rock formations and a house at the shore

Sicily sailing guide

Largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

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7 days Sicily Sailing Route

This is a 7-day sailing trip starting from Marina di Portorosa on Sicily Island.

About Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region of Italy. It boasts of a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes.

The island has been home to several ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It has also been influenced by the Arabs, Normans, and Spanish, among others. This has created a rich historical tapestry that is evident in its architecture, art, and traditions. Sicilian culture is a unique blend of various influences, and it has its own distinct identity within Italy.

The local dialect, Sicilian, is different from standard Italian and reflects the island’s diverse heritage. Traditional music, folk dances, and colorful festivals are an integral part of Sicilian culture.

Sicilian cuisine is renowned for its delicious and diverse offerings. The island is famous for its fresh seafood, pasta dishes, cannoli (a sweet pastry), arancini (rice balls), and granita (a semi-frozen dessert). The cuisine reflects the island’s history of trade and cultural exchange.

Sailing conditions around Sicily

Sicily is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts due to its generally favorable sailing conditions. The region experiences a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The best time to sail is from late spring to early autumn when the weather is more comfortable.

The prevailing winds in the area are Mistral from the northwest and Sirocco from the southeast. Mistral is a dry, cool wind that provides excellent sailing conditions during summer. On the other hand, Sirocco can be strong at times and bring warm, humid air, making navigation a bit challenging. While the waters around Sicily are generally calm and suitable for sailing, sailors need to be cautious of potentially stronger winds and rougher seas, especially in the Strait of Messina, where the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas meet.

Best mooring locations around Sicily

Sicily offers a variety of mooring locations, from bustling harbors in vibrant cities to peaceful anchorages near secluded beaches. Palermo, the capital of Sicily, has several marinas and harbors. The historic port area offers a vibrant atmosphere with restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. Marinas: Marina Villa Igiea, Porto di Palermo, Cala Marina (La Cala – Porto Palermo).

Trapani is a charming coastal town on the western side of Sicily. It provides a picturesque setting with views of the Egadi Islands. Marinas: Marina di Levante, Vento di Maestrale. The Aeolian Islands, including Lipari, Salina, and Stromboli, offer a unique sailing experience with volcanic landscapes, clear waters, and charming harbors. Marinas: Marina Lunga (Lipari), Marina di Salina (Salina).

Why is Sicily a popular sailing destination?

Sicily is a popular destination for sailing, and there are several good reasons why it is a favorite among sailors and boating enthusiasts. The island enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and mild winters. The weather is predictable and the seas are relatively calm during the sailing season, which is from spring to autumn, making it an ideal time to explore the coastal areas.

Sailing around the island offers visitors the chance to experience a variety of landscapes, from the lush greenery near Mount Etna to the crystal-clear waters surrounding the Aeolian Islands. The waters surrounding Sicily are known for their clarity, making them perfect for snorkeling and diving. The marine life is diverse, and sailors can explore underwater caves, coral reefs, and archaeological sites.

Mount Etna – a beautiful mountain, the gem of Sicily

Mount Etna, along with the city of Catania, has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to the cultural and natural significance of the area. As one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna’s continuous activity contributes to the ever-changing landscape of the region. The occasional eruptions add a sense of drama and awe to the mountain, making it a striking and majestic presence on the Sicilian landscape. It is the highest and most voluminous volcano in Europe, standing at about 3,329 meters (10,922 feet) above sea level.

The mountain is dotted with numerous craters, both active and dormant, and lava flows that have shaped the landscape over the centuries. These geological features provide a unique and otherworldly aspect to Mount Etna. Visitors from around the world come to explore its slopes and witness its natural wonders. The mountain offers opportunities for hiking, skiing (in winter), and guided tours to explore its craters, caves, and lava fields.


The Aeolian Islands, with their volcanic landscapes and clear waters, rank among the top sailing destinations in Sicily, offering diverse anchorages and stunning scenery. Additionally, the Aegadian Islands boast secluded coves, historic charm, and excellent sailing conditions, making them another sought-after destination for sailing enthusiasts in Sicily.

The ideal time for sailing in Sicily is during the late spring (May-June) and early autumn (September-October) when the weather is pleasantly warm, winds are favorable, and the tourist crowds have diminished, providing optimal conditions for a comfortable and enjoyable sailing experience.

Sailing in Sicilian waters typically requires a valid sailing license or certification, along with proper documentation for the vessel. Additionally, it’s essential to adhere to local maritime regulations, including anchoring restrictions and protected marine areas, which may require permits for entry.

Ports such as Palermo, Trapani, and Syracuse offer historical richness and modern amenities, while anchorages like San Vito Lo Capo, Favignana, and Taormina provide picturesque settings, crystal-clear waters, and easy access to cultural landmarks, making them must-visit destinations for sailors exploring Sicily’s coastlines.