How do I get up there?
There are five ways to reach Corniglia:
• On foot via hiking trail #2 or #7a (if they’re open)
• Little green park buses from train station
• Hoofing it up the steep road from the train station
• Puffing it up the Lardarina from the train station: a 382-step, 33-switchback stairway
• By car - which I won’t even cover as it’s not recommended. If you’re driving in to stay at one of the guesthouses, they’ll be able to provide information.
Having done a good share of the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia the day before, we opted to take a morning train, grab the bus to the top of the rock, and then walk the Lardarina back down to station to go on to Manarola (trail section was closed). The bus was covered by our Cinque Terre Cards for hiking the park otherwise it’s €1.5 one way and €3 round trip at time of this writing. Tickets may be purchased directly from the driver.
The bus is a low-impact option (for both environment and lousy knees) with one caveat: their runs are tied to the train schedule. Coming into the station is easy: if the train stops, a bus will be waiting. Leaving the village can be another matter: runs occur at no set interval. The good news is that bus schedules are posted, and if you equip yourself with a train schedule (available at the stations and park offices) you can head down the Lardarina in time to hop one.
Buses run roughly from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM with last bus leaving the station for Corniglia around 7:30 PM.
Ferries do not service Corniglia as it doesn’t have a harbor.
Lastly, because nothing is ever 100% for certain in the Land of La Dolce Vita, all of the above could change at any time so check the details with the park offices or website when you arrive.
- Hiking and Walking
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Take the Green Bus
The fittest might wish to walk up the hill from the train station to Corniglia, but that was not us! Most will prefer taking the green shuttle bus to and from the village center. In addition to being painted green, my perhaps-faulty memory tells me that it is als "eco-green."
Corniglia and all Cinque Terre is better to be explored by using a mix of public and private transport +your own feet. A Cinque Terre card (see the Webside link) covers travels by train, some buses and paths, so it's better to get one as soon as you reach any of the train stations of Cinque Terre National Park. It's very comfortable to use all means of transport while looking arround and reaching your place of temporary stay. Trains go very often and in late hours. Yet, the bus scedule is limited (the last bus from Corniglia Train station up to the village leaves at 20,00. Later, you'll find your stregths and climb up more than 350 stairs to reach this "high light"). Take a boat and you'll love to admire this amazing, surprising and rich seashore. The boat stops at each village, except Corniglia, as it has no tourist harbour. To cover all villages by feet might be very exciting as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately?!), Cinque Terre is not a place for cars. It's hard to find legal parking not jammed and driving between villages is quite an extreem and a danger as well. So better leave your car in a secure place in La Spezia or Levanto and enjoy other means of transport as many tourists do (it's so easy).
Take a Hike
The best way to get around Corniglia and the Cinque Terre is by foot.
Walking along the cliffs between villages is a fantastic experience and the views are spectacular.
You don't need proper hiking shoes, but sturdy foot wear is a must. Leave the stilettos at home!!
We saw lots of people walking with poles, which may have made some of the steeper climbs a little easier - harder to juggle the camera though!!
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Train between the Cinque Terre Villages
To travel to Corniglia, and between the five villages of the Cinque Terre you can catch the train that runs between La Spezia and Genoa.
Besides hiking, it is the easiest and quickest way to travel from village to village, but not very scenic - most of the time you are in tunnels through the mountains, with only an occasional glimpse of the ocean.
The train is pretty slow, and not that frequent. There is usually 1-3 trains per hour in summer, and less as the weather gets colder. Some trains don't stop at all the villages, so make sure you check the timetable in advance.
A one ride ticket costs around 1.50 euro and there is a day pass that you can buy too. Tickets are available at each of the towns stations, and make sure you pick up a timetable as well.
- Budget Travel
Getting to Corniglia
There are fewer options for getting to Corniglia than the other Cinque Terre villages, as the lack of harbour means that the ferries don’t stop here. So you have the choice of coming on foot or by train. We took the train from Riomagiore, which takes only a few minutes. The trains are fairly frequent, but erratically so – you might get two only 15 minutes apart and then wait over an hour for the next. So check the timetable unless you want to spend a long while on a station platform when you could be doing something more interesting (such as enjoying a gelato or cold beer!) You should also check the timetable to be sure that the train you plan to catch stops at Corniglia, as many of the trains stop only in Riomaggiore and Monterosso, passing straight through the smaller villages such as this one without stopping.
The other option is to walk, following the coast from either Vernazza to the north or Manarola to the south. Unfortunately we found out that the day we were planning to walk here, which was to be our last in the area, was also the day of a train strike. Our intended itinerary of walk from Vernazza to Corniglia, lunch there and then train home to Riomaggiore had to be forgotten. Instead we had a hurried visit by train on the afternoon of the previous day, anxious to get at least a flavour of all of the villages.
However you arrive, you will have to climb the steep steps up to the village or follow a longer but slightly less steep route by road. See my “Warnings and Dangers” tip about these steps.
There is more information about the trains on my Riomaggiore page, or check out this useful website: www.ferroviedellostato.it/
The train which runs along the Cinque Terre coast is extremely useful, and very good value.
If you buy a Cinque Terre pass (which you must have to walk the coastal footpaths) train travel is free. Otherwise it's remarkably cheap from a UK point of view: 1.10 euro from one village to the next.
It's not a particularly scenic ride, as most of the journey is in tunnels. But you do get glimpses of turquoise sea and rocky outcrops, and the frequency of the trains is excellent.
If you don't want to walk between villages, or can't, or don't have time, the train will let you see many or all of them in a day. It just requires a bit of forward planning using the train timetable provided by the Tourist Information office on Platform 1 of La Spezia station (and all the stations along the line).
Using the train, I was able to make a daytrip from Pisa, see a bit of La Spezia and still have time to wander round 3 Cinque Terre villages (and could have seen more, had i not wanted to visit a museum in La Sp before it closed).
- Historical Travel
- National/State Park
The bus runs when it seems sensible to do so, linking with the trains and (probably) not as frequently in the very lowest season. There's a timetable posted on the bus itself, and in the village square.
So you may, or may not, find it waiting outside the station when you get off the train.
If it isn't there, you face 380 steps up to the village (or you could walk up the steep road).
If it is, it's free for those who have a Cinque Terre card, or 3 euros otherwise. A steep price for a 5-minute journey (free for locals, obviously) , but it is a very steep road.......
I was happy to pay. :-)
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
The Commuter Train
There is a commuter train that runs between the five villages with great frequency during the day, roughly about every 15 minutes. However the train does not always stop at every village, so be sure to check the train schedule. Corniglia is not one of the villages that is on the schedule alot, there is at train that runs through Corniglia about every 30 minutes. Additionally this train station is harder to get to as you have to descend down the 320 step staircase, so be sure to plan ahead.
The train to Cinque Terre
Trains run from Genoa through the Cinque Terre, to Pisa and on to Rome.
The train is the easiest way to get to the Cinque Terre. From Genoa (Genova), take the local train toward La Spezia. From La Spezia, take the local Regionale train toward Sestre Levante. Riomaggiore is the first stop after La Spezia. Then if it's the local train, Manarolo, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.
No need to book tickets in advance unless you have a plane to catch and just don't want to chance it.
If you are staying in Cinque Terre for any numer of days pick up your Cinque Terre Card. It covers unlimited travel in second class trains between the villages and between Levanto and La Spezia. Plus it is required if you want to hike the paths between villages.
The ticket is purchased at the begining of of the hiking path between villages or you can purchase at any rail station in the Cinque Terre.
Getting to Corniglia by car
OK so getting around Cinque Terre by car isn't as quick or as practical as by train BUT it is far more enjoyable.
I arrived in Monterosso al Mare from Genoa (took about an hour or so) and parked in the main car park. Due to my limited time in Cinque Terre (I had to drive to Pisa in the afternoon), I only had time to visit Monterosso & Corniglia in the morning. I spent about an hour in Monterosso and then drove to Corniglia. This took about an hour and I stopped to admire the view (see photo). The roads are very small and twisty (you have to beep your horn to warn oncoming drivers that you're coming) but the drive is delightful. You don't get the full splendour of the landscape if you travel by train. Parking in Corniglia isn't to bad as there's a small car park (about 20 spaces) on the right about 500m before you get to the village.
Reaching There By Train...
It's best to reach there by train but we have to get the connection from La Spezia Station where we can buy a day ticket to all 3 towns !
I was sent here by Vladimir...
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