The Amalfi coast is a peninsula packed with culture and nature, with generous sprinklings of chic. Behind all the glitz and glam lie hiking trails and a more down to earth Italy, ancient woods, family farms, vineyards and lemon groves. After losing your breath at the sheer beauty of the clifftop wonders of Amalfi, Ravello, Praiano, Positano, you can breathe deeply again walking along the aptly named Path of the Gods, or give yourself over totally to the Monti Lattari mountain range, which is pure hiking heaven. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Amalfi Coast is worshipped from near and far and the congregation can pack out in peak season. Here are some of our tips on the best time to go to the Amalfi coast, for heaven with or without the hordes.
The Amalfi Coast travel season
Most of our Amalfi coast walking holidays are bookable for travel between March and October. Some holidays, such as walking the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari which overlooks the Amalfi Coast from the most exquisite elevations, have a shorter season between April and October. You can hike it over nine days, or take on a highlights version over five days. This holiday, exploring the Amalfi Coast off the beaten path also dips in and out of the Lattari Mountains and it has a longer wanderlust window between March and November. Same goes for cyclists who can pootle through Positano and more between March and November. These holidays do book out quickly though, so get in pronto! At least six months in advance is ideal, if you want to travel in peak season.
Weather on the Amalfi coast
Although our self-guided walking and cycling holidays on the Amalfi Coast are bookable for travel during July and August, we don’t always recommend these months as our first choice, because many natural adventurers usually want to avoid the crowds and the heat. During July and August temperatures can hit as high as 30C, although the more elevated trails through the Lattari Mountains are lower, around 24-25C.
Sea temperatures stay at a sublime average of 23C between June and October. Spring awakens in the most spectacular way along the Amalfi Coast, with temperatures around 16C in March and 24C in May but you may get rainy evenings. Between October and November, hiking temperatures are much kinder, averaging between 17-20C, although the sea is often warmer than the air at this time of year.
Best time to go to the Amalfi Coast for flowers
It’s also a floral fest on the Amalfi Coast during spring, with wisteria filling the air of Positano and Ravello around the end of March and mid-April, and the yellow flowers of broom and sweet-smelling euphorbia covering the clifftops.
Pink and red hues take over in late May and June on the Amalfi Coast with valerian flowers peeking out from cracks in the cliffs, pathways and ancient stone walls. Wild orchids also add to these pink and purple shades at this time of year with species including the lady, green-winged and butterfly orchids.
Botany was in fact booming on the Amalfi Coast during the years of the Grand Tour in the 18th century and, out of this developed some of the region’s most splendid gardens at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Which then went on to attract botanists and landscaping greats like Harold Peto and Vita Sackville West, as well as literary great Virginia Woolf. There was, and still is power and passion in the planting and the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast, if you want to visit these landscaped marvels, is during early summer when the roses, oleander and hydrangea are blooming beautiful, and the bougainvillaea is still bursting through.
Lemon season on the Amalfi Coast
Lemons can never leave a sour taste in your mouth when they come from the Amalfi Coast, especially when you have seen them in their vibrant yellow fullness along your walking trails. The most famous are the Sfusato Amalfitano and Limone di Sorento and they are now so famous that they have been awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status under European Union law. The limonai, or lemon farmers, harvest them by hand between February and July, and sometimes into the autumn. But they grow all year round, so you can’t miss them really.
Amalfi Coast festivals
They like a party on the Amalfi Coast, and if it’s a pesce party you’re after, head to Positano on the last weekend of September, when local people celebrate their fishing heritage with the annual Festa del Pesca. Head to Fornillo beach for all the fun.
There are more parties in the town of Amalfi on 27 June every year when they honour their patron saint, Sant’Andrea, with feasts, processions, traditional music and a fair amount of wine. It culminates in a statue of the saint being carried up the steps of Amalfi Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo.
Easter on the Amalfi Coast might not be for everyone, but it’s a time that shows off the region’s cultural heritage and traditions. There are religious processions led by men called battenti, who wear hoods to signify paying penance. You can watch prayerful parades, some often torch-lit, or there is an even more dramatic procession called the Via Crucis which takes place in Maiori, Salerno, Ravello and Minori, where a crucifix is carried through the towns on Easter Thursday, with people singing traditional songs as it passes through.
It’s worth noting that Easter is also a time for processions of a different kind along the Amalfi Coast, as it’s usually the beginning of the cruise ship season, with thousands of people disembarking en masse in the ports of Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento and Salerno. You can actually time the arrival of cruise ships (to avoid them) by checking their coming into port times at Cruise Timetables.
Chestnut season comes to the Amalfi Coast in October and you will come across various local festivals to celebrate their beloved castagna, but the most celebrated one is in Scala, between Amalfi town and Ravello.
We hope we have given you a better idea of when to plan your trip to the Amalfi Coast. If you would like to enjoy this region in the height of summer, but avoid the hotspots, do check out the Cilento Coast, which is just a couple of hours further south. Our co-founder Peter Duncan travelled there recently, loved it and shared his thoughts in this blog. You may also enjoy our blog, Most underrated places in Italy.