The marvels of the Cinque Terre by Kayak (or Stand Up Paddleboard): a unique perspective and places that are inaccessible to anyone else. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are the five villages that are by now famous the world over, equally frequented by outdoor sports enthusiasts and people with a passion for good food and wine.
A visit to this stretch of the Ligurian coast by sea, using paddle-powered vessels like kayaks and stand up paddle boards, always offers us breathtaking vistas and original views of the characteristic coloured houses. Furthermore, thanks to its geological conformation, this area is rich in grottoes, creating little natural ports and tiny little beaches that can only be accessed by sea.
We have previously mentioned how kayaks and paddle boards can be used as a means to explore the most exclusive and hard to reach places along the coast (see our article “4 places in the Portofino Natural Park that you can only reach by kayak or sup”).
After having talked about the coast of the Portofino Promontory, today however we are off discovering the coast of the Cinque Terre National Park by Kayak (or Stand Up Paddle).
Cinque Terre Kayak- stop 1: Punta Mesco
When we talk about the Cinque Terre by Kayak, one immediately thinks of the charming and picturesque villages that characterize them – often forgetting Punta Mesco!
The Cinque Terre Protected Marine Area is delimited respectively on the Eastern and Western side by Punta Mesco and Punta Montenero. Thanks to their scientific and naturalistic interest, both of these coastal heads have become Zone A areas, entirely enclosed by the reserve, so access is strictly limited to scientific ends.
Despite the fact that access to the point itself is forbidden, it is worth starting off from the beach of Monterosso al Mare and paddling a few strokes in the open sea, towards Punta Mesco (being careful not to cross the yellow buoys that mark the limit of the marine reserve).
At this distance you can really appreciate the particular shape of this point, which makes it unique and recognizable with respect to all of the other heads of the Ligurian coast.
From here, gazing towards the East, towards Punta Montenero, a view opens up that is spectacular to say the least, covering the entire Cinque Terre Park, all the way to Portovenere with its Palmaria islands, Tino and Tinetto (discover our tours to the Cinque Terre and to Portovenere).
Cinque Terre Kayak- stop 2: Portetto
This charming tiny natural port is found by the little harbour of Monterosso al Mare.
When you go ashore, as you jump into the waters of this tiny hidden paradise it seems almost as if you are swimming in your own private swimming pool! Thanks to the arrangement of the rocks, this corner is particularly sheltered from the wind and the waves, so it is known for its crystalline waters which are almost always calm and smooth, just like a mirror.
It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing stop or for chilling out, watching a beautiful sunset whilst sitting on the rocks.
Cinque Terre Kayak- stop 3: The Acquapendente waterfall
Continuing towards Vernazza, hidden between the rocks, you come across the Acquapendente waterfall. High up and thin, it slices through the cliff, with the sound of the falling white water blending in with the lapping of the waves. The mixture of fresh and salt water has allowed a little field of very bright green seaweed to grow at the base of the waterfall, which stands out against the dark grey of the rock. On hot summer days, hanging around underneath the freezing water of the waterfall for a regenerating shower is an absolute must! In any other season however it’s quite a challenge and is not for the faint hearted!
Take care here: given that there are a lot of different seaweed species, the rocks here are exceptionally slippy. If you do intend to disembark here, always remember to bring with you, in any season, suitable footwear with a non slip sole.
Cinque Terre Kayak- stop 4: The Maimuna grotto
Along the cliffs near Vernazza is the famous Maimuna Grotto. Given its conformation, a visit to this narrow and deep inlet is only possible by using small vessels like kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards.
Fascinating and mysterious, the exact origins of its name have been lost to legend. It is said that a long, long time ago, a young lady named Maimuna took refuge here in this grotto in order to escape the attack of a pirate ship. Remaining trapped by the riptide, she was then condemned to spend eternity here. According to legend, during stormy nights even today you can hear her cries for help hailing from the depths of the grotto.
Cinque Terre Kayak- stop 5: Guvano beach (the perfect stop)
Given the small spaces that the territory offers in this area, Guvano beach is one of the most extensive and beautiful beaches of the Cinque Terre. This collection of rocks and large pebbles is found inset in the cliffs between Vernazza and Corniglia.
This secluded beach with its rather tricky access is particularly famous for the 1970s (as well as for its particular beauty) when it became the favourite spot of an active hippy community. The locals tell us colourful (and sometimes improbable) stories about episodes which occurred on this beach during those years, and the place is still much loved by nudists and naturists from all over the world today.
The places that we have just described have still not been invaded by the tourist masses that in the last few years have developed in an unarrestable way. But if this is not enough and you are looking for even more tranquillity, we recommend that you adventure along this magical stretch of coast during the winter…