Sicily and... in August?

Old Mar 15th, 2015, 12:07 PM
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Doh
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Sicily and... in August?

Hi,

We are a family of three (including a "tween") who have always wanted to visit parts of Southern Italy and realized we had a window of 2 1/2 weeks in August when we might be able to do so. Generally, we like a combination of some "down time" when we can mostly relax (the tween would appreciate a pool somewhere along the way), some time to see ancient sites, some time outdoors (including hiking). In the past, we've found staying around 3-4 nights in a location gives us a balance between seeing different places and enjoying each place and the trip as a whole, although certainly we have done more or less in the past.

We have been poking around and trying to figure out where exactly we'd go, recognizing both that it will be hot and high season. We are looking at eastern Sicily, and then I am wondering where else we should include, such as an Aeolian Island, Malta or perhaps even the Amalfi Coast.

I know this is somewhat open-ended but I thought I would see if I could benefit from the wisdom of this board on a few questions, such as--

is it crazy to go to Sicily in August?

if we wanted 2-3 "bases" for this trip, which would be good ones? Should we cross off AC on the grounds that it's the most crowded and logistically difficult?

Any other words of wisdom?

thanks
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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I can't imagine you'll hear from many people who've actually gone to Sicily in August, because most people are just scared off by the thought of the intense heat. However, if you are sure your whole family can handle it, and if you plan to rent a car and if you plan ahead to not push it if a real heat wave comes along, I don't see why not.

I would definitely want to experience some islands during that time period. I would definitely check out the possibility of a night tour to see Stromboli volcano. I would want more than a pool "sometimes" with a teen. I would read reviews to check all accommodations to make sure the air conditioning works in summer, well enough to cool down a room.

For hiking in August, you may need to really think about temps and if even the mountains are cool enough. Read reviews for Etna tours and also the "ranches" up in the Madonie mountains.

If you have never looked on the TripAdvisor forum for Sicily, you should check it out. There are at least 2 residents of Sicily who post there and give quite detailed and helpful advice. They can help you assess the realities and how to make it work for August.

To me personally, Sicily is a fabulous, eye opening, unforgettable and delightful place to visit. The Amalfi coast has a marvelous natural landscape and pretty blue sea, and just about everything else about it is off-putting (to me), and August which just triple that. If you like to eat great regional Italian cooking, Sicily is just a joy, and you can find a lot of great treats of deep tradition and great flavors without a lot of effort.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Oh my, I do love Sicily but would never go in August.
Maybe you have a high heat tolerance, but it would be too hot for me. Consider Tyrol Bavaria, and the Dolomites.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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I got curious and looked up the real-world temperature archives for Siclly, for the past 5 years. I picked Palermo, and I ignored last year because it was unusually cool, but here is what I found

For 2013, the hottest day in August was 90 degrees, while the great majority of days in August were about 80 degrees

For 2012, the hottest day of the month was 102, while the great majority of days in August were about 87

For 2011, the hottest day of the month was 93, while the the great majority of days in August were about 84

For 2010, hottest day in August was 89, while the great majority of days in August were 84

For 2009, the hottest day in August was 95, while the great majority of days in August were 86

Note that the high temps of 90 or more were usually for one day only, and only in afternoons. However, nighttime temps only drop into the 70s.

Might depend on where you are from and what you are used to in terms of summer heat. Many Americans have summers at least as hot as Sicily, but probably more air conditioning.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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By the way, you can look up archived actual temps for past years in other Sicilian cities, or places all over Italy, using this web link

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archivio-meteo/Palermo
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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Not sure what Sandralist is trying to prove, other than a simple fact that my nine year old is well aware. It is hot in Sicily in August.

It is usually very dry heat, frequently with a breeze.

It was 43oC on our visit to the SE coast, no problem. Although the nights didn't drop enough to be comfortable.

Nowhere near as hot as 28oC in either Savannah or Singapore.

I couldn't walk in 26oc in Singapore last year.

Personally, I think Sicily is fairly diabolical in grey, damp cold weather. Just looks scruffy.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 03:47 PM
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I admit that I wouldn't go to Sicily in August, but then, I'm extremely sensitive to heat.

There is so much to see in Sicily that I'm not sure it makes sense to try to fit anything else into the same trip. (I gave Sicily only 2 weeks and wish I had given it more!)

Unfortunately, though, Sicily is not a great place for "bases" -- the distances between major destinations can be prohibitive. You could do a few bases, but if you want to see Sicily's best, you might well end up with a few one or two-night stays between bases.

FWIW, of the half-dozen or so guidebooks I used when planning my time in Sicily, I found the Rough Guide the most useful BY FAR.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 04:16 PM
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BritishCaicos,

Maybe the reason you were confused is that I wasn't trying to prove anything. I was giving the person thinking about planning a trip to Sicily in August some concrete information so they could make up their own mind. Personally, I would not consider those temps too hot for me, and I had already indicated in my earlier post the plan isn't crazy in my view. Maybe your nine-year-old would have understood better. Hope so.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 03:31 PM
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Thanks all.

I checked average highs for Sicily and noted they were "only" 79 for August but I appreciate the more detailed info. from sandralist. We are from the DC area so it seems as thought temps would be similar or less than what we are used to (on the other hand, if someone asked me if I thought August was a good time to visit DC I'd say definitely not).
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 05:00 PM
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The factor that has not been mentioned is humidity. I can zip around quite happily in the desert climate where I live when it's 100F, but when the humidity gets over 80% And temps are over 90 F I cannot tolerate it!

Which is why I visited Sicily in April-May.

If you live in DC you should be able to handle it. Just remember that many of the sites you want to visit have no shade. Wide brimmed hats and sunglasses highly recommended.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 05:09 PM
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I've lived in DC, too. And I would not want to be in Sicily in August! In DC, many of the places one wants to spend time are indoors and air-conditioned. That's a far cry from spending hours walking around unshaded ruins (as Dayle just noted). And as Dayle just recommended, if you do go, take sun protection and LOTS of water!
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 06:07 PM
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I have been in Sicily in August and regretted not going in the Spring or Fall. It was hot and mainly extremely humid. and the heat and humidity barely changed in the evening. If you have been in NYC or DC in the summer you know what it is like, so no its not ideal touring weather. But if you are tied to a school schedule you have less flexibility.

that said, remember that mid-August is when Italians take vacation and while the current economic situation has affected many, still many go to Sicily and other beach areas for vacation.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 06:17 PM
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The problem is that it is hard to name another part of Italy -- or even Europe -- that is not affected by high summer temps and humidity. One can try the mountains like the Alps, because the chances of dry weather are generally greater there -- but do bear in mind that a lot of Sicily is really very dry (like cactus-dry).

I am not encouraging the OP to go to Sicily in August -- especially if one is highly reliant on air conditioning. It exists in Sicily, but you need to really track it down with reading reviews.

But as someone who spent many many summers in temps above 100 F, both near the sea and in desert valleys, I would know how to make an August vacation work in Sicily.

But I would definitely plan for it. No midday outdoor sightseeing. Air con hotels only, based on relieable reviews. Air condtitioned cars. No rushing or trying to "cram in" everything. Plenty of sleeps, pool or sea soaks.
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Doh

The information you found which indiacted an average of 79oF is simply incorrect, unless the reading was from the rim of Etna's crater.

Most coastal areas will have an average of at least 90oF in August.
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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I think the "averages" are less revealing than the archived actual temps that occurred for the past 5 years of longer in the exact locations where someone is traveling. That is exactly why I included it here. The past is really not predictive of the weather you will personally experience on your unique travel days. But the archived real temperatures, seen over 5 years, put things into perspective I think, especially when it comes to answering the overall question of how much sustained heat you are likely to encounter-- literally to what degree -- and whether that is okay with you for a trip to Sicily.
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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Also, by looking at the real archived temperatures you can see that a town like Palermo -- right on the coast -- never averaged 90 degrees Farenheit for any August in the past 5 years. Could happen this year, and you can use the link I provided to see if it ever has happened in the past 10 years. But getting to see the real numbers for Palermo makes a claim like "Most coastal areas will have an average of at least 90oF in August" --- do whatever you want with that info. I find it without foundation.
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