Yes, I know... It runs contrary to
all "conventional" wisdom - except perhaps for the independent-minded suggestions
on our own Sicily travel faqs page
- but I'm going to make an unconventional recommendation: Visit Sicily in
Winter, especially in January, February or early March.
Why? Here are a dozen good reasons:
• If your interests are mainly cultural and historical, as opposed
to sun worshipping, you'll find fewer crowds at the most important archaeological
and historical sites.
• That goes for resorts like Taormina,
too, where you'll find the streets refreshingly free of "tourists." In the present economic climate, you
may even find hotel rates far superior to those of a normal "low season."
• In some ways you'll find that service in restaurants and hotels
is better. They'll be happy to see you during a season when patrons are
• Your holiday - the entire vacation - will cost less during the
"low" season. Especially flights and hotels.
• Shopping in early January allows you to take advantage of the
After-Christmas sales on everything from coats to shoes.
• There will still be snow in the Nebrodi
and Madonie mountains, and you can ski on Mount Etna.
• In some ways, it's the best time for golf in Sicily.
• It won't be too hot (as it is in July and August). Winter in Sicily is like late autumn or mid-spring in many parts of Britain and the US.
• You'll be able to take advantage of a culinary "season"
rarely experienced by visitors - for example, the delicious sea urchins
• Enjoy Agrigento's
delightful Almond Blossom Festival, in late February, or Catania's
Saint Agatha Festival earlier in the month.
• The nights will be cool, and there may be a touch of rain, but
not enough to ruin your vacation. Check out the seasonal weather.
• You'd prefer the convenience of a small group tour instead of travelling independently? Forget the misplaced advice from travel agents about there being no
tours available early in the year. This year we offer several tours of Sicily with start
dates in these early months - and special discounts if you purchase any tour before February 28th.
Think about doing something unconventional in 2011. Then do it.
About the Author: Travel agent Stefania Lanza lives in London, where she works for a
company specialised in independent travel and villa rentals in Sicily.