I know I pretty much say every place in Italy is my favourite, but Manarola is seriously top three.
It had everything I love; mountains, forests, Italian food, and beautiful views!
We also got so lucky and had the most incredible weather while we were there. It was raining when we first arrived, but as we walked to our hostel the rain stopped and then it was clear and sunny the rest of our time in Cinque Terre!
Honestly, the view of Manarola is so picturesque it was impossible to take a photo that didn’t look like I stole it from a post card! Manarola is definitely my favourite one of the towns in Cinque Terre that we visited.
Our “main” day in Cinque Terre started with breakfast at a little cafe (croissants and a caffè of course). We then caught the train to the next town, Corniglia. After touring the little town we decided to split up, Mum would take the train to Vernazza and I would hike to it. From Corniglia to Vernazza is about a 90 minute hike, and after the 382 stairs up into Corniglia from the train station, Mum figured it was best if I made the hike alone.
The hike was beautiful! Some parts were completely forested and some parts you walked right along the edge looking at the water below. I kept thinking “this is all I want to do for the rest of my life”. It was seriously incredible.
I made the hike in about an hour, and Mum and I met up at the end.
After touring the VERY busy Vernazza and realizing that food was much more expensive, and the line ups to even get into a restaurant were ridiculously long, we decided to just train back to Manarola and have lunch there.
When lunch was finished we had gelato and went back to the hostel, Mum decided to nap and I decided to go back out hiking again. I had seen a path that went up into the mountains more and wanted to see the view up that way. I ended up getting about fifteen minutes in and just sitting up on some stairs to one of the farms.
My little perch had an incredible view of the ocean and of the main buildings of Manarola. After a while one of the farmers came down from where he had been working and (in the highlight of my trip to Manarola) gave me some peas and said (something along the lines of) “tu deve mangiare questo”- you must eat this, so of course, I ate them.
The locals of Manarola were so friendly; letting me speak to them in Italian and even talking to me in Italian. It was a lovely change from the last seven months of my life where pretty much everywhere I went they would say “How can I help you” as soon as I walked in, or just switch to English as soon as they heard my Italian.
We finished up our time in Manarola with a nice sunset dinner beside the ocean!