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.
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..