Manarola to Riomaggiore, 3km (Route 531)

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  • Friday 12th September, 2014
  • Distance 3km, 1hr

I arrived in Manarola at 4pm, had a look around the town, went down to the harbour area where lots of people were swimming and sunbathing and then I bought a gelato and sat down to relax for 5 minutes. I was on schedule and it looked like I had just enough time to make it to the next town and the end of the walk, Riomaggiore, before catching a train back to Milan.

If you’re planning on doing the walk, my advice is that it is possible in one day, but would be a lot more enjoyable to be staying at a hotel in the area so that you can start earlier in the day, spend more time in each town, walk at a leisurely pace, and walk later into the day. Or, of course, split it into two days 🙂

I must also say, that my general walking pace is between 5-6km per hour, whereas this next stage is supposedly only 1.5km and it took me 1 hour! (I wish I had taken my GPS to see the elevation plot as much as to confirm the distances!) The beginning of this path was so steep that I was on all fours! And I had another experience that I hadn’t had since walking around Shikoku – sweat stinging my eyes! It was like a midsummer’s day with a high of 28°C, a lot hotter than I was expecting and I was sweating bucket loads!

This next section was just as tough as the last (Corniglia to Manarola), only that it was slightly shorter in length! I only saw 4 other people in this hour compared to the 50 or 60 people on the first stretch this morning from Monterosso to Vernazza.

It could be that my legs and feet were just tired after a long day of ups and downs, but this section was lacking in the support I needed, in the way of safety rails! If there was a rail, then it wasn’t attached to anything. About two or three times I tried to steady myself on a rail or pole or piece of rope only to find the whole thing dangling from my hand and my whole unstable body just inches away from the edge of a very scary-looking cliff down to very scary-looking sharp and jagged rocks!

One. Last. Steep. Descent… and just when I think my legs are going to collapse under me with the wobbles, I make it to Riomaggiore! I made it!

If there was ever an endorsement for sturdy shoes or boots then this is it! This hike must be done in good shoes with ankle support and under no circumstances should it be attempted in bad weather. Now it’s time to celebrate my survival with an aperol spritz and a local cheeseboard. Ciao!

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2 responses to “Manarola to Riomaggiore, 3km (Route 531)

  1. I stayed 3 days in Manarola in April 2014. What a glorious time! Did some hiking around the town and vineyards, but as you said, the coastal route was closed. Rode the train one day between each town just to say we did it. Thanks for your blog to renew my memories.


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