Going to another country is always exciting but it can also be nerve-wracking. You need to think about a lot of things such as your accommodation, transportation, food, and other things. But, the most important thing to think of is your safety. In a place like Sicily where the mafia is renowned, you definitely would want to think twice about visiting.
Yes, there is the Sicilian mafia but they don’t really bother tourists. The mafia aside, Sicily is actually a safe place for travel. However, the island is not crime-free. There are areas that one should as a tourists but there are also places that are safer than most.
In this article, we will be talking about how Sicily is safe for travelers. We will also be talking about some of the crimes that happen in Sicily and how you can avoid them. If you are planning on visiting Sicily anytime soon, read until the end to make sure you are prepared for your trip!
Is Sicily Safe To Visit?
Sicily which is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, like most parts of the world, is generally safe to visit. But, with Sicily being known for having a renowned criminal organization, having safety concerns as a tourist is valid.
However, you don’t have to worry about the mafia, also known as Cosa Nostra. They don’t generally bother tourists and you’ll only have to worry about crimes against tourists that generally happen everywhere in the world such as bag snatching and pickpocketing. As a tourist, you have to be aware of your surroundings and practice basic safety precautions even if a city is a safe place to visit.
Crime Rate In Sicily
Sicily mostly has an image of an unsafe place because of the mafia. Because of this, Sicily has an image of having a high crime rate. The crime rate in Sicily has actually been decreasing over the years and is a safe environment even for solo travelers. However, as safe as Sicily is, you might still encounter pickpockets, robbers, or scammers.
There are definitely areas in Sicily to avoid as a tourist and there are also safe places to visit in Sicily. If you are going to Sicily, especially as a solo traveler, you might want to avoid some dangerous neighborhoods as these are places where crimes such as drug dealing, pickpocketing, and robbery typically take place. Cities such as Librino, Catania and the Zen District in Palermo are some places you want to avoid if you don’t want to deal with drugs and gang members.
However, don’t let these cities warn you off the entire island. There are a lot of best places to visit in Sicily and Taormina, Noto, and La Kalsa are some of them. You can also visit San Vito Lo Capo for its stunning beaches or see the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sicily which is Mount Etna. If you are aware of your surroundings, don’t keep your valuables out in the open, and just have a strong presence of mind while traveling, you will definitely enjoy your stay in Sicily without experiencing any issues.
Car Theft And Vandalism In Sicily
Sicily is a safe and popular tourist destination, but it is not crime-free. One of the crimes that often happen in Sicily is car theft. If you don’t plan on hiring a car when you go to Sicily, you don’t have to worry about this. However, if you are planning on renting a car, you want to take extra precautions.
Make sure to go to a car rental company that has insurance for everything, including stolen and damaged cars. Read the fine print and see if you will be held liable for the car if it gets stolen or damaged.
Don’t leave valuable items inside the car as they can also get stolen. If possible, don’t park on the streets and park in private car parks for security.
Pickpockets In Sicily
Another crime that is prevalent in Sicily, and in most major cities that have a lot of tourists, is pickpocketing. Pickpockets in Sicily see tourists as an opportunity to make quick money. If it will be your first time in Sicily, you will most likely be excited and pay attention to the sights more.
To avoid getting pickpocketed don’t take out your valuables in crowded places and make sure to place them in a secure location. Don’t bring open bags where it can be easy to snatch your wallet or phone. Avoid bringing all of your cash or credit cards when you go out and make sure to not take them out all at once. You can also avoid wearing clothing that screams you are a tourist and try and dress like a local to avoid being pickpocketed.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially in busy places such as bus or train stations and typical tourist attractions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is It Safe For A Solo Female Traveler To Travel To Sicily?
Yes, Sicily is a safe destination for solo female travelers. But, like in any country, there will always be pickpockets or scammers scattered in tourist attractions. It is always best to take some precautions to keep yourself from crimes against tourists.
Do They Speak English In Sicily?
Sicily’s official language is Italian so they speak Italian and Sicilian, but you will most likely find people who speak English, especially in most tourist destinations like Taormina, Catania, and Palermo. It does not hurt to learn basic Sicilian or Italian phrases to be able to communicate with the locals. Doing this will be helpful, especially if you are planning on visiting rural towns.
Are People Friendly In Sicily?
Yes, Sicilians are friendly and are open to most tourists who visit Sicily. You will be welcomed by most locals and if you are respectful to them, you will find your stay very welcoming and pleasant.
Sicily is a diverse island that has a lot to offer and don’t be scared to go to Sicily because of the mafia. Sicily is a safe place for travel. A lot of Sicily’s cities are popular tourist destinations but you still need to take basic precautions against pickpockets, scammers, and car thieves. Aside from being aware of your surroundings, getting travel insurance can cover any financial losses you have when traveling.
Traveling to Sicily is exciting. As long as you are aware of your surroundings and mindful of your personal belongings, you most likely won’t encounter any people with ill intent. If you have any other questions, let us know! Happy travels!