With Beautiful beaches and weather, Sicily is the perfect place to spend your retirement years. Whether you plan to dip in the water, walk around the towns, or hike through the mountain ranges, there are many great reasons to retire in Sicily as an expatriate.
Here are 8 great reasons to retire in Sicily, but they also apply for people wanting to live in Italy before retirement.
1. An Exotic Experience in Europe
Although Sicily is in Europe, it is not attached to the mainland. Living there can mean enjoying the same living standards in the South of Europe. You can find people playing football on the streets and visiting the beach after work. The people of Sicily love to spend their time outdoors. The nightlife is also amazing day and night in large cities and small towns across this island.
There is a combination of cultures in Sicily since many civilizations had control of this island over the course of many centuries. There is a combination of cultures that include the Arabs, Greeks, Spanish, and French, since they all, at one point had control over this island. Some cities in Sicily even have Arabic heritage, as a popular traditional dish in some towns is called couscous. Visiting Sicily will leave you wondering if you are visiting a tropical island because the white sand beaches are breathtaking.
2. Affordable costs of living
It is very affordable to live in Sicily because this island has one of the lowest living costs in Europe. It is estimated that the cost of living is 1600-2500 USD a month. There are affordable and expensive options throughout Sicily, but you can still enjoy amazing living standards. Rent is very affordable, especially in the centers of cities.
Rent can get higher when living in spots that are popular with tourists. If you are looking to rent for a short time, it could be expensive in areas that are popular to visit. For example, In Catania, Messina, and Palermo, it is estimated that the rent is $764 USD per month, but in smaller towns, it is much cheaper.
Renting in the countryside is cheap and you can still have a great time there. Some of the small cities that have cheaper rent include Ragusa, Caltanissetta, and Enna. The food in Sicily is also very affordable and the markets offer amazing quality food. The markets offer the freshest meat and fish. There is also water that is drinkable and open to the public and can be found throughout the city’s fountains.
There are great places for personal care in Sicily, such as beauty salons that cost between $44 and $65 USD. Staying in shape is important and the local gyms are very affordable costing around $44 per month. Some smaller gyms even offer the choice of paying per month instead of by year.
3. The Cuisine
A lot of the food in Sicily is grown locally. That makes it very cheap but also makes it super fresh and organic as well, which makes it delicious and nutritious. This island is also rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables that are very tasty. Some of the cuisines include dishes that are made in coastal towns that are made of the freshest locally caught seafood.
Some of the food further inland are known for their local cheese. In Sicilian cuisine, the ingredients vary by season. For example, Winter is chard. Spring is asparagus, and melons are for the summer, and olives in autumn. It is really hard to not find great food in Sicily!
4. Natural Beauty
If you think about Sicily, the first things that appear in your mind are coastal cities and beautiful beaches. On this island, you will find many mountains. There are three mountain ranges and many hiking trails and nature reserves to enjoy. Since the temperatures throughout the year is not that cold, these places can be enjoyed year-round. There are even a few ski resorts to go to during winter months where you can have a view of the sea. There are also three active volcanoes in Sicily to see as well.
5. The Weather
The weather is a Mediterranean climate, which means that the winters are rainy and very mild. The summers are dry and hot. The inland parts of Sicily have much colder winters, and it is more noticeable to see these areas transition from spring to fall. The coldest region in Sicily is Mount Etna, which stands at 11,000 feet tall, making it snow-covered and extremely cold in the Winter. In the summer months of July and August, tourism reaches its peak throughout this island.
Foreign tourists and Italians visit the island’s beaches, festivals, concerts and food fairs. The price for a hotel, flight, or ferry will be very high, and they also reach an all-time high during Easter and Christmas.
6. It is Safe
Sicily is a very safe place to live in and is ranked as one of the safest places to live in the world. Despite this island having a reputation for where the Mafia originated, the Mafia has no interest in messing with regular people. It is also very rare for petty crime to occur here.
When I visited Sicily I felt safe the entire time I was there. Sure, you have to practice some good common sense when visiting any foreign city, but as long as you take some reasonable steps when out and about, you should be fine.
7. Historical Sites
There are traces of several civilizations in Sicily, and they wanted Sicily because it was seen as a strategic position for trade and war. This mixing of cultures over many centuries helped give Sicily an independent viewpoint. There are also seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit.
Most of these historical sites can be found on Sicily’s coast. There are remnants of Roman and Greek settlements across the island, castles, and watch towers.
8. The beaches are amazing!
As you may have seen in the HBO series The White Lotus, the beaches and swimming in most of Sicily are amazing. Our favourite two beaches would have to be the beaches in Taormina and Cefalù, which was the main beach shown in the series.
The beaches in Sicily are known for their brilliant beaches and dramatic coastline. Most of them are pebble beaches rather than sandy ones. Here you can find a remarkable blend of history, culture and natural beauty. Sicily beaches often have amazing turquoise waters that often create pool-like spots like you might find in the Caribbean.
What About Expat Medical Care in Sicily?
One thing people often forget about living in Italy is that you will need to buy some international healthcare as you probably won’t be eligible for local medical coverage. There are health insurance plans that can cover part of your visit to the hospital and medical procedures.
It is important to be prepared to make upfront payments for out-patient care, such as seeing a local doctor, dental bills and prescription medications. Most health plans will allow you to submit medical bills via a computer portal. Make sure you consult with your doctor if you have a chronic illness before you depart.
Written by Mark T – Mark is a history student based in Vancouver and enjoys travel and writing about expat lifestyle. Mark traveled to Sicily a few years ago and especially loved the food and beaches!