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BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
It is possible to visit Sicily all year long, but the best times to travel are May, June, September and October. Summer is lovely, but it can get very hot over July and August and the seaside resorts and towns can become crowded.
While the weather is quite changeable and sometimes rainy in springs, the summer months are arid and temperatures can go as high as 34 degrees. Once the temperatures fall in autumn, the rainy period begins.
Temperatures fall further over the winter months, but apart from the higher areas, most of Sicily hardly ever experiences temperatures below freezing.
The Northern and particularly the Northeastern area get the most rain over the year, which is mainly down to the more mountainous terrain. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall during the warm summer months are common, especially in the areas East of Mount Etna. The flatter plains in the Southern and Southwestern part of Sicily get relatively little rainfall throughout the year.
HOW TO GET THERE
The international airports in Sicily are Trapani in the West, Palermo in the Northwest, Catania in the East and Ragusa in the Southeast of the island. International connections within Europe are good and Sicily is served by all major and some regional European airlines. Direct long-haul connections from outside Europe are rare, in this case it is easiest to connect in mainland Italy like Milan or Rome.
It is possible to take flights from mainland Sicily to the island of Pantelleria from Trapani or Palermo.
The other islands can be reached by ferry. The hydrofoils for the Aeolian Islands leave from Milazzo to Lipari, from where it is then possible to connect to the other islands. As connections are not always frequent and perfectly timed, you should plan the whole day for traveling if you plan to connect from Lipari to another island. The Egadi islands can be reached by ferry from Trapani. Sailings take place frequently over the day and the trip takes less than one hour.
Sicily has a good network of motorways and national roads, making it easy and fast to get around. Infrastructure tends to be a bit more remote in the South, center and mountainous areas. Toll is required on the A18 and A20 motorways.
All EU / EEA nationals will need to present an identification document to enter Italy, due to the common travel area of the Schengen Zone.
Non-EU/EEA travelers wishing to visit Italy will need to present a valid passport or travel document issued within the last ten years and valid for at least three months beyond their planned departure date from the Schengen area. British passport holders are exempt from the criteria of passport validity and issuance date.
A visa is required for nationals arriving from a non EU/EEA country that has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states or if you were previously rejected from entering Italy or any other Schengen country.
TRAVELING WITH KIDS
Traveling in Sicily with kids is easy and Sicilians love children. Hotels, restaurants and bars are eager to accommodate families and children. Menus don’t usually serve a dedicated kids menu, but offer smaller or half portions.
Siesta plays an important way of life in Sicily and shops close between 1 and 5pm. Dinner time in Sicily is usually not before 9pm and especially over the summer months kids are out and about until midnight.
Not all activities are suitable for small children, but Sicily has plenty to offer if you are looking for a fulfilling trip for the whole family. Kids will love to explore the cobbled ancient streets of the historic towns, will be fascinated by the volcanic heritage and of course love the outstanding Sicilian food. The sandy beaches in the South are perfect for a couple of relaxing days and farms and agri-tourism accommodation especially cater for families and offer activities centered around nature and the outdoors.
WHAT TO BRING
If you are traveling between May and September, prepare for warm, sunny and dry days, so light summer clothes, light shoes, swimming gear, sun lotion, sunglasses and sun cover should all make it into your luggage. For those heading to the mountains and volcanoes, steady hiking boots, a headlight/torch, warm jumper and a rain and windproof jacket are advisable. Also mosquitos tend to annoy people over the summer months, so an insect repellent will do no harm. Some of the churches and religious buildings require covered shoulders, so bring a scarf or t-shirt.
While casual leisure wear is totally fine during the day, you should pack a nice outfit for going out in the evenings. There is no dress-code in most bars or restaurants, but clubs might be a different story. Sicilians like to dress to impress at nighttime, so unless you want to stand out, you might want to do the same.
The choice of accommodation in Sicily is huge, ranging from simple guesthouses and basic hotels to luxury resorts and countryside villas with comfortable amenities. The choice of stay is wider in the bigger cities and towns while accommodation is less spread around the rural areas, though rural farm stay and agri-tourism has seen a big rise in the last couple of years. Rural farms or guesthouses usually offer the possibility to dine on site as well while this option is not always available (but also not necessary) in the bigger towns and cities.
Due to the high demand, it is advisable to book in advance if traveling in July or August and you should be prepared for higher rates over this period.