Sicily in October: Where to Go and What to Do

October is the real start of the low season in Sicily, just as it across the rest of Italy too. But with remarkably good weather, this is actually one of the best times to visit the Mediterranean island.

The summer crowds have long dissipated, and the beaches and cities of Sicily are winding down for the cold winter that is approaching. Before that though, the island still has plenty of gorgeous weather for those intrepid tourists who love an off-season destination. Plus, with it being autumn, there are a lot of food festivals and events to enjoy, too.

Swim in the Mediterranean, lounge on empty beaches or explore the ancient Greek and Roman ruins that abound across Sicily. October is a great time to visit Sicily. To inspire your trip, here are the best places to go and the best things to do!

The Weather in Sicily in October

Despite this being the middle of autumn and the start of the low season, Sicily still enjoys wonderful weather in October, especially so if you’re travelling here from anywhere further north.

The southern location of Sicily and its Mediterranean climate ensures that Italy’s largest island is still enjoying beautifully warm temperatures, even this late in the year.

In the daytime you can expect there to be lots of sunshine and for temperatures to rise well into the mid twenties, and occasionally higher, especially at the start of the month. It can get colder in the evenings and at night, but it’s very rare for temperatures to drop below 15 degrees Celsius.

The weather is hotter and sunnier at the start of October, and temperatures will slowly drop through the month, until winter gets closer at the start of November.

So bring some sun cream but pack a light raincoat too, because the odd rain shower can interrupt the hot and sunny weather.

This isn’t a traditionally rainy month, but the weather can become unpredictable, as it progresses. Storms are very rare though, and the wind and rain will most likely be light in most places. The water will still be beautifully clear and perfect for snorkelling, while cooler temperatures mean this is a great time to go hiking in comparison to the summer months.

boat on Sicilian beach

Where to Go in Sicily in October

Palermo

Palermo is the capital of Sicily and it’s also the largest city on the island. In summer this can be not only a chaotic and busy place to visit, but a crowded, stuffy and hot place to be too.

It’s a different story in October. As the low season begins, it’s much quieter in Palermo and it’s a much more pleasant place to visit. You might want to opt to stay somewhere more rural or somewhere on the coast but at least take a day trip to Palermo, because the city has a lot to offer.

Catch an opera at the Teatro Massimo, admire the medieval-era, Norman-inspired cathedrals and palaces, and enjoy some local cuisine and local drinks at the lively tavernas.

Mondello

Located just a short drive along the coast from Palermo, Mondello is one of the most popular beach getaways in Sicily, particularly for anyone living or staying in the capital.

In summer its beaches are best avoided, but in October it’s really only the locals and the odd tourists who visit Mondello.

The beaches are great and the water is warm in October, so make the most of this classic holiday destination while you can.

San Vito Lo Capo

Another great coastal destination to visit in October is San Vito Lo Capo, because again, you’ll be enjoying the place without the summer crowds.

Found along the north west coast, San Vito Lo Capo is incredibly inviting in October, with warm water and marvellous views.

The medieval town now sprawls along the beaches, and San Vito Lo Capo is known for the prominent cliffs and mountains that give the area such a dramatic outlook. In October you’ll practically have the place to yourself, too.

Cefalù

Staying on the extensive coastline of Sicily, Cefalù is a classic destination that’s perfect to visit in October.

The small town attracts millions of tourists over the course of the year, but luckily the vast bulk visit in summer, not in October.

Cefalù is famed for its dramatic location with tall cliffs and beautiful beaches, as well as for its medieval Norman churches and fortifications. There’s a fascinating history to uncover, and wonderful scenery to enjoy.

Mount Etna

If it’s scenery you’re after, then few other places on the island will beat Mount Etna, the towering volcanic peak that presides over Sicily.

Mount Etna rises to over 3,000 metres high and is very much an active volcano. The city of Catania is in the volcano’s shadow and offers superb views of the mountain peak.

The surrounding slopes are fertile and are packed with farms and agricultural areas where you can find excellent locally grown produce.

The volcano is steeped in Greek and Roman mythology, and it’s a fascinating natural site. You can hike routes that lead up the slopes but most tourists opt to take cable cars to summit viewing areas, while in winter the cable cars are used by ski resorts.

Valley of the Temples

If ancient sites intrigue you, then take a journey through the Valley of the Temples in October, one of the best archaeological sites in Sicily.

Found in Agrigento, this is a valley where you can find the ruins of seven ancient temples dating back to around the 5th century BC. Many of these temples are remarkably preserved, although over time they have all suffered damage from earthquakes and war or have been repurposed as Christian places of worship.

Today, the Valley of the Temples is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the best places to learn more about the ancient world that so influenced the history of Sicily.

Ragusa

Along the south east coast of Sicily, you can find the ordinarily busy destination of Ragusa. But in October, it’s blissfully peaceful.

Ragusa is built atop a striking hilltop that rises between two valleys, and it’s often cited as one of the most dramatically beautiful cities in Sicily.

Admire the scenery and the views, and take in the history of this remarkable city that’s filled with spectacular Baroque architecture.

cefalu-sea front

What to Do in Sicily in October

Hiking

In October the weather is perfect for hiking in Sicily. With temperatures around the twenties, it’s neither too cold nor too hot for an enjoyable day of walking, and it’s the best time of year to hit the trails. This is something you can take on yourself or as part of a private Italian guided walking tour, which can make the experience more fulfilling with expert local knowledge.

If you want to hike up the slopes of Mount Etna, you won’t get better weather conditions, while the Vendicari Reserve along the south east coast offers an excellent mix of hiking trails that offer sea views and archaeological ruins.

Beaches

While the weather isn’t as hot as summer it’s still very sunny, especially in the middle of the day, and in October you can definitely still hit up the beaches.

You’ll be able to enjoy the most popular beaches without the summer crowds, and with low prices you can even rent out a beach villa or stay at a beach resort if sun, sea, and sand are your thing.

Snorkelling and Diving

The Mediterranean is still remarkably warm in October and, as the rains have yet to begin in earnest, the water is remarkably clear around Sicily too.

There are some excellent snorkelling and diving spots to take advantage of around the coast and it’s your last chance before it becomes too cold. You can always wear a wetsuit if it’s a little bit frigid in October.

Food

Sicily is foodie heaven and there’s never a bad time of the year to visit the island if you’re looking to tantalise your taste buds.

Sicilian cuisine is particularly excellent in October though, because the restaurants are making use of all the fresh produce that’s being sold through the harvest season.

Try the pastas, the arancini, fresh seafood and the cous cous.

Ancient Ruins

Sicily is brimming with ancient history, and while many people only visit the island for the food or the beaches, it’s one of the most fascinating historical destinations in Europe.

The island has a long history stretching back to the Ancient Greek world, and across Sicily you can find a huge range of ancient ruins and archaeological sites that have withstood the test of time and which present a fascinating insight into the past. In October, the weather is perfect to be outdoors, as many of the ruins require walking or hiking.

Events and Festivals in Sicily in October

Food Festivals

As it’s autumn, it’s the middle of the harvest season across Sicily and you’re here at the perfect time of the year to make the most of the many food festivals that are held all across the island.

Every village and small town, right through to the provincial capitals host at least one foodie festival in October where you can try all the best local produce and regional specialties.

Ottobrata Zafferana

One of the best regional food festivals is the Ottobrata Zafferana, which celebrates the best locally grown food to come from the slopes of Sicily’s iconic volcanic peak, Mount Etna.

The festival is devoted to the local specialties, which are only harvested in autumn, and it’s a delightful experience for the food connoisseur.

Funghi Fest

Mushrooms are a big part of the Sicilian culinary scene, and every October the mountain town of Castelbuono hosts a fantastic festival devoted to funghi.

The Funghi Fest sees the best mushrooms from across the island that have been picked or prepared and are placed on show at the festival, to celebrate all things mushroom!

Chocomodica

Sicily is famous for its chocolate, and the town that leads the way is Modica where the best chocolate is produced.

Every October, Modica hosts a festival that celebrates all things chocolate and also focuses on the history of chocolate and cacao in Sicily.

almond festival Sicily

National Holidays in Sicily in October

October might be packed full of festivals and local events but actually, it’s a quiet month when it comes to national holidays in Italy.

Unfortunately for the locals there are no official public national holidays in October, but for tourists that’s perfect, because it means you don’t have to worry about planning around a busy day off in Sicily.

Top Tips for Travelling to Sicily in October

  • Pack a light rain jacket and pack sunglasses and sun cream, because the weather can be variable in October, so you’ll want to be prepared.
  • This is a shoulder season for travel to Sicily and the crowds will be much thinner than in summer, but the weather is still great compared to winter. Take advantage and visit the popular destinations and beaches that are generally much busier at other times of the year.
  • The shoulder season brings with it low season prices, and if you’re a budget traveller then October is an awesome time to visit Sicily.
  • To see the whole island in a short space of time, consider renting a car to get around Sicily quickly and efficiently.
  • Always remember to double-check the opening times of museums and attractions in Sicily, because with the low season commencing some might begin to close early in October.
volcano-mount etna

FAQs

How cold is Sicily in October?

It doesn’t get that cold in Sicily in October, so be prepared for warm days and only marginally colder nights.

Does it rain in Sicily in October?

The weather can be temperamental so be prepared for rain, however it’s unlikely to spoil your trip as is it will be a rare occurrence.

How busy is Sicily in October?

In October it’s much quieter in Sicily than the previous months, with much lower visitor numbers than the summer high season and even in comparison to September. Prices are cheaper too, given that this is the start of the low season, so that makes October a great time to visit Sicily.

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