The Best Time to Visit Sicily: Autumn

Palermo Cathedral, Sicily

I have been running tours in Sicily for years, and there is no doubt in my mind that September through December are the best months to enjoy a visit that focuses on the abundant archaeological and cultural sites of the southern peninsula. Many of the most impressive attractions are situated outdoors: either in the hectic urban centre of Palermo or out at the excavation sites.

If the lure of these attractions is what motivates you to visit the area, you should choose your season carefully when you plan a trip to Sicily. Autumn in this region is characterised by a temperate climate, which makes touring particularly pleasant. You won’t get rained on and you won’t get sunstroke.

In addition, the summer crowds will have packed up and gone back to school and to the office. There’s nothing more delightful than having the opportunity to explore a famous monument in relative peace and quiet. No jostling hoards, plenty of space and plenty of time.

Here are a couple of my favourite tours that I always recommend to those who want to immerse themselves in the vibrant Sicilian culture.

Dabble in Archaeology
Whether you come here specifically for the archaeological sites or you simply want an interesting outing during your stay, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento should not be missed.

As it is the world’s largest archaeological site, there is the risk that you’ll feel overwhelmed, so we recommend a guided tour to get the best out of your visit. Reserved entry means no queuing, and the expertise of the leader will guarantee that you don’t lose your bearings in this immense site. Spend your energy in the company of a guide, who will direct you to the highlights and entertain you with the historical gems – don’t waste it on aimless wanderings and entry queues.

If you plan to include this site on your agenda in Sicily, autumnal tours are best for avoiding the large crowds and intense summer heat.

Some of the Practical Stuff
Duration: 4 hours
Dates and Times: 9am, 10am, 3pm or 4pm upon request
Suitable For: Culture Lovers, Families
Included: Pre-reserved entry, a private guide

Pound the City Streets
Palermo is a city like no other. Part of its unique charm is its chaotic hustle and bustle. We realise that many visitors aren’t able to appreciate these characteristics in a positive way when they find themselves wandering its labyrinthine and hectic streets, so we put together a tour that would help them tap into the city’s vibe without being overwhelmed.

Class and Chaos – A Private Palermo Tour is an ideal opportunity to experience the jumble of baroque and ramshackle architectural styles that compete for attention on the streets. Our expert guides navigate the city streets with panache and infectious excitement, ensuring that you see Palermo’s highlights in a fun and stress-free manner.

As you know, the summer is baking hot in Sicily. Autumn is really the best time to get to grips with Palermo. The heat, which is particularly stifling in the city, has dissipated by then, leaving a dry and mild climate that’s perfect for walking the streets.

Some of the Practical Stuff
Duration: 2 hours
Dates and Times: 9am and 3pm from Monday to Saturday upon request
Suitable For: Culture Lovers, Families, Foodies
Included: Entry ticket to Teatro Massimo and a private guide

Other Autumnal Highlights
The harvest is another delight that shouldn’t be missed in Sicily. Autumn is the season when grapes and olives are ready for picking, and the Sicilians have taken the opportunity to hold festivals and celebrations in honour of the produce.

There are vineyards throughout the peninsula, at which you can help with the grape picking. In October, the town of Zafferana Etnea in East Sicily hosts an autumn festival, where every Sunday is dedicated to a different type of produce: apples, honey, mushrooms and wine.

Over in West Sicily, the Couscous Fest takes place in September. You can join in the celebrations as you feast on tabouleh, couscous and mountains of fresh fish, which is fried publically in the village square.

And there’s more: if you love ice cream, you’ll be thrilled to be in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily. Autumn’s gastronomic highlight here is the Sherbeth Festival, during which 45 master gelatieri transform the historic city into a giant ice cream parlour.

Book Your Sicily Autumn Fun
It’s not too late to get a slice of harvest time in Sicily – there are many last-minute deals that pop up at this time of year, and it’s the perfect destination for an impulse city break. The clement weather will last well into December. If you’re tempted, simply tell us your trip dates and leave the rest up to us! We can organise one – or multiple – of our fantastic tours to show you the cultural marvels of the area.

About Artviva Tours, Italy

We at ArtViva love sharing the beauty of la dolce vita, from Italian art, history and culture to the wonderful food and wine and everything in between! Live the experience along with us through our articles and informative posts, and be sure to check out our outstanding small-group tours and experiences in Florence, Venice, Rome, Cinque Terre and beyond.
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