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Italy is finding yourself

The Campiglia Portovenere trekking, just like heaven

This is what a friend living abroad keeps telling me. Words that might seem corny but say it all, without saying precisely all, that this path has to offer.

Technical data

Difficulty: average

Trail Marker: 1

Recommended time: all year

Duration: 2 hours and a half – 3 hours

Tips: It is recommended to start this Portovenre trekking from Campiglia if you are not a good walker. Starting from Portovenere, the first stretch goes steeply uphill.

Campiglia: between the Gulf and the open sea.

Campiglia is a gem: on one side overlooking the Gulf of Poets, on the other to the open sea, high above the Cinque Terre.It is also the junction point of several trails that run along the ridge separating the bay’s embrace from the Riviera’s rocks. Among these, one of the most spectacular is the section of the CAI no.1 path that descends from the small village to Portovenere.

The path to Portovenere starts from the last hairpin bend before the village of Campiglia. A sign marks two roads: the longer (about three hours) and less challenging one, then the slightly shorter one of medium difficulty. The second one, going along the coastline, is the one to follow if you want to enjoy a breathtaking view (the trail signs to follow along the way are 1 – 1a – 1).

How to get to the trail.

By public transport: You can reach the beautiful village of Campiglia by public transport. The ATC 20 line connects La Spezia to Campiglia (you can catch it at the stop in La Spezia, Viale Garibaldi). Still, unfortunately, the rides could be more frequent.

By car: You can find the turnoff to Campiglia on the right along the road that leads from La Spezia to Portovenere, precisely in Acquasanta. The vehicle can easily be parked along the road near the start of the path.

If you prefer to make the trail in one direction (downhill!) to avoid having to go back to retrieve the car in Campiglia, this may be your strategy:

  1. Use two cars.
  2. Leave one car in Marola, near the restaurant Autedo (on the road from La Spezia to Portovenere). Reach Campiglia with the second car, and start your walk to Campiglia. 
  3. Once you have walked the whole way to Portovenere, reach the car parked in Marola by bus and thus get back to Campiglia to retrieve the other car. 

First part of the Corniglia Portovenere trekking: myrtle, capers, strawberry trees … and down there, the blue sea

The first stretch of the road follows the coast facing the open sea. Scents and colors remind us of Corsica, Sardinia, and Greece. The view of the Cinque Terre, Portovenere’s, and Palmaria Island profiles appearing and disappearing behind the coast reminds us we are unquestionably in Liguria.
The route is primarily flat, although care must be taken: in some stretches, the surface overlooking the sea and mainly consisting of stones is uneven and unsafe.
The landscape is charming and – occasionally – fills your eyes with wonder that bounces from Portovenere to the Palmaria and Tino islands.

The view of the coast on the Campiglia to Portovonere trekking - Ph. Marcello di Francesco
The view of the coast on the Campiglia to Portovonere trekking – Ph. Marcello di Francesco

The Muzzerone, with its rock climbing wall and the refuge, marks the transition between the first and second parts of the trekking to Portovenere.

It remains about one hour walk when you get to the Muzzerone refuge, where you can take a refreshing break with a view. During the descent, take advantage of the breathtaking scenery of the Gulf, featuring the fishing villages of Cadimare and Le Grazie.

A few tens of minutes through the woods and cultivated areas, the wonder of Portovenere explodes, becoming the protagonist with its castle and incredible landscape.

A steep stairway that runs along the walls of the Portovenere castle leads to the Piazza Bastreri, the heart of the town, and just one step away from the famous carugio.

The view of Palmaria from the path descending to Portovenere.
The view of Palmaria from the path descending to Portovenere.

Cover Photo Marcello di Francesco

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