Hiking between Portovenere and the neighboring Cinque Terre allows you to explore and appreciate the territory in a unique way. You get to listen to nature, to observe local lifestyle off the beaten path, to think about sustainability and health. Also, hiking doesn’t cost a lot of money and gives you a tremendous amount of pleasure!
There are a number of hiking trails in the Bay of La Spezia, the most famous and visited of which are:
- The High Path (Sentiero Alto) connecting Portovenere with Levanto: this 12-hour hike is quite demanding, with different slopes between the shore at sea level and hills at 800 meters of elevation. The path is about 40km long and offers truly spectacular view of the sea but also of the valleys in the hinterland. You get to walk along the ancient mule tracks (mulattiere)!
- The Blue Path (Sentiero Azzurro) connecting all the villages of the Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. It is quite easy, accessible to all hikers without any special preparation. It includes the most famous trail of all, the Path of Love (Via dell’Amore), a 15-minute hike between Riomaggiore and Manarola.
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:
“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.”
Hiking experiences by bloggers
When deciding where to go and what to see, there is no better source than the direct experience of travelers who have already visited a destination. Here are some of our favorite hiking stories by international bloggers and travel experts!
“The ultimate hiking guide to Portovenere” by Nam Cheah
Nam is a geologist graduate behind a beautiful personal travel log and recommendation site called Laugh, Travel, Eat. Since almost all of the trails in the Cinque Terre were closed for maintenance when she visited the Ligurian Riviera, she decided to hike down to Portovenere from the village of Biassa via Campiglia, something that ended up being one of the highlights of her trip in the Bay of Poets. Read about Nam’s experience and hiking tips here, while for different hiking trail options in Portovenere visit the website of the Portovenere Nature Park.
“Hike around Palmaria Island is not a stroll in the park” by Linda & Dennis
This is a fun article by Linda Hubbard and Dennis Nugent, who narrate their adventures in the Who Da Thunk? Blog. This is how it begins: “OK, so maybe the Adventurers could do a bit more research before they set off on their treks. But, on surface, the trail around of Palmaria Island looked like a longish but otherwise pleasant hike”. Palmaria is a truly wild island! Read about the couple’s adventure here, while for different hiking trail options on Palmaria Island visit the website of the Portovenere Nature Park.
Hiking Tips by Madeline Jhawar
Here are some useful tips by Madeline, an expert travel guide and founder of Italy Beyond the Obvious.
- What to bring. These trails are dirt trails, can be narrow, and may involve some scrambling up or down rocks, so wear footwear with ankle support and bring sunscreen, bug repellent, a hat, enough food and water, and a whistle which you can use to signal if needed (see next point).
- Know how to call for help. If you need help on the trail, the standard signal is 6 long signals in a minute, repeated at one minute intervals. If you intercept a help signal, the standard response is three signals in a minute, repeated at one minute intervals.
- Get a map. Do not set out on these trails without a hiking map. There are many trails in the parks that veer off from each other and while they are marked, it’s easy to get distracted by a gorgeous view or an olive grove and miss a fork.
- Check that the trails are open before you head out. The Cinque Terre National park keeps trail status updated online.
After a long day trekking in and around the Gulf of Poets, why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage at the spa?
Grand Hotel Portovenere proposes the “Energy Recovery” package, including a 2-night stay in the seafront boutique hotel, a relaxing massage and free garage parking.