Among the beauties in the surroundings of Cinque Terre, there is definitely the island of Palmaria. It is located at the end of the western side of the Gulf of La Spezia, just in front of the village of Porto Venere.
The island of Palmaria is the biggest in Liguria and together with Tino and Tinetto constitutes the main archipelago of the Gulf of La Spezia. From 1997 is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The eastern side of the island is opposite the village of Porto Venere and there is a stunning beach and a restaurant, “Il Gabbiano”. Not far from there, there is another restaurant and some private bathing establishments.
The vegetation of the entire island is a typical example of Mediterranean scrub, its cliffs towards the open sea are instead steep, overlooking the sea and site of many caves. The western side hosts a restaurant and again some beautiful beaches to enjoy the sea and the view of Tino Island.
The island also hosts some military buildings and three fortresses built in the XIX century, today used to host events and activities about the territory.
Around Cinque Terre: Palmaria Island and How to Get There
From Cinque Terre:
There are ferryboats in each one of Cinque Terre (except for Corniglia) that will take you from to Porto Venere, where you will find a smaller boat that works as a shuttle.
From La Spezia:
- Ferryboats are active all week during summer (from May to October). There is one almost every hour.
- The bus P/11 will take you from La Spezia to Porto Venere and then you will find a boat that works as a shuttle.
From Porto Venere:
There is a shuttle boat to take people on the island. It costs 5 euros back and forth. The service starts at the first dock after the main square of Porto Venere.
Both services have a line to Pozzale, the beach on the other side of Island Palmaria.
On the island various trekking trails allow you to get to the opposite side. The entire tour, which on the signs you will see is called “giro Isola”, it’s about 3 hours long.
Tip by Locals: All the paths are signed with red and white marks on trees and rocks along the way. From the ferryboat stop (called “Terrizzo”) you will be able to choose between two variants. A road on your right or stairs in front of you. This last option is known as “the condemned” (condannati) trail. Our advice is to take the road on the right for a more panoramic route. Then you will find a crossroads for the stairs further on.
Beaches and restaurants
The island of Palmaria is popular among locals for its beautiful beach, “Il secco”, just in front of Porto Venere. This beach’s peculiarity is the sand you can find on the bottom of the sea. Even though the shore is made of pebbles. The first section of the beach is equipped. You will be able to rent sun loungers and deckchairs to the bar “Il Gabbiano” when you arrive.
The positive side of this is that the beach is not reserved: you can place your towel wherever you want. Going to the extremity of this side of the island, you will find bigger rocks, ideal to sunbathe.
The second beach of Palmaria is located on the opposite side of the island. It is reachable from La Spezia or Porto Venere, with ferryboats or smaller boats. There is also a restaurant close to the beach. It is also a pebble beach and it offers a unique view of the Island of Tino.
The main restaurant of Palmaria is located between the ferryboats dock and the beach “Il secco”. It offers seafood dishes and typical local cuisine.
Tips by Locals:
- At Gabbiano, you will be able to find artisanal popsicles, so yummy!
- The sand at “Il secco” beach is in a precise spot, don’t miss it!
- At the end of the eastern side, the one opposite Porto Venere, there is a rock used to dive right into the ocean, try it!
- The hiking trail offers a stunning view also of Porto Venere, but if you are lazy you will just have to go to “the terrace”. It is a platform of concrete located on the extremity of the island. You will be able to find it after 5-10 minutes of walking uphill. Do it with sneakers or boots!!