As I have already mentioned in my previous post Cinque Terre Tips, I am native to a small village five minutes away from Cinque Terre so I have basically grown up in these five small villages perched on the cliffs. Since I have spent my childhood there – my father used to bring me to play with dinosaurs in a secret place near the scenic sorta-of-highway that passes through the Cinque Terre – I saw all the four seasons colouring, transforming, modifying this corner of the world.
Summer is overcrowded! It is pure madness, the small towns are packed with people and you can barely move in the trains, you are squeezed just like sardines. I do not know if you have ever been to Hong Kong…if you did and you used the metro, then you know what I am talking about xD the difference is that Cinque Terre are just five small towns that have no facilities nor space to handle such mass tourism. This being said, I think that summer is a good time to come because the towns are very lively, all the shops are open and you can bathe.
Beaches might be crowded but you will always find a small corner just for you because tourists mainly come for a few hours and then leave in order to proceed to visit the other towns. I think the worst month may be August as even Italians will be added to the hordes of tourists because here in August everyone has days off from work. Furthermore it is the hottest month so you will boil inside those crumbling trains without air-con therefore I would suggest you to come in early June when the weather is not as hot and tourists are not packing the streets and obscuring views.
- Many people but very lively
- Very hot weather especially in August
- June is the best time to come in Summer as temperatures are not too high and people are less than in other months
- August is to absolutely avoid: overpriced accommodation, too many people, hot
Autumn is not a bad time to come to Cinque Terre, you can also witness the seasonal harvesting. Locals go to their fields dotted throughout Cinque Terre National Park in order to take their grapes and make wine in their cellars. My family is used to do the same and every year at the end of September and beginning of October, we gather all the grapes from our fields and make wine out of them. In the recent years autumn has been weirdly warm, so warm that you can still bathe until the end of September even though you must be extra careful because in this month the sea will be filled with nasty jellyfishes ready to sting you.
October is usually a good month to come as the number of tourists decrease and Cinque Terre become the normal towns they used to be. You can still find shops, hotels and bed and breakfast open so it is still quite lively but everything depends on your luck, if the weather is bad then your holiday is ruined. It is a bit risky, especially if you are coming in November, which is the month of the fog here. Cinque Terre in November is not always a good idea due to the probable bad weather you will encounter and to the fact that the life in the town starts dying out.
- October best time to visit, still quite lively and weather might be good
- Always check the weather forecast before booking because it is possible it is very rainy
- Fewer people but less lively
Some say it is worth coming in winter to Cinque Terre, I am not saying it is not but it does have its negative aspects. As I have said in the previous paragraph, already in November Cinque Terre are quite the deserted place with no signs of life around and this will be even more accentuated in December and January. Normally Italians prefer going to ski resorts in winter over small deserted fishing towns so all the shops and many bed and breakfasts will be closed.
The towns are as charming as always, even more when the sea is wavy and the waves hit against the dizzying cliffs creating water masterpieces but besides the nature wrath, there is nothing much to do. It is quite sad to come in these months even though you can enjoy the views at their best. February is already a bit better than coming in January as the weather start getting warmer and better and is the perfect time to hike.
- February is the best time to visit as weather gets better and it gets a bit livelier
- Less people but less lively, most of the shops and bars are closed
- Weather might be very bad: rainy and cold
I would dare to say that spring is the best time to visit Cinque Terre because, unlike autumn and winter, the villages are already pretty lively, you find open restaurants and you can use the boat service between the villages without too many people on board. Morover, unlike summer, it is not that hot and overcrowded.
You will be able to witness flowers blossoming, especially a very popular flower here called Mimosa, which is of a bright yellow colour. I would recommend to come in April and in May as summer draws in and temperatures increase. March is still quite cold and if you are not lucky enough, you can experience bad weather and heavy rain.
- warm weather but heavy rains are possible
- still pretty lively but less people than in summer
- awakening of nature