Where to take the Best Photos in Manarola, Cinque Terre
A rainbow of colourful buildings look out over the Mediterranean Sea as they sit perched high on rocky cliffs.
It’s one of the most iconic villages of Italy, photographed by millions of tourists each year. Manarola is a coastal photography overload of opportunity on the Cinque Terre. It’s not hard to see why people flock here! This is one of those unique places in the world that takes your breath away.
Finding the location to take the iconic image isn’t too difficult, it’s simply a matter of following the path around the port and looking back. If you’re like me, you like a little surprise so try this…walk around the path without looking back until you’re nearly at the end…then take a peek. It’s definitely a wow postcard moment!
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Manarola, here are some of the best photography locations I found and recommend for your trip…
Photo Locations in Manarola
#1 The Manarola Port
It’s no secret the village of Manarola is best seen from the sea, but why not get in and take photos from the water!? Being in the water adds another element to your image creating something a little more unique that what everyone else is taking from the headland.
If you don’t have an underwater camera the port is still a hive of activity and full of photography opportunities. You’ll find a lot of daring travellers jumping from 6m high rocks into the sea, colourful boats bobbing at anchor and then there are the incredible cliffs and rocky foreshore.
#2 Nessun Dorma
Perched above the infamous lookout where everyone takes that iconic image of Manarola, Nessun Dorma is sitting ready to welcome photographers. Here you can sip cocktails, smoothies and granita while you watch the sun go down and listen to chill music. The best part? You get the same iconic view from your table! It took me two nights to find this gem and from the outside it looks a little exclusive, which was the reason I never walked up the stairs! But, anyone can go up and even if you don’t want to pay for a drink, just beside the restaurant is a gorgeous little garden with again…those same iconic views!
#3 Via di Corniglia
Take a wander up this street to get away from the crowds but still keep those sea views. You gradually climb up higher and higher and along the way there are a variety of different angles you can take of the port and buildings below. At the top you’ll reach the cemetery however just out the front is a little look out for you to photograph from.
#4 West Headland
Wander around the port and instead of stopping to look back at Manarola, keep going to the other side of the headland. Here you look west towards the village of Corniglia but it’s the large cliffs that dangle into the sea below offering the best photo op. Off the coast you’ll also see little fishing boats or locals just out to soak in the sun on their wooden row boats. It’s also the best place to watch the sun dip over the mountains…
#5 Piazza Capellini
If you arrive by train you’ll pass by this square on your way to the port. It’s worth stopping to peek over the edge. Piazza Capellini offers a great view down the main street of Manarola and you can photograph all of the activity while having a great linear point of view right down to the water. In the evening, the dimly lit street is at its most beautiful so be sure to leave 10 minutes extra for photo time before your train leaves!
And just one more spot…the train platform.
Facing east over the sea it’s the ideal spot to get that one last shot before you depart…
How to get to Manarola?
Manarola is part of the Cinque Terre on Italy’s Riviera. You can access Manarola by car, bus or boat but the most advisable is by train.
Take the train from La Spezia toward Monterosso and then exit at Manarola.
Tourist numbers have recently been limited on the Cinque Terre so it’s essential to check in advance what tickets you require. Visit the following website Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre for up to date information on purchasing the Cinque Terre Card for public transport and details about the hiking trails.
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. With 14+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
I'm Lisa Michele Burns, a professional photographer and founder of The Wandering Lens from Australia. Welcome to your guide to photographing the world, improving your photography and scouting unique and inspiring places to experience with your camera. Click here to start exploring popular guides + articles. After four years online, The Wandering Lens has turned into the leading publisher of photography focused travel guides!