Portovenere is a medieval fishing village situated in north Italy, just south of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. This charming village is well worth the visit and can be reached from the Cinque Terre by boat or from La Spezia by boat or by bus from the train station.
Portovenere, on the Gulf of Poets, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its picturesque harbor is lined with brightly colored houses while narrow medieval streets lined with shops lead up the hill from the ancient city gate to the castle. Stroll around the old town and don't miss the small shop Bajeicò, a pesto shop selling delicious freshly made basil-based sauce and related products like fresh pasta.
The tip of the promontory holds a picturesque church. Byron's Cave is a rocky area leading to the sea where the poet Byron used to swim.
Ferries cruise along the coast each day, offering passengers a chance to have a view of one of the most evocative landscapes of the Mediterranean. It is possible to visit the three nearby islands by boat; Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Where to stay
There is a wide range of accommodation types available in this area. We can recommend some Hotels in Portovenere and Hotels in the Cinque Terre villages. Nearest city is La Spezia with Hotels in La Spezia.
Things to see
• The 3 Island tour, 40 minutes tour visiting the island of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. Wonderful panoramas. Please refer to the page Boats.
• The Church of San Pietro sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. It was built in 1277 in the typical Genovese Gothic style.
• The Grotta di Byron (Byron's Cave) from which Byron famously swam to visit his friends in Lerici on the other side of the gulf.
• The Doria Castle with its powerful structure representing a wonderful model of Genoan military architecture. The castle was first built in 1161, but it was significantly reconstructed in 1458.
The hiking trail from Portovenere to Riomaggiore (5 hours)
The first part goes steadily uphill to Campiglia at an altitude of 400 m. An easy path continues to Colle di Telegrafo at 513 m. The trail leads past a picnic area, where there you can get an espresso as well as drinks and ice cream. Before descending the steep grades to Riomaggiore you will pass the Sanctuary Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero.
How to reach Portovenere
BY TRAIN: Portovenere doesn't have a railway station. The nearest station is La Spezia Centrale, from where you have to walk for about 8 minutes to Via Garibaldi and then continue with bus number 11 / P. Refer to the Map (La Spezia Centrale - Portovenere).
BY BUS: The bus line to Portovenere is the 11/P (duration: about 30 minutes, cost 3 euros). One bus every 10-30 minutes. On holidays after 8pm, 1 bus every hour. The service is provided by ATC. Click on La Spezia to Portovenere by bus.
BY BOAT: From April to November it's possible to reach Portovenere with the boat service. Timetable is available on Boats timetable La Spezia - Portovenere.
BY CAR: Portovenere can be reached by car with the motorway "A12 Genova Livorno" or "A15 Parma La Spezia". On "La Spezia" motorway exit, follow the state road number 370 towards "Portovenere - Cinque Terre".
Map of Portovenere
Other maps can be found on Cinque Terre Maps.
Parking in Portovenere
Finding parking places in Portovenere can be difficult especially during the high season. Rates range from 1 euro / hour to 2.50 euro / hour depending on the parking areas P1, P2, P3 and "IL GOLFO".