The island of Sicily has gained much popularity in recent years, and rightfully so. It’s the home of some of the country’s best shorelines, perfectly-preserved archaeological sites, and a spectacular climate that makes it an oasis for Italy’s most prized produce and architectural marvels. Sicily remained off the radar in comparison to Italy’s other island […]
The island of Sicily has gained much popularity in recent years, and rightfully so. It’s the home of some of the country’s best shorelines, perfectly-preserved archaeological sites, and a spectacular climate that makes it an oasis for Italy’s most prized produce and architectural marvels.
Sicily remained off the radar in comparison to Italy’s other island paradises and tourist hotspots – but having now picked up popularity, with its most famous Palermo province having hosted around 2.3 million overnight stays for international and domestic tourists in 2021, travellers are beginning to realise the island’s full potential and breadth of beauty.
As Italy’s largest island, its territories have, over thousands of years, developed a rich history dating back to 12,000 BC when the island is thought to have been first inhabited. Sicily has been home to some of Europe’s most ancient civilisations, such as the likes of the Greeks, Byzantines, and Arabs, which have shaped its landscapes and influenced its culture to be what it is today.
But for those who may be considering a visit to Sicily, but don’t know what time of year may be best to take a trip, here at Italian Breaks, we’ve outlined what it’s like to stay on the island during May.
On the approach to the most popular summer season, May offers the beginning of Sicily’s most desirable weather – and with that, the opportunity to view its pristine landscapes and fantastic architectural sites in their prime.
From things to do, where to go, and what to expect from the weather in Sicily in May, our comprehensive guide gives you a raw insight into visiting the island and how to have a truly fantastic time throughout May.
The weather in Sicily in May sees only 8mm of rainfall on average every year, with a warm and pleasant climate that only improves as summertime approaches.
The average temperature in Sicily also reaches highs of 19°C and minimums of 11°C. Humidity levels are around 55% on average, and there’s a 62% chance of a gorgeous sunshine-filled day throughout the month. The island also sees around 8 hours of sunshine each day in May, leaving plenty of opportunity to explore its sights and scenes in their best light.
When considering the sea temperatures in Sicily in May, you’ll find them quite mild, with an average of 19°C. This may be a little too cool for most swimmers, so, if beach days out and tranquil paddles alongside sandy shorelines are a priority for you, you might want to consider the summer months as a time for visiting Sicily instead.
In short, May’s the perfect balance between the spring and summer seasons, straddling both for its ideal weather and climate.
Visiting Sicily in May is a much cheaper time to travel to this island destination. This is because one of Sicily’s shoulder seasons runs from April to May, meaning you’ll find fewer tourists, and likely cheaper accommodation and transportation.
Sicily is considered a ‘year-round’ destination, meaning you don’t have to prepare yourself for less frequent transport schedules or businesses closing shop at this time of year, which is a bonus.
Flights to Sicily in May are arguably the most convenient way to reach the island, with several direct flights available from airports across Europe, and indirect flights available from further afield. Prices range anywhere from as little as £20 to upwards of a few hundred pounds, but given May is Sicily’s shoulder season, you are more likely to be able to bag yourself a cheaper deal at this time of year.
The island of Sicily is reachable by ferry from Italy’s mainland and other surrounding European destinations.
Departure points for long-haul ferries include Naples, Genoa, Livorno, Salerna, and Civitavecchia. The longest ferry crossings can range from 19-28 hours in length, but there are others that have a significantly shorter duration, from 8-14 hours. Ferries can range in price anywhere from €50 to over €200 for a one-way ticket (the latter of which is if you’re looking for a cabin whilst on your long-haul journey).
For shorter ferries at the bottom of Italy, from destinations such as Calabria, the journey is much shorter (only around 30 minutes) and considerably cheaper than long-haul ferries, costing from only a couple of euros for a foot passenger or below €50 round-trip if you have a car.
Ferries do run from wider European destinations, such as Malta, France, Spain and elsewhere. If you’re planning on combining your Sicily trip with another European location, or, are travelling to Sicily from nearby European destinations, you can search in advance whether your country has ferries connecting you to the island.
If you’re wanting to reach Sicily in your car, your only option is to take a ferry that transports vehicles. You’ll have to research in advance whether the ferry port you’re planning on departing from has ferries that transport vehicles and prices will vary dependent on your departing location.
Infiorata di Noto is an annual flower festival that is famous across the world and takes place during the third weekend of May in the city of Noto, located in the southeast of the island.
Since 1980, local and foreign artists design floral panels that they cover completely with flowers grown specifically for this event, and these are displayed throughout the streets for tourists and locks alike to admire during the latter half of the weekend, with parades and other activities also occurring throughout the duration of the event.
As one of the most colourful festivals on the planet, if you’re visiting Sicily in May, make sure you coincide with this explosion of colour for an experience unlike any other.
For wine lovers and connoisseurs, Cantine Aperte is not an event that you’ll want to miss from your calendar of what to do in Sicily in May.
One of the most important wine tourism events in Italy, Cantine Aperte is an event promoted by the country’s Wine Tourism Movement and involves Sicilian wineries opening their doors during the last weekend of May every year.
And with Sicilian wines being amongst some of the best in the world, we’d encourage all wine aficionados to explore the initiatives and range of events that take place across the island.
Allowing you to uncover Sicily’s modest wine scene, you can walk through beautiful old vineyards and visit famous wineries to learn about the traditional methods of winemaking, and, of course, savour some of their best crop!
You can find more information on the Italian Tourism Movement website to see which wine regions, vineyards, and events are involved.
Translating to ‘the cycle of classical plays’, this event is spread across May and flows into June. It’s a Greek Theatre festival that takes place in the original greek amphitheatre in Syracuse, one of the best in the world, on the southeast of the island.
Famous actors and directors gather to reenact classical greek comedies and tragedies throughout the event and draw visitors from far and wide.
You can learn more on the official website of INDA, the National Institute of Ancient Drama, about the shows planned for the next event.
Known as “the navel of Sicily”, Enna is a beautiful medieval city located in the heart of the island and is the highest provincial capital in Italy.
For those who seek a breath of fresh air and some of the most spectacular panoramic views of the island, take a trip to Enna during your visit to Sicily in May to make the most of the city with fewer tourists and blissful weather.
The city towers 931 metres above sea level and offers much to mesmerise you along its beautiful ochre-coloured buildings and charming medieval streets. Whilst you’re here, you can visit Lombardia Castle, located at the highest point of the city. This fortification is one of the most ancient in Italy and is home to a theatre known for being the closest to the stars.
The Valley of the Temples is one of Sicily’s most exemplary sites of ancient architecture. It lies in Agrigento, on the Southwest of the island. The site is home to the remnants of seven ancient temples, all built in the Doric style.
We would encourage all visitors who are interested in learning more about the ancient history of Sicily to pay a visit to this spectacular attraction. And visiting during May will ensure fewer tourists and a much quieter experience to soak in the sheer magnificence of its sites.
Make sure you catch a glimpse of the Temple of Concordia. Almost perfectly preserved, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s best-known examples of Greek civilisation temples existing now.
Visiting Sicily in May offers no better opportunity to embark on some of the island’s greatest hikes and wilderness walks. With May being known for its much more manageable weather in the approach to summer, visitors can still make the most of blissful sunshine whilst not being overwhelmed by the Mediterranean heat.
This is why a hike to one of the country’s most impressive and famous landmarks, Mount Etna, is a fantastic activity whilst visiting Sicily in May. The mountain is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and lies along the east coast of the island. Trekking groups who are accompanied by experienced guides are common, and necessary if you’re planning on exploring above a certain altitude.
There are hundreds of trails for hikers located around the base of the volcano, and you can find many with a simple search online. Or, for ease, we would advise booking your hiking experience with a local agency to ensure you have an experienced guide with you and to get as up close and personal as possible with the volcano itself.
Sicily in May still boasts warmer temperatures, so packing clothes such as shorts and tops is appropriate. Ensure you pack sunscreen to protect your skin from the Mediterranean sunshine, particularly during the peak of the day. Wearing loose-fitted clothing is also recommended to keep you more comfortable in the warmth.
As it is likely you’ll be doing a lot of exploring, and therefore walking, during your trip to Sicily in May, we would advise packing comfortable and lightweight shoes such as trainers or trekking sandals to keep you supported throughout your trip.
Finally, we would always advise packing for all eventualities. The island is known for its milder evenings, so packing a light fleece to cover up and keep you warm would be beneficial, and a light rain jacket on the off chance that you have a day where rainfall is expected.
Depending on what you want to do in Sicily in May, you may want to base yourself closer to the attractions and sights on your list. However, should you wish to be amidst the hustle and bustle of Sicily’s island locations we’d recommend staying in, or nearby, Palermo – the island’s capital.
Home to ancient architecture, bustling streets and fantastic cultural sites, should you wish to explore Palermo during your trip to Sicily in May, whilst staying close to some of the country’s other sites and settlements, you can stay at our Villa Delle Grazie property.
Sleeping up to 8 guests across 3 bedrooms, this modern home features an outdoor swimming pool with exceptional views of the coast and Sicily’s mountainous landscape. Located around an hour's drive from Palermo, this makes for a convenient base for those looking to indulge in the capital’s splendours, whilst keeping their distance in a quaint Sicilian settlement for added seclusion and relaxation during your holiday.
Sicily is beloved for its ancient architecture, spectacular landscapes, and fascinating culture, and a visit to Sicily in May guarantees a spectacular time to explore the many events and attractions that it has to offer in its prime.
Should you wish to learn more about Sicily, and what else there is to savour during a holiday here, you can visit our website and blog page to learn more about where to go, what to do, and the best times to visit, as well as the best places to stay across this island paradise.
When To Visit Sicily By Month: