No trip to Cinque Terre is complete without visiting Manarola! Here’s what you need to know to plan a day trip in Manarola.
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The five towns of Cinque Terre each have a slightly different flavor. If you have time, I recommend spending a few hours in each one! I’ve already shared my favorite parts of Monterosso al Mare and Corniglia, so today I’m sharing a day trip guide to Manarola!
Manarola, Cinque Terre
That means that it’s a great idea to do a boat trip to see all towns by water! I love Tiburon Boat Tours, which leaves from Monterosso al Mare. You can also take the ferry between most of the towns if you’d rather, but in the high season, it’s harder to secure a seat with a view.
The easiest way to arrive in Manarola is by local train, which runs every 20-30 minutes between the towns. This is how I typically get around: it’s faster and cheaper than the ferry, and I’d rather save that money for a proper boat trip rather than a crowded slow ride.
Like every other Cinque Terre town, one of the best ways to experience Manarola’s charms is to just wander. The street art, the picturesque corners, and the colorful buildings make wandering perfect. Take it to the next level by adding a gelato or granita!
Plenty of shops run the range of tourist junk to artisan crafts, so the best way is to stick your head in. In general, when buying food products, make sure to check the label to see where it’s actually produced! Things like limoncello are often mass-produced far away from the region.
One shop I loved was Autedu. It’s primarily an enoteca (wine shop), but they had some truly gorgeous ceramics. I snapped up a bunch, theoretically for future gifts but who knows how many I’ll actually decide to keep for myself. They were beautiful, reasonably priced, and the staff wrapped them well enough to survive a plane ride home – all crucial parts of shopping abroad!
Realistically, you need about 3 hours in Manarola to really experience it. I don’t recommend trying to squeeze all five villages into one day – it makes the experience more about checking it off rather than truly enjoying it. But if you’re trying to take in the major views and not trying to eat a meal, Manarola would take about an hour.
That being said, I highly recommend having a long lunch or at least drinks in Manarola, which is why I say more like three hours. It’s worth it at one particular spot!
If you’re planning a day trip to Manarola, I only have one restaurant recommendation for you: Nessun Dorma. I’m only offering one because it’s unparalleled for what it offers.
Nestled into the mountain overlooking the town, Nessun Dorma has the best land view of the city you can get. Every table is shaded and I bet at least 30% of the photos you’ve seen of Manarola have come from Nessun Dorma’s balcony.
They have a great cocktail list, both classics and originals. They also have an extensive antipasti menu – tons of invent bruschetta options, charcuterie boards, and an entire section featuring burrata. Everything is cool and refreshing, the perfect meal on a hot summer day.
The catch? They don’t take reservations, and its understandably the most popular restaurant in town. Plan to wait in line about an hour to get in for lunch or dinner.
There are two ways around waiting if that sounds too terrible to even think about. One is take their pesto class! I haven’t done it, but have many friends who have and they’ve all loved it. It’s offered every morning before the restaurant opens, and after class you get to keep your table and eat both your creations and order from the menu.
The other option is come in the middle of the afternoon – I’ve been told that around 3, the line slows down. It’s a great spot for snacks and cocktails!