When May rolls around in Cinque Terre, summer feels like it is just around the corner with hot temperatures and limited rainfall this month. This month marks the official start of the tourist season in Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The average monthly rainfall drops to 75 mm, so you probably won't need your umbrella or poncho. That amount falls over seven days in the month, so any rain that does fall is generally a light shower rather than a big rainstorm.
Visitors get about nine hours of sunshine each day too on this part of the Italian Riviera. That's more than plenty of time to get outside and try some active pursuits like hiking, biking, or spending time near the coast. With the water temperature jumping up to 17°C (around 63°F), you may even want to do a little swimming. At the very least, you can comfortably walk along the sand and dip your toes in.
With an average daily temperature of 18°C (about 64°F), you can pack warmer-weather clothing, such as light-weight shirts and trousers. You may even be able to get away with short-sleeved shirts and shorts on the warmest days. The daytime highs get up to 22°C (about 72°F), a near-perfect temperature. Even at night, the temperatures only drop down to 14°C (around 57°F), so a light jacket or sweater is appropriate if you'll be outside during that time.
In 1986, the resort saw a record high of 27°C (around 81°F), extremely warm for even a summertime month in this part of Europe. The lowest recorded temperature was in 1984 when the low dropped to a frigid -2°C (about 28°F). Check the local forecast before you go, but more than likely, you won't see these extreme highs and lows during your holiday away this month.
A quaint, family-run establishment in Manarola, the Hotel Ca D'Andrean welcomes guests with open-arms. You'll feel right at home in the large rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Some of the rooms also have private terraces to enjoy the beautiful Cinque Terre weather in May. In the mornings, enjoy a classic Italian breakfast complete with cappuccino and relax in the lounge with fireplace.
Found in the village of Monterosso, Hotel Margherita enjoys a convenient location in the centre of town, only minutes from the beach. The hotel offers several different types of rooms, so you're sure to find a configuration that fits your needs. All of the rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, satellite television, mini fridge, and safe. Each morning, you'll enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast in the cosy dining room.
In the quiet village of Monterosso, Hotel Marina offers guest comfortable and affordable accommodations. The 25 guest rooms have beautiful décor, including exposed brick walls, lush bedding, and neutral colours. You'll appreciate the hotel's other amenities like reading room, garden, and on-site restaurant. The hotel also offers a full buffet breakfast each morning with local produce and organic foods.
In Riomaggiore, the only beach sits about 500 meters from the train station, accessible via a tunnel on foot. By the time May rolls around, the water temperature is up to 17°C (around 63°F), warm enough for some people to swim. There are a few paid parking spots, but walking is your best option for reaching the quiet and isolated beach. Some tourists opt to reach the beach via boat, mooring in the shallow waters and swimming to shore.
Just like the name suggests, the Vernazza Winexperience allows you to experience the best Cinque Terre has to offer in terms of wines. The sixth-generation sommelier, Alessandro, carefully chooses the wines from the best vineyards around Cinque Terre. He pairs them with complementing snacks and tapas, so you won't go hungry as you sip on reds, whites, and sparkling varieties.
For a high-end meal while in Manarola, check out Aristide, serving up gourmet Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The menu includes seafood dishes, many made with fresh fish and seafood caught right from the Ligurian Sea. Some of the fish dishes are even prepared tableside right before your eyes. After your meal, head to the first-floor bar and café for after-dinner drinks.
Located right near the water in Riomaggiore, Enoteca Dau Cila serves up its Italian and Mediterranean dishes with a view. All of the tables, both inside and outside, are carefully situated to give you amazing views of the water. The interior spaces are cosy with exposed stone and brick, matched with white tables and chairs for a casual atmosphere. To complement your meal, check out the extensive wine cellar, with many local choices.
Every May, on the third Sunday of the month, the people of Monterosso celebrate Sagra del Limone, or the Festival of Lemons. During the festival, the townspeople decorate the village with lemons and bright yellow colours. The local restaurants and bars serve up everything lemon. You can try lemon-flavoured liquors and drinks, as well as lemon-infused dishes from desserts to entrees.
Explore the waters around Cinque Terre on a boat tour with Enjoy Cinqueterre Boat Tours. The tours leave from Manarola and take about 2.5 hours. During that time, you'll make stops for swimming and snorkelling and take in the beautiful surroundings. The tours include free drinks on board. In cooler months, you'll stop and see Monterosso rather than swim or snorkel.
Join the "voluntourism" trend and do some good while you see the sights of Cinque Terre. The Volunteering in Cinque Terre excursion takes you into the terraced hillsides above Vernazza, where you'll work side-by-side with locals. You'll help build stone walls, restore land that was damaged by a major 2011 flood, and assist with the grape harvest. You'll also get to experience local culture firsthand and take in amazing views.