Monterosso in Cinque Terre is known as a summer destination in Italy, but what is it like in winter? I went to explore to see how it was.
We went on our honeymoon to Monterosso in Cinque Terre in the summer of 2013. It is located on the north-west coast in Italy around an hour away from Genoa by car.
You can also get there by train in 1 hour and 20 minutes from Genoa and 3 hours from Milan.
Cinque Terre means ‘five lands’ in Italian and it is not just one place it is five, hence the name. Cinque Terre has five villages that are called Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
These five villages are that idyllic colourful Italian destination that you see on the cover of travel magazines and all over Instagram.
Monterosso, Vernazza, Riomaggiore and Manarola are all built by the sea and Corniglia is built on the top of the cliffs.
Cinque Terre is a great place to hike within one of the villages or between each.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso’s full name is Monterosso al Mare. It is the largest of the villages and has a beach. In the summer months from April/May to September, Monterosso is a buzzing small town full of tourists.
When we went in June 2013 it was busy with mainly American and Australian tourists. I felt like I was not in Italy, as I hardly heard anyone speak Italian.
My husband is Italian from Genoa and when we were out one night, he asked ‘am I the only Italian in this restaurant?’ and he was apart from the owners!
But do not let this put you off, as it was still lovely and had an Italian atmosphere in the town. It is amazing how different it is to Genoa, as Genoa that is only an hour away and is never full of tourists.
Back to Monterosso!
Monterosso is easy to walk around and if hiking is not your scene the town it big enough to walk around and explore.
There are pretty shops, you can stop and have a drink and there is a promenade along the beach to walk along and you can sit on the beach and go for a swim.
When I was there in 2013, I was still in recovery from breaking my femur bone. I had learnt to walk again, unaided, but I could not walk very far and not for too long so Monterosso was perfect.
I recommend it if you have small children or you do not want to walk too far and stay local.
Monterosso in Winter
Monterosso in winter is completely different to the summer months, as it is a lot colder! Some of the restaurants and shops are closed up and the beach is empty.
This is nice if you like to walk along the beach, as in the summer the beach is covered with sun loungers, beach huts and beach bars.
There were quite a few tourists walking around, nowhere near as much as the summer months, but people were still visiting this beautiful area.
We had a nice day, we had a lovely walk, but the restaurant we wanted to go to re-live our honeymoon was closed.
As most of the restaurants were closed the choice was not as good, but we had nice lunch and made the most of it.
I would recommend going to Monterosso in the summer months either at the beginning of the season or end so May or September. June to August is very busy and very hot.
The reasons are, that you will experience the town in its full glory; sunshine, choice of restaurants and bars, all the shops will be open, you can go to the beach and even hike to the next towns.
I will be returning in the summer so I will be reporting back again.
What to Wear
If you choose to go to Monterosso in winter wrap up warm, as it is cold and windy. I recommend a woolly hat, scarf, gloves (ones that you can keep on and still use the touchscreen on your phone) and a warm jacket or coat.
Wear flat shoes or boots as some parts of the old paths and steps are uneven.
- Weather in winter: 5*C – 11*C
- Language: Italian and English is spoken
- Currency: Euros
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Have you been to Monterosso in winter? What would you recommend doing?