The Italian Islands are a popular destination to visit throughout the year, though during the summer months their climate and landscape appeal to those looking to enjoy a sunny, summer holiday. Here’s my guide to visiting its largest island, Sicily.
Sicily in August
Sicily during its summer months is an idyllic destination, and its Mediterranean climate sure plays its part in making the island thrive. During August, Sicily enjoys temperatures averaging 26C (79F) and basks in over 10 hours of sunshine daily. The seas also offer great conditions to try a wide range of watersports with warm temperatures to enjoy. With such great weather, make your August Sicilian holiday complete by booking a stay in a villa. Not only will you get to feel like you’re experiencing a traditional way to live in Sicily but villas are also great at keeping cool during the heat of the day.
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Festivals pop up across the island throughout the month as Sicilians celebrate their historic roots, their sumptuous food and culture. In small towns, you’ll find food festivals galore which give you a chance to enjoy some fine cuisine ripe in season. Step back in time by visiting Termini Imerses’ Roman festival or the Medieval Festival in Motta Sant’ Anastasia. Enjoy the colourful festival in Acireale, their second of the year or choose to enjoy some music and culture at either the Ypsigrock Music Festival or the Taormina Arte Festival.
Sicily’s capital and largest city is Palermo. Situated on the northwest of the island, it is a place which showcases Sicilian culture perfectly. Delve into its history by visiting the Palace of the Normans which dates back to the 9th Century and is home to the famous Palantine Chapel. There are many stunning examples of churches in Palermo, most notably Palermo Cathedral. Take a stroll around the city’s bustling squares, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat, or indulge in a night of culture at the Teatro Massimo Opera House. Then for something completely left field, visit the spinetingling catacombs of Palermo where you’ll get to see a wide range of mummies. Certainly something that will live long in the memory!
Across on the Eastern coast, you’ll find Syracuse, a highly cultured town and a UNESCO listed site. There are a number of Ancient Greek sites within the city including the ruins of the Greek Theatre and the Temple of Apollo. Visit the Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi to uncover many of Syracuse’s archeological wonders and artefacts and to learn more about the city’s history. There is also the Castello Maniace and the city’s cathedral which provide a great insight into the history that made this city so great.
Hit the beach
Lets face it, most people visiting Sicily will want to come here for a beach holiday and personally, I don’t think there’s anywhere finer than staying at Taormina. Located on Sicily’s eastern coast, Taormina offers some of the finest views in Italy, situated on the hillsides looking across at the coast and with Mount Etna behind it. Head south from the town to enjoy the nature reserve of Isola Bella or the resort at Giardini Naxos which sits on the Ionian Sea. Other great places to visit for a beach break include Scopello and Cefalu. If the idea of simply relaxing doesn’t appeal, Sicily offers a wide range of watersports to enjoy from surfing to sailing.
For anyone visiting Sicily, the Aeolian Islands are not to be missed. They manage to offer a wide range of holidaying options in a relatively small space. This ranges from the undisturbed nature of Filicudi & Alicudi to the volcanic Stromboli, complete with lava flows and even an exclusive island at Panarea. To enjoy the best beaches across the archipelago, visit Lipari’s white sandy beaches which compliment the wild coastline and provide great views. Stroll around the port at Salina and enjoy some retail therapy or relax on its black sandy beaches.