If we had to choose a photo that best represents this splendid national park, it would certainly be Manarola, the oldest and most romantic village of the Cinque Terre. It is very recognizable, thanks to its unique setting on a rocky spur washed by the waves, and its typical picturesque houses which rise on top of each other.
Although there are no sandy beaches in Manarola, it is not overlooked by tourists! In fact, Manarola attracts its tourists thanks to the beautiful landscapes that open from the rocks and the Sentiero dell’Amore (Pathway of Love), and the romantic stories, and thanks also to the Groppo distillery which is famous throughout the coast.
Article was last updated in March, 2024.
How to reach Manarola and get around
The train station is connected with the village by a tunnel 100 meters or 110 yards long that passes through the rocks on which Manarola sits. Thus the best way to get there is undoubtedly by train. More information on tickets and timetables on the page “By train”.
Boats ply regularly between La Spezia, Porto Venere and all villages of the Cinque Terre (except Corniglia). The port of Manarola is marked on the map. More information on the page “By boat”.
Many of the footpaths from other places lead to Manarola. More information on the page “Cinque Terre Hiking Trails”.
It is advisable not to use the car to get here, as the road up to Manarola is winding and narrow and there are some sections that are problematic. But if you should arrive by car, there is paid parking (€3/h) with 80 places (marked on the map) at the entrance to the village; in summer there is availability to park only in early morning.
What to see in Manarola
A 1fenced path along the sea, dotted with rocky protrusions, departs from Manarola at the base of the rocky outcrop and winds its way toward Corniglia. The first 300 meters (330 yards) of the trail are always open; along here you can see a stretch of coastline, Punta Mesco, Monterosso and Manarola itself “positioned” on the spur that falls into the sea. This setting certainly makes it the most romantic of the Cinque Terre villages.
2The Christmas Nativity during winter also contributes to the romantic atmosphere of the small village in the period between December and January, when with the help of sculptures and garlands, the birth of Christ is portrayed in Manarola. It is a spectacle of unprecedented beauty.
Worthy of note is also the main panoramic area of the village, where you will find the 3Church of San Lorenzo, patron saint of Manarola, built in the XIV century in the Gothic and Baroque style.
What to see near Manarola
Not far from Manarola there are two hamlets: 4Groppo and 5Volastra. In the first there are numerous vineyards and the famous distillerie of the Cinque Terre, in the other, the ancient 5Sanctuary of Our Lady of Health (Santuario di Nostra Signora della Salute).
Wine lovers often go to Groppo to taste the local wines and some of the best Italian wines are for sale here; while if you wish to visit the ancient places of interest you must go to Volastra, where you will find the ancient sanctuary (X century). There is still a sacred image of the Madonna (XVIII century) In the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Health.
Walking paths near Manarola
From Manarola to the nearest places (Riomaggiore and Corniglia) there are two tourist tracks, a long one and a short one. Among the particularly renowned tracks is the Sentiero dell’Amore (the Pathway of Love), a famous walk whose origins have given rise to a legend of a local Romeo and Juliet.
More information on the map and the description of the paths on the page “Hiking Trails”.
Where to stay in Manarola?
One of the characteristics of Manarola is the absence of hotels, in the classic sense of the term, and the presence of a large number of private houses, each with a couple of guest rooms. We can suggest the following options:
Rating: Very good, 8.1.
Mini hotel for those who appreciate beauty and comfort and like to enjoy a rest. The rooms are stylishly furnished and decorated with paintings by contemporary artists. There are also rooms with stunningly beautiful views of the sea and over the vineyards.
Rating: Very good, 8.3.
Apartments on the cliff by the sea. The house is located rather high up, but in three minutes you can descend to the main street in Manarola and the sea. Some rooms have terraces with a sea view.
Su per i Coppi
Rating: Good, 7.9.
A small guest house with modestly furnished rooms, not far from the bus stop. The rooms do not have a view to the sea, but at “Su per i Coppi” (Up on the Hills) tranquility and peace reign. It is the most economical option in Manarola.
Or you can compare some of the hotels based on the comments from tourists and at the prices indicated on this page.
Where to eat in Manarola
At the 6Trattoria Dal Billy you can try the pasta of the house with seafood. This is a cozy restaurant with sea view, where you can often find tourists from all over the world. The fish dishes, served here, are their best.
A cheaper option is the 7Trattoria La Scogliera, located in the main street which leads to the sea, where you can eat seafood dishes and also much more.
Both restaurants are marked on the map.
Nessun Dorma is the most popular bar among young people. Here you can have a drink, local snacks and take beautiful photos with Manarola in the background. Be sure to queue using Nessun Dorma app which you should download in advance!
When to visit Manarola
Thanks to Christmas nativity scene, Manarola becomes so beautiful that even in winter tourists have something to see. Thus you can visit Manarola at any time of the year.