Tips & Info for a holiday in Sicily #1: the climate and the appropriate clothing

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Looking the search terms used to find your blog is comforting, it makes you feel a less strange person. Somebody asks if Sicily is in northern or southern hemisphere or if Ryanair company allows to put pasta, coffee, Nutella, cigarettes and olive oil in the hold baggage (certainly he/she is an university student from Southern Italy) or if the heat kills birds in summer in Sicily. The million dollars question “Is Palermo safe?” is not important as “What do I have to wear in Sicily in February/April/May/summer/September/ December/ in Palermo, in the top of Erice mountain/ during Cous Cous Festival? (????)”
Here a long post about the weather and the appropriate clothes for a holiday in Sicily 🙂

Sicily is an island but is one of the most varied regions of Italy. The western dialect is different from that eastern one, different words for the same things within few kilometres, there are wars even about the name of foods. Sicily is a hot island and its people too. People go to Sicily above all in summer thinking of beaches and sea but forgetting that it’s the biggest island in Mediterranean Sea. There are many mountainous areas very far from the sea and the temperatures aren’t the same between the costline and hinterland.

Generally:

Coastal Area: mediterranean climate

Spring and summer are very long, winter is short. Rainfalls are rare in summer, it rains above all in winter (but not so much) and the diurnal temperature variation is between 11°C early in the morning with a keen wind and 22°C at midday with a hot sun (in December). Snow is an illusion in the coastline (with some exceptions) but there is a high humidity level, often over 85% (it means that if thermometer measures 33°C, you perceive over 40°C).

Hinterland: continental climate

Here it rains less but temperature is very low with snowfalls, frost and fog, fog, fog in winter. Summer isn’t too much hot because of the lower humidity level.

Sicily is very beautiful in spring, when Nature is lush and colorful and few people take a week’s holiday, the island is all for you. The temperature fluctuates between 18°C and 30°C and the evenings are cool. Spring in Sicily is ideal if you hate the summer stuffiness but you want to go to the beach and visit the cities.

Summer

is very hot and the sun is cruel, there is the same climate in north Africa, also because there is the Sirocco, the wind blows from the desert, the sky is covered by sand and temperature is between 27°C and 40°C. If you like the sea and spending many hours on the beach this is your season. Whereas if you prefer trekking, August isn’t a good idea for your summer holidays (unless you have experience of stronger trekking behind, at Great Salt Lake for example). Summer in Sicily is more beautiful in July.

Autumn

temperature is pleasant as in spring, from 18°C to a maximum of 26°C. You can still bathe in September and often till the first half of October. It’s a good period for holidays: less tourists, more relaxed hoteliers and kinder restaurateurs, many culinary events and cultural festivals as “Le Vie dei Tesori” (I talked about it here) and trekking is perfect. Unfortunately the boat trips of little islands are only in September, because the sea isn’t good for a pleasant sailing but ferries and hydrofoils work during all year, if anger of Poseidon allows the trip.

Winter

It’s the season with few tourists, also because there are less Ryanair flights starting from November. Temperature is between 5°C and 23°C and it’s the season of rains and cold wind. Winter exists also in Sicily and it could be cold so don’t wear flip flops, ok? IT’S COLD! Sometimes because the humidity it’s freezing. You can’t bathe and trekking is hard if it rained or a cold wind is blowing (but in other moments it’s ok if you don’t fear the cold). The real winter arrives to sicilian coastline from the second half of December and lasts till February. It starts before in the hinterland, where it snows, so consider ten degrees less. The ski season opens on the top of Etna and at Piano Battaglia (near Palermo)

When is the best period to visit Sicily?

April (the temperature is good but sometimes it rains) – May- June – September – October and, why not?, November are the perfect months to visit the sicilian coastline, both for trekking and for visiting the cities because temperatures are torelable, between 16°C and 27°C. I included November because in the last years there is a “translation” in the seasonal calendar and the good weather delays to arrive but in November you don’t need the coat and the wool scarf. The weather is variable, so some days a t-shirt and a cotton jacket are enough and other ones you need also a hoodie, above all in the evening.

Some fearless bathe also on 26th December but the best period for the beach is between May and September. In the hinterland the temperatures are more clement in summer. If you like to ski you can go to Etna in December, the level of snow is already good. Usually it snows from half of November to the end of February.

Recapitulating:

January: 5°C – 22°C
February: 5°C – 22°C
March: 10°C – 26°C
April: 12°C – 27°C
May: 16°C – 28°C
June: 18°C – 30°C
July: 22°C – 36°C
August: 26°C – 42°C
September: 25°C – 35°C
October: 15°C – 22°C
November: 8°C – 20°C
December: 5°C – 22°C

What can I wear for a holiday in Sicily?

CLOTHES

For winter: bring sweaters, coat and cap because it’s cold. If you need a Ryanair- friendly light luggage and you won’t stay always in a 5 stars hotel, substitute the sweaters with a fleece sweatshirt, they weigh little and keep warm. I recommend above all the cap, to warm up the ears and keep the hair in order. Second option for girls: bring a fur earflap! Warm ears and disciplined hair guaranteed 😀
Here we don’t wear rubber boots when it rains but sicilian roads are potholed and giant puddles form with two drops of water, so wear waterproof shoes 😛
The wind is strong in seaside tows as Trapani, so if it’s raining and you have an umbrella you could say accidentally some swear words. Bring a k-way, few grams weight and wind and rain are a distant memory.

For summer and autumn: bring light clothing. If you want to go trekking in the natural reserve of Zingaro in August, DON’T WEAR AN UNDERSHIRT if you want to avoid a burn, there are only two trees in all reserve! Put liters of sun lotion and cover your shoulders with a scarf after 11 a.m.. Bring a cotton jacket for a walk by the sea. The same applies if you have a holiday in Trapani and go up to Erice, where temperature always drops of 4-5 degrees.
From May to the beginning of October you can wear the swimsuit under the dress, one never knows (NB UNDER the dress and NOT as the only clothe, this is a strange mistake of some turists :P). For a holiday in November put long sleeved shirts, t-shirts and at least a jacket and a sweatshirt for the cool wind.
NB Bring a sun lotion with high SPF, also to walk in the town.

SHOES


It depends on what you need to do.
If you go trekking in Zingaro Reserve don’t use flip flops, not even for the easy coastal pathway or you just want to bathe in the small coves. Wear sneakers, or better tough shoes, there are many unpleasant stones in the pathways.
I suggest flip flops just for the beach in Sicily. Many villages and towns have paved roads, sometimes with pebbles, so even if you like that terrible foot massage, the slip is around the corner. Instead they are fundamental on the beach, to walk on the infernal hot sand after noon or for walking on the shoreline (the sicilian beaches are different from each other, someones have a sand as fine as talcum whereas others are rocky or full of pebbles or with stone grains)

So, no heels for a holiday in Sicily? Mmmm no joking, please! Heels and wedges are allowed but girls, be smart, put a pair of foot-saving ballet flats in the bag, you don’t know the roads to go.

As usual, if you’ve read this far in this post, I love you! 😀

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com;
If you prefer to sleep at Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

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