The hike from Riomaggiore to Portovenere passes wonderful countryside, quieter and wilder than the walks between the Cinque Terre villages.
Riomaggiore to Portovenere Hike Route Map
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
This hike starts from Riomaggiore train station. You can easily catch a train here from Genoa (1hr20), Lucca (~2hrs), La Spezia (10 mins) or the other Cinque Terre villages (5-15 mins). You can also hike to Riomaggiore from Corniglia (8 km). If you’re coming from Manarola village, there’s a short, flat 1 km walk along the Via dell’Amore.
Alternatively, you can catch the ferry to Riomaggiore from the other Cinque Terre Villages (€7-€20). Ferries run from April to October inclusive and are cancelled in bad weather.
It’s better not to, but if you arrive by car at Riomaggiore, there’s a car park including a discrete multistory car park at the top of the village. It’s about a 15-minute walk down from the car park to the harbour. The best way to get to Riomaggiore is to park in Levanto or La Spezia and take the train or ferry.
Onward from Portovenere
This hike ends in Portovenere. From here you can catch a bus to La Spezia, from where the train leaves for all the villages of the Cinque Terre, or elsewhere such as Genoa or Lucca. Alternatively, there are also ferries (daily Apr-Nov inclusive, not in bad weather) to the Cinque Terre villages or La Spezia. You can buy tickets on the day from the little booth near the ferries, with tickets costing €15 per adult back to Riomaggiore.
- Bring enough water, snacks and a sunhat.
- There’s food on this hike in Riomaggiore, Portovenere and Telegrafo (at the highest point on the route) and Campiglia.
- There’s no hiking fee for the route described here between Riomaggiore and Portovenere, and it tends to be fairly quiet.
- To get to Riomaggiore, hike from Corniglia.
- Offline maps app Maps.me works well for this walk.
- Find other nearby hikes on our Italy Hiking Page.
Riomaggiore to Portovenere Hiking Route
Walking through Riomaggiore
From the train station, take the fun elevator to the little road above (or take the steps further on). Walk along this road and round the corner into the main part of Riomaggiore. Just around the corner, head left to walk up to Riomaggiore Castle. It costs €2 to enter (open from 10 am) and inside there’s a museum about the history of the area, along with some great views.
Continue walking past the castle and down to a paved street. Turn right, then the next left down the stairs to reach the main street. Turn left to walk up the street a little way, before heading towards the harbour. This involves going through a tunnel underneath a square above.
At the harbour, keep left to walk out to a great viewpoint of town. If you want to visit Riomaggiore beach, continue around the corner. The beach is fairly small, and there are flat pebbles rather than sand, but the water is wonderfully clear.
Now head back to the main street. Shortly after the tunnel, take the first steps on the right to begin the hike towards Portovenere. Walk all the way up the steps to the road at the top. Turn left along the road, then in 50 metres take the steps heading upwards again to the right.
Hiking through the Cinque Terre Countryside
At the next road, head left to the top of Riomaggiore village. When the road begins to bend around the valley, head straight on past the Cinque Terre Information Point to the narrow cobbled trail at the back of the little car park. The path is very cute and feels very old, as it heads steeply upwards.
Cross another road and continue up the steps on the other side. Soon the path slightly flattens out and you walk along terraces rather than straight up them. After a little while, you’ll reach the Madonna di Montenero, a church at the top of the hill with stunning views. Walk around the church to admire the view, and have a rest on one of the many scenic benches.
Continue onwards and gently uphill past the church, walking through scenic vineyards, terraces and an organic farm with a cute chapel. After the farm, the path bends upwards and you pass into a pleasant woodland, quite different from elsewhere in the Cinque Terre.
After a little hiking in the woods, you’ll reach Telegrafo, a bus stop and restaurant. Turn right, just past the restaurant, to continue walking through the wood. You’ll pass another restaurant and a little chapel before keeping left at the fork. The little paved road turns into a dirt track and continues through the woodland. For the first time you get some views east, inland, over La Spezia and the mountains beyond – the peaky Apuan Alps and the ridgelike Apennines.
You then descend into a tiny village called Campiglia. There’s a restaurant, cafe and a few accommodation options here. When the road through the village begins to bend, head right and around the church. Follow the route onwards and soon you’ll see an old stone tower. In a short while there’s a little path to the left. This leads to a viewpoint over the rest of the Portovenere Peninsular. It’s worth walking the short distance to above the old battery tower, but the view if you continue downwards doesn’t improve.
Continue along the main trail, which soon reaches a road. Head downwards and then take the trail on the right, before reaching another bend in the road and taking the trail to the right again. One of the best parts of the hike begins here. The narrow trail follows through wild vegetation with great views over the rough, rocky coastline below.
After a few kilometres of stunning scenery, you’ll reach a road again. Follow it as it bends left around a hill, take the steep cut through and continue along the road through the wood. When the road makes a sharp bend, continue onwards along a path. This path heads downwards all the way to Portovenere. You’ll get some lovely views over the town, and the bay of La Spezia.
You walk almost down up to Portovenere Castle, then turn left and still downwards by the old castle wall. This route leads right down to the central plaza of Portovenere. Make sure to explore the town before you leave.
Walking through Portovenere
From the central plaza, turn right to walk along the narrow, main street of Portovenere. There are plenty of little shops, cafes and restaurants along this lively street if you want a break from hiking. Continue all the way along the street and you’ll soon come out in a more open area. Right at the end is the Church of St Peter.
Go inside the church to see the old, stripy walls and columns. Make sure to also make it onto the roof, from where are great views. Along the side of the church, there are several medieval arches, through which you can photograph the scenic ocean and cliffs below.
Return a little from the church, and take the passage through the archway to the left to reach the ocean and more great views. Return through the arch and back towards town. This time, take the higher route and the first steps on the left, then up again. Soon you’ll reach the San Lorenzo Church, have a peek inside.
Continue past the church and take the first steps down to the right. Follow the steps as they wind their way all the way down to the water’s edge. Turn left, past the many restaurants, and follow the coastal walkway past the main plaza and round the corner to the best viewpoint of Portovenere. This is where the Riomaggiore to Portovenere hike ends.
Returning from Portovenere
To take a ferry to La Spezia or the Cinque Terre towns, head to the ticket booth a bit further along the harbourside, by the ferries. Alternatively, take the bus to La Spezia (€3, buy tickets on the Dropticket App, or from a Tabaccheria, since the bus drivers themselves don’t sell them). From La Spezia you can take a train onwards, or return to Riomaggiore.
Guidebooks to explore more of Liguria & Cinque Terre
If you want to get a guidebook to the region, the Bradt Liguria Guide* and Lonely Planet Pocket Guide* both include the Cinque Terre and hiking routes. The Cicerone Walking in Cinque Terre Guide* covers this hike and many others in the Cinque Terre region.