Italy in the Off Season: The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi coast, gorgeous even in the off season
The Amalfi coast, gorgeous even in the off season

Italy has amazing experiences to offer in every season, you just have to know where to look. If you’d like learn more about the best ways to see this incredible country read some more of our blogs or check out one of our award winning walking tours.

Heading to the Amalfi coast in winter? It can be a wonderful time of year to come… but if you’re planning to visit Sorrento, Positano, or any of the other gems on the costiera amalfitana, there are some things you have to keep in mind!

When is the off season on the Amalfi coast? From the end of October to April (excluding Easter).

What to expect in the off season: When most people think of the Amalfi coast, it’s summer scenes that come to mind: sipping drinks next to the hotel pool, taking boat rides along the coast, and sunbathing on the beach. And for those activities, the winter isn’t such a great time to come.

SITA bus from Amalfi to Salerno

The Amalfi coast bus ride, in high season… just a little crowded!

But there are two main asterisks to that image of coastal perfection. First, misconceptions to the contrary, beaches aren’t really the area’s major asset: The coastline tends to be rocky and sheer, so town beaches are relatively small and, in summer, packed. Second, high season on the Amalfi comes with huge crowds and high prices. Yes, you can get away from the crowds by going beyond the “big three” of Sorrento, Amalfi Town, and Positano… but if you take the SITA bus along the coast, for example, prepare to squeeze (and sweat). For more on the glorious SITA bus and how to beat the summertime crowds, read our blog on how to make the most out of the Amalfi Coast.

In the winter You don’t have to deal with any of that. Not to mention that the weather, while too chilly for sunbathing, is balmier than you’d expect: Average temperatures for Amalfi in December, January and February, for example, range from a low of about 40°F to a high of 55°F. Yes, there’s more rain than usual—November is the rainiest month of the year—but there are still plenty of crisp, sunny days, too.

The weather might not always be perfect in the winter… but the coastline is still beautiful!

That said, not everything about the Amalfi coast in the winter is foolproof. Most tourists do come in the late spring, summer and fall, so some restaurants and hotels will be closed in the off season. Similarly, some regular ferry schedules run from Easter weekend through October. And even if you can find a boat running during the winter, inclement weather can get it canceled. (That said, the SITA bus does run year-round, so you’ll still be able to town-hop down the coastline). If you want to know more about trains, plains, buses, and ferries, read our guide to Amalfi Coast transport.

Inconveniences aside, the Amalfi coast can make a great destination in the winter—especially if the weather is sunny, and if you’re not determined to lie on a beach or a boat.

If you come to the Amalfi coast in the low season: Pack your layers, and, especially in case of bad weather or canceled ferries, a sense of humor! Have a list of sights you’d like to see, or day trips you’d like to go on, in case the weather is particularly chilly or rainy—like the museums of Salerno or Naples—and know that, no matter what, you’re experiencing the Amalfi coast in a way that almost nobody else gets to.

Carl Morgenstern's View of the Amalfi Coast depicts how nice the region can be at any time of the year. Find out why you should visit it during the off-season!

 

43 Comments

  • Kota Kinabalu Travel says:

    You’ve written so much wonderful things about the towns in Italy that I am most tempted to see them all! The sights are gorgeous!

  • Virginia Apicella says:

    What about the hiking! The Amalfi coast boast some incredible hiking trails unlike any others in the world. The Amalfi coast highway wasn’t begun until 1815, so the only way to get from town to town was through the mountains. The most famous of these paths was the one connecting Positano to Bomerano, still known as Sentiero Degli Dei (The Path of the Gods). You pass through medieval fortress ruins as you make your assent to the coasts most spectacular views amid the mountain ridges, going back in time as you encounter goat farmers who seem unchanged and untouched by the modern world. There are but a few hardy folks who make these trails during the busy summer months, and are all but abandoned when the weather cools. It’s a definite must for any visitor, no matter the time of year. As John Steinbeck once wrote about Positano, “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there, and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”

  • Let’s pack our bags! Just remember to bundle up in the winter.

  • Fan says:

    Had a great time this Fall touring the Amalfi Coast absolutely beautiful..I shall return. Great article. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sue says:

    Hi,
    I am planning a 2 week trip to Italy in Mid November and will land in Naples Airport around noon. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do the southern part bit before heading back up to Rome and finally ending the journey either in Milan or Venice. Here’s my plan so far:-

    19/11 Arrive in Naples. Head to train station and look for place for lunch. Take train to Pompeii. Spend the night in Sorrento
    20/11 Day trip to Capri. Second night in Sorrento.
    21/11 Take the SITA bus from Sorrento to Positano. Is it ok to take this bus with luggage? How long is the journey to Positano? Spend a night in Positano.
    22/11 Take bus from Positano to Salerno. Will there be a ferry from Positano to Salerno? If yes, would this be a better alternative considering I have my luggage with me? How long is this journey? From Salerno, either take the train directly to Rome or stop in Naples for lunch before heading to Rome.

    Is the above doable or too rushed? I’ve allocated the remaining days as follows to cover the other cities in Italy.

    23/11 Rome
    24/11 Rome
    25/11 Rome
    26/11 Rome – Pisa – Florence
    27/11 Florence
    28/11 Florence
    29/11 Florence
    30/11 Florence – Venice
    1/12 Venice
    2/12 Venice
    3/12 Venice – Milan
    4/12 Milan – London

    • Hi Sue,
      We’re happy to help. In answer to your questions:
      Yes, you can take the SITA bus with luggage; it’s about 1 hour to Positano, depending on traffic etc.
      In mid-November, the regular ferry schedule isn’t in effect (it ends in October), so there will be fewer options. You can check on arrival what the weather is like/what ferry options you have, and use the bus as a backup, if you want to do something different.
      Remember that you can leave your luggage in a storage locker at the Naples train station when you want to have lunch.
      In our opinion, the above is doable, if slightly rushed. Your most packed day will be arriving in Naples, going to Pompeii (which is a very exhausting sight!), and then on to Sorrento.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  • Iris says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the lovely article! This time we are arriving in the summer, our ship docks at Naples for one day on August, and we have just discovered it’s a holiday in Italy. We really wanted to visit the Amalfi coast.
    What would you suggest to be the best thing to do in that day? Will restaurants and shops be open?
    Many thanks,
    Irit

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Iris, since you will be traveling to a popular tourist area on the coast many options will in fact be open on August 15th, even though it is a holiday in Italy 🙂 Most restaurants and shops should be open. Let us know if you have any questions!

  • Valerie says:

    Hi we traveled toured the Amalfi Coast in June this year. Weather was excellent crowds were not bad buses were good and pretty regular for town hopping.

    We must of been very lucky. My opinion June is a great month to visit.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi there! My sister and I with my toddler will be visiting Amalfi Coast in Feb’15 and plan to stay 2 nights. Do you recommend we stay at Altrani, Amalfi, Positano or Sorrento? Would restaurants in Positano or Amalfi be open in Feb? We would really like to stay along the coast for the view. Do taxis ply along the coast, besides SITA bus and hired cars? Should we stay at the same town for both nights or travel along the route and stay at different towns?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Rachel,

      We think it’s easier to stay in one town and tour the cities along the coast as individual day or half day trips, that way you won’t have to lug around your bags. While we can’t choose what town you should stay in (they are all beautiful) we can say that restaurants will absolutely be open! Have a great trip!

  • Anna says:

    Hello! My husband and I are looking to visit Amalfi in late November. I know it is the rainy season and we are planning to visit for 3 days. Any suggestions on best town to stay and if we can still plan a day visit to Capri if we come from Naples? Thank you!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Anna,

      Nearly every town along the Amalfi Coast merit a visit, it’s impossible to choose just one! While Sorrento seems to be a favorite for travelers, we also suggest here to give another look at Salerno as a possible base. As for Capri, perhaps this post on Capri in a day can help you decide!

  • Veronica says:

    Hello,
    My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy March 28 (Easter Monday) till April 8. We fly in and out of Rome. We are extreme foodies, love wine, romance, and night life. We would like to see a few museums, but really want to embrace the atmosphere. My husband doesn’t want to be constantly packing up and moving. With that said, I was thinking of going right to Florence for 3 nights, 4 nights in Venice (have to go on a gondola and maybe day trip over to Milan), and 4 nights in Rome (with a day trip to maybe Amalfi, Naples, and/or Pompeii). Will there be things open on Easter Monday in Florence or is Rome a better choice? Do you think I should drop Florence stay and maybe just do a day trip there from Rome instead?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Veronica,

      We’re sure you’ll be able to find something open in both Rome and Florence – restaurants know that tourists will still be there and actually, some Italians now have the custom to go out to eat for major holidays as well. Your route and stay is entirely up to you, but we might suggest to shorten your stay in Venice if you don’t want to be moving often, and adding the extra 2 days to another location. Also, we offer many half day, day and day trip tours that could be useful to you and your husband to get the most out of your time in each city. You’d love our Venice in a Day tour, which tours the major sights of the beautiful city then finishes with a gondola ride!

  • Dawn says:

    Hi, my daughter will be traveling to Europe in February and I decided to meet her in Italy. We seem to be having a hard time booking and deciding where to go after Venice, Florence and Rome. We want to travel to my grandparents hometown in Caserta for 1 night, but we still have 4 nights to decide where to go. Originally we wanted to stay in Sorrento or Positano and visit the Almafi coast. We are finding out a lot of the hotels and restaurants are closed, are we making a mistake going to that area. Please help! Thank you very much!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Dawn,

      No, we don’t think you’re making a mistake. Though some hotels might be closed, we’re sure you’ll still be able to find plenty of lovely options. We often use booking.com to find acceptable accommodations. Have a great trip!

  • Blanca Cook says:

    Can anyone comment on the weather in mid to late March? My friend & I are going to be doing some traveling around then and weather/temperatures are big deciding factors on where to go!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Blanca,

      Though it depends on where in Italy you are, the temperature should be quite moderate and the real beginning of spring. You’ll need pants and layers, but the gloves and hats can stay at home!

  • Pezhman says:

    Hi,

    My wife and I are travelling to Italy and stay in Sorrento for three nights from 31 March to 3 April.This is our first trip to South of Italy.

    We will arrive by train to Naples at noon and then pick up rental car to drive to Sorrento. Could I have your input for 2 and half days itinerary in Amalfi Coast?

    We are planning to visit Mount Vesuvius on the way to Sorrento and visit Herculaneum on the way back on last day to Naples. Also, I have noticed that Capri recommended a lot but not quite sure weather will be fine to accommodate a half day or day tour to Capri. I am on a bit dilemma if Capri worth visiting to allocate one of my day to that.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  • Jodie says:

    Good morning. We will be visiting Italy at the end of April/May staying in Tuscany and Amalfi cost. Is the weather warm?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jodie,

      Yes, the weather should be quite warm that time of year, especially the further south you go. That said, it is still spring, so we suggest you bring layers and pants.

  • Kelly says:

    Please lead me to some resources I can trust and utilize to plan our first European vacation to Italy in October. I would love to have one great hotel to use as a base and plan day or overnight trips possibly from there. My main goal is Amalfi and the area/Capri (and Pompei), but I would love a chance to visit Cinque Terre (and boat through lake Como). But how do I join these areas – does a train go to each spot? Can you recommend a tour for each of these as day/two-day trips? Also – we would love to visit restaurants that aren’t main stream but more typical of the region / fresh local seafood, etc. We would LOVE to see a working vineyard, or cheese-making location. How do we ‘go off the beaten track’ to see/experience real Italy/Cuisine/Countryside – but also see the amazing vistas (we’ll have to plan another trip to see Rome and Venice and all the historical sites we’ll miss).

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Kelly,

      We might suggest this very blog as a trustworthy and valuable resource! We have many posts on both Amalfi and Cinque Terre. Our tours along the Amalfi Coast can help you get the most of your travel time, and will give you an insider’s look into the area, as each tour is led by a local tour guide. We think you’d love our 2.5 hour Pompeii tour, or you might enjoy the convenience in our Pompeii tour with a private Amalfi Coast drive! To plan distances and modes of transportation, we’re big fans of http://www.rome2rio.com. Just plug in your start point and destination and it will tell you the time, cost and distance for multiple modes of transportation, helping you decide the best way of getting around. We’re sure you’ll have a great first vacation in Italy!

  • Lori Rose says:

    Hi. I’m considering 2 tours in early fall that both include Capri/Amalfi Coast, will the weather be approx. the same & will shops/cafes be open during either period? Does ferry still run?

    Oct. 18-19, Sorrento to capri by boat & Amalfi Coast

    Sorrento/Amalfi -1st week in Nov.

    Thank you!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lori,

      Yes, Capri is right off the Amalfi Coast so the weather should be basically identical. The ferries will be running, but remember that November 1st is All Saint’s Day and a national public holiday as is November 2, so transportation might be limited on those days. Have a great trip!

  • Yvette says:

    Greetings,

    We will be in Florence the week of November 24 and would love to tour the Amalfi Coast and Cinque de terra – a day trip would great. Can you please recommend tours and what to pack or the season?

    Thank you!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Yvette,

      Cinque Terre is a close option, though a bit of a tiring day-trip as it takes about 2 hours by train to get there. Unfortunately we don’t have any tours in Cinque Terre, but it’s relatively easy to get around independently. Florence to the Amalfi Coast is a bit more difficult – It takes more than 4 hours by train! If you decide to change your route a bit, we have a lovely day trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome with a tour of Pompeii and a private driver. Hope this helps!

  • Tina says:

    My husband and I will be in Italy during December & January 2016. We plan to leave Rome on the 27th of December and head south to visit Pompeii and other towns along the way. We will have 9 days to plan in around this area, including new years eve. Around the 5th of January we will head to Vienna and explore eastern europe. Given its winter, I would your advice on which key towns we should visit and suggest any walks as we are both very active and will be in need of exercise by this time of our travelling!!. Thanks

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Tina,

      You’re in luck: Though it is winter, the Amalfi Coast tends to stay a bit milder than your usual temperate climates, and will certainly be warmer than Vienna! This article (here) gives a detailed overview of each and every Amalfi Coast town, which we’re sure can help you decide where to go and what to do there! And don’t worry, the Amalfi Coast is built right on the cliff, meaning there are a lot of hills and stairs in these sea-side towns. We’re sure you’ll get exercise! Have a great trip.

  • Chow says:

    Hi I am planning a trip to Italy end nov-dec this year for 2. We plan to go to the Amalfi coast but am worries that it could be a washout hence we are deliberating if we Amalfi is doable or we shoukld consider Sicily which may offer more sunny days, hopefully! We are outdoors type and planninf on some hikes as musuems and churches are not our focus. Any suggestions are welcome.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Chow,

      Both the Amalfi Coast and Sicily should be quite mild during that time, though neither will be downright hot. Of course the further south you go, the warmer it tends to be, but both locales have excellent hiking! 🙂

  • Seema Gaur says:

    Hi,

    We live in San Francisco and planning a Italy trip from between Dec 19- Jan 4. We will be travelling with 2 kids 11 and 7 year old. We are planning to go to Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan.After reading so much about Amalfi Coast we want to go there too.
    Is it a good idea to visit Italy during winter with kids? Please advice and what are that best places to wear during this time?

    Thanks

  • Ane says:

    Hi,
    We are going on a 3 day trip to the Amalfi coast in the first week of december. We are arriving from Rome, and will visit Pompeii on our way down to Amalfi. Would you recommend staying in Sorrento or Positano? In my understanding Sorrento is bigger and has a more local inhabitants and more “life” off-season, whereas Positano is more breathtaking, but can be quite abandoned off-season – I just can’t decide where we should stay! We will have a rental car, so we can drive to the other places during our stay, but as we are returning to Rome afterwards, we thought it would be a good idea to stay in one of the cities in the “northern” part of Amalfi.

    I hope you can give me some advice, any help is highly appreciated 🙂

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ane,

      What a beautiful trip! Both Sorrento and Positano are quite “northern” along the coast, but each has its own atmosphere and flavor. Perhaps this article can help you. It explains the differences among the Amalfi Coast towns and which is best for what type of traveler!

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