The best time to visit Sicily
A trip to Italy offers a proven recipe for a successful holiday, no matter what time of the year. Summer in Sicily can get crowded, with temperatures reaching as high as 40°C, making sightseeing challenging! If you prefer a less crowded experience, try a Sicilian break in the winter, when you can also take advantage of cheaper accommodation and flights.
So, what is winter like in Sicily? Its warmer average air and water temperatures make it a great alternative to the much colder and cloudier Northern European winter. In December, the average temperature is around 16°C, but there are days when the thermometers reach around 20°C, with a water temperature of between 15-17 degrees. Although these are not the best conditions for swimming, you’ll find plenty of people in the sea here in December. If the lack of sunshine is getting you down then Sicily’s reputation as a sunny island will cheer you up! In December, the sun appears for an average of 4 hours a day, rising earlier and seting later than in the north of our continent. Meanwhile, with just a few rainy days each month Sicily is also ideal to escape the wetter weather.
Experience the winter culinary season in full swing
Sicily in December is great for people who hate queueing for attractions or waiting for free tables in restaurants. The streets are less crowded than in the summer, meaning you can count on lower prices for accommodation and services in the winter months. If you wonder what else Sicily has to offer, let us remind you of its spectacular local cuisine. Sicilian delicacies are available all year round and December’s long evenings certainly encourage visitors to linger in cafes and restaurants. Dishes with fresh tuna, sardines and aromatic tomatoes will provide you with an unforgettable taste experience.
Sicily in December is also citrus season. Delight in the unique flavour of oranges, lemons and tangerines, picked straight from the tree; their shape and texture may differ from the supermarket shelves, but the flavours are incomparable. The freshness of the ingredients is of great importance here and Sicily is famous for its juicy, sweet red oranges, but also for its seasonal vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower. If you like pistachios then Cannoli with ricotta cheese and pistachio cream tastes best in December. While we’re on the subject of pistachios. Sicily in winter is a great opportunity to taste the famous Christmas cake with pistachio cream, panettone.
A festive atmosphere, lush green hills and a snow-capped volcano
The beginning of December sees preparations being made for Christmas. Streets, trees and monuments are decorated with colorful lights and baubles, with Nativity scenes also representing the Christmas atmosphere. You can find living nativity scenes in many public places, including Custonaci. This is a great opportunity to learn about Sicilian customs and traditions as Christmas preparations give Sicily a magical air. You can also still admire the island’s green hills, heady with the scent of ripening citrus fruits. Off-season holidays give you the opportunity to go for a romantic, peaceful walk on the beach, minus the crowds – try San Vito Lo Capo near Palermo, which is one of Sicily’s most beautiful beaches.
If you’re missing the snow and the ice of winter, plan a trip to Mount Etna, a haven for every ski lover. The largest active volcano in Europe, Etna, tends to be capped with snow throughout the winter months.
Book a car or buy insurance and attraction tickets before you go!
There are ski resorts aplenty here, and the spectacular sea views as you speed down the slopes will surely stay in your memory years to come. There are red and blue routes of varying difficulty levels and you can also snowboard, cross-country ski or take a guided hiking trip.
Explore at a slower pace
What is a holiday without sightseeing? Holidays in the off-season guarantee you a more peaceful experience as you explore the local attractions and, in the case of ticketed entries, lower fees too. Forget quick snaps with random tourists in the background and instead take your time to capture perfectly framed views straight from a postcard. What is there to visit in Sicily? Syracuse is definitely worth a visit – as part of an archaeological park, you can admire the famous Ear of Dionysus cave, as well as a Greek amphitheater. Be sure to visit the island of Ortigia, which was once a Greek colony, to enjoy an evening stroll in its atmospheric, narrow streets. Greek remains are also hidden in Taormina and it is here that the ruins of the ancient theater are located. While in Taormina, it is also worth visiting the town of Savoca, 20 km away, where the film “The Godfather” was shot.
No trip to Sicily can be considered complete without visiting Palermo. This colourful city is full of historic churches that represent various architectural styles. See the Capuchin Catacombs, relax in the botanical gardens and visit the International Marionette Museum. The Turkish Steps is a famous cliff made of limestone sedimentary rock, that has graced the covers of many travel agency brochures and guide books – find it in Agrigento. Here, you can also find The Valley of the Temples, a complex of ancient ruins inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sicily in winter surprises with a feast for all the senses. During a single trip you can spend time walking through lush, green hills, ski down a snow-covered volcano, get sandy toes at the beach or simply watch the world go by with a glass of wine in hand. A winter trip enables you to get to know Sicily little by little, without the rush and the queues that accompany the summertime tourist crush.
We have the best flight and accommodation offers in Sicily
If you are planning a longer holiday, Sicily is also an ideal starting point for exploring the nearby Aeolian Islands.