Get us in your inbox

A car is wrecked by the Italy wildfires 2023
Photograph: Getty Images

Should I cancel my holiday to Italy? What wildfires in Sicily mean for your trip

Airports have temporarily closed after fires broke out near Palermo and Catania. Here’s everything you need to know about travelling to Sicily right now

Grace Beard
Written by
Grace Beard

The European ‘heat storm’ is continuing to have a devastating impact on many parts of Europe. After a series of wildfires in Greece has led to thousands of people being evacuated, Italy is also facing extreme weather events, with hailstorms pummelling the north of the country and wildfires blazing in the south. The Italian island of Sicily is seeing travel disruption and locals fleeing their homes after fires broke out near Palermo and Catania earlier this week. Here’s everything to know if you have a trip booked to Sicily.

Where are the fires in Italy?

Several wildfires have broken out near Sicily’s capital Palermo, causing Palermo Airport to temporarily close on Monday. Catania Airport will also be closed until Wednesday (July 26) due to nearby fires. The Messina region has also seen wildfires.

Are airlines still flying to Sicily?

No flights to or from the UK and Ireland will be landing at Catania Airport until at least Wednesday (July 26). After closing on Monday night and reopening Tuesday morning, Palermo Airport has said it is monitoring conditions for flights arriving at the airport, but is limiting the number of departing flights. Travellers are advised to check directly with the airline they’ve booked with.

Can I cancel my trip to Italy and get a refund?

Travellers are urged to check directly with their travel and insurance providers, as no official statements have been released from airlines or holiday companies.

What is the UK Foreign Office saying about travelling to Italy?

No official advice has been issued, though travellers are urged to check with local authorities if they’re considering travelling to affected areas.

Will I be covered by travel insurance?

Most travel insurance providers will only pay out if the UK Foreign Office releases an official statement advising against all travel to the region, and if that advice has come into effect after the time of booking. It can also depend on whether your flight or package holiday is cancelled. If it isn’t cancelled but you decide not to travel, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim. Some policies might cover you in certain circumstances – travellers are advised to check with their insurance providers.  

Where else are there wildfires at the moment?

As a result of extreme heat, wildfires are continuing to break out in several European regions, including GreeceCorsica, Croatia, La Palma in the Canary Islands, PortugalSwitzerland and Türkiye.

What’s going on with the rain in northern Italy?

Northern regions are being battered by an ongoing hailstorm, with hail stones the size of tennis balls raining down in Lake Garda and the surrounding region. After two people were killed by falling trees, local authorities have warned people to stay away from parks and wooded areas. The regions of Lombardy and Veneto have experienced torrential rainfall and strong winds.

Read our explainer on the European heatwave: how long will it last, and is it safe to travel?

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out Travel newsletter for the latest travel news and the best stuff happening across the world.

You may also like
You may also like