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When to Go to Sicily

Parade at Piazze del Duomo in Siracusa, Italy
Street parades and pageantry full of local pride pepper the Sicialian calendar year-round.
By Rick Steves and Sarah Murdoch

Sicily is one of the few European destinations that is open year-round. March through June and October are ideal, with few crowds, lots of festivals, and mild weather. The days leading up to Easter are full of celebrations, and worth planning around.

July and August are hot and can be crowded — especially at beaches and resorts. September is the busiest (and most expensive) month. But even at its liveliest, the island is far less crowded than the big, mainland Italian cities.

In the off-season (roughly Nov–Feb), Sicily can be chilly (temperatures in the 40s and snow at high altitudes), but you'll have the island to yourself. Bring plenty of layers, and be prepared for cooler inside temperatures, as Sicilians don't heat their houses the way Americans do. Expect shorter hours, more lunchtime breaks at sights, and fewer activities (but some raucus carnival celegrations leading up to Lent). Stick to bigger cities, as remote areas shut down.

Sarah Murdoch is the co-author of the Rick Steves Sicily guidebook.