Travel itineraries, hiking, kayaking and sailing in Italy and around the world
The Cinque Terre and Portovenere are world famous tourist destinations and
their extraordinary beauty is surpassed only by the chaos created by tourists on summer weekends.
Luckily, there is a way to enjoy these wonders away from the crowds: a kayak
allows admiring the coastline from a unique perspective and discovering the most beautiful aspects.
So, by kayaking from Levanto to Portovenere, you can visit the Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia,
Manarola and Riomaggiore), the red cliffs of the Tramonti, some deserted and
otherwise unreachable beaches, and more.
After the map of this part of Liguria there is the description of the kayaking itineraries along the coast. If you are interested in
renting kayaks or in an organized kayaking trip along these routes in Liguria,
contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
A tip on how to visit this stretch of Ligurian coast: in addition to normal kayaks, inflatable ones
can be a perfect solution: they allow paddling in one direction from a train station to another, then deflating the
kayak and going back by train.
Please notice that the distances on the map are straight lines,
but it is normal (actually, very recommended) to follow by kayak all the little bays and imposing rocks of the Ligurian coast.
Levanto - Monterosso
This first itinerary by kayak is not yet part of the Cinque Terre, but it already offers spectacular views.
It could also be done in one day together with the
Framura - Levanto itinerary described here.
Between Levanto and Monterosso there is the imposing Punta Mesco. Along impressive cliffs,
crystal clear waters and unspoiled wilderness, you can paddle to the tip of the promontory itself, where a series of
rocks form a fantastic natural
The last part of the itinerary is pleasant as well and leads to Monterosso, the first of the Cinque Terre.
It's also the most populous and one with the widest beaches; the train station is right on the sea (which is ideal for those
with an inflatable kayak) and on summer weekends the promenade is very busy, but the historic center is always picturesque.
Monterosso - Riomaggiore
In one day it is possible to visit all the Cinque Terre by kayak. Starting from Monterosso, you meet immediately
one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline that goes up to Vernazza. The cliffs and the terraced vineyards are a beautiful sight
from the kayak.
Vernazza is one of the symbols of the Cinque Terre, so you should really park your kayak on the
beach at the bottom of the picturesque little port and walk through the alleys of the village.
Just east of Vernazza there is a stony beach in part
created by the terrible flood of 2011. Continuing to paddle under the cliffs, you arrive at Corniglia,
with its houses overlooking the sea. You can moor the kayak here as weel, but to get into the the town center you must climb
The coast is less attractive between Corniglia and Manarola, but the last two of the Cinque Terre (Manarola and
the nearby Riomaggiore) are awesome; Riomaggiore is a good arrival or departure point for those with an inflatable kayak,
as in its picturesque harbour you can rinse your kayak, the station is quite close and there are many trains stopping.
Riomaggiore - Portovenere
Even if you leave the Cinque Terre, the best is yet to come. In fact, from Riomaggiore going East you meet a long
sequence of increasingly high and spectacular cliffs under which you can paddle in crystal clear waters.
Moreover, the unspoiled nature sometimes gives way to cultivated terraces and some old farms, giving
this part of Liguria a unique flavor of rurality and history. By kayak you can also stop in some isolated and
deserted pebble beaches.
While approaching Portovenere, the red cliffs of Tramonti and the rocky pinnacles of Muzzerone
make the landscape even more extreme, preparing the kayaker to the view of Portovenere with its castle and
its church perched on the sea.
Passing between Portovenere and the island of Palmaria, you will enter the Gulf of La Spezia. It's an
impressive entrance! The conclusion of the itinerary in Portovenere allows watching the typical Ligurian houses standing on the sea.
From here there are several ways to return to your base, if you have an inflatable kayak. Frequent buses connect Portovenere to
La Spezia train station (they are often crowded so it could be risky to wave your paddle in the bus!);
otherwise, a ferry goes to the Cinque Terre and in Riomaggiore or in Monterosso you can catch a train; or, there is also a
cheaper ferry to the port of La Spezia, but then you have to walk from the port to the train station for 2 kms.
Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto
This magnificent itinerary starts from Portovenere, provides a tour of the three islands and ends again in Portovenere.
So, it's convenient also for those who have a rigid kayak and want to travel by car.
I have already been written about the beauty of Portovenere. In a few minutes you can cross the channel and reach the Palmaria islands (take attention to the
boat traffic). Moving clockwise, initially you meet a cultivation of mussels; then a
ruined of a tower in the middle of the sea, a few dozen meters offshore the island of Palmaria. By kayak you can reach the
tower, moor somehow and explore the ancient ruins... it's highly recommended!
By following the coasts of Palmaria along impressive cliffs, beaches and stretches of Mediterranean bush, you get to a more crowded portion
of the island with camping, restaurant and beaches. After some seafood spaghetti, you can paddle to the island of Tino.
The landscape becomes even wilder and more photogenic; the only flaw is that you can not go touch land in the island because it's
military territory. It is exciting (and lawful) to paddle along the coast one meter away from the rocks.
Tinetto is a tiny islet, but here you can go ashore and enjoy the incredible view on Tino and the open sea. In particular, the southern coast
of Tino and Palmaria is a worthy continuation of the dramatic cliffs of Tramonti and Muzzerone.
Paddling towards Portovenere, you meet caves, vertical walls... and a few goats on the rocks. On Tino
the ruins of a fort are an interesting peculiarity.
Skirting the Palmaria by kayak with admiration, joy and good spirit, you will return to the Gulf, in front of Portovenere,
where you can end your trip with a glass of wine Vermentino or with a cold beer.
All these parts of the coast deserve to be visited in depth. Obviously, some good kayakers with fast kayaks could paddle
from Levanto to Portovenere in a loooong and intense day, but they would miss a lot of the beauty of the coast...
A kayak is an ideal means of transport to enjoy the charm and the particularities of each bay, town, cliff or beach, so
our advice is to visit this part of Liguria with more calm and to dedicate time to each section of the whole itinerary.
You could also wild camp (where it is legal) or
click here to find the best offers for accomodation.
Further from the coast, the hotels are cheaper.
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You can find more photos (with higher resolution) of all the kayaking trips in Liguria in this photogallery:
If you love the sea, you'll appreciate also these trip reports full of photos: SAILING ITALY - PHOTOS AND TRAVEL ITINERARY
From Liguria to Sicily, 800 miles on a sailboat among paradise islands, picturesque villages and memorable wines