Hiking San Bernardino to Manarola

Spring flowers on the trailThe Cinque Terre trails are forever enticing whether they be across the valleys, over the mountain or down to an alluring blue sea.  I have my favourite trails and now is a good time to really enjoy the Spring flowers and the new vine shoots and take a hike along the high trail from San Bernardino to Manarola, via Fornacchi and La Cigoletta.

Fornacchi is the tiniest of villages, only 5 houses but with an important laundry service that provides bed linens to the numerousMadonna of Fornacchi apartments and bed and breakfast places in the area. The view is stunning of San Bernardino below and the coastline to Monterosso as a sweet little Madonna indicates the path through to the woods.View from Fornacchi There are no other hikers just the sounds of Nature; rustling leaves from the light breeze and as tiny lizards run out of sight.

Crossroads indicate the trail across the mountain ridge round to Drignano or down towards Corniglia across to Manarola which I prefer as am more fond of coastal views. On the high trail between Corniglia and Manarola I meet lots of hikers since the coastal trail between Corniglia and Manarola is closed now more tourists are obliged to try the high trail.

It’s a great time of year as the vines have sprouted and the views over the famous terraced landscape are compelling. Besides a large part of the trail walks through the vineyards. A total immersion in an ancient farming method where vines are trellised over wire frames to protect them from the strong winds and allow more air circulation underneath to avoid mould from the humidity later in the season.

And of course the thousands of kilometers of drystone walls that make this area a Unesco World Heritage site and a twin site with the Great Wall of China! They say if you put all the drystone walls together they would be twice as long as the Great Wall…..but it’s a saying and I cannot guarantee that as fact.Vines on trellis

Little would most tourists realize how hard it is to maintain these terraces, cultivate these vineyards or even grape pick…..as our volunteers experienced at harvest time.Grape picking Cinque Terre



The trail leaves the vineyards in time for a coffee stop in the village of Volastra, perched high above the sea. This sweet semi circular village, immersed in olive groves features a lovely Romanesque church sitting on a shaded piazza with plenty of seats for hikers to have a break.Volastra church







Vinew back to San Bernardino

From there it’s downhill all the way with breathtaking views along the coast till Manarola appears in view.

Blessed with sunshine on the descent  enhances the beauty of Manarola as I meander through gorgeous irises and wildflowers and am beckoned on by the aquamarine sea.

Manarola main streetAnd Manarola never disappoints, today the rough seas play on the rocks in the cove, the fishing boats are hauled up and tourists and locals enjoy the fabulous scenery. Manarola bay

Manarola, Cinque Terr



2 thoughts on “Hiking San Bernardino to Manarola

  1. Hello Jane,
    You revealed your hiding place! The beautiful San Bernadino! My daughter and I discovered it by chance and Maria and her wonderful flat overlooking the whole of the Bays. Give her a big hug from us. We bought her a pot with Geraniums I think.
    We are the Artists who wrote to you before from OZ.
    Actually, you wrote to us that you had previous connections with artists. Actually, Karin started to paint mainly Cinque Terre after our trip, she loves it so much, she paints pen and watercolours.I think I might have asked you if you met the Contessa at Cortona,
    sort of halfway down the mountain? She too had a flat, renovated stables. Great spot.
    They took us Falconiering, what a fantastic day for us, totally unexpected.
    We had hardly anything pre-booked and that was a bonus.
    have a wonderful summer!
    Greetings from home!
    Chris and Karin
    Victoria Point Qld

    • Wow what a coincidence that you have stayed in my village. A spot that inspires everyone especially artists. Don’t know the Contessa of Cortona but know the town well and can only imagine how exciting for you to be part of a falconieri experience. Keep up the painting! Sue

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