We’d had some exhausting but enjoyable times in Portovenere. Our trip was almost finished and we were ready to leave the rugged hikers’ refuge for a comfortable B&B in Bergamo, near Milan. We packed up our backpacks and made our last hike down the steep trail and strolled to the port… only then to notice that all ferries to Cinque Terre were canceled that day.
So now what? We had until 6:30pm to make it to our train out of Riomaggiore. Not only that, but I wanted to explore the Cinque Terre’s largest village. We rushed to the tourism office to hear our options.
Correction: one option. We would take two short bus rides and then follow a two hour hiking trail to reach Riomaggiore. So silk dress, Chacos, backpacks and all, we headed off for the day’s journey.
Bus from Portovenere (bus stop near the Marina) to the town of Acquasanta.
Leaving four times hourly, Number: 20, Cost: 2euro
Tip: Argue loudly with your partner about which is the correct stop to get off until an elderly Italian woman tells you which one it is and walks you to your correct bus stop for Step 2.
Shuttle bus from Acquasanta to Campiglia.
Check day’s times at tourism office, Number: 20, Cost: 2euro
Tip: Our bus left 5 minutes early and we were confused that it was a small, white shuttle bus rather than a city bus. Be aware of the bus number!
Hiking from Campiglia to Telegrafo. Number: 1, Distance: 3.2km, Time: 1 hour
Tip: Don’t head back to Portovenere, and remember that you’re taking Trail 1 to Telegrafo, not the other trail to Riomaggiore
Continue hiking from Telegrafo to Riomaggiore. Number: 3, Time: 2 hours
Tip: If there is a fork in the road, always stay with the red and white markings. You change to trail three after you pass the bar in Telegrafo, toward the left.
Shortly after you see the view of Riomaggiore from above, you will pass a pink church to your left. Continue on the right and begin the steep descent down into Riomaggiore!
We made it with about an hour until our train and celebrated with mojitos. The train station is conveniently located right next to the port, so you won’t have to wander around back up the steep slope. Taking our backpacks and hiking in Chacos wasn’t ideal, but I’m so happy I got to travel a lesser-known trail to the Cinque Terre… and didn’t even have to pay the 5euro park pass fee!