Places to Stay:
Airbnb in Corneglia
Activities to Do:
1. Go swimming at the beach! Many of the towns have beach access. Corniglia has a long staircase you can walk down to get to the beach. There are huge rocks to sit on, the water is so refreshing, & you can even jump of one of the bigger rocks. Vernazza has a swimming area & sandy beach, but beware of the hundreds of sea urchins!!! Monterosso also has a beach are that is pretty but crowded. Overall, I love the beach in Corniglia. Though it doesn't have sand to lie on, I thought it was the prettiest & definitely the least crowded.
2. HIKE!!! Of course you need to do the famous Cinque Terre hike between the 5 towns. The 5 towns of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Sadly, the trails to Manarola and Riomaggiore were closed down when we were there (trails are closed often because of damage from weather and so many people hiking on them). We hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza to Monterosso & then took a train back to Corniglia. The hike was beautiful with so many breathtaking views. It would switch from a lot of uphill to downhill to uphill so you do get quite a workout!
3. Take a boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore or vice versa. We really wanted to do this, but it was stormy when we got to Monterosso & so the boats were not operating. We did hear this was a great way to see a different view of the towns & coast though!
4. Eat dinner with a view! We ate dinner at the same restaurant both nights in Corneglia. I can't remember the name, but it had the most amazing view of the ocean & the vineyards. The food was very reasonably priced & we ate slowly & got dessert at the end to stay as long as possible taking in the view! It was such a nice, relaxing way to end each night!
5. Eat lots and lots of pesto. Cinque Terre is supposedly where pesto was invented so we made sure to try pesto everything while we were there. We got pesto pizza twice, pesto focaccia bread, & even basil gelato!! Which leads me to number 6..
6. Try the basil gelato & lemon gelato. We loved both of these, so refreshing!!! I don't know of anywhere else that you can get basil gelato!! The lemon was also so good & they used fresh lemons grown right in Corneglia!
7. Explore the towns! We explored around each of the towns & they were all so unique. Walk around & up & down the many staircases to explore! Vernazza has a castle that you can walk up to & all of the towns have beautiful view points that you can walk up to!
8. Go shopping! There are lots of cute little shops in each town. I love how local & authentic everything is. We got some bread, cheese, & olives from a tiny market to snack on when hiking. We really wanted to get some pesto & balsamic to bring home, but had traveled with only carryons, & couldn't bring liquid back. We did get some pasta to bring back though!!
Corniglia is one of the 5 towns of Cinque Terre. I was a little nervous about finding the place we were staying there because I realized I hadn't gotten a map or even an exact address of where we were staying... We took the train to the town & then had the option of either paying and taking a bus up to the main part of town or walking up 382 steps into town. We decided to walk. It was an extremely hot day & we had our huge packs on & I was quickly regretting choosing to walk. We went the wrong way first and after seeing locked fences and dogs barking at us, we realized we had gone the wrong way. We headed the right way and sweated to death, climbing up the many, many switchbacks! Once we got into town, we realized how tiny the town was. I asked a waitress at a little restaurant if she knew the lady we were renting from, Stefani, & she did!!! She pointed us in the right direction and we were able to find the lady we were renting from. She was sooo nice & gave us tons of tips & let us know how to get down to the beach!!!
We got in our swimsuits and pretty much ran to the water!!! It was a few hundred steps down!! We were so excited to cool down and jump in the ocean that I didn't even think about climbing back up all the steps!!! The ocean was beautiful there!!!! Once again, there were hardly any people, just a few locals. There was a big rock that some kids were jumping off of, so we swam over and jumped off! We spent a few hours rotating between swimming and lying on the warm rocks to dry off. It was such a great day!! When we finished, we walked up the many, many steps & realized that our next few days would be filled with thousands and thousands of steps!!
We had dinner at a restaurant recommended by Stefani & it was perfect! The restaurant had a big outdoor seating area with the most incredible view of the ocean & cliffs covered in vineyards. I still can't get over how beautiful the view was! We had pesto pizza and pesto lasagna since Corniglia is known for being the birthplace of pesto! Both were delicious & the pesto really was amazing! We ate slowly & it was so nice to just relax & not have anywhere we needed to be! After dinner, we strolled around town, got some fresh lemon gelato, and walked up lots of steps to see some more beautiful views!
The next morning, we woke up early and started our Cinque Terre hike! The 5 towns of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Sadly, the trails to Manarola and Riomaggiore were closed down (trails are closed often because of damage from weather and so many people hiking on them). We were glad to be in Corniglia though, because we wouldn't have to take a train anywhere to start. We found the trail & began hiking! It started with a lot of flat & downhill & we remarked how easy it was! The views were amazing, you could see all the way down the coast line & could see the bright roofs marking each town.
After a lot of flat and down hill, the steps up began! After hundreds of steps up, we made it to Vernazza! Vernazza was beautiful and had a little swimming area that we realized had thousands of sea urchins!! We carefully swam around in the clear turquoise water. We got some pesto foccaica bread & it was incredibly delicious! We also split a basil gelato, it sounds weird but was really refreshing!
It was starting to get hotter, so after checking out a pretty viewpoint, we started on the trail to Monterosso. Once again, the views from the trail were breathtaking and it started out mostly flat & downhill and then ended with hundreds of steps up to Monterosso. It started to rain, which felt great! We saw the ocean & sat on the beach for a little, but were too cold from the rain to swim. We got lunch at a little cafe, pesto pizza & pesto gnocchi! Then we were wanting to take a boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore to be able to see all of the towns from the water, but because of the rain & wind, they were not running any boats. We took the train back to Corneglia & decided to end the day at the same restaurant, we loved it so much! We were seated at a table next to a European couple & ended up talking with them for a couple hours. They were big travelers & it was fun to hear about their trips & get some tips from them!
We loved Corniglia & Cinque Terre so much, & like every place, we were sad to leave! It is the smallest out of the 5 towns & I loved how quaint it was! Since it's the smallest town, it had way less tourists & seemed more authentic and relaxed.