The Ostello Porto Venere proved to be the perfect base for exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site commonly known as Cinque Terre.
Location & Getting There
As the name would suggest the Ostello di Porto Venere is in Portovenere, to the left of the Grand Hotel, two minutes from the port*. Prime property! It is located on the second floor of the Centro Educazione Ambientale. I would say that the house has been renovated in the past two years. However, wear and tear is beginning to show: our toilet seat was falling off, the wallpaper cracked. Apart from those few signs the place was well taken care of by friendly and helpful staff.
Coming from the next larger town, La Spezia, just take the 11/P bus and ask the driver to drop you by the port. The one-way ticket is €2.50. You can also take the boat from either La Spezia (€8) or the Cinque Terre villages (one-way about €12). There are no trains. Parking is a bit difficult in all of Portovenere, so ask the Ostello whether they can offer any special conditions in case you need to bring a car.
Most guests seem to come here in the summer to enjoy the beaches, only few to actually explore Cinque Terre.
Rooms & Facilities
At the core the building that houses the hostel is a hundred years, when you get to the tourist office make sure you look at the old photographs lining the walls — you’ll see the building as early as the 1920s sitting on the outskirts of what was then only a small fishing village. There are about ten rooms along the hallway with varying sizes — from double to seven-bed dorm. All rooms are en suite. I paid €25 per night in the dorm which I shared with between none and five people during the four nights I spent there.
The beds were comfortable, clean, there was plenty of space to lock away bags and valuables, and there were nightlights by the beds and shelf space next to most of them. There was even air-conditioning, though the room mates had to be forced with evil stares to leave the windows shut so the A/C could do its magic. The bathroom was also spacious, but in addition to the toilet seat the shower was also not as stable as I would have wished.
Wi-Fi on the other hand was stable and worked a treat for me. To work I withdrew to a large conference room which the Centro also rents out.
Food & Drinks
The hostel serves what I have by now come to recognize as ‘typical Italian breakfast’: coffee (here self-served from a vending machine), tea, juice, milk, two kinds of corn flakes, an assortment of fake tasting baked goods in plastic, jams and Nutella.
There are several restaurants in Portovenere, as the village is heavily frequented by tourists. I recommend the Ligurian street food served by the ladies in Anciúa imbiss, about a third into Via Capellini, or, if you want to spend a bit more, the sea food (not so much the pasta) at Tre Torre.
The two supermarkets (Conad and a local shop) are located next to the bus stop on Via Garibaldi.
Though there is no kitchen at the hostel, there is a microwave and an electric kettle to prepare simple meals alla casa.
*You can see the hostel in the top left corner of the featured image — it’s the grey house.