Cinque Terre is known for its beautiful coastline, colorful houses built on the cliffs, great hiking trails and the typical Italian cuisine. The tourist season is normally from April to October. During late summer, particularly in August, it can be quite crowded. However, if you prefer quiet places and walking around without seeing many people, the off-season is the perfect time for you to visit!
When is off-season in Cinque Terre?
During low season, November 6 until March 15, all trails are free and you do not need the Cinque Terre Card.
Getting around Cinque Terre
Although the regional trains run less frequently during the winter, there are no problems moving between the Cinque Terre villages. In the off-season the trains are running once or twice an hour. Check the train schedules. During this period we do not recommend you to buy a Cinque Terre train card. It is cheaper to buy single train tickets. One single ticket between the Cinque Terre villages costs around 3 euros during the low season.
Hiking during winter
The Cinque Terre hiking trails are open all year long. From November 6 until March 15, all trails are free, and you do not need a Cinque Terre Card. After heavy rain some trails can be closed for safety reasons. In this case there are always alternative trails open. Following trails are always open: Levanto - Monterosso and Manarola - Volastra - Corniglia. Here is an updated list of open trails.
The weather can get quite cold during the winter months, especially in December and January. It is essential you take warm clothes and expect some rain. The weather is usually nice and sunny in February and March. The Mimosa is the first flower to bloom in February and in March blooms the cherry blossom and other fruit trees.
The accommodation is really easy to come by and relatively inexpensive compared to the high season. We suggest you to stay in a larger town like Sestri Levante or Levanto and make day trips to Cinque Terre. From these towns you can reach Cinque Terre by train in 20 minutes.
Winter is the off-season in Cinque Terre with many businesses including restaurants and shops closing for the season. There is at least one restaurant and bar open in every village. If you prefer more choice, staying in one of the larger villages might be a better option.
Overall, Cinque Terre will remain stunning no matter when you visit. While the towns are not as lively and crowded during the winter months, it is still worth visiting if you know what to expect.