Manarola, Italy: A Beautiful Village On The Mediterranean
Manarola: A Charming Village In the Italian Riviera
Manarola, Italy is one of five tiny towns in a section of the Italian Riviera known as Cinque Terre. Although Cinque Terre translates to "five lands," it actually refers to five villages that are all connected by a walking path: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
My family had the honor of being able to visit Manarola in June of 2008. It was an experience we'll never forget.
Would you like to hear about our trip to Manarola and view some of our photos?
Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean in Italy - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore
This is a map that shows the five villages in Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Each of the five villages has it's own unique personality. We would have loved to have explored them all, but did want to see some of the rest of Europe too!
Cinque Terre is located along the Mediterranean in Northern Italy. Cinque Terre can be found at the chocolate brown area on this map. Venice,on the other hand, can be found in Northern Italy on the other side of the "leg" that makes up Italy. Draw a line straight across the top of the "boot" from Cinque Terre, and that's Venice!
Manarola, Italy - on the Italian Riviera - These are some photos we took of Manarola while on our trip. (Click the smaller photos to enlarge them.)Click thumbnail to view full-size
How Interesting and Unique the Colorful Buildings in Manarola Are! - Some of the buildings in Manarola are built right into the cliff!
One of the things that fascinates me about Manarola, Italy is the colorful buildings built on the side of the cliff! Look at how they are almost stacked on top of each other! They are called "Tower Houses." Notice how the pink building in the lower right hand side of the photo is build right into the cliff!
A Street In Manarola
There are plenty of boats, yes. But notice anything missing? Where are the cars?
How do you get to Manarola?
Not likely by car!
One of the things that makes Cinque Terre unique is it's absence of cars. For our entire stay in Manarola, the only vehicle we saw on the roads was a shuttle bus that carried people from the parking area to the center of the village.
There is a train that connects the five villages, and that's how we got to Manarola. After getting there, we walked every where we went. The hills are steep, but it's so wonderful to have that freedom from cars! No traffic lights. No horns going beep! No screeching of tires or car accidents or traffic violations.
Yes, you can drive there if you'd like, but you must park your car outside Manarola and either use the shuttle bus or walk into the village on foot. Apparently those few residents who have a car park it somewhere (although we never saw any of their cars), but unless you are a resident, you must have a load/unload permit to bring a car into the village.
Other options for getting there include by foot or ferry boat.
The Walking Trails of Cinque Terre - These trails connect the five villages
A walking trail connects the five villages. The trail runs along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Do you see it above? It runs across the middle of the photo.
My family walked the trail from Manarola to Riomaggiore (that part of the trail is called Via dell'Amore, which means Love's Trail, or Love's Way or Lover's Lane) as well as part of the trail between Manarola and Corniglia. The views are absolutely incredible!
There is a small charge for walking the trail between some of the villages, but not between others.
We took this photo of Riomaggiore, a neighboring village in Cinque Terre, as we walked along the trail.
Be sure and check out the photo gallery below for some more of the photos we took along the trail!
Scenes from the trail - We took these photos as we walked along the trail between Manarola and neighboring villages.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Where to Stay in Manarola, Italy
Manarola has a youth hostel, as well as other options for accommodations
We stayed in a youth hostel on the top of the hill at Manarola. It was a hike up there, as you're climbing almost constantly on the way up. And the hostel isn't exactly a Hilton Hotel once you get there, yet it certainly met our needs and was clean and inexpensive! We enjoyed our stay there very much and do recommend it! If staying in a hostel every now and then allows your stay in Europe to be longer, go for it!! There's no pool, but hey, you've got the Mediterranean Sea to swim in!! Who needs a pool!!
There were five of us along, so we reserved a room that had six bunks in it. No one else stayed in that room except us (unlike when we were sound asleep on a night train between Venice and Munich - as sound asleep as you can get on a little tiny bunk bed on a moving train, that is - and someone came into our very small train cabin and climbed into the one empty bed around 2 in the morning!). Our Hostel room had it's own (clean) bathroom and shower for which you use shower coins. Lockers were provided in the room for storing your belongings. Although the lockers might not be necessary if you've reserved the whole room just for your party, they are certainly nice to have if you're sharing a room with others you don't know!
In addition to the six bunk rooms, they also have twin and quad rooms available, also with a private bathroom and shower.
Other places to stay in Manarola:
Where to eat in Manarola, Italy!
A small restaurant, Pasta pesto & Co. Restaurant, is available in the hostel for breakfast and dinner, but the hostel is closed during the day so you'll have to eat elsewhere for lunch.
Not to worry! There are some great restaurants in Manarola! Most of the ones we found are down near the waterfront.
More About Manarola
Manarola is the oldest, yet the second smallest, of the villages in Cinque Terre. The church, San Lorenzo, dates back to 1338!
The local dialect is Manarolese.
Romantic Weekends in Europe - This book has a section on Cinque Terre.
In addition to a section on Cinque Terre, it also features Salzburg, Austria; Zermatt, Switzerland; Porto-Vecchio, Corsica; Paris, France; Venice, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands; London, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Geneva, Switzerland; Madrid, Spain; Galway, Ireland; Bruges, Belgium; Lucerne, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria.
For each European location, recommended hotels and restaurants are suggested. Also provided are ideas for romantic activities and experiences, such as exploring the tulip fields of Amsterdam by bike, taking a boat ride on the Danube, and visiting some ancient ruins in Budapest at night.
The Mediterranean Sea - The Italian Riviera
A ladder is provided, but the water's so cold, most of our family found it easier to just jump right in. You go numb within just a minute or two and then don't have to worry about the cold!
The swimming area is nestled in this little cove, although it certainly seems bigger when you're in it than it appears in this photo!
Visiting Manarola is like visiting paradise.... - It is soooo beautiful! And without the cars, everything is calm, peaceful, quiet, and relaxing.
Do you agree? After viewing the photos above, do you feel visiting Manarola would be like visiting paradise? Would you like to visit Manarola?
Guide Books On Italy - They're worth the expense!
If you're making a trip to Italy, I highly recommend you purchase a guidebook. They are well worth the expense, in my opinion, and come with valuable tips and insights that can help make your trip more enjoyable (as well as less expensive too, at times!)
Prior to, as well as during, our vacation in Europe, our personal favorite travel guide was the Rick Steve's series of guide books, although we used several others as well and they all had something to offer! We found that Rick Steve never steered us wrong. We found his advice and recommendations to be helpful and always very accurate.
This one has lots of color photographs too! It also contains a little Italian history, so the places you go will be more meaningful to you!
As the title suggests, this one is full of color photographs as well!
Have You Ever Been To Italy?
If not, would you like to go?
100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go - This is not your typical travel guide book!
This book covers the not-to-be-missed churches, temples and other holy locations of Italy, gardens, beaches, great shopping opportunities, spas, restaurants, activities (hiking, skiing, biking, boating, yoga), cooking classes, arts and crafts (leathercraft, jewelry making, maskmaking, landscape painting, mosaics, ceramics), opera, classical music, jazz, puppet shows, child-friendly locations, and more!
This book covers the "off-the-beaten-path" places to visit while on your trip to Italy! These are the places you might never have heard of, but will love experiencing! This book pairs well with one of Rick Steve's travel guides.
Want to See Some Of the Other Towns in Cinque Terre? - Are you trying to decide which village in Cinque Terre you'd like to visit?
Don't miss the beautiful photos that can be found on these sites!!
- Cinque Terre
Here's an article about Cinque Terre. Scroll down to the bottom and you can see some beautiful photos of all five villages in Cinque Terre!
- Monterosso al Mare
This is an article specifically about Monterosso al Mare.
Don't miss the photos of Vernazza at the bottom of this site!
Corniglia is the middle village of the five that make up Cinque Terre. Beautiful photos can be found on this site as well!
Did you know that the mountainside and water near Riomaggiore have been declared national parks? Be sure and look at the gorgeous photos on this site!
More Information About Manarola - To Help You Plan A Trip Of Your Own!
- Italy Travel Guide: Manarola, Italy
This is an informative site about visiting Manarola.
- Manarola, Italy
This is a very short article, with a large, colorful photo of Manarola.
- The Five Villages: Manarola
This site offers a webcam of Manarola, in addition to some interesting information about the village.
Manarola, Italy Jigsaw puzzle - Bring a little of Manarola right into your living room!
This Cinque Terre puzzle was made in Italy. It has 500 pieces and measures 19 1/3" x 14 1/5"
Have You Ever Been To Manarola?
Have You Ever Been To Manarola?
Manarola Art Print Poster - on your choice of cotton paper, photo paper, or canvas
I love this piece of art! It's both charming and romantic, just like Manarola!