Day 10 – Corniglia > Vernazza > ferry pier at Riomaggiore > late lunch at Porto Venere > Riomaggiore > Dinner at Vernazza
We decided to take the train early in the morning to Corniglia and hike all the way to Vernazza. Upon arrival at the train station, we found out that there was a strike from around 9am to 6pm and there was limited train service before noon, funnily enough, train strikes are a frequent occurrence in Italy. That affected our travel plans but we were able to make a back up plan, and even more lucky that we were able to catch a train before 9am. It was a pity that we couldn’t fully utilize our Cinque Terre card though. Since we started our journey early in the morning, it didn’t affect our train to Corniglia.
Corniglia is the middle village of Cinque Terre and the only village with no direct sea access. It is also the smallest and highest village (100 meter above sea level) of Cinque Terre. Once we got off from the train station, we took the bus (free for Cinque Terre card holders) to get to the village. Alternatively, you can walk 382 steps to reach the village. We went on the trail as soon as we arrived at Corniglia, a little hard to find, but after asking a couple of locals, we were on our way!
There is supposed to be a ranger checking our cards for the use of the trail, and we did pass a guard post early on but we were so early (around 8, not extremely early) that the person in charge was not even on duty, maybe affected by the train strike himself!
Vernazza is gorgeous even from another angle, though not as spectacular as the view from the other side. The walk itself was slightly easier than the day before, and took us just under two hours. The path is well marked, and again near impossible to get lost as you meander through olive groves and low lying shrubs.
We were lucky to catch the train back to Riomaggiore before they stopped the train operation, though the train was delayed for a bit. We decided to take the ferry from Riomaggiore and spent the afternoon at a nearby town called Porto Venere. The ferry schedule always changes or cancel depends on the currents and weather.
Ferry information of Cinque Terre:
The ferry ticket can be bought in Riomaggiore, somewhere near the pebbly beach, head left up the path once you get to the marina.
Whilst Porto Venere is not officially part of Cinque Terre, it is still as charming and has a certain relaxed feel about it. The ferry ride is quite short, and it is a small town so half a day is more than enough. We walked along the promenade, past all the restaurants and towards the far end to Church of San Pietro, a gothic style church stands on the ruins.
There is an admission fee of €5 per person for Castello Doria and we were thinking about whether it would be worth it. We looked up Castello Doria on pinterest and found many stunning photos. Though once we got in, there was not much in the castle except a great spot to have a panorama view of the town. To say we were disappointed, would be an understatement, but in saying that we had been spoilt by views of Vernazza and the sunset at Manarola the day before. Nevertheless, the money could have been better spent elsewhere, on some pesto or we could have even had a pizza and gelato for 2 with €10!
This is the trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It shows the part where there was a rockslide and it has been closed since then.
Once we got back to Riomaggiore, we took the train to Vernazza, trying to rush in time for the sunset. Due to the strike, whilst the train service had resumed there was a delay and none of the trains were running to schedule.
It was a bit late when we arrived at Vernazza. Mr Map was disappointed that he couldn’t take as many photos before the sun set, and before long it was already dark. However, I thought the photo taken by him was quite nice.
We stayed at Vernazza for dinner after. We found il Pirata delle 5 Terre from yelp with a high rating and had dinner there. It was definitely one of the best meals in Cinque Terre and undoubtedly highly recommended.
My meat sauce lasagna. It looks different from the lasagna we normally have but it was very tasty. I can assure you it tasted a lot better than it looks.
You can’t leave this restaurant without ordering their famous cannoli. It tasted a lot better than the one in Rome, and definitely worth a trip here just for this.
il Parata delle cinque terre
Address: Via Gavino 36, Vernazza
I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Cinque Terre. Everything we ordered was really good. The restaurant is quite small and cosy, you are only an arms length away from the next table. On a more entertaining note, there was an American couple in their 50s sitting next to us and we started chatting with them. We talked about the cities we visited in Italy and all of a sudden the man asked me “do you use the moneybelt?” Mr Map replied with a bit of embarrassment “yes, we do.” and he too revealed his money belt strapped under his shirt. We were all laughing at our mutual fear of pickpockets.
We actually felt quite safe during our time in Cinque Terre, safer than the rest of Italy. Most of the people there are tourists and some older local people. Unlike our time in Rome or Milan, we worried about all those pick pocket tricks and horror stories (we have heard enough stories from our friends who traveled to Italy). We were quite lucky that nothing was stolen or lost during our trip, though we did hear the aftermath of a Chinese couple who had a suitcase stolen on our train from Venice to Milan.
A cute message found on the wall of the Vernazza train station.
Have you been to Cinque Terre or planning to visit? What is your favourite part of the trip? Where and when is perfect for taking photo of the villages? Feel free to share your thoughts.