We arrived in Portovenere from La Spezia by ferry. I think it was a much better choice than coming by bus. What can be nicer on a hot summer day than a cool breeze from the sea? Besides, the first glimpse we caught of the town from the boat was just compelling: a line of colourful narrow houses along the harbour and a picturesque little church on the distant promontory.
Walking along the promenade is a pleasure: it's a pedestrian zone; besides there are no crowds of tourists here. We look at tall narrow houses whose pastel colours enchant visitors. These 'tower houses', so typical for the architecture of the region, once played the defensive function. They seem to form a solid wall made up of individual blocks clustered together. They have no balconies and their windows are tiny. Like small fortresses they protected the village from the enemies coming here by sea. Today they house little bars and restaurants that invite tourists to have a rest. It's too early for us to make a break, so we head for a striped church on the promontory. It looks fabulous against the blue sea.
Calata Doria is the waterfront street that borders the harbour of Portovenere. It is the focal point for visitors as it contains numerous restaurants and cafés, graced by the fantastic views of the water and the marina. Towering above Calata Doria are colourful medieval buildings that are often featured in Portovenere's postcards.
The promenade along the harbor is a pedestrian only zone. The promenade is lined with tall colorful houses, seafood restaurants, and bars. Fishing boats, excursion boats, and private boats dot the water. On the other side of the point is Byron's Cave, a rocky area where Byron used to come to swim. There are several rocky places where it's possible to swim but no sandy beaches. For swimming and sunbathing, most people head to the island of Palmaria, just across the strait.
Portovenere is a coastal village, being that its harbour sometimes seems its “hearts” or its central point. A stroll along the coastal walk by the marina, leading to San Pietro church, is a most pleasant way to discover the village’s colourful architecture and come across other visitors and locals. Also, this “street” has plenty of offer concerning restaurants and cafes, some of which provide outdoor tables where you may enjoy your meal while enjoying the view.
Although Portovenere takes on a totally different feel by night, it is just as spectacular with the entire harbour lit up. It was totally safe to walk through here at night, and there are loads of cafes / restaurants to choose from. Take a stroll with your special someone - very, very romantic!
We couldn't believe our eyes when we woke up on the first morning in Portovenere. As we had arrived at about 8:30pm the night before, we could only see the harbour area lit up - which was still breathtaking anyway! Be sure to walk along the shop fronts here, as there are so many restaurants with the most delicious seafood dishes. We had the best seafood risotto we have ever tasted in Portovenere - along with 2 x 1 litre bottles of Vino Bianco! That was a great night.....
Here you can take a boat to the nearby Isola Palmaria (4€ in august 07), where there is a rock beach to catch some sun and swim a little.
The harbour is so colourful with its pastel shaded buildings and typically italian with the washing hanging out of the windows.
take time to stroll around and soak up the ambience.
Do you like colorful boats rolling in an azure waters of the Mediteranean Sea? If yes Portovenere is the place just for you.