08 Jan Stay in Corniglia: why we loved this village
When visiting Italy’s Cinque Terre we chose to stay in Corniglia, and we are so glad we did. Corniglia is located up in the hills, in the centre of the five Cinque Terre towns. Read our post on travel to Cinque Terre.
How to get to Corniglia
We travelled from Rome to La Spezia and then purchased tickets at the station for Corniglia (pronounced Cornelia). You arrive in Corniglia on the train platform, right beside the ocean. To get up to the town you need to either take the shuttle bus or walk.
Leading from the train station up to the town are 382 stairs. I was regretting our decision to walk up with luggage on our backs. The stairs wind upwards and it felt like they were never going to end. They do offer a spectacular sea view along the way though.
Corniglia shuttle bus
There is a shuttle bus service in Corniglia that runs between the town and the station. A one-way ticket will cost you 2.50 Euro or free with a Cinque Terre train card.
Where to stay in Corniglia
There are no hotels in Corniglia, just room rentals. We booked a double room with private bathroom through AirBnB (click here to view it). It was probably the smallest room we have ever stayed in but it didn’t matter. The room had a window that opened up to a stunning view of the ocean and the colourful buildings set on the clifftop. Our host also owns a small cafe in town and included in our room cost was daily breakfast.
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Eating in Corniglia
Corniglia might be a small village but it has some wonderful food. During our short stay this is what we enjoyed:
Breakfast: our AirBnB host runs a little cafe where we were able to have breakfast included in our room cost. Bar Pan e Vin is tiny with limited seating but it is full of charm. We had a pastry, cappuccino and fresh orange juice each and a basket of rustic style toast with spreads. It was such a great start to our day.
Dinner: our first night in Corniglia we chose to dine at A Cantina da Mananan and we are glad we did. We were able to get a table without booking but if you can, book ahead so you don’t miss out. Sitting at our table we were able to learn the restaurant’s history via the paper placemats which was a nice touch. The stone walls are filled with photographs and paintings and the restaurant has a lovely warm feeling. Pesto originated in the Liguria region so I couldn’t go past ordering it with pasta. I chose the recommended pasta called Testaroli, which stated it was baked and made with spelt flour. The texture of the pasta was like a crepe and with the pesto, it made the best meal I had in Italy. Tim chose spinach and ricotta ravioli with a walnut sauce which was also delicious.
The second night we ate at Caffe Matteo, a larger casual style restaurant. We both chose pesto, Tim had gnocchi and I chose trofie, a short twisted pasta. We shared a jug of house white wine and our meals arrived quickly. It wasn’t as good as the previous night but still tasty and a very cheap meal out.
Wine: The Cinque Terre is full of vineyards so if you like wine, grab a local bottle. We bought one to enjoy while watching the sunset from our window.
Hiking from Corniglia
Stepping out the main door of our AirBnB we were on Sentiero Azurro or Blue Path, the coastal hiking track leading to Vernazza. After hiking to Vernazza we continued further on to Monterosso. We wish we had more time as we could have also hiked from Corniglia uphill to Volastra and then down to Manarola.
What to see in Corniglia
Corniglia is a coastal village full of old-world charm. There are streets where both the ground and walls are stone, there are little churches and of course the houses and buildings in those beautiful pastel colours. Corniglia also offers some fantastic views. From the town centre, you get great views over the ocean and from our room we watched the sunset cast warm glows over the cliffside houses. There is a viewing area where you can look out over vineyards growing in the hills. From this spot you also get stunning coastal views and can spot other towns in the distance.
Why we are glad we chose to stay in this Cinque Terre town
- It wasn’t as busy and crowded as the other towns. It’s harder to reach and doesn’t have a large beach area. It also can’t be accessed via ferry. All these things mean fewer people choose to visit, which we think is a win.
- It’s not as touristy. As it’s not as popular as the other towns, Corniglia has fewer stores targeting tourists. You won’t find large souvenir shops here, just small locally run businesses.
- It has a great local vibe. We sat at our window and could hear children playing, as the sun set, Mum yelled out to them from a nearby house and they started packing up their toys and headed home. Sometimes these places get a bad reputation with people saying the locals were tired of tourists, making them grumpy and rude. Every person we came across was friendly and welcoming.
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