When is the best time of year to Visit Sicily

Sicily's iconic beaches, historic palaces and cathedrals are best visited from May to June or September to October, when temperatures hover around 70ºF (21ºC). While the weather is ideal during these periods, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices. Prices for accommodation drop and the tourist crowds thin out at other times of the year, making off-season travel a good option. Travel in November and December is highly recommended for these reasons.

Seasonal Highlights

  • Winter temperatures fall to around 50˚F (10˚C). The discounted rates and lack of crowds are a good reason to travel to Sicily at this time. Outdoor adventures and swimming in the sea is still possible in November and December. 
  • Spring is still pretty cool until temperatures reach 70˚F (21˚C) or so in May. The numbers of tourists will increase as the weather improves.
  • Summer months average between 80-90˚F (25-32˚C). Many local businesses shut down during heatwaves.
  • Autumn sees cooler, pleasant temperatures and plenty of crowds.

Understanding the Seasons in Sicily

Most travelers looking to escape to Sicily come to swim in the turquoise sea, hike scenic trails in the outdoors, and walk the charming Baroque neighborhoods of the island’s historic cities. This is the quintessential Sicilian travel experience, but for travelers seeking discounted prices or a more indoor experience, there’s still plenty to do in the off-season.

Winter travel will involve more indoor experiences, including wine tasting and tours of historic buildings. There is plenty to do at this time of year, especially if your interests fall more in line with culinary and cultural pursuits. The scenery is still breathtaking, you will just need to bundle up to enjoy it, especially in January and February. Sicilian winters more mild than they once where due to climate change and it's now even possible to swim in the months of November and December.   

If a Sicilian vacation means basking in the sun, swimming in the Mediterranean, walking the colorful streets and neighborhoods, shopping in outdoor markets, and comfortably hiking in pleasant weather, it's probably worth braving peak tourist season in order to have these experiences. The beauty of Sicily's outdoor delights is definitely worth it, even if you have to share the experience with other travelers and tourists. 

 Winter in Sicily

Winter hiking near Mt. Etna

Flights to Italy and hotel prices drop in winter, saving you a bundle on travel costs. The more relaxed pace of winter, and lack of tourists, can also make it easier to get to know the locals on a personal basis. Winter offers all sorts of gems to discover. From culinary delights such as the sea urchin harvest season in February to skiing on Mt. Etna, wintertime in Sicily offers much more than many travelers realize. 

Spring in Sicily

Trapany, Sicily in the spring

Starting in April, Sicily becomes awash in the vibrant hues of almond and cherry blossoms and ripening citrus fruit. The late-spring, early-summer rush begins in May. If you visit before May, when cooler temperatures keep most of the sun-bathers away, you’ll find plenty of beauty and space to play. If you seek a well rounded vacation of touring historic sites as well as taking advantage of the scenic beauty, this might be the best time of the year to visit. 

Summer in Sicily

A busy beach in Giardini Naxos with a view of Taormina city in summer

The most popular times to visit Sicily are early and late summer. Visitor numbers plummet in July and August due to the heat. Summer is the perfect time to get out of the cities and instead relax on stunning beaches, swim in the turquoise water, and explore traditional fishing villages. Confirm all reservations if you visit in July or August since many businesses take a break during the hot season.

Autumn in Sicily

Isola Bella Beach in autumn after the main tourist season 

The food in Sicily is seasonal and autumn is the time of the olive harvest. The quality of the harvest makes for good conversation and you may spot locals raking olives from trees. You'll fall in love with the flavors of the local seafood pasta, arancini, pizza, gelato, and other delicious treats. Eat at your way through the region and savor every moment as you get to know the culture and the people. 

Fall is also a great time to enjoy the unique Baroque architecture and colorful villages of the region. The moderate temperatures mean you won't overheat as you walk around the city, but you can still get outside and enjoy the scenery. 

Events and Festivals in Sicily

From holy processions to light-hearted games and fireworks, Sicily has numerous festivals that happen throughout the year. 

 

February

Sagra del Mandorlo (Almond Blossom Festival), Agrigento

Festa di Sant'Agata, Cantania

March

Martedi Grasso (Carnival), Acrireale, Sciacca, Termini Imerese, and various cities

April

Pasqua, Easter week (various dates and cities) 

May

Santa Lucia delle Quaglie (Festival of St. Lucia), Siracusa

Infiorata (Flower Festival), Noto

Festa di St. George (Festival of St. George), Ragusa

The Targa Florio Rally, a classic car race through the Madonie Mountains

Greek Theatre Festival, Syracuse (extends through July)

July

International Festival of the Arts, Taormina

Festa di St. Rosalia, Palermo

August 

Festa del Santo Salvatore, Cefalù harbor

Madonna della Luce, Cefalù harbor

Renaissance Music Festival, Erice

Passeggiata di Giganti (Procession of the Giants), Messina

Ferragosto (Assumption Day), every town and city in Sicily

Festa di St. Bartolomeo, Lipari, Aeolian Islands

October

Sagra del Miele (Honey Festival), Siracusa Province

December

Festa dell'Immacolata (Festival of the Immaculate Conception), every town and city in Sicily

Festa della Santa Lucia, Siracusa

Conclusion: What is the best season to visit Sicily?

The right time to visit Sicily varies depending on what exactly each traveler seeks from their time here. There is no lovelier time than early and late summer in this region, but there is also plenty of beauty to be found in less popular months. If you crave the quiet, avoid the peak travel season. If you can't get enough of the outdoor opportunities to experience here, don't be afraid to brave the crowds and claim a little bit of that paradise for yourself.