Cinque Terre: Traveling in Italy’s Off Season

The Cinque Terre is a favorite of ours, even in winter. There are some things you need to know before you visit this collection of five villages along the Ligurian coast. These villages are famous for their stunning views, breathtaking beauty, and beautiful walking paths.

This post is part of a series about popular Italian destinations in the off-season; see our previous posts on Venice and Lake Como in the off-season.

Winter Visit to the Cinque Terre

What is the Cinque Terre’s off season? The off season is from mid-September to mid June, but not Easter.

What to Expect in the Off Season: In summer, this small group of seaside towns is overrun by foreign tourists. Hotels and B&Bs book up far in advance, the narrow streets are filled with English speakers, and the hiking paths, for which the Cinque Terre is so famous, become practically shoulder-to-shoulder. It’s possible to visit these towns even if it is not high season.

The off season …. will bring quieter Vernazza. But every bit as beautiful!

It’s important to remember that these villages can be enjoyed in good weather. The stunning, natural scenery is not the only reason, but the hiking trails, which are a popular activity, will be closed in bad weather. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t raining when you arrive. However, sections of the paths may have been washed away by recent rains, which can cause the entire route to be closed until the path has been repaired. This can take one or more days. For example, it was beautiful and clear when we visited Cinque Terre in March last year. However, due to recent rains only two paths were available during our four-day stay.

Although rain and snow are more likely during winter months, they’re not always guaranteed. There are many sunny, cold days at this time of the year. We would rather hike in the cold on a trail that is uncrowded than in the August heat.

These towns are located on the coast so it is not as cold as you might think. It is very cold in winter!

As with other resort towns in Italy, restaurants and shops in Cinque Terre are closed during the quietest months.

Bring lots of layers and warm clothes if you are visiting the Cinque Terre outside of season. When it comes to hiking, be flexible!

Check to determine which hiking trails are open before you go. However, this information is subject to change daily.

Continue reading: Hiking in the Cinque Terre

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