This post continues our time in Italy.
Click here for the 20 best places to visit in Italy.
Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here & Day 6 here. – Read Day 8 here, Day 9 here & Day 10 here
Today we had planned on visiting Portovenere.
But first, coffee on the balcony!
And then a delicious breakfast at the hotel!
As you know, Portovenere is not considered one of the 5 villages but it’s very close and definitely worth a visit.
I had visited Portovenere during my first trip to Cinque Terre and I enjoyed it so much, that I added it to our itinerary for this trip.
Click here to read about the many different ways to reach Portovenere from Cinque Terre
Click here for 23 things to know before visiting Cinque Terre
Tip: Click here to read about the nearby popular town of Portofino and here about Santa Margherita
There is a ferryboat service to and from the Cinque Terre that departs or arrives almost hourly from/to Portovenere. You can also rent a private boat with a skipper.
Tip: It’s best to buy a one day boat ticket for Cinque Terre which costs 30 euros/day for adults and 15 euros/day for children and allows you to take unlimited ferries and hop on and off where you like.
We decided to take the ferry since there’s no direct train service to Portovenere from any of the Cinque Terre villages.
Tip: The boat service can be suspended at any time due to bad weather conditions so it’s not recommended to purchase the tickets online.
It was about a 5 min walk from our hotel.
You can purchase your ticket at the docking points next to the ferry.
The cost was approx. 70 euros for two round trip tickets.
Tip: Click here for the ferry schedule
The boat ride to Portovenere takes approximately 1 hour from Monterosso.
I highly recommend you use the ferry when visiting Cinque Terre…it’s a great way to see all the villages from the water!
Tip: If you are prone to motion sickness, I recommend you take motion sickness medication 1 hr prior to boarding the boat.
The views from the boat are breathtaking!
Here’s a shot of Vernazza….if you look closely, you can see the very popular restaurant, Belforte.
A shot of the Doria Castle in Vernazza.
You get such a different perspective of the villages from the water.
The water was so blue!
Make sure you choose your seat wisely if you want good pictures!
After seeing the villages from the boat, we realized that we had missed seeing things when we visited by train.
Pictures of Riomaggiore from the boat
The ferry makes stops at the other villages along the way to pick up and drop people off.
Of course, we had to take our picture on the boat with one of the villages in the background.
We spotted this cross on top of a rock out in the middle of the water
We then passed all of this pink colored rock all along the coastline.
The views became more dramatic as we got closer to Portovenere!
My hubby enjoying the views
One of the most striking features of Portovenre is the Doria Castle.
It stands on a rocky plateau featuring steep walls and mighty archways in local stone.
When you first glance at Castello Doria, it looks like one solid piece. But it actually consists of 2 distinct parts positioned at different levels and enclosed in large Cyclopean walls.
I had never seen it from the water and it was absolutely incredible to see!!
The views just kept getting better and better!
As we came around the corner, the church of San Pietro came into view!
The church was founded in 1198. The black and white bands on the walls were added by the Genoese in the 13th century, presumably between 1256 and 1277.
I’m pretty sure I took a picture of the church from every angle!
Arriving to the colorful village of Portovenere.
Click here for 10 things to do in Portovenere
I was awe-struck the first time I visited this place…I was amazed by the landscape, colorful buildings, picturesque harbor and the rugged promontory protruding into the sea like a huge ship.
I honestly think I liked this place better than the 5 villages of Cinque Terre!
It also wasn’t as crowded and was more picturesque!
Portovenere is a medieval town and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The village is believed to date back to at least the middle of the 1st century BC. In Roman times the city was essentially a fishing community, as documented by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (161 a.D.) in his maritime diary.
Read about the history of the village here
Portovenere is a Natural Park located in the Gulf of Poets and surrounded by Doria Castle.
The walls of the old castle surround Portovenere
After about an hour, we finally disembarked the boat.
There are shops and outdoor cafes all along the water front.
The first place we headed was to see the Church of San Pietro.
The church was built in 1198 and sits on top of a rocky promontory.
The views from the church are amazing!
We loved the intricately built stone arches.
Tip: The stones here are super slick so be sure to wear good shoes!
From this viewpoint, you could see other structures near the castle.
You will be walking a lot so be prepared and have lots of water!
I just can’t imagine how long it must have taken to build this over 850 years ago!
This doorway led to Lord Byron’s Grotto.
Lord Byron was a famous English poet.
The grotto is named after him because it is rumored that he came here for inspiration and would swim from Porto Venere to Lerici to reach his friend Percy B. Shelley.
The grotto is a natural cavity located near a cove.
We couldn’t miss having our picture taken sitting in one of the many arches.
Next, we headed inside the church.
Read reviews of the church here
The doors of the church were so cool!
The detail was amazing!
The inside of the church was very simple with black and white striped stone columns and walls.
The architecture is truly amazing.
This picture is of an original painting on the floor that is being preserved.
The church houses a copy of the bronze statue of St Peter that’s kept in the Vatican Basilica.
View from the doorway of the church
After leaving the church, we spotted more arches with spectacular views!
Of course, it was another great photo op. 😉
Next, we walked up some very slick stairs near the church for some more amazing views.
Standing by the steeple of the church
After leaving here, we headed back towards the village.
We passed this bronze statue called Mater Naturae which means Mother Nature.
The statue was created by Neapolitan artist Lello Scorzelli who was the same artist who crafted the pastoral staff carried by Pope John Paul II.
Of course, we had to get a picture with her.
We ended up walking some of the beautiful alleyways.
After walking about 5 mins, we ended up at the San Lorenzo Church
According to some historical sources, a first church was erected here in Romanesque style starting in 1098.
The church was consecrated in 1130 by Pope Innocent II.
In 1340, a fire damaged the church and, in 1494, the building was partially destroyed by the incursion of the Aragonese. For these reasons, the church underwent restoration works between 1494 and 1582.
Read reviews here
The door to the church
Inside the church
Tip: Please read here on how to dress when visiting churches in Italy
Black and white seemed to be the colors of churches back in this era.
The church was very simple but beautiful.
After spending a few minutes inside the church, we headed back outside to walk to the castle.
Views from the church
Walking to the castle- you have to climb a lot of stairs!
Views near the castle
You can tour the inside of the castle for around 5 euros.
Click here for the castle hours
Read reviews here
More views from the castle
There is a cemetery nearby that you can also visit
We walked to the entrance just to see if we could peek inside
The ticket booth sits right inside the doorway so we didn’t go any further
From here, we decided to head back to the waterfront to have lunch.
Views on the way
Before long, we found ourselves at the top of some very steep stairs!
We had to make our way down super slow as they were very slick!
Looking back up towards the staircase
After surviving the stairs, we continued our walk through the alleyways as we made our way back to the waterfront.
Be sure to walk the alleys behind the waterfront as there are many cute little shops and cafes.
Once we finally reached the waterfront, my husband almost fainted when he spotted a bunch of sports cars!
He requested a picture of himself standing beside his dream car
After he spent a few minutes admiring the cars, we headed to find a waterfront restaurant to have lunch.
We settled on one that was very close to the water called, Al Gabbiano.
Our table by the water
We both ordered a mozzarella and shrimp sandwich with a side of fries and it was delicious!!
After lunch, we headed back to the ferry to go back to Monterosso
On the ferry leaving Portovenere
Another shot of that amazing church!
Once again, we stopped at the other villages on the way back.
A shot of the Porto Roca Hotel – the hotel I stayed at the last time I visited Cinque Terre.
Arriving back to Monterosso
As soon as we got off the boat, we purchased some of that delicious gelato!
After our gelato, my hubby decided he wanted to go swimming…so, we headed back to our hotel room so he could change into his swimming shorts.
The beach in “old town” Monterosso was about a 5 min walk from our hotel room at the Albergo Degli Amici.
A few minutes later, we were on the Tragagia beach and my hubby was enjoying that beautiful Ligurian Sea.
Click here for the water temperature of the sea
The water in Cinque Terre is very warm during the summer months…it can get up to 82 degrees!
I decided to relax on the beach while my hubby swam.
We spotted a rainbow while at the beach!
After spending about an hour at the beach, we decided to head back to our hotel room and get ready for dinner.
Before leaving for our trip, I had made reservations online at the Belforte Restaurant.
Read reviews here & see the menu here
Tip: You have to book a reservation to eat here for dinner. This needs to be done in advance not the day of or the day before as they stay super busy. If you make a reservation online, the reservation is only confirmed if you receive an email confirmation from the restaurant.
The restaurant is located in Vernazza so we had to take the train.
Walking to the restaurant
We arrived to the restaurant around 6:30 pm and our reservations were at 7, the same time the restaurant opened.
So, we went ahead and climbed the stairs to the top and waited…we ended up being first in line.
Once they start seating people, you must show them your email confirmation in order to be seated.
We were the first ones to be seated at the very top.
I had asked the waiter for a table closest to the water views and he shook his head no…so, as you can imagine, I was not a happy camper! Especially after he let another couple take the table that I wanted.🙄
My hubby was kind enough to change seats with me so I would have a view of the water!
We started out with the mussels
Then, for our main dish, I ordered the black squid ink pasta and the hubby ordered the lobster pasta.
The food was really good but it was so cold outside that your food quickly became cold as well.
For dessert, I ordered the panna cotta and the hubby ordered tiramisu.
Both were very good!
After dinner, we headed back to the train station.
On the way, we stopped in at this cool looking store.
We purchased some Italian candy and cookies and then headed to the train station.
After getting back to our room, we made some coffee and headed to the rooftop terrace to relax.
The sky was full of stars!
After spending about an hour on the terrace, we headed back to our room and called it a night!
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for Day 8!