The Best Time to Visit the Amalfi Coast

Positano, Amalfi Coast

Glenn van der Knijff / GettyImages

Italy's Amalfi Coast is a popular holiday destination for sunseekers, history and culture buffs, and those interested in exploring the natural areas of this stunning piece of coastline. The best time to visit the Amalfi coast is during the two shoulder seasons—April to May and September to October—when the weather is pleasant and the area is less crowded. September is the absolute best month to visit as the weather is still warm, and summer crowds are gone. Summer is peak season on the Amalfi Coast, when towns are packed, beaches are crowded, and hotel rates are at a premium. Winters along the Amalfi Coast can be bitingly cold, windy, and rainy.

Crowds & High-Season Prices

June, July, and August are busy months all over Italy, and the Amalfi Coast is no exception. If you have to visit during the summer months, know that you will encounter heavy crowds and high-season prices for hotels and airfare. Amalfi Coast hotels, in particular, will charge higher rates for their rooms, and hotels still fill up quickly.

Traffic along the famous Amalfi Coast road slows to a crawl during the summertime, when the winding cliffside road is clogged with tour buses, private coaches, and rental cars. The coast's famous towns, like Positano and Amalfi, are packed with day-trippers during these months, many of them cruise ship passengers who come ashore in Naples and tour the coast on shore excursions. Beaches, restaurants, and charming piazzas? All packed to the gills. If your budget and personality can manage this scene, do plan to book your flights, hotel, and any tours well in advance to ensure you don't miss out on the experiences you want to have.

In low season you'll avoid the crowds and traffic, but you'll also miss out on that sun-kissed ambiance that makes the area so special. You'll also have fewer choices of accommodations and restaurants. Shoulder season, especially the month of September, is still crowded, but not nearly at peak summer levels.

Summer

The hottest, sunniest months on the Amalfi Coast are July and August. Temperatures typically reach or exceed 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) and the ocean is also delightfully warm for swimming. For sightseeing in summer, plan on bringing loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Events to check out:

  • The Festa della Repubblica, or Independence Day in Italy, is held on June 2 and marks the date that Italy became a unified republic. Parades and concerts may take place in towns along the coast.
  • On June 13, the Festa di Sant'Antonio sees the statue of Saint Anthony transported on a boat procession from Atrani to Amalfi.
  • On June 27 in Amalfi, the Festa di Sant’Andrea Apostolo celebrates Amalfi's patron saint, Saint Andrew the Apostle. A procession through the streets of Amalfi culminates with runners sprinting up the steps of the Duomo, to return the statue of St. Andrew to his home church.
  • On July 22, the Festa di Santa Maria Maddalena takes place in Atrani, with a procession and fireworks over the sea.
  • From Aug. 1-5, the Luminaria di San Domenico sees the people of Praiano decorating their balconies and gardens with luminary candles. On the first night of the festival, townspeople offer traditional foods along Via Costantinopoli.
  • Also in the first week of August, the fishing village of Cetara celebrates the bounty of the sea with Le Giornate del Pesce Azzurro (Days of the Blue Fish), a food festival with tastings of local fish dishes and tours of fishing boats.
  • On Aug. 5 in Conca dei Marini, the Festa di Madonna della Neve (Madonna of the Snow) features a seaside mass and a procession of fishing boats.
  • Aug. 15 is Ferragosto, a non-religious holiday throughout Italy celebrated with festivals, concerts, and sometimes, fireworks.
  • On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, Amalfi and neighboring Atrani celebrate Il Capodanno Bizantino (Byzantine New Year), with a costumed medieval procession and games.

Spring

During the spring shoulder season of April and May, temperatures may start out in the mid-60s F (high teens Celsius) in April and then rise to the mid-70s F (low 20s C) in May. Swimming in the sea or unheated hotel pools may still be a little brisk, even in May. But if your focus is more on sightseeing than beachgoing, May is an especially good month to visit.

Events to check out:

  • Easter Week, or Holy Week (either in March or April), along the Amalfi Coast is celebrated with a series of Masses, starting on Good Friday. Second to Christmas, Easter Sunday is the most important religious holiday in Italy, and virtually all stores and most restaurants will close.
  • From the beginning of April through the end of October, the Ravello Concert Society holds a series of traditional and contemporary classical music concerts in venues around Ravello, attracting top talent from around the world.
  • Also from April through October, the world-famous Ravello Festival presents symphonic, jazz, pop, operatic, and dance performances, many in breathtaking settings overlooking the sea.
  •  Liberation Day in Italy is April 25. In most small towns, it is observed with low-key processions or wreath-layings.
  • Every Wednesday in May, I Suoni degli Dei (the Sounds of the Gods) presents open-air concerts along the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) walking and hiking trail that connects Praiano to Positano.
  • On the last weekend of May or the first weekend of June, the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics takes place in either Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa, or Venice. In 2020, it will be held in Venice.

Fall

The autumn shoulder season of September and October starts out pleasantly, with September temperatures in the low 80s F (high 20s C) and the sea still warm enough for swimming. October can be less predictable, with temperatures dropping by mid-month at the start of Italy's rainy season. November is the wettest month along the coast and temperatures continue to drop.

Events to check out:

  • On the third Sunday of September, the town of Torello (near Ravello) lights up with L'incendio, a spectacular fireworks and light show, to celebrate the Festa della Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows).
  • In Positano, the Festa del Pesce, a day-long, fish-focused culinary festival, takes place on the last Saturday of September.
  • On the second and third weekends of October, the inland village of Scala celebrates the Sagra delle Castagne, or Chestnut Festival, with lots of dishes made from the flavorful nuts.
  •  Amalfi reprises the Festa di Sant'Andrea—a celebration of Amalfi's patron saint, Saint Andrew the Apostle—on Nov. 30.

Winter

During winter, average temperatures hover around 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). These months can be quite rainy as well and there are cold winds blowing in off the sea. Bear in mind that many hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops will close from November to March, and ferries will be running on reduced schedules. Bottom line? This is the time to visit the Amalfi Coast if you're not interested in the beach and are more content to visit area's museums and archaeological sites, or if you want to see the seaside towns at their sleepiest. If you're visiting during the holiday season you'll be able to see the towns covered in lights. Many of them also have have presepe (nativity scenes) in the main piazzas. Do note that virtually all restaurants and businesses will be closed on Christmas Day.

Events to check out:

  • Christmas Eve is celebrated with the vigilia, the vigil of awaiting the birth of Christ. Some restaurants will be open and serving exclusively fish menus. Churches will hold midnight mass.
  • Up and down the coast, Capodanno (New Year's Eve) is marked by street parties and, at midnight, fireworks over the sea—made all the more spectacular when reflected in the waters of the Mediterranean.
  • As elsewhere in Italy, the Epiphany, or La Befana, is celebrated on Jan. 6 in towns across the coast. Stores and many restaurants will be closed that day.
  • Pre-lenten Carnevale festivities happen all over Italy in February or March, depending on the date of Easter. Along the Amalfi Coast, the biggest Carnevale party takes place in the town of Maiori.
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