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Sicily Holidays: food, weather and things to do in Sicily

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A sun-baked region of Italy, Sicily boasts a pleasant climate, to-die-for beaches and age-old ruins – a real feast for the senses. Discover more about this island with our guide to its climate, food and beaches and become one step closer to booking your Sicily holiday.

Where is Sicily?

The largest Italian region, Sicily is an island sitting just off the “toe” of the country’s“boot”. It is separated from the mainland by the Straits of Messina and is also home to Mount Etna, one of Europe’s tallest active volcanoes. 

Sicily weather

Typical Sicilian summers are hot and dry, while the winters are warm and rainy. The southeast is typically drier and warmer than the northwest and the areas at a higher altitude are generally cooler. 

The rugged, mountainous terrain of the island means that the climate varies from region to region but generally speaking, the island enjoys warm temperatures all year round. 

In summer (June to September) the average temperature can rise to 26 degrees and the water temperature can even reach 27 degrees in August. Meanwhile, winter is mild with highs of 12 or 13 degrees and lows of five degrees. 

Things to do in Sicily

With so many interesting towns, time-ravaged ruins, castles and glorious beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Sicily to suit every type of traveller – whether you’re a culture vulture, beach fan or history buff. 

We’ve put together a collection of things to do in Sicily below. 

Towns and cities

  • Agrigento – Agrigento is home to the Valley of the Temples, the most famous archaeological site in all of Sicily. Here, marvel at eight temples including the well-preserved Temple of Concorde and Temple of Hera. 
  • Palermo – Palermo is the island’s capital. Its must-sees include the Norman Palace, Palermo Cathedral, Massimo Theatre and the Ballaro Market. 
  • Catania – sitting at the foot of Mount Etna, Catania is Sicily’s second-largest city and has buildings built from lava stone – giving it the nickname “the black city”. The Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo di Catania are two of the highlights. 
  • Taormina – known as “the Pearl of Sicily”, Taormina is home to Isola Bella (a small island and beach), a Greek Theatre and the Madonna della Rocca Church. 
  • Messina – a harbour city in the northeast that’s known for its Norman Messina Cathedral and marble fountains (Fontana di Orione and Neptune Fountain). 
  • Syracuse – a modern city on the east coast of the island, Syracuse’s primary attractions are the Neapolis archaeological park, Roman amphitheatre and Greek theatre. 
  • Noto – listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noto is bursting with palaces, churches and Baroque-style cathedrals. 
  • Erice – a small medieval town sitting on top of a rocky cliff. It has a stunning castle, 14th-century medieval church and labyrinthine medieval lanes. 
  • Aeolian Islands – these islands are located in the north of the island. There are seven in total but the most popular are Lipari, Salina, Vulcano and Stromboli. 

Nature

  • Go on an excursion to the crater of Mount Etna – an impressive active stratovolcano. It’s Europe’s largest active volcano and experiences frequent eruptions. 
  • Visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve – Sicily’s most famous nature reserve with panoramic views and picturesque coves. 
  • Marvel at the Selinunte Temples – an archaeological park with several beautiful temples to marvel at. 
  • Venture to the salt flats in Trapani. These are dried-up desert lakes where the salt is piled up in pyramids. Pink flamingos also congregate here. 

Sicily beaches

Sicily beaches certainly do not disappoint. Lose yourself in breath-taking shoreline scenery and paddle in balmy azure waters. 

  • Isola Bella – located at the bottom of Taormina, it’s a small pebble beach with crystal-clear waters and lots of beautiful marine life – a great place for snorkelling. 
  • Calamosche Beach – sitting by Syracuse, it has shallow, pleasant waters. 
  • Scala deiTurchi – a romantic beach where you can enjoy the sunset. It has a white stair-like limestone cliff that contrasts vibrantly with the turquoise ocean before it. 
  • CalaRossa in Favignana – a glistening cove with turquoise waters, surrounded by large rocks. 
  • San Vito Lo Capo Beach – a large beach with plenty of sand, overlooked by Mount Monaco. 
  • Torre Salsa – this is a nature reserve frequented by loggerhead sea turtles that come to breed. It is managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature. 

Sicilian food

Given its location, seafood is a firm feature in much of Sicily’s cuisine. In addition, tomatoes and olive oil are used frequently(instead of cream and butter which are more typically used in northern parts of Italy). 

Sicilian desserts are also exceptional. We recommend trying “cannoli”(cylindrical pastries with cream or cheese inside) and “cassata” (a round sponge cake with fruit juices/liqueur). 

Some other examples of typical Sicilian food are:

  • Arancini – balls of deep-fried risotto rice. 
  • Gamberorosso – fresh red prawns. Dress them in a little lemon juice and olive oil and eat them raw. 
  • Pasta alla Norma – made using tomatoes, aubergines, garlic, basil and salted ricotta, it’s one of the island’s most famous pasta dishes. 
  • Pasta con le sarde – a pasta dish which uses sardines. 
  • Limoncello – a lemon liqueur typical of the region.

Package holidays to Sicily

Many of our Sicily holiday offers include flights, accommodation and transfers – taking the hassle out of booking and leaving you to focus on how you want to spend your time at your destination. 

Depending on how long you want to go for and whether or not you’d like all meals included, Citrus Holidays have a few package holidays to Sicily:

Useful information

  • In Sicily, the language spoken is Italian. 
  • The currency is euros. 
  • The time difference is GMT+1. 
  • The power plugs and sockets are type L with two or three round prongs. You’ll need an adapter. 
  • 113 is the national emergency number. 

At Citrus Holidays, we not only offer package holidays to Sicily but also plenty of other jam-packed tours and trips too. Fuel your wanderlust and have a look at our other European city breaks here

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