with a fabulous meal at Billy’s in Manarola, which Pall graciously arranged for me

    This trek was definitely a highlight of my time in the Cinque Terre and I would happily return to do it again. Highly recommended!

  4. Trekking with Pall in the Cinque Terre was truly the highlight of my last trip to Italy. The unofficial mayor of Riomaggiore (EVERYONE knows him) — his knowledge and love of the area is obvious every step of the way. Incredibly helpful, a great storyteller and fun to “hang” with – he makes the experience unforgettable and leaves you wanting more. Highly recommend!!

  5. […] While most tourists are familiar with the Cinque Terre, fewer know about Portovenere and its trekking paths. Yet, as professional trek guide Pall explains in an article on his blog called TrekGuyd: […]

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