Italy Travel

Why You Should Stay in Corniglia When Visiting Cinque Terre

Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy at sunset The Glittering Unknown

Among the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre on the northwestern coast of Italy, Corniglia kind of gets a bad rap. It’s the smallest of the towns, but the biggest drawback is its location- perched on top of a cliff and accessible from the train station only by shuttle bus (which stops running at 19:20 in the evening) or a 382-step brick staircase called the Lardarina. However, this shouldn’t deter you from staying in this charming village. Here are 5 reasons why you should stay in Corniglia:

Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy pathway The Glittering Unknown

It’s quiet. Unlike the other towns, which are more accessible and therefore more touristy, Corniglia will offer you a more authentic experience. Every day that we were there, we bought our food from the same grocer, who gave us leftover foccacia from the day and gave us recipes for what to make for dinner. It gets a bit touristy during the day, but ultimately clears out at night, making it the perfect place to go for an evening stroll and meet some locals while drinking prosecco at the bars.

Terrace at our Airbnb, Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy

It’s cheaper. I went with two of my girlfriends and we stayed in an Airbnb home that could have slept four, was beautiful, airy, and had THREE terraces. Yes, you read that right. One upstairs, the one pictured above, and a garden that had turtles living in it! It was our own private paradise all for the cool price of 100€ per night (total, not per person). We were a short walk from everything we needed and our host was responsive and so kind. Everything we’d looked at in the other towns had been significantly pricier, so if cost is an issue for you, definitely look into the options in Corniglia.

Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy town center The Glittering Unknown

The locals are friendlier. Because they don’t have to deal with the same type of obnoxious tourist groups that the other towns do- seriously, we heard more English and French than Italian in every town except Corniglia– they’re more willing, eager even, to help you out despite their possibly limited English. After meeting a local guy in a bar on our last night (remember what I said about drinking prosecco?), we discovered that he was related to half the town, and he spent our last day taking us around to some of his favorite places before we had to catch the train back to Pisa. It was the perfect way to end our trip, and definitely made us feel like we got to experience a little bit of the Italy we had hoped to see.

Flowers on a cliff Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy The Glittering Unknown

The views are incredible. One of the benefits of being up on a cliff is that you have the full benefit of panoramic views of the town itself, along the coast, and, if the weather permits, you can see all four of the other towns if you’re standing at the right spot. I could have sat there for hours just gazing at the blue of the sea against the green of the landscape and the colorful little houses dotting the cliffs. Totally worth being back by the last shuttle from the train stations so you can catch the sunset!

Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy stairs The Glittering Unknown

It has a different feel than the other towns. Here I’m not talking about the crowds of tourists, I’m talking about the difference between towns that touch the sea and this one little anomaly that doesn’t. Corniglia‘s very existence among these five villages is odd- fishing is a difficult industry when the sea is a 100 meter drop below you. So the locals have their little vineyards along the side of the cliffs and their gardens where they grow lemons bigger than your fist and the sweetest smelling roses you’ll ever encounter.

Corniglia Cinque Terre Italy view from Sentiero Azzurro The Glittering Unknown

Hopefully at this point I’ve convinced you why you should stay in Corniglia, but in case you need one more reason, it’s the best place in the Cinque Terre to learn the true meaning of the Italian phrase Il dolce far niete, or “the sweetness of doing nothing.” Explore all the little side streets with foccacia or gelato in hand and you’re bound to find a spot where you can sit and munch and wonder how you’ll possibly go back to your everyday life.

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Why You Should Stay in Corniglia When Visiting Cinque Terre

  • Reply
    Jacottes
    at

    Joli article Emily, comme d’habitude bons tuyaux, bons conseils, belles photos. Tres agréable !

  • Reply
    Cherene saradar
    at

    You’ve convinced me! Your pics are gorgeous and it sounds like such a lovely place. I’m planning to go next summer!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    at

    I LOVED cinque Terre and would love to return! I stayed in Riomaggiore when I was there in 2015, but have heard lots of glorious reviews of corniglia and will definitely have to try it out next time I visit the area!

  • Reply
    Getty
    at

    Wow this place looks magical!!! Definitely considering Jt as one of my next destinations!! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Ashlyn | From Heart And seoul
    at

    Okay I’m sold. That airbnb and the views from the cliff look just drop dead gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Valerie Hansen
    at

    Ive never been to Europe or anywhere overseas..Italy is high on my bucketlist! this looks like an amazing little village to stay at! I love your pictures , how cool the grocer shared his recipes..I wanna go!!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    at

    Just come back from Corniglia and planning on returning,which air bnb dud you stay in?? Xx

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