Skip to Content

Manarola Cinque Terre: the full-day experience

As I embark on this adventure, I find myself in the captivating village of Manarola Italy, nestled within the heart of the Cinque Terre region on the Italian Riviera. 

Join me as I take you through my personal exploration of this stunning destination, offering insights into its history, culture, and hidden treasures that make it a must-visit location.

Manarola’s history stretches back to medieval times, and I’m eager to delve into its rich heritage and discover the stories that shaped it.

As I stand on the rugged cliffs of Manarola, I’m greeted by panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The beauty of this place is simply breathtaking, and I can’t wait to explore further.

I went in shoulder season as high season is pricier and extremely crowded.

Manarola from the sea
Manarola from the sea

What I did in Cinque Terre Manarola in a day

Morning – Embracing the Charm

1. Greeting the Sunrise

My day began with the magic of a sunrise over the Mediterranean. I found a spot along the cliffs and watched in awe as the sun gracefully rose, casting its warm glow over the sea. It was a serene and captivating moment that set the tone for my adventure.

2. Breakfast with a View

After the sunrise, I headed to a local café for a delightful breakfast in one of my favorite Cinque Terre towns

A croissant, a steaming cappuccino, and some fresh fruit were my choices, all while I savored the view of the charming harbor and colorful houses.

Italian Breakfast Cinque Terre
Italian Breakfast Cinque Terre

3. Exploring Manarola Cinque Terre

With breakfast energizing me, I set off to explore Manarola’s quaint streets. 

The vivid colors of the buildings, the small shops filled with unique treasures, and the relaxed atmosphere charmed me instantly. 

Every corner seemed like a postcard-worthy scene, and my camera was my best companion.

I also stopped at church San Lorenzo, a 13th-century building with interesting interiors, and from there I head downhill to see the old mill wheel (magna rota in Latin) and the old harbor.

San Lorenzo Manarola Cinque Terre
San Lorenzo Manarola Cinque Terre

Late Morning – Hiking the Love Walk

4. Embarking on the Love Walk

I couldn’t wait to embark on the famous “Love Walk” trail, which connects Manarola to Riomaggiore

The coastal hike promised stunning views of the sea and the rugged cliffs. 

Along the way, I encountered romantic art installations and love-themed graffiti, adding to the enchantment.

Lockers on Via Dell'amore Cinque Terre
Lockers on Via Dell’amore Cinque Terre

5. Leaving a Mark of Love

Midway through the Love Walk, I discovered the “Locks of Love” area, where couples attached padlocks as a symbol of their affection. 

I added my name to the countless declarations of love, whether I had a lock or not, and felt a part of this heartfelt tradition.

Lunchtime – Savoring Local Delicacies

6. A Seaside Lunch in Manarola Cinque Terre

Returning to Manarola, it was time for a delightful lunch. 

I chose a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the sea, where I indulged in fresh seafood dishes. 

Anchovies, calamari, and the famous Ligurian pesto graced my plate, perfectly complemented by a crisp local white wine.

Ligurian Pasta with fresh pesto
Ligurian Pasta with fresh pesto

Afternoon – Coastal Exploration

7. Beachside Relaxation

For some relaxation, I made my way to Fossola Beach, just a short stroll from Manarola’s center. 

The pebble beach offered a peaceful retreat, and I took a refreshing swim, soaked up the sun, and even enjoyed a quiet moment with a good book.

Manarola from the sea
Manarola from the sea

8. Captivating Views at Punta Bonfiglio

Next, I embarked on a short hike to Punta Bonfiglio, a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking Manarola. 

The easy trek rewarded me with panoramic views of the Manarola village and the mesmerizing coastline. 

It was the ideal spot for taking photos and simply soaking in the beauty.

Explore the beautiful Italian Riviera in my full article on Cinque Terre towns.

Evening – Dinner and Sunset

9. Savoring Cinque Terre Cuisine

As evening approached, I chose a cozy restaurant in Manarola for a memorable dinner. 

I savored more local delights, including trofie pasta with pesto, and couldn’t resist ending my meal with a slice of lemon cake, a regional favorite.

sunset in Cinque Terre
sunset in Cinque Terre

10. Sunset by the Sea

I wrapped up my perfect day in Manarola with a breathtaking sunset by the sea. I found a spot along the rocky coast, where I watched in awe as the sun dipped below the horizon. 

It cast a warm, golden glow over Manarola’s colorful buildings, creating a magical moment that will stay with me forever.

Night – Sipping Local Wine and Stargazing

11. Evening Stroll in Manarola Cinque Terre

After dinner, I took a leisurely stroll through Manarola’s streets. 

The village took on a quieter, more intimate ambiance as the soft evening light added a touch of romance to the surroundings.

traditional windows Manarola
traditional windows Manarola

12. Wine Tasting Experience

No visit to Cinque Terre would be complete without trying some of the region’s finest wines. 

I visited a local enoteca (wine bar) and sampled the crisp white wines that the area is renowned for. I enjoyed engaging conversations with locals and fellow travelers alike.

wine tasting
wine tasting

13. Stargazing by the Pier

My day ended as I headed to the pier and waterfront area for some stargazing. 

The absence of city lights made Manarola Italy an excellent spot for observing the night sky. 

I looked up, lost in the mesmerizing sight of the twinkling stars above.

Local festivals and Events

The Feast of San Lorenzo

I’m a little sad that I cannot be part of the Feast of San Lorenzo, a vibrant celebration filled with music, dancing, and fireworks that showcase Manarola’s lively spirit.

It happens each year on 10 August and it is the time of the year when Italians look to the night sky in the hope of catching shooting stars and making a wish each time.

Harvesting Grapes and Traditions

The Grape Harvest Festival in September promises a unique experience. I can’t wait to join the traditional grape stomping and sample the finest local wines next time when I’ll come back.

Christmas in Manarola Cinque Terre

If you visit Manarola in December, I heard there is a huge nativity scene made from recycled materials on a hill above the town.

It is said to be the largest nativity scene in the world.

Nativity scene illuminated Manarola
Nativity scene illuminated Manarola

What I ate and drank in Manarola

Ligurian Pesto Pasta at Manarola restaurants

One of the culinary highlights of Manarola was undoubtedly Ligurian pesto pasta. 

The pesto sauce, made from fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, was a vibrant green masterpiece. 

Tossed with perfectly cooked trofie pasta, a symphony of flavors left me craving more.

Fresh Seafood Delights

Given Manarola’s coastal location, it was only natural to indulge in fresh seafood. 

From tender calamari to succulent anchovies, every bite was a reminder of the sea’s bounty. 

The seafood was often prepared simply, allowing the natural flavors to shine through.

Pasta with seafood Cinque Terre
Pasta with seafood Cinque Terre

Anchovies Galore

Anchovies are a local delicacy, and I couldn’t resist trying them in various preparations. 

Whether they were marinated in olive oil, served on crispy bruschetta, or incorporated into pasta dishes, these little fish packed a big punch of flavor.

Lemon Delights

Lemons are a quintessential ingredient in Cinque Terre cuisine, and Manarola didn’t disappoint in this regard. 

I sampled lemon-infused dishes like lemon cake, lemon gelato, and even lemon-flavored liqueur, limoncello. 

The tangy and refreshing taste was a perfect complement to the coastal ambiance.

Focaccia and Farinata

Focaccia, a type of flatbread, and farinata, a savory chickpea pancake, were delightful snacks I enjoyed from local bakeries and street vendors. 

These simple yet savory treats were perfect for a quick bite while exploring the village.

farinata pancake
farinata pancake

Local Wine

No meal in Manarola was complete without a glass of the region’s famous white wine. 

I savored this crisp and refreshing wine with every dish, which perfectly complemented the seafood and pasta flavors.

Their dessert wine, called Sciacchetrà, is something you should not miss when visiting Cinque Terre villages.

wine tasting
wine tasting

Gelato with a View

I couldn’t resist treating myself to gelato while strolling through Manarola’s colorful streets. 

Whether it was a classic flavor like pistachio or a more adventurous choice like fig and honey, each scoop was a sweet delight that I enjoyed with scenic views as my backdrop.

How I got to Manarola

Location: 19017 Manarola SP Italy

There are two ways to get to the villages of Cinque Terre, including Manarola: by train or by ferry.

I chose the train as this small town from Cinque Terre is very well connected with the rest of the country.

More than that, the train journey along the coastline offered me some spectacular views of the area.

I have been in the area multiple times, using the train each time. On this blog, you can also find my 3 days itinerary in Cinque Terre to help you better plan your trip.

Train

I took the train from La Spezia, but you can also take it from the railway station Levanto.

From La Spezia train station, I took the local train or “treno regionale” in the direction of Sestri Levante, and I got off at the first stop.

train station
train station

Another thing that I did and I advise you to do so is to buy a Cinque Terre Card Train, which includes the use of the ecological park buses, Wi-Fi connection, access to all trekking paths, and unlimited train travel between Levanto- Cinque Terre- La Spezia line.

Boat

There are boats from La Spezia to four of the five towns of Cinque Terre, including Manarola.

I cannot tell you more details about it as I did not use the boat, only a train.

Cars

Cars are not allowed in Manarola, so even if you have rented a car, you have to leave it in a parking place in La Spezia or Levante.

Where to stay in Cinque Terre Manarola

Charming guesthouses

In Manarola Cinque Terre, I spent the night at Olimpo Affittacamere a charming guesthouse located in a historical house, fully renovated in 2018.

My room was clean and spacious, overlooking the city and the sea.

Luxury retreats

For those looking for something more expensive, fancy and luxurious, I recommend Il Sogno di Manarola by The First with its great views and modern rooms.

Conclusion

My day in Manarola was a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and culinary delights. 

Whether I was exploring the village’s streets, hiking along the coast, or savoring local flavors, Manarola’s charm left me with cherished memories of this coastal gem.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.