The next to the last village of the 5 villages (Cinque Terre) is Manarola. Although the towns are overrun by tourists , Manarola remains uncorrupted by tourism. There are only a few stores. The restaurant recommended by author Fred Plotkin, in Italy for the Gourmet Traveler is “Ristorante Marina Piccola, Via Discovolo 38. You can eat outdoors to enjoy a good meal, beautiful setting and atmosphere. The pesto is excellent; as are the muscoli ripieni. Grilled fish is very good, and the wine is from the Cinqueterre cooperative.”
The walk from Manarola to Corniglia is 3km long and takes about 1 hour. Parts of this trail are again pretty easy, but it is steeper and at times the ground is uneven under foot. The most exhausting part of this section is at the end, once you arrive at Corniglia train station. The station is located at the bottom of the hill, by the ocean, but the town of Corniglia is located on top of the hill….and there are approx 365 stairs to climb up to get up to the village!!
The section between Corniglia and Vernazza is the most scenic part, through varied landscapes – you walk through olive groves and forest, and then along the cliff edge, with spectacular views coming into Vernazza. This section is 4km long and takes about 1.5 hours to complete.
The section between Vernazza and Monterosso is the most difficult. It is 4kms long and has lots of ups and downs and steep stairs. It is little less scenic than the others, but you do get a good view of some of the local vineyards. The fun of hiking the trails is that you know that you can find delicious gelato in the next town or enjoy a glass of wine or expresso to celebrate your accomplishments.
Have you visited Manarola? Favorite spots?
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.