Corniglia is unique within the Cinque Terre in that the entire village is high up on the cliffs rather than trickling down to the waterfront as the other Cinque Terra villages do. If you aren't going to swim anyway and prefer just to look out at the water, Corniglia's a gem. There ARE beaches. You just have to hike down a steep trail to get to them and, more importantly, hike back up to town when you're through! If you're in good shape and prefer to sunbathe with the locals, you might be very happy in this less touristy town.

Corniglia Italy

And, of course, it's quite easy to stay in one town and relax on the beaches of another Cinque Terre town and be back by dinner. Whether you hike, boat, or take the train, the 5 little towns are easily connected!

If you reach the town by train, you must either walk up hundreds of steps to town or take the shuttle bus (free with your train ticket) which is generally timed to meet arriving trains. Look up slightly from the train platform to find the shuttle bus (or just follow everyone else).

From where the shuttle bus drops you in town, you can easily find the main car-free "street" to stroll downhill through town. Meander through cute shops and restaurants, through a lovely little piazza full of quaint cafes, and then continue down to a beautiful scenic overlook. With the town's perch sticking out into the Mediterranean, you can see a lot of clear blue water and green terraced hills in all directions as well as a few quaint little hillside towns! If you want to hike on to Vernazza, you'll return to where the shuttle bus dropped you and walk up the car-lined road towards the olive grove and grape vine-terraced hills to the North. For a short stretch, you'll have to dodge frequent cars (in the high season) before you get to the trailhead but, once there, it's a lovely vehicle-free scenic hike to Vernazza. This one's NOT easy though. It's very up and down the whole way. But, the views of both Corniglia, Vernazza, and the Mediterranean Sea along the way are amazing and more than worth the effort! This is truly some of the best hiking in Italy! Absolutely breathtaking!

Hiking the other direction, South to Manarola is frequently closed due to landslides so I've personally never made the trip. I'll keep trying though and, one of these years, I'll find it open! You can see Manarola from the scenic lookout at the tip of town (see photos below), so I imagine the hike, when safe, wouldn't be as difficult as the hike to Vernazza. At least it should be downhill the whole way! ;-)

And if you ARE hiking to one of the other towns, there are several sandwich shops along the main drag where you can buy a perfect picnic for your hike... ham and cheese sandwich on a big, fresh-baked baguette, grapes or other fresh, locally grown fruits, olives,... At the very least, buy LOTS of water!

Photos of Corniglia, Italy

Corniglia in the Cinque Terre
The village and its castle

Corniglia - Strolling through town
Strolling through town

Corniglia - quaint town square
Quaint town square

Corniglia - the end of town
The end of town

View from Corniglia
The view from the end of town (SO high up!)

View of Corniglia from hiking trail
View of Corniglia from the hiking trail

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