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A Guide to Portovenere Italy

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Portovenere (also known as Porto Venere) is the Italian Riviera’s hidden secret. Sure, the locals know its charms well, but all too often it gets overlooked by visitors who flock to the glitzy Portofino, or the colourful villages of Cinque Terre.

Beloved by poets and artists, Portovenere is a feast for the eyes. A place to swim, sunbathe, and stroll among natural wonders, while taking in the impressive historical structures that surround you.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’ll win you over from the first glance, and linger in your memories for years to come. Read on to find out why, exactly, Portovenere Italy is so incredible, and how you can enjoy it for yourself.

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Where is Portovenere in Italy?

Located on the Ligurian Coast, Portovenere lies tantalisingly close to both La Spezia and the villages of the Cinque Terre. Because of this proximity to the top sights of the Italian Riviera, it makes an excellent base to explore the area.

How to Get to Portovenere from La Spezia

There are three main ways to get to Portovenere from La Spezia. By car, bus, or boat. Unfortunately, there is no train to Portovenere from La Spezia. Instead, the train service bypasses the town and heads directly to the Cinque Terre. Perhaps this contributes to why Portovenere is often overlooked (unfairly) on Cinque Terre itineraries.

Bus from La Spezia to Portovenere

One of the most popular ways to travel to Portovenere from La Spezia is via the bus. The journey only takes around 35 minutes and costs €3.

Take the 11P service from the Via Domenico Chiodo, opposite the public gardens. Tickets can be purchased at the main train station and many shops in town, however, I found buying them directly on the DropTicket app to be the simplest option.

Buses run every 15 minutes from La Spezia to Portovenere. Just a word of warning though – I found buses to be ‘flexible’ in their timings. So don’t wait to take the last bus home – it may not come!

Ferry from La Spezia to Portovenere

Another option is to take a boat to Portovenere from La Spezia. But do note that the service only operates from March to November. You can find the timetables and ticket information here.

Ferries depart from the terminal behind the pubic gardens. You’ll be able to spot the 5Terre ticket stand easily.

Ferries are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the morning, starting at 9:15 am. The last return ferry departs Portovenere at 6.20 pm.

If you’re only planning on spending one day in Portovenere, I’d recommend taking the first ferry of the day.

Tickets currently cost €13 return, or you can buy a full day Cinque Terre ferry pass for €35 which allows you to visit the villages also (keep in mind this would be a tightly packed day of sightseeing!).

Driving to Portovenere from La Spezia

If you have a car available in Italy, driving to Portovenere from La Spezia is a straightforward option too. Just be sure to arrive early if visiting in summer in order to secure a car park.

Portovenere Parking

Both times I visited Portovenere from La Spezia I took my car and parking in Portovenere was straightforward. There is streetside parking within the village itself, but I found it easier (and less stressful) to drive in via the Strada Provinciale 530 and park on the side of the road. From there, you can walk down a steep staircase to the main road.

Parking at Parcheggio Muzzerone

However, another option, if you’re feeling energetic, is to drive into the hills and walk down to the village from above. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views if you take this option. Just remember to save some energy for the climb back up!

Search for the Parcheggio Muzzerone on Google Maps. Parking is limited but free. And from there, the track is clearly marked.

Best Things to do in Portovenere, Italy

From sunning yourself on stunning beaches to climbing craggy cliffs, or sightseeing in ancient alleyways, find out what to do in Portovenere, Italy, here.

Take a Wander Through the Old Town


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