23 things to know before traveling to Sicily | Italy travel advice | wayamaya

23 things to know before traveling to Sicily | Italy travel advice | wayamaya

Sicily, Italy | The Wonder of the Mediterranean

There is no doubt that Sicily, Italy is one of the most beautiful and diverse places in the world, with stunning coastline and breathtaking views - from wonderful black or white Sicily beaches to martian landscape of the highest active volcano in Europe - Mount Etna. You won't regret adding Sicily to your ultimate travel bucket list, but before you travel to Sicily for a day, for a week or for holidays, let us guide you and check out what to know before you go in our Italy advice best travel tips article.

23 things to know before traveling to Sicily | Italy travel advice

Mount Etna volcano, Catania | Sicily, Italy
Mount Etna volcano, Catania | Sicily, Italy

1 - 2 Visit Sicily island

1. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, but at its narrowest point (The Strait of Messina) Sicily is located just over 3 kilometers to continental Italy. Having this in mind, it's really hard to feel like you are on the actual island.
2. Sicily is different from Italy. Of course, Sicily is like a part of Italy, but you will definitely feel like you are in a different country. This is due to the fact that there is really more than one Italy. Sicily became part of Italy as late as in the 19th century and it often feels like the whole Regione Siciliana is not a part of one cohesive country.

dome by the Ionian sea, Taormina | Sicily, Italy
dome by the Ionian sea, Taormina | Sicily, Italy

3 - 4 Sicily history and Sicilian culture

3. Sicily is a very underappreciated region with rich, unique and ancient culture. To understand Sicily even a little you must know more about its history. There was even a time that there were more Greeks in Sicily than in Greece. Then it had become an Islamic emirate for a while only to be later conquered by Normans.
4. The mix of "foreign" influences is especially visible in Sicilian architecture. From Byzantine to Baroque - Sicily has it all. Be ready for a nice culture shock once you arrive there.

Teatro Greco, Taormina | Sicily, Italy
Teatro Greco, Taormina | Sicily, Italy

5 - 8 Traveling to Sicily

5. The best time to visit Sicily are late spring and early autumn. Traveling in these low seasons has some advantages like mild temperatures, lower prices and a much more relaxed atmosphere.
6. If you don't have a lot of time for sightseeing then you should definitely rent a small car for a quick Sicily road trip. Try to stick to coastal areas when driving.
(more Sicily driving travel tips)

Ionian sea, Taormina | Sicily, Italy | wayamaya
Ionian sea, Taormina | Sicily, Italy | wayamaya

7. Sicily is famous for its Mount Etna volcano, but there are other Sicily highlights and must-see places in Sicily. For example, you will fell in love with Sicily resorts like Taormina, the Pearl of Sicily and Sicily landscapes like Scala dei Turchi beach.
8. If you want to see Mount Etna volcano, you have to plan a full day to do some hiking. Bring warm, anti-rain clothes with you - Etna’s summit average temperatures are 10-15 degrees (Celsius) lower than Catania and the Sicily weather can change in dramatic ways.

beach club, Aci Castello | Sicily, Italy
Beach club, Aci Castello | Sicily, Italy

9 Siesta in Sicily

9. Siestas in Sicily are really annoying. Be prepared to see the entire region taking a nap between 1 PM and 4 – 5 PM. This also applies to Sicily public transport and most small businesses are closed at that time.

10 Sicily food and Sicilian cuisine

10. If you have breakfast included in your Sicily accommodation you might get an Italian breakfast - the food will be sweet and carb-based.

Piazza del Duomo, Catania | Sicily, Italy
Piazza del Duomo, Catania | Sicily, Italy

11 Sicilians speaking English

11. A lot of Sicilian people (especially the older generation) don’t speak a word of English (or at least pretend not to). However, what they lack in spoken languages, they definitely make up for in physical communication. It's absolutely incredible to see them successfully solving Sicily tourist problems without speaking the English language.

Sicilian people, Siracusa | Sicily, Italy
Sicilian people, Siracusa | Sicily, Italy

12 - 15 Sicilian people | first impressions

12. Like all Italians, Sicilians are often very animated when talking among themselves. A normal Sicilian conversation can sometimes appear as a quarrel or even an introduction to the fight.
13. Sicilians are very spontaneous about what and when they do things. Unfortunately, there are some annoying examples like dozens of racing scooters and road works or trucks picking garbage at 2 AM.
14. There are almost no queues in local and less international areas. Instead of forming lines, Sicilian people tend to stand or walk somewhere nearby and suddenly just squeeze in.
15. Sicilians are very open and friendly people. They are extremely hospitable and even if you don't ask them they will do anything to help you.

Piazza del Duomo, Catania | Sicily, Italy
Piazza del Duomo, Catania | Sicily, Italy

16 - 20 Sicily like a local

16. The locals first consider themselves Sicilian then European and only then Italian (they even have their own Sicilian dialect).
17. Sicilian people are very proud of their Sicily island. Therefore, you can forget about paid Sicily travel guide - just ask locals for directions to any of the Sicily destinations. Don't be surprised if they volunteer to show you everything by themselves.
18. In Sicily, it's really nice to see so many small, family businesses like coffee shops, fish shops, hairdressers, etc. Also, the whole Sicilian lifestyle is somewhat different.

people in Siracusa | Sicily, Italy
People in Siracusa | Sicily, Italy

19. When you are staying in Sicily, it's hard to live according to your normal daily rhythm and most businesses don't post their opening and closing hours (but can be open till very late).
20. Where are the Sicilian kids? We were quite surprised to see only a handful of kids in Sicily. Unfortunately, we weren't able to tell if their parents were so protective to keep them hidden at homes all the time.

city square, Catania | Sicily, Italy | wayamaya
City square, Catania | Sicily, Italy

21 Why Is Sicily so dirty?

21. Speaking of garbage, Italian streets are often cluttered with rubbish and it's quite a big problem in Sicily. The government and the locals seem to not care much about keeping their own cities and neighborhoods clean and orderly (check out our post about Catania unused potential).

22 Sicily and religion

22. Sicilians are known for being generally very religious people, but are they? We won't discuss it here, but it might be a good opportunity for you to find out, especially during amazing annual feast days of Sicily's patron saints.

Catania | Sicily, Italy | wayamaya
Catania | Sicily, Italy

23 Sicilian mafia | is Sicily safe?

23. Lastly, but not least, there are some stereotypes about Sicilians, but only a few of them are true. If you want a good example then let's talk about the dangerous Sicilian mafia. Of course, mafia exists in some way in Sicily, but don't expect a crime scene from the Godfather movie in Sicily. Trust us - you won't see mafia or even feel their presence.

If you haven't seen them already, check out wayamaya series of travel blog posts about useful Sicily travel tips, Sicily travel essentials, where to go in Sicily, things to do in Sicily, the best places to visit in Sicily and the top things to see in Sicily, Italy:

Covid-19 in Sicily

To know more about the state of Covid-19 in Sicily and new Italy Covid-19 travel and entry regulation rules, please check the main WHO website or the Italian website dedicated to Covid-19 before departure to Sicily.
It's usually a good idea to get covered, especially in the current Covid-19 situation. No matter how long you fly, who you fly with, or where you fly. Remember to get insurance and use the one that well-known globetrotters recommend. Keep SAFETY in mind and a SMILE on your face.

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Wayamaya Sicily travel guide: 23 things to know before traveling to Sicily in Italy travel advice article: Sicily travel tips; visit Sicily island; Sicily history; Sicilian culture; Sicily highlights; Sicily food; Sicilian cuisine; Sicilian people; Sicily like a local; Sicilian siestas; Sicily mafia; Sicily religion.
23 things to know before traveling to Sicily | Italy travel advice

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Next time, we will give you even more useful Sicily travel tips and tricks.

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