The best things to see and do in Portovenere

Dotted along the Ligurian coastline overlooking the Bay of Poets lies the jaw-dropping Portovenere. While this unique seaside town is not part of the world-famous Cinque Terre, it definitely deserves your attention. Crystalline waters, a small yet bustling port, divine local cuisine and a town that is so colorful it seems like a splash of colors. This is Portovenere. But the best part about Portovenere are its views. Anyone who is into views cannot leave Portovenere out of their itinerary. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this pearl of the Ligurian coastline has marvellous panoramas that can be admired from its scenic viewpoints. It comes as no surprise that famous poets sought inspiration for their works in Portovenere’s beauty. One of the most famous being the English poet, Lord Byron. Scroll below to read about what to see and the best things to do in Portovenere, Italy.

San Pietro Church

If there’s one sight you cannot miss in Portovenere, it’s the San Pietro Church. Perched up on a cliff overlooking the sea, the Saint Peter Church is truly a marvel, no wonder you’ve probably seen hundreds of pictures of this beautiful Genovese Gothic style church. Walk up the stairway and enter this quaint church dating back to 1198. But before you leave, step outside and marvel through the arches overlooking the Ligurian Sea. To get another wow view, walk up another flight of stairs to the open terrace!

San Pietro Church in Portovenere

Church of San Pietro in Portovenere

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Lord Byron Grotto

For a beautiful view and a relaxing place to stare at the horizon, head to the Grotto dell’Arpaia.  More famously known as Lord Byron’s Grotto, this is where the English poet went to meditate and seek inspiration for his works. Just sit on one of the rocks and look at the Ligurian sea to completely feel that peaceful energy. And while you’re sitting down, look at the rock incisions and spot the darkest one, the Portoro marble. This kind of marble is what the columns of the Church of San Lorenzo are made of!

Lord Byron Grotto in Portovenere, Italy

Lord Byron Grotto in Portovenere

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Doria Castle

Anyone who is into views needs to get themselves to the Doria Castle. Perched atop the mountain overlooking the Bay of Poets, this castle is a great example of Genovese military architecture.  The castle was built in 1161 for the very wealthy Doria family – who had a key role in political, economic and military life within the Republic of Genova. The views are simply stunning, whether it’s from the watchtowers or the gardens, the panorama of the Bay of Poets and the San Pietro Church is breathtaking. There are also some well-kept gardens to visit. The entry fee is €5.

Doria Castle Portovenere

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NemoSub: Submarine exploring the seabed of Portovenere

For something completely new in Portovenere, you need to get yourself to the port and head to the red submarine! NemoSub is a submarine that takes its visitors to explore the seabed of Portovenere. The submarine doesn’t actually submerge itself, but from the inside you can see the through the large windows and admire the seabed! It goes around Portovenere and the island of Palmaria. It’s a great experience for all ages, and I’m pretty sure kids would go crazy for this!

Nemo Sub Submarine Portovenere

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San Lorenzo Church

Another beautiful church in Portovenere is San Lorenzo, a Romanesque church built in 1116. Just like the San Pietro Church, this church was also built on an ancient temple. But what’s super cool about this church is what goes around it! Also known as the Sanctuary of the “Madonna Bianca” , every August 17th  the entire town of Portovenere meets and lights hundreds of candles in her honor.

Chiesa di San Lorenzo Portovenere

Related posts:

Where to stay in Portovenere

Where to eat in Portovenere and Cinque Terre

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I'm the daughter of an Italian family of diplomats, the second of three children, and a global citizen. I've lived in 7 cities around the world, I have a gigantic crush on Italy and my name has been mispronounced more times than I can remember.

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