Riomaggiore to Portovenere
Country - Italy
Region - Ligurian Coast (including Cinque Terre)
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 14.0 km / 8.8 miles
Ascent - 650 metres / 2145 feet
Time - 6.00 hours
This walk connects the most southerly village of the Cinque Terre with attractive Portovenere using a high level path. Refreshments are available along the way although you are still advised to take plenty of water and some snacks. There are a number of rocky sections which need care especially in wet weather. The start is Riomaggiore railways station which is served by frequent trains running along the Ligurian coast. Note there is no railway in Porto Venere and the nearest station is at La Spezia which can be reached by a frequent bus service.
From Riomaggiore station follow the pedestrian tunnel into the village centre. Walk up Via Colombo through a car park and reach a small roundabout. Find the start of path 3 to Telegrafo. Follow the path to pass a wooden cross. Continue up a steep stepped path to reach a main road. Cross the road and continue up steps still on path 3. The climb is now more gradual and eventually levels to reach the Santuario della Madonna di Montenero.
To continue take path 3/3a from behind the sanctuary in the direction of Telegrafo. The narrow path climbs to reach a junction. Ignore this right turn and continue ahead to reach another junction. Turn right here on path 3. Follow this as it contours across the hillside taking care as in some places there are steep drops off the path. The route passes two derelict stone houses, a chapel and a further house before bearing left uphill into woodland following path 3 to Telegrafo. The rocky trail continues uphill with red and white waymarks to reach the park information office in Telegrafo which is also a small bar.
Our route takes path 1 on the right towards Portovenere. The way ahead follows a track with exercise points along the way. Reaching a forest road walk straight ahead onto a cobbled lane. Follow this to reach a small bar (Bar Pineta). Stay on path 1 towards Campiglia and Portovenere passing through woodland and following the red and white waymarkers. After a clearing with more exercise equipment to path descends and care is required. Continue past a path junction (4a) walking downhill. A track enters from the left with a waymark on the wall by a gate. With the wall on your right head towards a house from where steps take you down to the village of Campiglia. Continue to the square and church. The village of Campiglia has refreshment possibilities.
The onward route follows path 1. There are sections where a good head for heights is needed and also careful foot work. Pass in front of the church and locate the waymark for path 1 on your right. Continue past Piccolo Blu (gardens) to a tower. Continue ahead and shortly, following red and white waymarks, walk sharp left dropping height to a road. Turn right along the road for just over 200 metres to take a path on your right into woodland. Follow the waymarks through the wood. You are soon aware of a change in geology - you have reached the Costa Rossa with its red rock. You reach a road on a sharp bend.
Follow path 1, which is rated as 'difficult'. The path is rocky and some scrambling is required with steep drops to your right. Shortly you will get a grand panorama of the island of Palmaria and its smaller sister Tino. The path remains rocky and descends to a road on a hairpin bend. Keep right, go past the picnic tables and locate the waymark for path 1. Walk downhill to reach another road leading to the side of the hill ahead. Walk along the road for 250 metres. At a sharp bend take the track ahead (the road turns right uphill).
Almost immediately bear right off the gravel to climb a rocky path with red and white waymarks. This leads you to the road, which is followed for just over half a kilometre to an emergency beacon. Our route follows path 1 on the left and this is followed to reach a junction of paths. Ignore the path on the left (Portovenere Variante) and keep right walking downhill. After 200 metres the rocky path becomes steep with some sections of loose stones under foot. The path becomes stepped (carved in the rock) under the fortress ramparts. Continue down to reach the main square in Portovenere.
- Kompass - Sheet 644 - Cinque Terre - scale 1:50000
French IGN mapping is available in digital format by area and 'cut your own' maps. For more information and availabilty go to the Anquet website.
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