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Corniglia - The Ultimate Guide to the Laid-Back Village of Cinque Terre


The Cinque Terre (which literally translates as "Five Lands") is named after five tiny villages which may be considered as one of the most heavenly places to be found in Italy. Located on the Ligurian coast and nestled in a series of coves, this part of the Italian Riviera has become internationally famous over the last decades, arousing the curiosity of tourists from all over the world, and this is no surprise! The reason to this fame: its pastel-colored houses, its clear turquoise waters and its green vineyard cliffs. In this post, we covered the best things to do in Corniglia by creating a walking tour with a selection of curated tips.





GENERAL INFORMATION

The Laid-Back Town of the Cinque Terre. There's no such thing as a quiet village in the Cinque Terre but Corniglia is the quietest village when compared to its buzzing sisters. Located perched on the top of a rock hill with no direct access to the sea and therefore no swimming point, fewer tourists choose to visit this village. Its isolated location has also allowed Corniglia to remain the most preserved village of all five. It is the perfect spot for people who would like to discover an authentic village while eating gelatos and being able to enjoy the nice views of the surroundings!

Via Fieschi - Beautiful narrow street
Via Fieschi - Beautiful narrow street
Get lost in the old town of Corniglia!
Get lost in the old town of Corniglia!

HOW TO GET TO CORNIGLIA?

GETTING THERE BY TRAIN

Located in the middle of the Cinque Terre, Corniglia may be reached from larger cities of the Italian Riviera, and more generally from all the major cities of Italy. Like the other villages of the Cinque Terre, Corniglia is more easily accessible by rail. Unlike the other villages, the train station is located at the bottom of very long and steep stairs (385 steps); it takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the village on foot, however, if you are not up for a little exercise, there is the possibility of going up with a shuttle bus (2.50 EUR or free if you have the Cinque Terre card). This may be one of the reason why the village is usually less crowded than its neighbors. Below you will find some information on how to get there by train:

  • From Pisa: a stop in La Spezia is necessary, the trip lasts around an hour and a half and costs 12 EUR.
  • From La Spezia: direct train line to the Cinque Terre; the trip lasts around 13 minutes and costs 4 EUR.
  • From Genoa: direct train line to Corniglia; the trip lasts around 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs 10 EUR.
  • From Sestri Levante: direct train line to Corniglia; the trip lasts around 45 minutes and costs EUR.

The Cinque Terre Train Card is the card you need! This card costs 16 EUR per day per person and includes unlimited train rides in the Cinque Terre area AND access to all the hiking trails (more information here).

GETTING THERE BY CAR

Corniglia can also be reached by car, but keep in mind that cars are not allowed in the village, except for local residents. We therefore think that it is not the best option to reach these remote villages by car. Another disadvantage for travelers coming by car is the high price and limited numbers of parking spots available. One car parks is located approximately 500 meters from Corniglia. Below you will find some information for the adventurous travelers who decide to come to the Cinque Terre by car:

  • From Pisa: 105 km, approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • From Genoa: 105 km, approx. 2 hours and 5 minutes.
  • From La Spezia: 27 km, approx. 40 minutes.
  • From Sestri Levante: 57 km, approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes.

GETTING THERE BY PLANE

It is also important to say that the nearest airports to the Cinque Terre are located in Genoa and Pisa. It is also possible to fly to bigger cities such as Florence and Milan, however these are not the best options.

View of the Corniglia from the hiking path to Vernazza
View of the Corniglia from the hiking path to Vernazza

THE VILLAGE

1. VIA FIESCHI

This street is Corniglia's main street, and it is really cute! The street has many shops, restaurants and other places to discover but the place we recommend most is Alberto Gelateria. As the name suggests, here you can try the best ice cream in the village, if not in the whole of Cinque Terre. The selection of flavours on offer is particularly interesting, try their specialty, the basil ice cream, made from basil growing in the ower's garden and extra virgin olive oil. You can also try the miele di Corniglia, made with local honey. You won't be disappointed! Also, around Via Fieschi, there are a certain number of alleys in which it is great to get lost in!


Via Fieschi
Via Fieschi
Discovering the village
Discovering the village


2. LARGO TARAGIO

Via Fieschi inevitably leads to the main square of the village: Largo Taragio. This is the central square of the village, with little cafés and restaurants where it is pleasant to take a short break in the shade, which is good, especially in the summer heat! On this square, you'll notice the Church of San Pietro which was built in the 14th century in Gothic style, with some Baroque elements.

Largo Taragio
Largo Taragio
Tiny terrace next to Largo Taragio
Tiny terrace next to Largo Taragio

3. END-OF-TOWN VIEWPOINT

This place is absolutely incredible! It offers a breathtaking view of the neighboring villages of the Cinque Terre, namely Vernazza and Manarola. There's not much to say here, except that it's good to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of the landscape!

End-of-town viewpoint - View on Manarola
End-of-town viewpoint - View on Manarola

HIKING FROM CORNIGLIA

As previously mentioned, the five villages of the Cinque Terre are connected by hiking trails (marked with red and white paint), also known as the "Blue Trail" (Sentierro Azzurro), which have been used for centuries. In order to have access to these hiking trails, you need to either have the Cinque Terre Train Card (16 EUR per day per person; more information here) or buy the Cinque Terre Trekking Card  (7.50 EUR per day per person; more information here).

CORNIGLIA TO VERNAZZA

The hike from Corniglia to Vernazza is the wildest and the greenest section of the coast. It is very rewarding but also very steep! This itinerary is very popular with Cinque Terre tourists. If you decide to take this path, you are guaranteed picturesque views! You will pass through olive groves, vineyards and Mediterranean scrub. There is also a panoramic view of the famous village and its medieval tower from the trail near Vernazza. The hike is 3.2 km long and lasts approximately one hour and a half.

CORNIGLIA TO MANAROLA

This scenic hike is moderately easy and lasts approximately 45 minutes. The path is located just above the train tracks and coastline but check before going whether it is open as this part is often closed due to landslide threat!

Rafael on the hiking path
Rafael on the hiking path
Hiking offers spectacular views on the sea
Hiking offers spectacular views on the sea

View of Corniglia when hiking to Vernazza
View of Corniglia when hiking to Vernazza

OUR VERDICT

Corniglia is certainly the place to be if you are looking for a quieter version of Cinque Terre! The fact that there are fewer tourists makes the experience in Corniglia very special! Although the village does not have direct access to the sea, it still manages to be one of our favourites! Perhaps because the atmosphere here is different, much quieter than in the other four villages.



 | For more information about the Cinque Terre, check our post here |



And now it's your turn to let us know what your impressions about Corniglia were. Which of the five villages is your favorite? We look forward to reading your comments.



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