One of the best ways to experience the beauty and incredible landscapes of the Cinque Terre is to hike between the towns. The hike from Vernazza to Corniglia is our favorite trail in Cinque Terre with panoramic views of the towns and the Mediterranean sea.
In this guide, we’re sharing all you need to do know about the Vernazza to Corniglia hike. If you plan to hike only one trail during your trip to Cinque Terre, we highly recommend this one.
The Cinque Terre Card
Before you head out on your hike, you need to purchase a Cinque Terre card in order to access the trails. You have a couple of options.
The first option is to purchase the Cinque Terre Trekking Card. This card gives you access to use the trails in the national park and to the local bus system.
- Cost – €7.50/day per adult
- Access – Unlimited access to hiking trails
Your second option is to purchase the Cinque Terre Treno Card. This gives you access to both the train network and the hiking trails. If you plan to only do one or two trails, like the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia, and take the trains the rest of the day, then this is the best card option for you.
- Cost – €18.50/day per adult
- Access – Unlimited access to trains and hiking trails
Since some of the trails are closed, we recommend getting the Treno Card for quick and easy access to all of the towns.
To purchase the cards, you can either book them online in advance or at the La Spezia train station upon arrival. Due to the popularity and crowds, we highly recommend purchasing your card in advance to avoid the lines at the station.
At the start of each trail, there is usually someone at a booth to check your card. Make sure to have your ID and card with you at all times just in case they ask to check your name on the card.
Vernazza to Corniglia Trail Status
Due to inclement weather and landslides, some of the trails in Cinque Terre are often closed. Always make sure to check the trail status in advance to see whether or not a specific trail is open.
As of 2023, the Vernazza to Corniglia trail is currently open.
Check the status of all trails in Cinque Terre here.
Trail Map + Hike Details
Length of trail: 4km
Time to hike: ~1-1.5 hours
Trail difficulty: Moderate
Hiking from Vernazza to Corniglia
The Vernazza to Corniglia hike is one of the most popular trails in Cinque Terre. This also makes it one of the most crowded trails, especially during the high season.
To enjoy the trail without the crowds, we recommend getting up early and hiking first thing in the morning. This way you can enjoy the stunning scenery and epic views all to yourself.
The trailhead for the hike is located up on the hill behind Vernazza. These coordinates on Google Maps will take you to the starting point of the trail.
The hike from Vernazza to Corniglia is fairly moderate. The trail is a bit rocky and uneven, but it’s definitely doable for most levels of hikers.
The trail winds you through vineyards and olive groves on one side and endless views of the Mediterranean sea on the other side. It is one of the most beautiful views we’ve ever experienced.
During the summer months, the sun is harsh in the afternoon and it gets hot. Another reason to hike early in the morning during this time of the year.
Luckily, about halfway through the hike, you’ll make your way through what seems like a small village with a bed and breakfast and a local bar. We stopped at Bar Il Gabbiano for a delicious lemon granita with orange juice. It was the perfect cold refreshment to cool us down and keep us going!
The trail continues to take you uphill and downhill for awhile, and it can get tiring. We took several breaks to relax, take in the spectacular views, and pinch ourselves that we were in such a stunning place. Italy will do that to you.
Eventually, you’ll see Corniglia in the distance, perched at the edge of the cliff.
As you make your way to the town, take your time to take in the scenery and the incredible landscape.
Once you arrive in Corniglia, you can relax for a bit, take a quick walk around the town, or pick up a snack if you’re hungry after the hike. Corniglia is the smallest of the five towns and there isn’t as much to see here as the other towns. It’s the perfect spot to rest before moving on to the next stop on your day!
Tips for your hike from Vernazza to Corniglia
- Wear comfortable shoes – Make sure to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes for your hike in Cinque Terre. The trails are uneven and rocky, and you’ll appreciate comfortable shoes while you’re hiking.
- Have a full water bottle for the hike – You can refill your water bottle at taps/fountains in each of the towns. Make sure to have an adequate amount of water for the hike because you will get tired and hot (during the summer).
- Wear sunscreen and a hat – There isn’t a lot of shade on the trail, so it’s best to bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Hike early in the day – The earlier you start, the cooler the temperatures and the less crowded the trail will be.
- The hike can be done in reverse – You can also do the hike in reverse from Corniglia to Vernazza. The only thing to note is that there are 370 steps to get from the train station to the town. You’ll have to climb the steps before starting your hike.
- Check the trail status beforehand – Make sure the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia is open before planning your hike. The trails in Cinque Terre can be closed due to repairs or weather, so it’s best to be prepared in advance.
If you have any questions or comments about the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia, let us know in the comments section below!