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Thinking About Sicily

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
It's either a sign that things are returning to normal, OR I've just run out of patience, but I'm back to planning for next years travel before this years travel is completed. We've never been to Sicily and we feel like it's now (well, next year!) or never!

This one will require some research and some difficult decisions. In a perfect world we'd fly to Italy only once, and visit Sicily either before or after our usual time in Umbria but there's no way I'm going to Sicily during August because of the heat, and so many things will be closed in November, plus the days are so short. This year we're using FF miles for our trip to Italy, so flying twice next year would definitely be more expensive, but I don't see any way around it.

After our March trip to Morocco this year, I started thinking that we could do another trip next spring, and Sicily's at the top of the list. I think March might be a little early for Sicily (it was cooler than we anticipated in Morocco), and I'm leaning towards early May.

We've never flown to Sicily, and I'm rather overwhelmed by the choices of itineraries. Flying out of Tampa via Lufthansa seems like a good starting point. They have a direct flight into Frankfurt, then we could continue on Lufthansa to Catania. I know nothing about Lufthansa, so that's a whole other thing to explore, but I do know I don't want to have the second leg of the flight on a budget airline. Regular airlines are dicey enough these days, but a budget airline really seems really scary.

I know it's far off, but if anyone has any ideas or comments to get me started I'd be most grateful!
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Early may should be a great time, for warm but not baking hot (and Nespole will be in season, so you'll have the best fruit in the world).

Not all budget airlines are the same, so check the Ts & Cs carefully. The better ones are perfectly fine (and nothing like Ryanair). Key to this would be ensuring that the luggage you plan to take there and back is compatible in weight restrictions. As for the flight, it's probably ~ 2 hours so although you'll be tired, the relative economy of the budget airline shouldn't be too onerous.

Catania airport had a major facelift after we visited (back then it was definitely bare bones 1960s style). The other alternative is Palermo, so perhaps your holiday plans might dictate which one.

p.s. if August does come back into the options, it might be worth looking at the islands, in particular the Aeolian islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Stromboli, Salina, and others). The sea breeze will cool things down and island hopping is easy on quite regular ferries, along with specific charters e.g. to see Stromboli at night (aka natural fireworks display!)

Palermo and Catania are very much southern cities - if you love Napoli then you may love them, but if it scares you witless, then minimise the time spent in them.

Others will have more to add on the mainland
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Thanks, @Ian Sutton , useful information as usual!

Regarding the budget airlines, if it's possible to book it all through Lufthansa, that would be my first choice. The FRA-CTA leg could be operated by their regional carrier, but should be more reliable than Ryan Air.

August is definitely off the table because of weather, and also because when we do go we need to see and do all the typical first-time-tourist stuff - Greek temples, ceramics, Baroque churches and Mt Etna, for a start!
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
I spent a week in Sicily at the end of October in 2017I went with Riviera Travel, so everything was planned for me, which did make it a lot easier and I didn't have to worry about getting around.

It was pleasantly warm, shirt sleees all week, with sunshine everyday apart ferom the blast day when the cloud came down and there was drizzle in the morning. Of course that was the day we were doing Mount Etna too...

Everything was open and there were plenty of other tourists still around. I loved it and there was so much more we could have seen too...

You can see my report with pictures here.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I spent a week in Sicily at the end of October in 2017I went with Riviera Travel, so everything was planned for me, which did make it a lot easier and I didn't have to worry about getting around.

It was pleasantly warm, shirt sleees all week, with sunshine everyday apart ferom the blast day when the cloud came down and there was drizzle in the morning. Of course that was the day we were doing Mount Etna too...

Everything was open and there were plenty of other tourists still around. I loved it and there was so much more we could have seen too...

You can see my report with pictures here.
Thanks @Eleanor , I read your report yesterday. We may consider a small group tour. I guess I have plenty of time to decide between a spring or fall visit - I just hate taking any time away from Umbria in the fall!
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Even at the end of October, you weren't really aware of it being fall. I think Spring might be rather nice?
Two reasons I'm thinking about spring:
  1. In spring the days are getting longer, not shorter
  2. Less time deducted from our time in Umbria
But - I'm not going to take a transatlantic flight for less than 2 weeks.. Too expensive, too hard on my body! So, I really have to figure out how to coordinate Sicily with - what??? Perhaps visit my son and his wife who'll be stationed in Garmish, or maybe meet up with them somewhere in Europe. Working Vienna into the scenario is also in the back of my mine - another city we still haven't visited!

As you can tell, still a lot of moving parts to wrangle, but I have plenty of time.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We've done one short trip to Sicily in 2014 and saw the main things I was interested in - Siracusa, those Baroque towns in the south east and the main Greek temples. I loved all of it but haven't felt the call to return.

If we went back I would visit Taormina, Palermo and some of the west coast I think.

Here is my trip report:

 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
We've done one short trip to Sicily in 2014 and saw the main things I was interested in - Siracusa, those Baroque towns in the south east and the main Greek temples. I loved all of it but haven't felt the call to return.

If we went back I would visit Taormina, Palermo and some of the west coast I think.

Here is my trip report:

I just re-read it! I'm getting more interested by the minute!
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
I enjoyed Sicily a lot more than I thought I would. The Greek and Roman remains were amazing. The churches were beautiful. There was La Martorana and st Mary of Gesu in Palermo. (Unfortunately I didn't have chance to visit the Norman Palace in Palermo, but was rather put off by reports of how busy it was). The highlight was Monreale Cathedral with its gold mosaics and carved pillars in the cloisters.

The cathedral in Ortygia is completely different to anything I've seen. It was originally a Greek temple that later became a church. The original temple can still be seen on the outside of the north wall and arches were carved through the walls of the 'cella' to form the nave.

As well as the sights everyone has heard of, there were surprises to be found everywhere. Our trip didn't take us to the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily - somewhere I'd love to visit as again, they seem very different.
 

RachelP

10+ Posts
WE went to Sicily in August 2018. yes the heat was stifling, but staying at our friends place with a pool helped. Yes it did make sight seeing difficult (though frequent granita stops also helped) and we vowed to return in a cooler season to a) see more of Sicily and b) be able to eat more amazing food due to not feeling overheated constantly! I really loved Sicily and felt it had the BEST food I have tried in Italy (been to a few parts north and south and in the centre). The history is incredible. I enjoyed delving into historical novels that were set in Sicily or told Sicilian stories before we left and I loved doing that. My friend and resident of Catania told me, in Sicily you cry 3 times.... one for the rubbish you see everywhere, two for the scales when you get on them! And the third time is when you leave. Still crying. <3
 

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