Sicily in March – Where to Go and What to Do

Ah, Sicily – sizzling, seductive, spectacular and full of romance. Located off the southern tip of Italy in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is stunningly gorgeous all year round, but even more so in spring. Sicily is the largest Italian island and is a mosaic of lovely landscapes, artistic gems, and rich history. […]

Ah, Sicily – sizzling, seductive, spectacular and full of romance. Located off the southern tip of Italy in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is stunningly gorgeous all year round, but even more so in spring.

Sicily is the largest Italian island and is a mosaic of lovely landscapes, artistic gems, and rich history. It is a melting pot of various cultures, customs, and cuisine, shaped by Greek, Roman, Catalan, Norman, Arabian and North African influences. Just take a look at the hilltop sandstone villages and rustic fishing towns, centuries-old ruins and eclectic architecture, majestic cathedrals and fascinating museums.

Then, there’s Palermo and its heady mix of palazzos and piazzas, Cefalu and its cobblestone streets and honey-hued buildings, Syracuse and its ancient Greek theatre and terracotta artefacts. With 1000 kilometres of coastline, you could never miss the hundreds of golden beaches that range from sugary fine to gorgeously rugged, all overlooked by the iconic Mount Etna.

While winter on the island is short and mild, the temperature in Sicily in March is a welcome change to the bleakness of the previous months. Blossoms return to terrace gardens, cafés open for alfresco dining, meadows flourish with colours, and people come out to enjoy the warm sunshine. 

Visiting Sicily in March is an unforgettable and fascinating cultural experience. It’s one of the best months to explore museums and historical landmarks and if you love the outdoors, March is also suitable for cycling and coastal hiking, as wildflowers cover the vast fields and the days are neither too hot nor too cold.

The weeks leading up to Easter are full of colourful religious festivities, and you will witness the streets come to life with revellers and day-trippers celebrating. However, the island remains relatively uncrowded.

Weather

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March marks the end of the brief winter season in Sicily and temperatures start to rise to an average of 15˚C maximum and 9˚C minimum. The sea remains relatively chilly for swimming, with a typical temperature of 14˚C.

March in Sicily gets an average of eight hours of sunshine and some bright clear skies. But you may also encounter short bursts of sudden rain; the island receives approximately eight rainy days and 65 millimetres of rain in March. Days can also be cloudy and windy, with occasional thunderstorms.

If you are visiting the coastal areas of Palermo, Marsala, or Agrigento, expect moderate, rainy weather. The rain will not spoil your vacation though, as it’s usually just light enough to make the surroundings refreshingly green.

How to Get There

There are various ways to get to Sicily, but the best way to reach the island is by plane.  Visitors have four international airports to choose from in either Palermo, Catania, Trapani-Birgi, or Comiso.

You can also take a ferry to Sicily from mainland Italy and elsewhere in Europe. There are several ways to reach Sicily by boat, but the most convenient and quickest is via the Strait of Messina through Villa San Giovanni. The frequency of the ferry schedule changes depending on the season and peaks from May to September, so there may be fewer trips happening in March.

Though Sicily is an island, there are various ways to get there by car. Drive to the port in Naples, Genoa, Salerno, or Reggio Calabria and board a ferry to bring your car with you to the island.

There is also a train that links Sicily to the mainland and travels to Villa San Giovanni, where it gets on an enormous ferry.  During the one-hour crossing, passengers may go up the deck and explore or stay in their train car.

Festivals and Events

  • Agrigento Almond Blossom Festival 

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Founded in 1934, the Agrigento Almond Blossom Festival celebrates the sprouting of the pinkish-white flowers on almond trees. It marks the start of spring in Sicily and is a week-long event that happens annually, usually on the last week of February and the first week of March.

Agrigento bustles with concerts, dances, pageants, cooking shows, educational workshops, and theatre performances about Sicilian folklore. The festival climaxes with a grand parade, singing and dancing in the streets, and an awards ceremony.

  • Saint Joseph’s Day

Every 19th of March, Italians celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. Although the entire nation commemorates the event, it has a deeper meaning for Sicilians. According to legend, Sicily suffered a terrible drought in the Middle Ages, and many people died of starvation. They began to pray to Saint Joseph, who saved the island from famine.  

In the town of Salemi in Trapani, locals celebrate the feast with the famous Saint Joseph’s table, an altar teeming with flowers, fruits, holy objects and traditional food symbolically given to the poor and needy.  The dishes do not contain meat in observance of the Lenten season.

The courses include spaghetti mixed with olive oil, vegetarian omelettes, various kinds of cakes, braided bread, fava beans, and desserts such as zeppole, cannoli and fig cookies. This popular tradition of laying out food takes place in open public squares in the town centre and attracts thousands of tourists each year.

  • Carnival of Acireale

Tracing its origin to the Renaissance, the Carnival of Acireale is one of the oldest festivals in Sicily and definitely one of the most beautiful. The two-week event usually takes place in February or March and celebrates abundance, extravagance, creativity, and light-hearted humour. It is renowned for its parade of elaborate floats and colourful paper-mâché masks, which satirically depict celebrities, politicians, or famous events.

You can enjoy the series of concerts, street dancing, folk shows, acrobatic performances and games during the festival. The carnival culminates with the awarding of the best floats, the burning of King Carnival, and a breathtaking fireworks display.

Things to See and Do

Here are the top must-dos on the island to help you decide where to go to Sicily in March.

  • Enjoy the End of Ski Season

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While the rest of Sicily is warming up as it enters spring, many of the mountains still have snow. But most skiers who arrived in winter have already left, so, the resorts are often less crowded and the prices are lower.  

Perhaps the best place to ski in Sicily is on the slopes of Mount Etna. The northern side of the mountain has more snow, but if you want to see incredible views of the Aeolian Islands, choose the southern side. A third popular location for skiing is Piano Battaglia.

  • Visit Tourist Highlights

March is the best time for sightseeing in Sicily, primarily because the tourist spots are less busy. Explore Catania and its host of fascinating landmarks, including Piazza Duomo, Villa Bellini and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. 

Head to Messina and discover Piazza della Repubblica, Via Santa Cecilia, and the Nebrodi National Park. Or why not visit Taormina for its ancient Greek Theatre and the Madonna della Rocca Church.  

Stroll along the halls of Villa Romana del Casale, visit the Erice medieval village and spend sunsets at the Marsala salt pans. You shouldn’t miss the fascinating archaeological sites in Sicily, such as the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Segesta in Trapani, and the Selinunte Archaeological Park, the largest one in Europe.

  • Hike Through the Hills

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March in Sicily is neither too hot nor too cold, so it’s the perfect weather for long strolls and hikes. Climb to the top of La Rocca hill in Cefalù, where you will find the ruins of an ancient castle and mesmerising views of the Mediterranean Sea.

 For something more challenging, head to the summit of Filo dell’Arpa on Filicudi Island, where you can view an extinct volcano crater. Better yet, scale Monte Fossa delle Felci, the highest peak of the Aeolian Islands.

If you prefer more gentle walks, head to Cape Milazzo for its dazzling coastline, ancient olive groves, and natural hot springs. Or, visit Vendicari Reserve for its archaeological sites, flower-clad meadows, and diverse birdlife.

  • Go Cycling

Biking is one of the most popular activities on the island, chiefly because of its beautiful weather for most of the year. Sicily has several cycling trails that crisscross through breathtaking terrains and landscapes.

With its serene countryside, sleepy villages, and rolling hills, Taormina is one of the best places to explore on a bike. In Noto, you can pedal down the coast, visit fishing villages, and marvel at 17th-century structures. Or get lost in the beauty of Parco dei Nebrodi, with its crystal lakes, dense woodlands, deep valleys, and craggy peaks.

  • Explore Palermo

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Palermo is the capital of Sicily and its cultural, economic, and gastronomical centre. It’s a fascinatingly diverse part of the region, with a multi-ethnic background and a long and rich history.  

Here, you can get your fix of art, architecture and gastronomic delights. Shop at local markets, have coffee in a piazza, visit churches, explore palaces and museums, sample tasty street food, watch an opera, enjoy a puppet show, take a relaxing walk through the city.

Palermo has a bunch of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 9th century Palazzo dei Normanni along with the Palatine Chapel, the 6th-century San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Church of St. Mary of the Admiral, the Church of San Cataldo, the Palermo Cathedral, the Palazzo della Zisa and the Admiral's Bridge, a medieval bridge built over the Oreto River.

Other Tips

  • Pack for changeable weather

The weather in Sicily in March is pleasant but can be unpredictable with sudden bursts of rain. Nights can also be chilly, especially if you’re staying in the interior parts of the island. 

With this in mind, be sure to pack some sunscreen, sunglasses, and sunhat alongside a warm sweater, waterproof gear, and a fold-up umbrella. Bring a light scarf to cover your shoulders if you plan to visit churches, as many of them require a dress code. Also, do not forget your hiking boots if you want to climb Mount Etna or other mountainous areas.

  • Take advantage of the off-season

March is a fantastic time to see the highlights of Sicily without the massive crowds of tourists during the busier months of July and August.  Furthermore, flights are cheaper, and hotel prices remain budget-friendly.  However, if Easter falls in March, there will be a crowd of visitors from the mainland in Sicily, which may make things a bit busier.

  • See as much as you can

To make the most out of your holiday in Sicily, explore a mix of cities (Palermo, Siracusa, Catania), rustic towns (Cefalù, Trapani, Ragusa) and the countryside.  Consider renting a car for long-distance drives or a motorbike for getting around the cities and towns.

Catania will make a strategic home base if you are on a short visit.  You can take day trips to Siracusa and Mount Etna, then allocate a day or two sightseeing in Palermo. If you have more time, head to Agrigento, Ragusa, Trapani, and Cefalù.

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If you want to discover more about Sicily and what else you can enjoy on an Italian holiday, explore more of the Italian Breaks websites for advice on where to go, places to stay and things to do.

When To Visit Sicily By Month

Sicily in January

Sicily in April

Sicily In August

Sicily In September

Sicily In October

Sicily At Christmas

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