Italy has got something special, it’s nearly always surprising and it’s always just uniquely Italian. However, if you want to visit a specific region, such as Puglia or Piedmont, Amalfi or the Dolomiti, it’s worth having some guidance on when to go.
The best time to go to Italy is often when there are fewer tourists around, but then again many of our adventure holidays take you off the beaten path anyway. So you might not often think of Liguria in spring, or Sardinia in autumn, but there are many reasons why you should. The good news is that if you are feeling impulsive, we will find you an Italian idyll any time of year.
Best time to go to the Amalfi Coast
Most of our Amalfi Coast walking holidays take place 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.
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. For more specific details, see our blog, Best time to go to the Amalfi Coast.
Walking along the Path of Gods, or Sentiero degli Dei. Whatever your view, it’s dei-lightful.
Best time to go to the Dolomites
Walking tours of the Dolomites vary in travel times, according to their elevations usually. Trekking along the Alta Via 1, for example, has a relatively short walking window, between June and July, and then throughout September, avoiding the last of the snow at higher altitudes, as well as the heat (and hordes) of August and summer storms. The lower elevations of, say, Val Badia, are open for trekking between June and October, June being when you also get the explosion of summer flora. The gamut of gorgeousness includes purple dark columbine and lupins, yellow foxgloves, white orchids and orange lilies. The Dolomites are also a butterfly hotspot at this time of year, so swot up on your fritillaries and skippers before you go.
You have less time to study orchids on a cycling holiday across the Dolomites all the way to Venice, which is available for travel between May and September. But May and June are top times to stop en route for photos, as you still get some snow on the peaks. You have plenty more snow on the peaks between January and March which is the best time to go to the Dolomites for our cross-country skiing or winter walking holidays.
Dolomiti at their most pretty? For some it’s spring, for others it’s when the snow falls.
Best time to go to Sardinia
Our walking and cycling holidays in Sardinia open from the first of April and you would be no fool to travel as early as this in the season, as temperatures are already in the high teens, and wildflowers are starting to blossom. In the south-west Monte Linas range, for example, this is the season when wild orchids, endemic peonies and crocuses, an array of blue iris and cyclamen pop up through the granite gorges and Mediterranean scrub. You’ll find similar flora on our hiking holiday in the eastern Supramonte region embedded in white and grey limestone, although the region’s famous strawberry-like shrub doesn’t ripen to red until October.
Although our Sardinia hiking trips are available as late as October, they take a pause in August, when the searing heat (averaging 30C) is not great for hiking, although our cycling holiday along the Costa Verde does run through from April to October. Travelling in Sardinia in October also means tapping into the grape harvest season, which is everywhere of course. However, on our Monte Linas trekking holiday, you walk through the Sulcis region which is famous for the Carignano, a red grape that can live with almost no water, and you can spot families growing this all over the region. If you do live for water, however, you’ll be relieved to know that sea temperatures are still an average 21C in October.
Gola di Gorropu in Sardinia’s Gennargentu National Park.
Best time to go to Sicily
Sicily sizzles in August, with temperatures creeping well over the 30C mark on the thermometer, and heatwaves taking it off the scale to as high as 46.3C in 2023. As we know with climate change patterns, extreme temperatures like these are sadly becoming more frequent.
Our most popular Sicily walking holiday, along the island’s section of the Via Francigena, doesn’t run in August, and it opens as early as March, running on to November. This coast to coast pilgrimage is a lot less quiet than other caminos, and also far from many of the tourist crowds. In spring, you walk past wheat fields dotted with cornflowers, meadows with blue iris and yellow sorrel and, by early summer, the almond orchards turn snowy white. If you are undertaking the pilgrimage for sacred reasons, bringing the trek to a close in Agrigento at Easter is a spiritual spectacle. Rituals include a Good Friday procession on Via Atenea, or another one in Aragona on Easter Sunday, followed by a lot of local feasting.
Our other Sicily holiday, which takes you hiking in and around Taormina and up Mount Etna, as well as to other Aeolian Islands, runs between April and July, as well as September to October. The highlight of this holiday for many is the climb up Etna, and you will get fewer crowds on this iconic volcano in April, May and October. Average temperatures in April are 21C, going up to 26C in May and the same for October, with the thermometer never dipping below double figures throughout the year.
Sicily is sizzling all seasons of the year, given Mount Etna’s fiery presence.
Best time to go to Italy for wine routes
If you want to hike through Italy’s wine routes, you have a wonderfully long season to do so, the earliest being the Brunello and Montepulciano vineyards in Tuscany, with holidays open as early as March, and wineries welcoming you as late as mid-October. You should open your Chianti a little later, leaving it to rest until April on this walking holiday that starts in Florence and finishes in Siena, with trips still going ahead well into harvest season in mid-October.
This Piedmont Wine Region walking holiday also runs between April and October, a holiday that combines the wines of Langhe with the shores of Liguria, so if you want to swim in between treks, sea and air temperatures match at around 24C in July and August. The other Piedmont Wine Region holiday on offer at this time of year is walking through the vineyards, valleys and iconic wine-producing villages of Barolo and Barbaresco which take you a bit later into the season, between April and November. This means you have plenty of opportunities to ramble and sample goodies en route which not only include wine, but also local specialties such as truffles, risotto, cheese and hazelnuts.
The Barolo wine region in the Langhe Valley, Piedmont, Italy.
Best time to go to Puglia
Our Puglia walking and cycling trails boast a beautifully long season, with some opening as early as February and closing as late as December. With an average annual temperature of 16C, the heel of Italy is perfectly poised for three-season adventures. In fact, there are 300 sunny days in Puglia. The average temperatures in April and May are 14C, going up to a comfortable 18C by the beginning of June. Summer stretches from June to September with average temperatures of 21C in September and 24C in July and August. Days in October are still warm, with average temperatures of 17-21C. In November, it’s a mild 13-14C but rainy with cool evenings. So, for that last minute, impulsive trip to Italy, Puglia is nearly always perfect.
Autumn in Puglia boasts average temperatures between 17-21C, in a region that has nothing average about it.
Now that you are more up to date with the best time to go to Italy, please read more on where and how to go. We have a growing collection of blogs on Italy, including one on the Most underrated places in Italy, Best hikes in Italy and Walking on the Cilento Coast. For more information on our Italian walking and cycling holidays, please don’t hesitate to contact our adventure specialists.