When to go to Neapolitan Riviera

The Neapolitan Riviera has a wonderfully long tourism season that stretches from March all the way through to October. Good weather can even be had from November to February when the weather, while not hot, is mild. High summer in Naples can be unbearable, which is why everyone who can takes off to the islands or along the coast where the sea breezes will lower the humidity and make the temperature more bearable (see also When to go to Naples). In my opinion the best time to visit is at the beginning or end of the season: spring and autumn are usually warm and pleasant and the months of March and October can be especially profitable times to visit as the crowds have largely disappeared - so you can usually find better deals at hotels and restaurants. It should be remembered that the boats travelling to the islands virtually stop at the end of September/beginning of October and don’t start again until March.

Spring - rising temperatures and visitor numbers

From March to June the temperature will steadily rise from around 60 to 80 degrees, and the number of visitors will rise steadily too. March can be wet as well, so bring an umbrella! Ravello's Concert Society (www.ravelloarts.org) holds classical concerts from March through to November.

Summer - hot, but fun to be had

June, July and August see temperatures soar into the 80s, but sea breezes can take the edge off any humidity. From August to September Sorrento hosts a music festival Incontri Musicali Sorrentini but, historically, it is not easy to find out what is on when and how to book (see also When to go to Sorrento); my advice would be to check the websites www.sorrentoinfo.com and www.in-campania.com from May, and hope for the best. The famous Ravello Festival (www.ravellofestival.com) runs from June to September. Ischia's summer concerts held at La Mortella are very popular, and Capri's enchanting Concerti al Tramonto (concerts at dusk) are held at Villa San Michele. Ischia's fabulous Festa di Sant'Anna takes place on 26 July with torchlit boats sailing around the Ischia Ponte and Sorrento also celebrates the Festa di Sant'Anna with a week-long celebration of food, drink and fireworks on the Marina Grande.

Autumn - some of the best weather

Apart from the odd shower, one of the best times to the Neapolitan Riviera is from September to November when the temperatures are still reasonably high; but it’s worth noting that boats to the islands are far less frequent from October onwards as the seas can get quite choppy. The Piedigrotta festival (www.festadipiedigrotta.it, 10 days at the beginning of September) offers plenty of music along with parades, floats and a whole lot of dancing. Ravello's Concert Society (www.ravelloarts.org) is still running, as is the Ravello Festival (www.ravellofestival.com).

Winter - a wonderful Christmas

Weather-wise the winter season on the Neapolitan Riviera can be remarkably mild, with temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees. If you visit in December, Christmas in Sorrento is wonderful. The 'procession of baby Jesus' takes place on Christmas Eve and ends in a spectacular firework display. There are also live tableaux of the Christmas nativity scene that the whole town gets involved in. The islands of Capri and Ischia pretty much close for the winter season (mid-November to mid-Feb) as the seas can get quite rough and the ferry crossings are often cancelled due to bad weather, but those hotels that do remain open offer some great room rates at often less than half-price (see also When to go to Capri).