Best time to go on a walking holiday in Italy

Best time to go on a walking holiday in Italy


WALKING ON SUNSHINE

Soaring temperatures in July-Aug mean this isn't the best time to go on a walking holiday in Italy, particularly on the Amalfi Coast, Sicily and Sardinia. May-June and Sep-Oct are perfect in these parts, although there is respite in the high peaks of the Dolomites and Alps. There are always empty hiking trails to be found away from the chic brigade during peak season, but ferries and accommodation book up far in advance. Lake Como is mild all year, despite having the Alps as a background, rarely dipping below zero in winter. And when the snow falls, try snowshoeing in the Dolomites or on Mount Etna.

When not to go on a walking holiday in Italy


What to avoid, and when

  • The Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre National Park pack out with tourists in July and August. By hiking, you can always escape the crowds, as most stick to the popular beaches and tourist haunts, but just so you are warned.
  • In popular tourist areas, many hotels and restaurants are closed November until late March, so if you are going on a self-guided walking holiday, check how many places will be open.
  • July and August can see very high temperatures unsuited to strenuous hikes, with temperatures in southern areas often breaching 40°C with high humidity.
  • November-March tends to be cold and wet in much of Italy – apart from the mountains, when this is the time for winter sports. So, check out winter walking and snowshoeing during these times.
  • Rainfall is heaviest around Lake Como in May, so bring waterproofs.
  • Be wary hiking around Mont Blanc early in the spring months when snow is melting, because rocks and boulders are dislocated. Some hikers walk with a helmet, for dangerous rockfall areas. There might still be snow and ice, so best to hike with a qualified mountain leader at this time of year.
  • Most Mont Blanc mountain huts are open from mid-June until the first or second week in September, so this is as good a guide as you will get for the best time to go to Mont Blanc. It is advisable to reserve a bed, particularly in the high season of mid-July to mid-August but of course tour operators will do this for you.
  • Easter week can be very full on in Italy, especially around the Amalfi Coast and the islands. So be prepared for festival crowds. Same goes for May when many towns celebrate the Madonna delle Grazie or Madonna’s Festival throughout the month.
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When to go on a walking holiday in Italy

Chloe Knott, one of the alpine aficionados at our leading supplier, Exodus, gives her advice on the when to go on a walking holiday in Italy, especially around Mont Blanc:
“For the Tour de Mont Blanc generally, the climbing window is between June and September. September is great - the trails are generally a little quieter whilst the weather is usually still warm and clear. November isn’t ideal as you have less daylight hours and unpredictable weather.
The main climbing season for the ascent of Mont Blanc is from June to September. Expect warm temperatures (15 to 25ºC) in the valleys, cool (5 to 15ºC) on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and very cold (-20ºC) on the summit, with strong winds too.
For snowshoeing, there is usually a blanket of snow between December and March.”
Emily Chrystie – tour leader with our supplier of Amalfi Coast walking holidays, Exodus:
"In lemon season (March to July), as we’re walking to go up the mountain, locals will come up give us enormous bags full of lemons completely out of the kindness of their hearts."
Photo credits: [Mountain range:Moyan Brenn]
Written by Catherine Mack
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