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near Riomaggiore, Liguria (Italia)
This hike takes you from the train station in Riomaggiore to the ferry dock in Portovenere through the famous Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre and the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portovenere. Here you can catch a boat back to Riomaggiore or some of the other cinque terre, or you can go to La Spezia, and take a train back to whatever station you originally boarded (see http://www.trenitalia.com). The views are magnificent, and Riomaggiore and Portovenere are beautiful and picturesque towns. It can however be quite busy in town and on some of the paths. For this hike you do not need to pay a fee as is mandatory on the coastal paths between Riomaggiore and Monterosso. See http://www.parconazionale5terre.it (also in English) for general information including actual information on the paths; the paths you have to look for are 598-1 (AV5T 1), 593V (former 3a), 535 (former 4b), 504 (former 4), 593 (SVA3). As you will not walk all these paths along their entire length, it might mean that even if a track is closed, the part you take on this route might still be open (as 535 was when I did this route). If you want to avoid crowds, it is best to be very early, as I did. The paths are steep in places, with long stretches of steps, especially the stretch to Madonna di Montenero. This can be demanding, and more so in the full sun in summer. The time table of the ferries depends on the season. Be sure to look it up before you go (e.g. http://cinqueterreandbeyond.com/ferry-schedule-la-spezia/). You walk through vineyards, groves, woods, and maquis.
You exit the train station in Riomaggiore and then follow the Via Signorini up to the promontory on which the Castello di Riomaggiore is situated. Around the bend you descend to the port through a series of alleys. Here boats are pulled up on the street offering a picturesque view. You ascend from the port via a viewpoint towards a series of steps that will take you steeply up to Via de Gasperi (you are now on path 593V). You walk around a cemetery and climb further to the SP370. You follow the asphalt road for 400 m and then complete the ascent to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero (Madonna di Montenero) at about 340 m. There is an excellent view here to Riomaggiore and along the coast. You continue further, less steeply, to the Colle del Telegrafo at about 515 m along path 593, passing by the hamlet of Lemmen. You continue along path 598-1 on the crest of the hill through woods and reach the highest point of the route shortly after. You follow the crest to Sant’Antonio, where there is a bar. Here you descend along path 505 towards Schiara, first on asphalt and then on a path, mostly through woods. You pass by the Menhir di Tramonti and the Fontana di Nozzano on the way. Shortly after the ascent to Campiglia starts with nice views of Schiara on the way. In Campiglia you will have some good views of La Spezia to the north-east and the coast to the south-west of the crest. In Campiglia I somehow missed the entrance to the path to Portovenere and followed a lift for harvesting grapes for about 150 m before ending up at the path near a tower (the path is about 20 m to the left of the gps-track). You follow path 598-1 to a road, and shortly after leave the road on the path through maquis, offering great views towards the Portovenere peninsula and Palmaria and Tino islands. You descend all the way to about 190 m until an asphalt road that takes you up inland around Monte Muzzerone (you can also go up there for another detour, fortress, and viewing point; follow signs). After leaving the asphalt road you soon start to descend to Portovenere with great views of the Castello Doria, the Chiesa di San Pietro, Palmaria and La Spezia bay and beyond. You walk down along the castle walls to the port, and then through town to the Chiesa on the rocky promontory and back. Finally, you buy a ticket for the boat ride back to Riomaggiore or any of the other destinations. Alternatively, there are buses to La Spezia.
You will find plenty to eat and drink in Riomaggiore and Portovenere, and additionally at a bar at the Madonna di Montenero, Sant’Antonio and Campiglia.
You descend via a series of alleys down to the port from Via Signorini
Viewpoint towards La Spezia
Church on the rocky promontory southwest of town
You have great views on this path descending to Portovenere
Here the ferry to Riomaggiore and La Spezia departs. Check the timetable in advance. E.g. http://cinqueterreandbeyond.com/ferry-schedule-la-spezia/
Fountain built by Napoleon's soldiers
Square with viewing point and church in Campiglia
Hamlet with a bar. From here you go down path 505 and then back up path 535 to Campiglia. The pictures are from the paths, not the hamlet.
Sanctuary with excellent views towards Riomaggiore and along the coast. There is a bar here as well
Train station at Riomaggiore
Here you leave the asphalt road and continue downhill on a path through maquis with excellent views of the Portovenere peninsula and Palmaria and Tino islands
This road takes you up from the station towards the center of town. There is also a tunnel from the station.
Nice viewpoint towards La Spezia
Viewpoint of the the Chiesa di San Pietro at the foot of the Castello Doria walls. There is no path here to make a shortcut down towards the Chiesa.
Viewpoint towards Riomaggiore.