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When is the best time to go to Sicily?
Late spring and early fall are the best times of the year to go to Sicily. The streets, beaches, and attractions won’t be as jam-packed as they will in the summer and temperatures are typically pleasant, in the low to mid-20s °C.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The best time for the most enjoyable sightseeing in Sicily is from April through mid-June or mid-September through October. During these periods, the sun will be out but it’s unlikely to be uncomfortably hot, and there will be fewer tourists than during the peak summer season months of July and August. If you want to avoid the rain, visit in the spring. No matter when you plan to go, every first Sunday of the month throughout the year all state-run museums, galleries, parks, gardens, and ruins offer free admission.
- Best Time to Visit Sicily Beaches: The official beach season in Siciliy begins in June, the time when most tourists begin to arrive. However, the sea is usually warm enough for swimming in May, so those who want to enjoy it without the crowds may want to come then, especially during the latter half of the month. September, and often October, can also be ideal as the sea won’t have cooled much yet many of the tourists will be gone.
- Best Time to Visit Mount Etna: Mount Etna can be visited and hiked all year long, but the best months to visit is when temperatures are pleasantly warm, and crowds won’t be extreme: May or late September and October. More important, however, is the time of day you plan to come. Arriving early in the morning not only means a more tranquil experience, but better views as clouds tend to form later in the day.
- Best Time For Day Trips to the Aegadian Islands: The Aegadian Islands, located just a few miles off the coast of Sicily, offer the chance to discover a slower pace of life along with beautiful beaches. The best time to enjoy Aegadian Island beaches is during the summer, from June through August, although the water temperature will still be warm in September. April, May, and the second half of September are more ideal for hiking as the summer can be too uncomfortably hot. While October temperatures are mild, it can be rainy and windy.
Sicily Travel Seasons
- High Season (June through August, Easter week, and mid-December through early January):
High season in Sicily is generally the summer months, but tourism is also at its peak during Easter week as well as the Christmas holidays, from about mid-December through Epiphany on January 6th. During these periods expect crowds to be thick, while airfares and accommodation rates are at their highest of the year. The summertime also means hot temperatures that may require spending time indoors during the hottest parts of the day.
- Shoulder Season (April and May, except Easter; September and October):
Shoulder season brings the opportunity to visit Sicily without navigating jam-packed crowds while still enjoying mostly pleasant weather and occasionally some discounted airfare and accommodation rates too.
- Low Season (November through March except mid-December through early January):
Late fall and winter are low season in Sicily other than around the Christmas holidays through Epiphany. While it’s likely to be chilly and sometimes wet, this time of year brings a more authentic experience, with hotels and restaurants typically able to provide better service with fewer patrons. You’re likely to find discounted rates on rooms and lower airfare too. While you won’t be able to swim at the beach, the temperatures are fairly mild in the winter, averaging around 10°C, making it possible to enjoy the sights comfortably by wearing appropriate attire.
Sicily Weather by Month
- Sicily Weather in January: January is the middle of winter in Sicily, and while it can be damp and cold, it’s rather mild here compared to destinations in more northern climates. The average high temperature on the island is 12°C, although nights can be rather chilly with the low dipping to 5°C. Some mornings may be rather frosty too, which means you’ll need to pack accordingly for colder weather and bring a warm waterproof jacket for rain with an average of 66mm of precipitation falling over 18 days this month. It may be worth having to bundle up, however, as crowds are unlikely, bringing the opportunity to stroll quiet streets and enjoy a more tranquil experience at island attractions. January can be an ideal month for sightseeing if you don’t mind the cold.
- Sicily Weather in February: With the exception of a decrease in precipitation down to 40mm in February, this month generally isn’t much different than January, with the average high temperature remaining 12°C and the low still at 5°C. There are usually a few more sunny days than grey ones now, which means it’s a good idea to pack clothing that can be worn in layers, including a mix of long- and short-sleeve shirts along with a warm jacket. You will have more daylight for sightseeing this month – in early January there are around 9 hours, but by late February the sun comes up at 6:37 a.m. and doesn’t set until almost 6 p.m. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Sicily Weather in March: While temperatures are rising now, March, especially early in the month, can still be chilly, but as it progresses, the mercury often climbs as high as 16° in the afternoon. It’s an unpredictable time to be in Sicily as far as the weather goes, with some warmer and some cooler days, although rain is minimal with an average of just 34mm over 18 days. As long as you don’t have your heart set on enjoying the beaches with sea temperatures only around 15°C, March can be a very good month to enjoy the sights without the crowds. Just plan on packing a mix of clothing and you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 34mm.)
- Sicily Weather in April: It’s sunnier, warmer and drier in April with spring officially here. You’ll definitely need your sunglasses and lighter clothing with afternoon highs at 18°C now, but early mornings and evenings are likely to be quite cool with the low a chilly 8°C. Unless your accommodation includes a heated pool, you probably won’t be swimming as the sea temperature is still quite cool, creeping up just a degree to 16°C. It’s still a good idea to bring a mix of clothing now, including a sweater or jacket. You could experience some drizzle or light rain, but usually nothing to get in the way of outdoor plans. (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Precipitation: 35mm.)
- Sicily Weather in May: May is a great time to visit Sicily with pleasantly warm temperatures that feel like summer without being too hot. The average high is 21°C, and this is one of the driest months of the year with an average of only 22mm of precipitation over five days – plus, you’ll just miss the peak tourist crowds. Your suitcase should focus on clothing that will keep you cool, including loose lightweight items, a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen. While the sea might still be too cool for some at 19°C, you may want to enjoy an occasional dip so toss in a bathing suit too. It’s still a little chilly at night with the low at 12°C making a sweatshirt or sweater a good idea to bring as well. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 22mm.)
- Sicily Weather in June: If you visit in June, you can expect abundant sunshine and clear blue skies, with the weather significantly warmer now, increasing four degrees to an average high of 25°C, although it won’t be as sizzling as July and August. It’s an ideal time to enjoy swimming in the sea which is now up to 22°C, perfect for keeping cool from the heat. Inland areas of the island tend to be cooler, so this is still a good month for exploring interior sites. Evenings will be cooler with overnight lows of 15°C, so you might still need a sweater if you plan to be out late at night. With only 11mm of precipitation this month, you won’t have to worry about rain, but you will want to focus on sun protection and keeping cool. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 11mm.)
- Sicily Weather in July: July is hot, sunny and busy in Sicily, with long lines at attractions and crowds on the beach. The afternoon high increases another degree to 26°C although many days will reach 30°C or higher and there is virtually no rain at all with the average precipitation at just 2mm. Bring plenty of sun protection – you may want to spend the day’s hottest hours in the shade or indoors now. Be aware that not all hotels and other accommodations have air-conditioned rooms and even the nights are relatively warm, so be sure to book one with a/c to enjoy a more peaceful night’s rest. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 2mm.)
- Sicily Weather in August: Similar to last month, but even hotter, especially on days when humidity is high, afternoon temperatures are 30°C or above now. With the locals enjoying their holidays this month the beaches are usually as crowded as they’ll get all year. You may want to enjoy early morning swims at the beach – the sea temperature is an especially pleasant 27°C now, and then plan the hottest parts of the day inside cool art galleries and museums. While precipitation increases slightly it’s still only an average of 15mm, so you’re unlikely to experience wet weather. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 15mm.)
- Sicily Weather in September: While early September will still be quite hot, it gradually begins to cool with the average high temperature dropping three degrees to 27° this month. Chances for rain increase a bit with 37mm over five days, but it’s still not enough to be concerned about and the sea will still be wonderfully warm at 25°C. Come in the latter half and it’s likely to be ideal with the biggest crowds have the year having diminished and the weather quite pleasant. Bring your summer attire, including a swimsuit and perhaps a sweater for early mornings or late nights if you chill easily. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Precipitation: 37mm.)
- Sicily Weather in October: The warm weather of summer continues in October although fall has officially arrived. Temperatures are often idyllic now, with afternoon highs at 22°C and it may still be warm enough for swimming with the sea temperature around 23°C. You’re more likely to see some wind and rain if you visit this month, especially in the latter half, with the average precipitation now at 84mm over eight days. Bring clothing for both warm and cool weather now, including a waterproof jacket. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 84mm.)
- Sicily Weather in November: November brings significantly cooler weather but it’s still relatively mild. The mercury climbs to 17°C in the afternoon with the island’s mountainous regions helping to keep winds from blowing in which keeps temperatures comfortable. You’re unlikely to be swimming now, however, with relatively cool temps on land, and the sea at around 21°C now. There is a decent chance for rain but it’s slightly lower than last month with 76mm over 11 days. Plan to pack clothing that can be layered and bring a jacket or sweater too. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 76mm.)
- Sicily Weather in December: It’s winter now, with the temperature dropping quite a bit, averaging 10°C though it can get to 13°C when the sun is out in the afternoon. While it’s one of the chilliest months of the year to be here it can be a great time for sightseeing or even hiking in the mountains. You’re unlikely to need clothing for warm weather now, but as you would last month, bring a variety of clothing that can be layered along with a waterproof jacket for rain, with precipitation averaging 79mm over 17 days. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 79mm.)
Sicily Events and Festivals
Sicily in January
- New Year’s Day – January 1st is a national day throughout Italy, including Sicily. Expect many businesses to be closed, including historic sites, museums, shops, and some restaurants with most locals enjoying a day of rest and recovery following the previous night’s festivities. There will be at least some eateries open for lunch and dinner.
- Ephiphany – January 6th is also a national holiday. Epiphany marks the 12th day of Christmas and is the holiday season’s main event. This is when Sicilians will exchange gifts and children’s stockings will be filled. While there will be many closures, festivities are held in many cities like Bordonaro where a pagghiaru, a tall pole with leaves, branches and food, is set up and local youths attempt to climb it.
- Feast of San Mauro Abate – Annually on January 15 in Viagrande there is a magnificent procession of the city’s patron saint with a spectacular fireworks performance.
- Festival of Saint Anthony – The feast of Saint Anthony is celebrated on January 17 every year throughout Italy. In Macerata Campania, there is a music festival complete with percussion instruments such as washtubs, sickles, barrels, and other agricultural tools used to drive demons away.
Sicily in February
- Feast of Saint Agatha – One of the biggest religious festivals in the world is hosted in Catania over three days around February 5th every year. Around a million people gather here to enjoy a grand procession that travels to Piazza Duomo followed by fireworks.
- Carnival – On the Tuesday before Lent (usually in February), many cities throughout Sicily and across Italy host festive celebrations. The best on the island are in Sciacca, Termini Imerese and Acrireale, the latter bringing the wildest party of all.
Sicily in March
- Almond Blossom Festival (Sagra del Mandorlo) – Held for a week in early March in Agrigento, this festival takes place while the almond trees are in full bloom. It includes a variety of events such as the awarding of “Miss Spring” and the most beautiful flowered balcony. The most elaborate event occurs at the closing. It is then that folk groups from around the world parade to the Valley of the Temples with musical bands and Sicilian carts.
- Festa della Donna – March 8 is Women’s Day, celebrated in many countries around the world. It honors all women, and men often give yellow mimosa flowers to those who are in their lives. There are sometimes live music concerts and other local events, and restaurants may host special dinners.
- Saint Joseph’s Day – March 19th celebrates San Giuseppe who is credited with saving people from famine in Sicily. This special feast day includes special breads, pastries, and other meals. The day is also Father’s Day, when fathers are given gifts and families often consume zeppole which is similar to a doughnut.
Sicily in April
- Holy Week and Easter – In all Christian countries, including Italy, Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. While it may occur in late March, in 2020 it will be from April 5 to April 11. On Holy Thursday in Trapani, the Procession of the Mysteries is performed by 18 statuary groups. Dating back to the 17th- and 18th-centuries, it evokes images of the passion of Christ. In Prizzi, a folkloristic-religious tradition related to Easter events known as the Devils’ dance will take place. There are many other festivities throughout the week, and Easter mass will be held in churches across Sicily.
- Ricotta Festival – In Vizzini on April 25 every year, the Sagra della Ricotta takes place to celebrate Ricotta cheese. Famous around Sicily, there will not only be lots of cheese to eat but all sorts of local plates, music, and cultural events.
- Liberation Day – April 25 is also Liberation Day, a national holiday. It marks the fall of the Italian Social Republic under Mussolini and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy during World War II. It’s also a day to recognize those who lost their lives fighting to free their country. State offices and schools will be closed as well as some tourist shops. Museums, attractions, and public transportation may have a reduced schedule.
Sicily in May
- Labor Day – May 1st, Labor Day, is a national holiday. Nearly all business will be closed, including restaurants, museums, and other attractions. Public transport may be limited or non-existent. Political rallies are sometimes held in the major cities.
- Santa Lucia delle Quaglie – On the first and second Sundays in May in Siracusa, Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) is honored for saving the city from famine in the mid-17th-century. Her silver statue is carried around Piazza Duomo to music and a festive atmosphere is enjoyed.
- Infiorata – Infiorata means “decorated with flowers”. During the third week of May in the Baroque city of Noto, this festival covers an entire street with flower petal designs to celebrate spring. The main place to view these spectacular creations are on Via Nicolaci.
- Festa di St. George – On the last Saturday in May in the town of Ragusa, the Festival of St. George includes a reenactment of the martyrdom of the saint, lots of tasty foods, and one of the most magnificent fireworks displays in Sicily all year.
Sicily in June
- Republic Day – June 2 is a national holiday that celebrates the day Italy became a Republic in 1946. There are likely to be parades, festivals and concerts hosted in cities across Italy and the island of Sicily. State offices and schools will be closed as well as some tourist shops. Museums, attractions, and public transportation may have a reduced schedule.
- Taormina Film Fest – This Film Fest opens the summer season of the Greco-Roman amphitheatre during the second week of June. It kicks off with a world premiere and presents some of the newest films outdoors among the breathtaking scenery of the old theater with views that stretch to Mount Etna and the Mediterranean.
- Taormina Arte – Starting in June and running through September, the ancient theater in Taormina will also host classical, rock, pop, opera, and dance performances featuring international and national stars.
Sicily in July
- Calatafimi-Segesta Festival – Starting in mid-July, July 19 in 2019, running through September 1st, this festival brings 60 events to the Greek Theater of Segesta. The theatrical, jazz, and classical performances take on another worldy feeling in the ancient site.
- U Fistinu of Saint Rosalia – The Feast of Saint Rosalia takes place in Palermo in mid-July, July 14-15 in 2020. It celebrates the city’s patron saint who is believed to have rescued residents from a devastating plague. It features a procession that includes a vessel-shaped chariot built anew every year for carrying the statue of Saint Rosalia, elaborately decorated and pulled by oxen. The streets of Palermo will be filled with popular local foods like watermelon, pasta with sardines, boiled octopus, and sfincione (a thick Sicilian pizza), along with live music.
- Ortigia Film Festival – For 8 days in mid-July, July 13 through July 20 in 2019, the historical center of Syracuse comes to life with films. There will be a number of al fresco screenings throughout the area, along with more traditional indoor screenings. It includes a short film competition, old classics, homages to great directors and actors, and more.
- La Scala Illuminata – Every year over July 24-25 in Caltagirone, the 142 steps of the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte are illuminated in hundreds of little oil lights, creating a polychromatic effect of striking beauty.
Sicily in August
- Festa del Santo Salvatore – For five days in early August, August 2-6 in 2019, this event in Cefalu celebrates Santo Salvatore, the patron saint of the city, with parades, music, foods, and mass, culminating with locals scrambling up a greased pole to touch a statue of the saint and fireworks on the seafront.
- Ypsigrock Music Festival – This annual four-day indie rock festival in mid-August features artists from across the globe in the spectacular surroundings of the castle in Castelbuono, August 8-11, 2019. It features camping and music on multiple stages.
- Il Palio dei Normanni (Palio of the Normans) – Over three days at Piazza Armerina in mid-August every year, August 12-14 in 2019, horsemanship, knightly combat, and partying celebrates the defeat by Norman invaders over ruling Arabs in the 11th-century.
- Ferragosto – August 15th marks the official start of the Italian summer holidays, which is also the religious holiday of Assumption celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. In Sicily, most activities will be focused around the beaches, with many towns organizing festivals, parades, and/or fireworks. At Siracusa Grand Harbour, there will be a yacht regatta followed by a traditional Sicilian longboat race. It’s the biggest holiday of the year after Christmas and Easter and that means many banks and government buildings are closed, but most cultural sites and museums are open.
Sicily in September
- San Vito Ciminna – This saint is celebrated in the town of Ciminna in Palermo on the first Sunday of September. It includes a massive parade that recalls the saint’s life with people wearing period costumes. There is also a livestock fair coinciding with the festivities.
- ViniMilo – For two weeks over the end of August and into September in Milo, this wine festival will take place along the slopes of Mount Etna, featuring winery visits, guided tastings, workshops, and themed dinners with a focus on quality and the Slow Food movement.
- Feast of Madonna della Luce – Annually on September 7-8 in Mistretta, this religious event features a parade with floats and two massive warriors that are carried by townsfolk to “guard” the statue of the Madonna around town. There will also be plays and costumed participants.
- Couscous Fest – In late September every year, September 20-29, 2019, San Vito Lo Capo hosts this gastronomic exposition that brings the opportunity to sample a variety of North African foods, including couscous prepared by chefs from across the globe. There will also be music and dance and an opportunity to learn how to make it yourself.
Sicily in October
- Sagra del Miele, the Honey Festival – This festival that runs over the first 10 days in October in Sortino near Pantalica National Park honors the famous “honey of Hyblea” prized by Romans and Greeks. It includes many different varieties of honeys as well as specialty foods and entertainment.
- Festival of Street Artists – Officially known as the Festa di Artisti di Strada Ibla Buskers, this festival brings four days of theater, music, circus arts, puppets, aerial acrobatics, and fireworks to the town of Ragusa in Ibla, over October 10-13 in 2019.
- Agrimontana – This festival takes place over three days in mid-October, October 14-16 in 2019 in Palazzolo Acreide in the Syracuse Province. A gastronomical journey through the region including their famous Palazzolo sausage, truffle mushrooms, and honey as well as exhibitions, guided tours, and local crafts.
- Fiere dei Morti – Literally ‘fairs of the day,’ this event is typically hosted from October 29 through November 2 in throughout Sicily as part of the feast of All Saints. Traditionally it is said that the night of November 1st the deceased would visit loved ones still alive to bring presents to their children. Now parents purchase these gifts at colorful stands selling all sorts of items from clothing to crafts and toys as well as traditional sweets unique to the festival.
Sicily in November
- All Saints Day – November 1 is All Saints Day, a national holiday that many Italians, including Sicilians, use to visit cemeteries, remembering loved ones who have passed by placing flowers and other items on graves.
- Festival di Morgana – Over five days in early November in Palermo, November 6-10 in 2019, this festival brings the opportunity to watch famous Sicilian puppets in action at the Antonio Pasqualino Puppet Museum.
- Festa di San Martino – Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated throughout Sicily on November 11. There will be all sorts of festivities that bring the chance to enjoy wine, bread specialties, sweets and classic roasted chestnuts.
Sicily in December
- Modica Chocolate Festival – ‘Chocobarocco,’ is held in Sicily for about a week in early December, dedicated to the delicious chocolate that’s made in Modica, created with the same process introduced centuries ago by Spaniards. You’ll be able to taste the wide variety of flavors, like vanilla chocolate and chili pepper chocolate; sea salt, nutmeg, orange chocolate, and much more.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception – December 8 is a national holiday that celebrates the day of the Virgin Mary’s conception of Jesus. Public offices, schools, banks, and the like will be closed but most shops and restaurants will be open. There will be festivities throughout Sicily involving processions and singing. In Syracuse, the day is celebrated with a novena, while the evening before brings a band to the streets of Ortigia. On the eve in Canicatti there will be large bonfires.
- Santa Lucia’s Day – Santa Lucia’s Day is celebrated in many villages and cities across Italy on December 13th. The biggest celebration is in Sicily in her hometown of Syracuse. It hosts a huge parade carrying a silver statue of the saint who is revered for helping fishermen navigate the sea in the dark of winter, to be displayed at the Church of Santa Lucia before being returned seven days later with another procession.
- Christmas – Throughout December there will be nativity scenes and Christmas markets across Sicily. In Palermo, the city center will be filled with holiday lights and vibrant markets where handmade Sicilian toys and gifts can be purchased. On Christmas Eve, most Sicilians go to Midnight Mass. Christmas Day, December 25, is a national holiday and a time when many gather together with family and friends for a large lunch feast; most businesses are closed but there will be a few restaurants open. December 26 is the national holiday of Santo Stefano.
- New Year’s Eve – December 31st, like most places throughout the world, celebrates the new year with fireworks and parties. Every town in Sicily will have fireworks, music, and dance, often until sunrise. Private events are also organized by many restaurants and hotels.
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