Out of Italy’s twenty different regions, Sicily is one of only two islands. Perhaps most famous for being positioned right at the ‘toe’ of mainland Italy, it’s the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an incredibly popular holiday destination all year round.
Whether you’re after arts, culture, history, food, scenery or just the opportunity to relax on your Italian holiday, Sicily has a lot to offer its visitors. There are busy cities, lively towns and peaceful villages scattered along the coast or clustered inland, along with an active volcano, ancient ruins and plenty of hills and mountains to explore. It’s a brilliant place for all kinds of travellers, whether you like your holidays to be filled with time to relax or chances to learn more about new cultures and history.
Another reason that Sicily is such a popular destination for holidaymakers to stay in is that it offers aspects of both Greek and Italian life to visitors, providing a slice of the Mediterranean along with classically Italian food and culture. Holidays in Sicily in November allow you to see the island without the summer hoards of tourists and enjoy a more authentic atmosphere, along with the chance to enjoy all the region’s attractions at your leisure.
The climate in Sicily in November is affected by its position in the Mediterranean, meaning that even though it is winter, the weather is not particularly cold. Average temperatures are around 20°C during the day, which is not overly warm but won’t require a lot of winter clothing in order to spend time outdoors.
Inland Sicily is the coolest part of the island in November, with the mountains areas of the region tending to see the lowest temperatures along with a lot of mist and fog. On the coast, the air will feel a lot warmer and with average sea temperatures of 20°C, it is not uncommon for visitors to Sicily to take a dip in the water on particularly mild days.
Despite the warm temperature in Sicily in November, it is also one of the wettest months of the year with an average of 11 days seeing some rainfall. The southeast part of the island generally sees less rain than the northwest, but there is quite a high chance that days will be grey, overcast and drizzly across most of Sicily.
Don’t let this forecast put you off from visiting however. If you’re coming from a country further north than Italy then the weather will still feel much warmer and brighter than in your home country, and you can get in a lot of sightseeing if you don’t mind the odd shower.
How to Get There
Although Sicily is only an island, its popularity as a holiday destination means that it is very easy to get to using several different transport options.
If you’re visiting from another country, the easiest way to get to Sicily is by flying. There are four different airports on the island itself that have regular flights to most European and American countries all year round, and airports on the nearby islands of Malta and Pantelleria as well.
It is also possible to fly to mainland Italy and then travel by train for the last leg of your journey. There are direct services from both Rome and Naples stations, where the train is transported to Sicily by a ferry and then split into two parts to continue its journey across the island.
Another good option for visiting Sicily from the mainland is to travel by boat, as there are plenty of ferry services that arrive at the island from all around Italy’s coast. It’s also a popular destination for cruise ships arriving from other parts of the world, so you can travel to the island directly from your home country.
When travelling around Sicily itself, there are bus and train services available as well as the option to hire a car and drive around the island yourself.
Festivals and Events
All Saints’ Day
All Saints Day is a Christian annual holiday that is celebrated on the 1st of November, with different traditions belonging to the different regions of Italy. In Sicily, All Saints Day is a national holiday where the ghosts of dead relatives are said to come back to their family homes and leave gifts and food for young children.
There are usually markets held in larger towns across Sicily over the All Saints weekend where you can buy the traditional sweets and other delicacies that are eaten in honour of this festival. Although the festival follows Halloween it is not a particularly macabre event, but rather a seasonal chance to remember those who have been lost.
This festival is dedicated to the most famous kind of Sicilian chocolate, known for the unique method it is made. Modicican chocolate is cold-pressed with the flavourings used, which produce a special texture and quality of flavour that isn’t found in many other varieties of chocolate.
ChocoModica is held in the town of Modica every year, usually in November towards the end of the month. It’s become a massive event that involves, talks, workshops, markets and tours of the town as well as plenty of occasions to taste and enjoy this famous kind of chocolate. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll have the time of your life!
St. Martin’s Day
Festa di San Martino, or St. Martin’s Day, is an annual festival that takes place in Sicily every year on the 11th of November. It is held to commemorate the historical figure of Saint Martin of Tours who was known for being particularly charitable and humble during his life and was the first real leader of Western monasticism.
The festival celebrates the maturation of must (young wine) becoming proper wine that is ready for drinking. All across the island, the new wine is praised and drunk along with seasonal roasted chestnuts and sweet desserts. It’s a very festive day of the year and there are usually big events held in most towns and cities.
Things to See and Do
One of the best things to do in Sicily in November is sightseeing, and the city of Syracuse is the best place on the island to enjoy just that. Syracuse was once the largest city in the world, and the remains of this impressive history are still found everywhere, from ancient greek ruins to baroque architecture.
The old town of Syracuse is Ortigia island, found right in the centre and reached by a bridge that connects the two different parts. It’s a pedestrian-only area and is one of the best places to see historic examples of buildings, streets and monuments; perfect for days when the weather is overcast.
Visit Selinunte Archeological Park
Another top sightseeing attraction is Selinunte Archeological Park; the largest archaeological area in Europe. By visiting Sicily in November you’ll be able to explore this spectacular area without having to fight your way through crowds of other tourists, although be aware that its opening times are likely to be limited at this time of the year.
This is one of the best places in Sicily to see the impact that Greek culture had on the island, with plenty of ancient Greek temple remains and an acropolis available for visitors to explore. Positioned on a cliff overlooking the sea and flanked by golden beaches, it’s a brilliant place to spend the day whatever the weather and enjoy some of the finest examples of an ancient civilization.
Enjoy Wine Tasting
It’s a lesser-known fact that some of the finest wine in Italy is produced in the region of Sicily. This is thanks to the incredibly fertile soil that Mount Etna provides the island with and the warm, Mediterranean climate that contributes to incredible grape production.
If you’re a fan of wine then a great way to spend your Sicilian holiday is enjoying wine tasting experiences at some of the finest vineyards on the island. Many wineries offer tours of their vineyards and wine cellars as part of their tasting sessions, and whilst there may not be as much availability in November you’re also likely to get a much more personalised and intimate tour at this time of year.
Sample Sicilian Flavours
Whilst you can enjoy many classic Italian dishes across the restaurants and cafes in Sicily, we also highly recommended that you sample the cuisine that has its origins in the island and its mixed culture. The gastronomic heritage of Sicily comes from its Greek, Norman and Arab occupants and has created a really unique approach to food that features many of the ingredients grown on the island.
Arancini is one iconic Sicilian dish that you can’t miss on your holiday in November, along with the sweet, cream-filled dessert known as Cannoli. Chestnuts and mushrooms are both in season on the island in November as well, which you can expect to find in heartier dishes that reflect the turning of the seasons and the need for rich and meaty flavours.
Hit the Slopes of Mount Etna
When you think of skiing destinations, you’d be unlikely to put Sicily at the top of your list. But for a truly unique experience, Mount Etna is a great place to enjoy winter sports like skiing between November and February, with resorts on both the north and south sides of the island.
The terrain available for skiers in Sicily is not as varied as classic locations like France, Austria or Switzerland, but you do get to enjoy incredible views of the ocean as you descend the mountain and travel past the smoking crater of Mount Etna on your way back up. The start of ski season will depend on when the snow falls in Sicily, but towards the end of November, you have a good chance of being able to get out on the slopes.
If you’ve been persuaded to book a holiday by our guide of what to do in Sicily in November, read on for some of our top tips for making the most out of your trip to this Italian island.
One of the benefits of visiting Sicily in the off-season is that prices for accommodation across the island will be at their lowest at this time of the year. It’s a good idea to look at holiday resorts and luxury hotels when you’re booking your trip and see if they have any deals available in November, as you can often find brilliant discounts.
While it is much cheaper to visit Sicily in November, you should also bear in mind that a lot of public transport runs a reduced service over the winter months because there are far fewer tourists on the island. You will still be able to get around by bus and train, but you’ll want to double-check timetables before you travel and ensure you won’t get stranded waiting anywhere for hours.
Finally, another benefit of coming to Italy in the winter is that you can indulge in foods like pizza and pasta to your heart’s content. On hot and humid days in the summer many travellers find that they don’t have much of an appetite for lots of carbohydrates, but November is the perfect time to keep warm with steaming bowls of bolognese, lasagna or spaghetti carbonara.
Whilst you may hear stories about Sicily being home to a lot of organised crime, it is a safe place to visit on holiday and travellers do not have to worry about their safety any more than anywhere else in the world. As long as you follow common sense and trust your instincts before entering any new situations, you’ll be absolutely fine.
When To Visit Sicily By Month
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.