The route from Corniglia to Riomaggiore is a beautiful half-day hike through terraced vineyards along the sunny Cinque Terre Coastline.
Corniglia to Riomaggiore Hike Route Map
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This hike starts at the top of Corniglia Village, by the Chiesa Di San Pietro. It’s a short but steep wall from the train station (or you can take a quick bus). If you want to walk further, you can hike here from Vernazza.
Alternatively, you can catch the ferry to Corniglia from the other Cinque Terre Villages (€7-€25), though the ferries stop at Corniglia less frequently than the other villages because of the steep walk from the ferry pier into town. Ferries run from April to October inclusive and are cancelled in bad weather.
Arriving by car to Corniglia is not recommended. The road past the Vernazza turnoff is very narrow and there are only a few parking spots in Corniglia for non-residents. It’s easiest to park in Levanto or La Spezia and then take a quick train ride to the village.
Onward from Riomaggiore
This hike ends at Riomaggiore Train Station. From here it’s easy to travel to any of the Cinque Terre villages or elsewhere. There are also ferries (daily Apr-Nov inclusive, not in bad weather) to the other villages, Portovenere or La Spezia. Alternatively, you can spend the night in Riomaggiore and hike on to Portovenere the next day. We spent a long day hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza, Vernazza to Corniglia, and still further to Riomaggiore (described here). It was a tiring but great day and we slept well that night in Riomaggiore.
- Make sure to have enough water with you, as well as a sun hat.
- There’s food on this hike in Corniglia and Riomaggiore at both ends, plus at Volastra (roughly halfway) and Manarola villages
- There’s no hiking fee for the route described here between Corniglia and Riomaggiore.
- To shorten the route, take the Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Way) between Manarola and Riomaggiore (€7.50 hiking fee). This path can be extremely busy in the high season.
- To get to Corniglia, hike from Vernazza or further from Monterosso, the first of the Cinque Terre villages.
- Continue on from Riomaggiore by hiking to Portovenere the next day.
- Offline maps app Maps.me works well for this walk.
- Find other nearby hikes on our Italy Hiking Page.
Corniglia to Riomaggiore Hiking Route
Walking through Corniglia
Take a look inside Chiesa Di San Pietro, and perhaps grab a focaccia from the little shop opposite. There are plenty of seats in the plaza next to the church to sit down and eat your food. When you’re ready, take the narrow lane downhill to a fairly large plaza. There are a couple of small shops selling groceries here, as well as a restaurant.
Continue across the plaza down the narrow pedestrianised street. This is the main tourist drag of Corniglia and is lined by many shops and little cafes. Soon you’ll reach a nice square filled with restaurants and, overlooked by a church.
If you want to visit Corniglia Beach, head right down the steps from this square, turn left and walk all the way down to the cove at the bottom. There’s not much sand, but you can lie on the pier or rocks surrounding the clear blue water. It’s very refreshing to have a swim, and we saw quite a few fish here while mask and snorkelling. Return the way you came back up to the square.
Continue along the main street, which heads downwards to a viewpoint at the end of the village. Walk back to the square, and find another viewpoint by heading up the steps by the church, and right up some more narrow steps. You get a different view of the coastline from here. Once you’ve explored Corniglia, head back up to the church where this walk started to begin the walk to Riomaggiore.
Hiking through the Cinque Terre Countryside
At the church, head right then take the first left up some broad steps. There’s a water point just here if you need to refill your bottles. The path now heads quite steeply upwards for quite a long time. Near the top you can look back down on Corniglia, far below.
The path levels off and it’s a gorgeous walk through sloping terraced vineyards with fabulous ocean views and Manarola perched on the edge of the cliffs in the distance. After a while, you’ll reach a church and the tiny village of Volastra. There are a couple of restaurants and plenty of places to stay here. It’s just over halfway on the hike between Corniglia and Riomaggiore so a good place to have at least a short break.
From Volastra it’s a long way downhill all the way to Manarola. Pass through Volastra village and take the first right, signposted Manarola and opposite a map of the Cinque Terre. From here there are many, many steps downwards through shady olive groves.
Eventually, the path bends left and the steps are slightly less steep. Look out for the sharp right to take the path leading to the best, most scenic route into Manarola. There’s a lovely bit of flat path here, and as you walk around the corner you can see Manarola, which is still somehow far below, though the upper reaches of the town stretch to almost this height on the opposite side of the valley.
The path heads towards the ocean, then takes a left to begin the descent once more. You head steeply downwards, still through vineyards. At the T-junction at the bottom, turn left towards the ocean and follow the path as it bends around the hill. More steps begin and bend sharp left. Soon you’ll be at the Manarola Cemetery.
Take the path just below the entrance for very scenic views of Manarola. Follow the path to its end, and turn left to walk along the coast back into town. It is possible to go swimming here, and the rocks are often crowded with sunbathers.
Soon you’ll be at the harbour and busy square of town. Turn left up the street to explore some of the town. Grab some ice cream at Bar Enrica (the best ice cream in Manarola) and walk slightly further upwards to find a square surrounded by benches. If you’re feeling tired, you can continue hiking to Riomaggiore by taking a shortcut.
Manarola to Riomaggiore Hike
Shortcut – Via dell’Amore (Closed until June 2024)
The Via dell’Amore is a shortcut between Manarola and Riomaggiore. It’s along a flat, 1km path with good views, avoiding the climb of the other route. There’s a €7.50 fee for this path, and even so, it can be extremely crowded in high season.
If you’ve still got energy, prepare for the final climb of this hike. Head back down the main street and turn left at the narrow steps heading steeply upwards. Head up as far as you can, then left along the little street. Continue along here as it leads through the upper reaches of town.
Before you reach the road, look out for the very narrow and steep steps on your right, between two buildings. This is the route to Riomaggiore, and there are hiking signs pointing the way. The steps continue for a long time, always very steep.
Eventually, you’ll reach a viewpoint at the top with views over the coastline in both directions. Turn left to start the descent into Riomaggiore. You can’t quite see the main part of the old town, as it’s hidden behind a hill. You enter the outskirts of town along a quiet road. Walk along here, and soon you’ll see the train station down below on your right. If you want, you can take an elevator from the road down to the station, or continue a little further to some stairs.
The train station is where the Corniglia to Riomaggiore hike ends. To discover more about walking through Riomaggiore, read our post about hiking onwards from Riomaggiore to Portovenere.
Guidebooks to explore more of Liguria & Cinque Terre
If you want to get a guidebook to the region, the Bradt Liguria Guide and Lonely Planet Pocket Guide both include the Cinque Terre and hiking routes. The Cicerone Walking in Cinque Terre Guide covers this hike and many others in the Cinque Terre region.