Dr. Seuss’ Dream Vacation: Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Italy. The southern most town in Cinque Terre. (Photo by Lauren Klamm)
Riomaggiore, Italy. The southern most town in Cinque Terre. (Photo by Lauren Klamm)

Growing up, Dr. Seuss was my favorite author. When I arrived in Cinque Terre, Italy I felt like I stepped into the pages of “Cat and the Hat”.

Cinque is a series of five towns built on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. I visited these five towns during a summer backpacking trip with my friend Hannah. The towns are fairly close together and are connected by train and hiking trails. Homes and shops are stacked on the rocky bluffs in the Italian Rivera, painted in colorful pastels and fixed with dark green shutters. These towns are an architect’s worst nightmare but a Dr. Seuss dream.


The first town we stayed in was Corniglia, which is the third town in Cinque Terre. During our time there we settled in at Ostella Corniglia, which is a hostel near the walking paths of Cinque Terre National Park.

Many people try to avoid staying in Corniglia because of the long and steep stairway from the train station to the town. However, I felt that we got a more authentic experience here because the town was smaller and attracted fewer tourists.

Check in time at Ostella Corniglia is strictly from 3pm – 10 pm. Don’t plan on arriving early and being able to drop your belongings off. Italians take their break times seriously!

The hostel has two rooms, one for women and one for men. Both rooms have 4 bunk beds, 8 large lockers, and air conditioning. Guests also have large gender specific bathrooms. The hostel includes towels, sheets and Wi-Fi in their pricing. We used the large towel as a beach mat….even though it is against the contract.

The strangest thing about this hostel is that you don’t get a room key. Instead, when you leave the hostel you give the front desk manager your locker key, and when you return he gives it back. I’m assuming this process is in place because of the strange lock out hours between 1 and 3 pm.

Overall I enjoyed my stay at Ostella Corniglia. It is close to town, quiet and clean. But the main attraction of this hostel was the price, which was only 32 USD a night!