The Lizard Peninsula is the most southerly point of mainland Britain. The National Trust manages Kynance Cove, the coastal path, and the car park.
Kynance Cove situated on the Lizard Peninsula is an unspoilt Cornish gem with lovely beaches at low tide and a brilliant clear turquoise sea. Rocky islands, stacks, and arches attract tourists, artists, and poets as well for hundreds of years. But words will not justice it’s beauty. The cove and coastal path to Lizard Point are always worth to visit no matter what kind of weather occurs. Though during summer it’s packed with hundreds of people each day.
More than 250.000 visitors come to explore this beautiful stretch of coastline each year. Kynance Cove is packed with tourists and locals alike during summer and lovely sunny weekends. To enjoy the truly magnificent cove and the coastal path as well come here either during the week or in the shoulder season. During July and August, it’s hard to enjoy this magnificent piece of mother nature and the spectacular views. You are queuing at the car park, the climb down and at the café as well. Hundreds of people try to get a glimpse of this beautiful stretch of beach at the same time. Winter can be nice as well but colder. There is limited parking. The main car park fills up pretty soon during the busy time of the year. There is an overflow parking nowadays which takes an additional 30 minutes to walk. So, if you like to visit Kynance during summer or at an awesome weekend, you should come early (before 9 am!!) or late in the day.
The tides are coming in fast. So, check out the tides before you visit Kynance Cove. The best time for heading down is when the tide is going out without any left footprints. Explore the arches and caves around, There are several small tidal islands and rare serpentinite rocks here. Some of them got eroded by the sea. One of the islands is Asparagus Island which is accessible at low tide. Tide times Kynance Cove
Weather and Crowds by Season
The Lizard Peninsula experiences a very mild climate due to the Gulf Stream and mainly warm winds from the west. The water temperature is pretty cold even in summer usually below 18°C / 64°F. The sea is often quite rough – not safe for swimming - no lifeguards on duty.
March and April are still pretty chilly with daily temps around 11°C / 52°F. Rain decreases in May and daily temps rise up to 15°C / 59°F. March and April are the low season except for Easter. May is already a favourite month for visitors but still a good time for a vacation. Days are often pleasant and sunny. Wildflowers and orchids are in bloom in May and June.
That’s the driest time of the year although be always prepared for a rain shower. Daily temps on average are almost 20°C / 68°F and can sometimes even reach 30°C / 86°F. Most cottages and hotels are fully booked and prices are on a high level. If visiting Kynance Cove during summer holidays in July and August, you won’t enjoy this remarkable place. It’s utterly overrun, no space for a towel just queuing. Too many visitors will spoil your visit at the cove.
September is one of the most beautiful months for Cornwall and often remains warm. Average daily temps are still around 17°C / 63°F and 14°C / 57°F during the night. Fewer people visit Cornwall in September. October and November are quiet. It’s easy to find a beautiful cottage to stay. Precipitation increases in October. Temps drop to 12°C / 54°F in November. Bring a snack in October and November; the café could be closed.
Photo by John Such on Unsplash
Most rainfall in winter however beautiful blue skies can occur as well. Winter is mild daily mean temp around 10°C / 50°F. Except for Christmas Holidays, it’s peaceful and quiet here. Many cafes and shops are closed. Bring your own picnic to the cove. Plenty of accommodations are available.
Things to Know and Opening Hours
- Facilities are available at the car park opened from Easter to the end of October, at Kynance Cove throughout the year.
- The Polpeor Cafe is open between Easter and late October.
- Dogs are prohibited at the busiest time of the year from Easter Sunday to the end of September from 7 to 7, but most people ignore that.
- Lizard Point Lighthouse is usually open from Easter to the end of the summer. You can either walk from Kynance Cove to Lizard Point or get here by car. Parking fee is requested if not National Trust member.
- If you plan to walk the circular trail you can also park the car in Lizard village. Facilities are availble here.
Where to Stay on Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard Peninsula is such a quiet and beautiful part of Cornwall that we decided to stay here for three nights. We explored much of this area by feet. There are some hotels and accommodations around. Hotels Lizard Peninsula
We'd chosen the lovely Top House Inn with Pub. We spent each evening in the pub enjoying the excellent food and fresh Cornish fish as well while drinking cider. They have eight comfy en-suite rooms in the centre of the village. Take your full English breakfast and walk the 3 km to Kynance Cove.
Leaving Fort William in the early morning will avoid the crowds in the holiday season. There is a well marked path until the top. Lucky for us there were no clouds which seems to be exceptional.
Ben Nevis is climed year around but the winter time is only for experienced mountaineers, people still die on the mountain. In the summertime it is one of the most popular hikes in Scotland, since it is the highest peak of the UK.
An estimated 10.000 people a year ascend the mountain, but outside the holiday season, there are no crowds. Not all try to reach the ultimate summit of Mytikas.
Mount Olympus, the mountain of the gods, is an impressive geographical hike, the maximum altitude is 2.917 meters, but it's only some kilometers from the Aegean Sea. Best season is from June until the end of September. In the spring the mountaintop is known for thunderstorms, hence the number of trees felled by lightning.
Trolltunga! Mesmerizing! Follow our tips to make the most out of your visit. When is the best time? Mid-June until early September are the most pleasant months for hiking and seeing the spectacular scenic cliffs. However, it gets very crowded up there. Read on for our detailed description of weather conditions, how to avoid the crowds and a full season guide. Updated 2019!
We also have new (scroll down or click the links) must-know tips, hiking details, camping tips, and more! Looking for a place to stay? Our Hotel Tips for Trolltunga can help you. Please check out the recommended tours section as well.
Spring | Late March - April - May | Guided Hiking | It’s still snow season (hiking tours with snowshoes). A guided tour is recommended. Sometimes groups who hiked in April on their own, had to turn around: Freezing, too much snow and trail markings (red ‘T’s) were snow covered. In May experienced hikers report that the hike is doable alone but still challenging due to the snow. We suggest guided hiking tours throughout spring. You can find the official Trolltunga Active A.S. (they are the best!) hikes here: Trolltunga Active Tours & Hikes Booking in advance is highly recommended!
Summer| June - July - August - Mid-September | Self-Guided Hiking | Peak season! The best weather and terrain conditions are from mid-June until early September. The trail is well marked and can be done without guides. However, if you're very unexperienced a guided hike is recommended. Meaning, if you can't or don't want to go alone, book a tour via GetYourGuide. They only offer tours from the two top operators Trolltunga Active and Trolltunga Adventures (the best guides you can get): Reliable Trolltunga Tours. Crowds? The downside is indeed the crowds at Trolltunga and on the trail as well. At the cliffs, it’s not unlikely to wait in the queue for 1-2 hours until you can take your photos. Read our tips below on how to dodge the crowds!
Autumn | Mid-September - Mid-October | Guided Hiking | Already a high chance of new snow and rough weather. Guided tours are highly recommended. Recently in late September, a group had to be rescued by the Red Cross before they would have frozen to death. They went in bad weather. If you want to go alone: Check weather conditions constantly, listen to the locals and prepare with the right gear and clothing.
Winter | Mid-October - Mid-March | Guided Hiking Only | Off-season! DANGER, extremely rough conditions. Life-threatening even for experienced hikers. UPDATE 2019: Somehow the tourist information center 'Visit Odda' changed their mind about hiking in the winter. Now, they say you can hike even in the winter, but only with very experienced guides from Trolltunga Active. See their new infographic here: Trolltunga Hiking Seasons And the official tour by Trolltunga Active: Winter Snowshoe Hike
Avoiding the Crowds
The main trail to the top and Trolltunga itself became really crowded recently. However, we got you covered with the best tips. You have three viable options to dodge crowds on the trail as well as avoiding long waiting times to take a photo at Trolltunga:
Start very early around 6 AM or even better at 5 AM. (If you want to drive the new road (see below), be in Skjeggedal at 6 a.m. when the road 'opens') Hikers who start at 5 AM and arrive around 9 AM usually only see a few others on the trail and up there, even in July/August. You’ll only wait less than 15 minutes to take your photos, compared to an hour or longer!
Bring a tent for camping and stay overnight. That way you can experience a quiet sunset and sunrise without the crowds of day hikers. Never camped before or don't want to camp alone? In that case we highly suggest booking the Overnight Hike to Trolltunga (with Camping). It's offered by Trolltunga Adventures and you'll completely dodge the crowds at sunset or sunrise.
Visit Outside Summer:
Go in shoulder season, either April/May or Sept/Oct or even in the winter with a guided tour now. Rougher conditions but fewer people, sometimes almost solitude.
Sweet Spot Months
Try the sweet spot time between EARLY JUNE until MID-JUNE: Still, some snow on the ground but no guide needed. Mostly pleasant conditions and much less crowded than in late June, July, and August.
Guanwu National Forest Recreational Area located on 2000 to 2.500 meters above sea level between Wufeng and Hsinchu County.
The Guanwu National Forest Recreation Area is always worth to visit but try to avoid the typhoon season which is most likely to happen from July to September. Guanwu is famous for incredibly beautiful sunrises and sunsets at the end of the Leshan Forest Road close to the parking of the second trail entrance to the giant Formosan Trees. The other popular spot is on the top of the Jehnshan Trail. The views are spectacular on clear days. The very best time for it is the equinox in spring on March 21st and autumn on September 23rd. Anyhow, the sunlight has a minimal variation from summer to winter; rising from 5.06 to 6.42 am and setting between 5.09 to 6.48 pm.
In March the almost 100 years old Wushe Cherry Tree is white blooming. From April to June the whole area is covered in blooming rhododendrons, azaleas as well as red Taiwan Cherries. This is an outstanding time for a visit.
Rare flowers are in bloom at this time of the year. You may spot the rare Broad-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly in June. Anyhow, bear in mind from July to September typhoons can occur and it rains frequently.
The foliage of the maple trees is fiery red.
The mountain ridge called Holly Ridge is often covered in snow in January and February. These are the driest months of the year.
Taiwan's climate is subtropical usually with wet and humid summers. Snow is common during winter mostly in January and February. Most precipitation from April to July. There is less rain from August to November and the driest months are December until March. Anyhow, even in the driest season, you can expect rain. During summer it's refreshing cool on 2000 up to 2.500 meters elevation. Guanwu is located in the mid-altitude fog belt; it’s often misty. Frequently clouds and fog roll in in the afternoon.
We arrived 2 ½ hours before low tide and enjoyed the stunning walk through the forest, along with a boardwalk until we reached Burning Palms cabins and beach.
The famous and popular Figure 8 Pools are safely accessible around low tide only! The tides and swell must have a low level without strong wind to enjoy the amazing pools without an accident. Many people got injured by sudden waves just for a perfect selfie. Check Official National Park Website - Alerts
Update Feb 2019: Safety First! A young international student got washed off the rocks on Monday 25th. 9 people died in the Royal National Park along the coast since 2016. Don't come here during high tide. Check the National Park Alerts first and the wave status. Two young men got hit by an extreme wave and one drowned. Want to be on the safe side? Book a tour with the only licensed tour operator for Figure 8 Pools (these guys are excellent): Figure 8 Pools Photography & Hike Tour from Sydney (via Viator - TripAdvisor Experience)
Tide Times and Swell (Safety)
Again, it's only safe to be at Figure 8 pools during low tide, low swell and without very strong wind or storm! What you should know:
- What does low tide mean? Like in most other coastal areas, you'll experience two tidal cycles over the course of one lunar day. Which means, each day there are 2 high tides and 2 low tides. However, due to park opening times (read below) you can only be there during one of the two low tide periods on a single day. Plan your visit accordingly: Garie Beach Tide Times and Heights.
- When to arrive at Figure 8 Pools? Plan to be at Figure 8 Pools about 1-2 hours before the lowest tide time. Example: Low Tide at 3 p.m. means you should arrive between 1 and 2 p.m. You need to take into account the drive from the park entrance to the parking lot (about 20 minutes) and the hike from the parking area to Figure 8 Pools (another 1 ½ hours or less). Read below for more details.
- Is it always safe during low tide? No! Keep in mind, that even at low tide it can be dangerous during critical ocean conditions when big waves reach the rock shelf. Check the official Figure 8 Pools Risk Forecast. When it's set to 'Extreme', don't go. You'll find the same information at the visitor centre when entering the park. However, we went despite of a 'High Risk' forecast (one level below extreme) and it was fine. But still, we were very careful. Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any injury, death, or consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. This is just our experience!
Opening Times (Royal National Park)
You can only get to Figure 8 Pools, when the park is open of course. The opening times are from 7 a.m. to 8.30 p.m (Visitor Centre from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily. The only day when it's closed is on Christmas Day). However, the park can be closed at times because of severe weather conditions or fire danger. Also, plan your way back: You have to hike back to your car and after that, drive back to the entrance/exit. That's a total time of about 2 hours. If you stay too long and get back too late, you might be stuck in the park. They always close the gates at 8:30 p.m.
Getting to Figure 8 Pools
To get to the Garrawarra Farm car park it’s a long drive through the park on sealed roads, only 1.5 km is gravel.
Space is limited, and you are not allowed to park the car somewhere else. The entrance fee is 12 $ per car if you don’t have a multi or annual park pass for NSW. The gate closes at 8.30 pm and opens at 7:00 am. The hike to Figure 8 takes a maximum of 1½ hours, and the trail is 3.5 km long one way. No worries the trail is well marked, and there is no need for a map.
Avoiding the Crowds
The park is mostly super busy during the summer holidays (mid-December to January) and weekends as well. There is a lot of traffic, and the car parks fill up soon. Come early in the peak season; the car parks get closed when they are full. Traffic jams occur pretty often at this crazy time of the year.
The area around Sydney experiences hot summers with average daytime temps of almost 30°C and mild winters with an average daytime temp of about 20°C. There isn’t a wet or dry season, but droughts happen more often nowadays. On average rain occurs throughout the year with more precipitation from January to June with its peak in March.
- From May to November you may spot whales along the coast.
- The Visitor Center at Audley is open daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.
- From July to November more than 700 different plants are in bloom on the plateau.