Given that we LOVE small towns, it should come as no surprise that we chose to base ourselves in the smallest of villages during our visit to the Cinque Terre region.
Situated on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Corniglia encompasses the vibrancy and charm indicative of the villages in Cinque Terre, with one main distinction: It’s the only one of the 5 villages not reachable by boat.
You can reach the town via car (though there is VERY limited parking), the hiking path that runs throughout the five villages, or rely on the local train. Even then, the town is a little bit of a trek from the station.
Either climb over 350 switchback stairs or catch a small shuttle bus (for a small fee) from the train station to the main square leading into the village.
The slender alleyways are tastefully decorated with colorful pots, vibrant plants, and locally made souvenirs. Stop in to some of the shops, say hello, and support the friendly locals.
You can walk from one end of the village to the other in less than 5 minutes. There are just over 20 restaurant/cafes in Corniglia, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, even if you’re in town for more than just a day or two.
Just a few steps from the main square, we came across Un Mare di Yogurt. Holy moly, they’ve got some good gelato! Be sure to stop in for a tasty treat!
Less than 300 residents call Corniglia home, so after the day-trippers return back to their cruise ship or to their resort in nearby Monterosso, the village turns into a sleepy retreat.
You may find an occasional bar or restaurant with a local musician playing on the weekends, but we found that once the sun went down in Corniglia, there wasn’t much to do other than relax… which was perfectly fine with us! However, we did find a nice bar close to where we lodged that stayed open well past midnight depending on demand. They served excellent wine and had a surprisingly extensive beer selection!
We secured a private rental for two nights through a personal connection we made on AirBnB. The apartment we originally wanted was not available on the dates we needed, so the host provided us with another one of her available accommodations, not actually listed on the site.
We couldn’t have been more pleased with this alternative accommodation. It’s as if we were living like locals for a few days!
The decor was tasteful and reminiscent of historic times with stone arches dating back to the 1200s. And the views…
The private balcony overlooked the surrounding hills and nearby rooftops. Cinque Terre’s northernmost village, Monterosso, could also be seen in the distance.
Though Corniglia may not be most traveler’s first choice for places to stay in Cinque Terre based on convenience alone, we wouldn’t have traded our experience for any other.
It’s the perfect place to explore, unwind, and catch a gorgeous sunset!
With 2 (of Cinque Terre’s) villages to the north and two to the south; Corniglia is centrally located and if nothing else should definitely be a stop on your next visit to the Italian Riviera.
Enjoy a glass of wine, think of nothing but that perfect moment you are living in…
… and if your schedule permits, do it all over again tomorrow!