When is the best time to visit Rimini? That’s a good question, and not as easy to answer as it may sound. Certainly the high tourist season is July/August, and in terms of events that’s when the majority are scheduled. There are plenty of people, though, who will recommend you avoid the city in those months precisely because it becomes packed with tourists. The reality is that Rimini is a city with something to offer all year round, though in distinctly different flavours.
Go to Rimini in the Autumn if you like hiking, trekking, taking day trips, museums, and immersing yourself in the local culture. In mid september the beach facilities start closing up (the sun loungers, bars etc), and access to the beach becomes free an unencumbered, and while the weather is usually still very good (by Northern European standards – with temperatures often in the mid 20’s) it starts to become easier to move around the old city with its wonderful Roman ruins. You can also delight in the hundreds of local food festivals, celebrating different Autumnal foods (Chestnuts for example!). It’s also a great time to take day-trips. From Rimini you can comfortably visit cities like Urbino, Bologna, Ravenna, Ancona and even some further afield like Florence or Venice. There are also loads of beautiful small towns nearby like Cesenatico, Santarcangelo di Romagna. Another great day trip is to San Marino, one of the world’s smallest and oldest independent republics – it sits on top of Mt Titano, overlooking Rimini from the distance.
Don’t go to Rimini in the Autumn if you’re desperate for a sunny holiday – the Autumn weather can be temperemental – when the sun is out, it can be hot, but you’re also likely to catch some rain at some stage during an extended visit. Don’t expect the major events that are seen during the summer – there are plenty of local events, but Rimini is off the beaten track for most major international artists touring in the Autumn.
Some of the Riviera’s main amusement/nature parks remain open in the early Autumn though, so it can be a good time to visit places like Mirabilandia (huge Amusement park near Ravenna), Italia in Miniatura, and the Oltre Mare seapark. You’ll have the advantage of significantly smaller queues for attractions.
Rimini is a great Christmas destination, and it’s the time of the year when the old city really comes into its own, with beautiful christmas lights and markets lighting up its narrow old streets and piazzas. The winter is when all life in the city shifts away from the seafront and into the Roman/Medieval town. The food on offer in Rimini during the whole year is amazing, but the hearty Romagnolo cooking is particularly pleasant when sampled in one of the city’s many great restaurants during the winter (to get an idea of Romagnolo cooking, read this great article.
New Year’s Eve is a brilliant festival throughout Italy, and Rimini prides itself on having some of the biggest and best events. For years RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, hosted its New Year’s Celebrations on the tv in an outside broadcast from Piazza Fellini beside the Grand Hotel, so in many ways Rimini has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve throughout Italy, and while RAI no longer broadcasts from here, the party tradition remains. There are concerts in the piazza and great fireworks to enjoy.
The beachfront in winter takes on a completely different personality. During the summer months it is all about comfort and convenience – the beach being prepared each morning by an army of Bagnini (the owners of the individual beachfront concessions), setting up sun loungers and umbrellas. During the winter, the beach becomes windswept, and powerfully beautiful. A perfect place to go walking for miles.
Don’t go to Rimini during the winter if you’re expecting snow and skiing – It rarely snows heavily in Rimini as it is on the coast, and the nearest decent skiing resorts are a couple of hours away. It’s not impossible to include a brief skiing trip while on holidays in Rimini, but there are certainly easier and better ways to do it.
The Spring in Rimini has all the advantages of the Autumn, with the added benefit that the cycle is in reverse – so while many tourist attractions are starting to close in the Autumn months, during the spring they’re starting to open again. There is an obvious excitement in the air, as the Riminese start preparing for the important summer months.
The spring has various events that are well worth checking out, like the annual Paganello frisbee freestyle competition held on Rimini’s beachfront, that attracts frisbee enthusiasts from all over the world. There’s the Rimini Marathon, the Mille Miglia vintage car road race and a whole host of important events in Rimini’s Fiera convention centre.
Don’t come to Rimini in the spring if you want to lounge on the beach all day – you might be lucky with the weather, but usually there’s still a nip in the air, and only the hardiest of locals head swimming.