Visit Sicily: Top 20 Things to Do and Must See Attractions

The 20 best things to do in sicily (bucket list).

You’re planning to visit Sicily for you next trip or holidays and you are looking for the best places to visit?

Great choice, there are many things to see on this beautiful Italian island!

With important historical sites such as Agrigento Valley of the Temples , the Roman theatre of Taormina or the Baroque cities of Noto, Ragusa and Modica .

Natural richness , with its volcanoes (Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano), its islands , its beaches and its magnificent nature reserves like the one in Zingaro .

And of course, the fabulous Italian Cuisine! (I am a big fan!), you will for sure enjoy your stay. Now the question is: Where to go in Sicily?

To help you plan your trip, here is the list of the best things to do in Sicily, as always accompanied by my best tips for a memorable stay!

So, what are the best points of interest in Sicily?

3. Taormina

6. syracuse and ortigia island, 7. visit noto, modica and ragusa, 8. the valley of the temples in agrigento, 9. scala dei turchi.

  • 10. Selinunte Temples 

11. The temple of Segesta

12. torre salsa nature reserve, 13. marsala salt pans, 14. trapani and erice medieval village, 15. aegadian islands, 16. enna, the heart of sicily, 17. zingaro nature reserve,  18. monte cofano nature reserve, 19. aeolian islands, 20. sicily most beautiful beaches, the best activities in sicily, sicily tours, renting a boat in sicily, tourist map of sicily, you’re traveling in sicily these articles will help you, visit sicily: the 20 best places to visit and must-see attractions.

You’re planning to visit Sicily?

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared detailed itineraries depending on your trip duration . You should read them after reading this article.

You can find them here, simply click on the orange links to read the articles:

  • Itinerary: 2, 3, 4, or 5 days in Sicily – With all my best tips + accommodation suggestions (East + West)
  • Itinerary: 1 week in Sicily – The best itinerary to visit Sicily in 6, 7 or 8 days (East coast)
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Sicily – Want to spend 10 days in Sicily? Then you should read this guide (West coast)
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Sicily – How to plan your 14, 15 or 16 days trip to Sicily (Full Sicily tour)

They will allow you to plan your trip very easily!

And if you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section, at the end of the article. I would be glad to help you plan your stay.

I can only start this list of the top things to do in Sicily   with the capital, Palermo . It is a very rich city in terms of historical buildings and monuments and the ideal place to visit if you like churches and palaces.

In Palermo , you shouldn’t miss:

  • The Norman Palace
  • Palermo Cathedral
  • The Massimo Theatre
  • The Ballaro Market

Not far from Palermo, there is one of the most visited places in Sicily: Monreale Cathedral and its thousands of square meters of golden mosaics . To give you an idea, 2200 kg of pure gold was used to make them!

For more details about Palermo and the best accommodations in town, you should read my article: The 15 best things to do in Palermo

Palermo Cathedral

This is a very picturesque place and probably the first Sicily picture you saw!

This small fishing town with its colorful boats moored at the pier seems calm and peaceful.

Ok, I will tell you something, so you will not be disappointed when you will visit Sicily: the reality is nowadays a bit different because Cefalù has become a popular seaside resort. With its sandy beach and medieval alleys , the place is certainly pretty, but quite crowded, especially in high season. I don’t advise you to go there if you only want to enjoy the beach, you will find much better and quieter elsewhere!

However, Cefalù is worth a stop to admire the panorama from the old port and pier and stroll through its narrow streets full of shops and restaurants. If you have time, you should also visit the Cefalù Norman cathedral , the most important building of the city.

Finally, you should climb to the top of La rocca di Cefalù , the cliff that overlooks the town and offers spectacular views.

Cefalu Sicily

Let’s continue this bucket list of things to do in Sicily with Taormina , nicknamed “the Pearl of Sicily” . This town is world-famous for the magnificent view it offers on the plain of Catania , Etna and Isola Bella . It’s one of the most touristic cities in Sicily , so it’s best to go off-season to make the most out of your stay.

If you’ve decided to visit the east coas of Sicily , it’s a must-see destination. Here are the things you shouldn’t miss in Taormina :

  • Go down to Isola Bella , the small island and its beach that contribute greatly to the fame of the city.
  • Visit Taormina Greek Theatre
  • The beautiful view on the Etna and the sea from Piazza IX Aprile
  • Climb the 300 steps leading to the Madonna della Rocca Church to enjoy a Bird’s-eye view of the surroundings.

I give you all the best tips to visit Taormina during your trip to Sicily in my article: Visit Taormina: The 10 things to do and see.

Visit Taormina

The Etna volcano is impossible to miss if you are in Sicily . It is one of the island’s main attractions, and it should definitely be included in your tour in Sicily .

From Taormina and Catania , many viewpoints allow you to admire it from a distance. But as it’s so close, it would be sad to miss the opportunity to climb up and see its crater, right?

The best things to do is to choose a day or half-day excursion. From Catania or Taormina , many tour operators offer full package around 55€ with transport , equipment , guide and 4 Wheel drive vehicle to go up to the crater.

Of course you can also drive there , but you will not be supervised, so be careful to have the right shoes and equipment . Check the weather conditions beforehand as well, access is not always allowed. Please note that if you are not accompanied by a guide, you will have to stop at the first level , (after the cable car). To reach the crater, the climb to the second level must be done in a guided minibus .

Going on the volcano is an unforgettable experience!

To make the most out of your day trip to Etna, I highly suggest you to book your tour with Getyourguide. It’s simple, they have the best English speaking guides!

Click on the following button for more info about the trip to Etna volcano:

Etna Sicily

Catania , the 2 nd largest city in Sicily after Palermo , is located at the foot of the Etna . As I told you before, this is the ideal starting point to get to the volcano.

Nicknamed the black city because of its buildings built in lava stone, Catania has many things to offer.

During your trip to Sicily , I advise to spend between half a day and a full day visiting the city.

Here are some of the things to do in and around Catania , in addition to the Etna excursion:

  • Take a walk around the Piazza del Duomo to see the emblem of Catania : The Fontana dell’ Elefante .
  • Visit Duomo Di Catania , the Cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Agatha .
  • Visit the “Cyclops rocks” (Faraglioni in Italian) in the seaside resort of Aci Trezza , only 35 minutes from Catania .

Find all the best activities to do in Catania in my article: The 12 best things to do in Catania


On the east coast of Sicily lies the town of Syracuse and the charming Ortigia Island , its historical center. It’s simple: everything in Ortigia is pretty! Monuments, squares, fountains, palaces and churches. There’s also some really good ice cream. You will have guessed it, at Voyage Tips, we loved our stay on this island!

Ortigia Island must-sees attractions:

  • The beautiful Piazza del Duomo
  • The Castello Maniace
  • Arethusa fountain at sunset

In the modern city of Syracuse , there is only one must-see attraction: Neapolis archaeological park with its Roman amphitheater, Greek theatre and the Ear of Dionysius.

Find everything you need to plan your stay in Syracuse in my article: Syracuse: the 15 best things to do

Another great place to visit in Sicily!

Syracuse fisherman

If you are looking for the best place to visit in Sicily to discover the amazing baroque architecture, then look no further!

The Baroque towns of Noto , Modica and Ragusa are all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites . There are no specific monuments to visit here. All you have to do is stroll through the historic centers and enjoy it! (Tip: With an ice cream, it’s even better).

Palaces, churches and Baroque cathedrals , architecture lovers will really be happy!

Noto Sicily

The Valley of the Temples, next to the city of Agrigento, is Sicily best-known archaeological site. It’s the number 1 in terms of visit, before Selinunte Temples and Segesta (I will tell you more about them below).

8 temples are visible in the valley but the 2 best preserved are undoubtedly the temple of Concorde and the temple of Hera . The walk between the temples is very pleasant and easy to do on foot.

If you choose to go by yourself, you can find detailed information to plan your visit in my article: How to visit the Valley of the Temples?

valley of the Temples Agrigento

About 20 minutes’ drive from the valley of the temples , the Scala dei Turchi is another must-see if your trip to Sicily takes you in this region!

This white limestone cliff is famous for its particular shape: it looks like erosion has carved steps! And if you add the turquoise color of the sea and the fine sand beaches that border it, you will understand why Scala dei Turchi is a very popular place.

Several dozen people gather here at the end of the day to watch the sunset , probably hundreds in high season. A show you shouldn’t miss!

Adresse de la Scala dei Turchi: Strada Provinciale 68

Scala dei turchi

10. Selinunte Temples  

I will not hide it: Selinunte is my favorite archaeological site in Sicily! The temples with the sea view is simply a must-see during your trip to Sicily .

The archaeological park is split in 2 different sites , so I recommend you take your car to go from one to another. There are several temples to see . Some are very well preserved, others in less good condition.

Since the experts were not sure to which divinity the temples were dedicated, they preferred to name them according to the alphabetical letters. So don’t be surprised to visit temple A, B or C.

The site is really beautiful and will keep you busy for half a day. If you can, I really recommend you to stay there for the sunset .

Details for visiting Selinunte temples can be found in our article : How to Spend 10 Days in Sicily? The Best Itinerary!


Last temple and archaeological site of my Sicily bucket list, the temple of Segesta .

Perched in the middle of the green hills , Segesta Temple dominates the surrounding countryside. Extremely well preserved , it’s definitely worth a look if you are in the area.

Fun fact: if the temple doesn’t have a roof, it’s simply because it was never finished!

Another vestige you can see on the site is the theatre , which is perched at 400 meters above the temple. It’s still used in summer to host concerts and theatrical performances.

All the info to know how to visit the Temple of Segesta is in my article: The 10 things to see in and around Trapani

Segesta temple

Torre Salsa nature reserve is located between Agrigento and Selinunte , which makes it a very nice stop during your road trip in Sicily.

Another good reason to go there: the sandy beach is huge and there are really not many people. This not very well-known point of interest is a real paradise for swimming or picnic!

To get there, you will have to go down a dirt road for about 20 minutes , then park your car in the parking lot.

Be careful though:

  • It’s not well indicated, so you may be struggling a little to find the right entry (there are several)
  • The path to go there is very rocky, so watch out for your rental car!
  • Avoid leaving your car on the parking lot with your belongings inside. Don’t leave anything in the car .

Torre Salsa nature reserve

When you get out of Marsala town , take the salt road that will take you directly to the salt pans . The road then continues to Trapani .

The salt pans and their mills are on many postcards, and you will quickly understand why when you will see them! Try to go there at sunset if you can, they are even more photogenic!

You can easily stop on the roadside, take a few pictures and maybe buy some of this renowned salt, used by the best Sicilian chefs.

Trapani salt pans

Trapani city itself isn’t a major point of interest of Sicilian tourism, but it is an ideal starting point for at least 3 major attractions:

  • The temple of Segesta I mentioned earlier
  • Visit Erice medieval village
  • Take a trip to the Aegadian Islands . I will tell you more about them in a minute!

Let’s talk a bit about Erice , this small medieval town built at an altitude of 750m, on top of the rocky cliff overlooking Trapani.

You can of course get there by road (good luck finding a parking space in summer!) or go for for something more original: the cable car !

From Trapani , a return trip by cable car costs 9 euros and the view is breathtaking .

Once at the top, here are some of the must-see places in Erice:

  • Erice castle , from where you will have a beautiful view on Trapani
  • The opposite view, on Monte Cofano reserve and San Vito Lo Capo
  • The 14th century medieval church
  • Discover the charm of small medieval lanes and shops (Even though touristic!)
  • The Maria Grammatico pastry shop, an Erice institution!

For more information on Trapani region, I recommend that you read our article: Visit Trapani: The Ultimate guide.

Erice castle, overlooking Trapani

From Trapani , you can leave for a day trip (or several days!) to one of the Aegadian Islands .

Boats connect Trapani to the islands several times a day.

The 3 Aegadian Islands are Favignana , Levanzo and Marettimo . They are all ideal for long walks, bycicle riding and swimming breaks in beautiful coves . And in addition the use of cars is very regulated, so there are almost none!

However, if you only have one day to devote to Aegadian Islands, I recommend you choose Favignana . Most people then opts for bicycles rental , to be able to see as much as possible in a day. Impossible to get lost, everything is well indicated. The paths have no particular difficulty, except for a few potholes.

Things to see in Favignana :

  • Cala Azzura
  • Cala Rotonda
  • Lido Burrone

Everything you need to know about the Aegadian Islands is in our article : Visit Trapani: The Ultimate guide.


Located in the heart of Sicily, Enna is nicknamed “ the navel of Sicily “.

The region of Enna is the only one without access to the sea. However, it has the most lakes, including Lake Pergusa , the only natural lake of the island.

Perched on a promontory over 900 meters above sea level , Enna has retained its typical charm and offers several points of interest:

  • Lombardy castle , which offers an unobstructed view of Etna from the top of its main tower.
  • Enna’s Duomo
  • Via Roma , the city’s historic center
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Lake Pergusa , with a racing circuit on its shore

It is undoubtedly the most famous nature reserve in Sicily. The Zingaro Nature Reserve is easily accessible from Scopello or Trapani .

During the easy 3h trail (back and forth), you will be delighted by the beautiful panoramas, with the path overlooking the sea.

And if you still need a reason to go there, this nature reserve offers access to several super beautiful coves. You can go for a swim before, during and after your hike! Isn’t life beautiful?

If you plan to visit the Zingaro during your trip to Sicily, you should read my detailed article: How to visit the Zingaro nature reserve?

Zingaro nature reserve

Just as beautiful as the  Zingaro Nature Reserve , the Monte Cofano Nature Reserve is not as famous.

Other travel blogs may not tell you about it when you’re looking for points of interest in Sicily, and that’s a good thing! Like the Zingaro, it’s a path that runs along the seaside , however the vegetation and landscape is very different. personally, I loved it!

It’s also a lot quieter, very pleasant to walk around alone or almost.

For more experienced hikers , the reserve also offers another trail that allows you to climb to the top of Mount Cofano. But beware, with very steep passages where it’s necessary to use ropes and chains attached in the rocks, this trail requires good equipment and a good physical condition .

If you want to know more about Monte Cofano Nature reserve , you can read our article : Top 10 Things to see in Tripani.

Réserve Monte Cofano

The Aeolian Islands are located in Northern Sicily . This volcanic archipelago is made of 7 islands + a few islets and rocks. The best known and therefore the most visited are Lipari, Salina, Vulcano and Stromboli.

Each islands has its own charm and atmosphere :

  • Lipari is the largest, best served by boats, and therefore it’s more animated than its sisters. It also has beautiful beaches .
  • Vulcano is also easily accessible . It is famous for its beautiful volcanic landscapes and mud baths .
  • Stromboli , well-known thanks to its continuously active volcano . An impressive night show you shouldn’t miss!
  • Salina , has some beautiful hiking trails and good restaurants to eat after activities. It’s less touristy than the previous ones.

To get to Aeolian Islands , you will have to take a hydrofoil or a boat from Milazzo , Palermo or Messina . For example, the boat from Milazzo to Vulcano takes about 1h30. Once on the islands, cars are forbidden and reserved for residents exclusively.

If you only have a day to devote to the Aeolian Islands, I advise to choose only one, but if you want to see them all, you can choose a multi-day cruise .

Aeolian Islands

My Sicily bucket list wouldn’t be complete without a list of the most beautiful beaches. Yep, if you’re going on a tour to Sicily , you will for sure want to enjoy the beach and crystal clear water! It’s one of the best things to do in Sicily after all.

Here are some of my favorite beaches and coves:

  • San Vito Lo Capo Beach: Perfect for families with children, this large sandy beach is great for swimming or sunbathing! Public beach + private beach.
  • Isola Bella: Small pebble beach with crystal clear water, at the foot of Taormina. Ideal for snorkeling with lots of small fish to observe. Public beach + private beach.
  • Scala dei Turchi: This is the most romantic beach to enjoy the sunset in Sicily. Turquoise water + limestone cliffs getting orange and pink tone = the perfect combination! Public beach + private beach.
  • Cala Rossa in Favignana: Surrounded by huge rocks, this cove offers crystal clear turquoise water. The view from above is breathtaking.
  • Torre Salsa Nature Reserve Beach, a large, fine sandy beach, with very shallow water. Great place to spend a day with family, far from everything. Be careful for 2 things: the road to go there isn’t very good and it’s extremely important not to leave anything in your car.
  • Parco Marino del Plemmirio : Close to Syracuse , you can find numerous beautiful small coves there.
  • Calamosche Beach: One of the busiest beaches around Syracuse, well known for the beauty of its shallow and translucent water.

Isola Bella Taormina

During your stay in Sicily, you might want to do something else than cultural tourism or going to the beach .

I have thus selected for you the best activities in Sicily. There is something for everyone ??

Simply click on the links below for more information and to book your activities:

  • Paragliding: You can enjoy this activity in Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina , Trapani or Cefalu.
  • 4-hour cruise from Catania to Cyclops Bay – And for the Small group version, on a sailboat, click here!
  • Canyoning in the Alcantara Gorge – Five-hour trip ( Book here !) 3-hour excursion ( Book there. )
  • A boat trip to Isola Bella, in Taormina
  • A boat trip to the Aeolian Islands
  • Mountain bike tour in Alcantara gorge
  • Snorkeling tour (Aeolian islands – Vulkan and Lipari) or a Snorkeling tour in a marine reserve around Catania.
  • Kayaking around the beautiful island of Isola Bella, in Taormina – You can also do a snorkeling tour there!
  • A Segway tour of Catania
  • Diving in Sicily, near Catania – First dive also possible on the Aeolian Islands
  • An excursion to Etna from Catania or from Taormina
  • Mountain bike on Etna / Also possible with a buggy!
  • Parasailing , a great way to enjoy the view over the coast!
  • A Kayak course along the coast of Syracuse, or in Catania
  • Quad bike tour near Ragusa/Modica
  • Quad bike tour in the archaeological park of Segeste
  • Jet Ski Rental to discover a part of the south coast of Sicily.
  • Jet boat tour (a very fast boat that takes very tight turns)
  • Speleology in the lava caves of Etna
  • Guided hike to the necropolis of Pantalica , near Syracuse.

And if you have the budget, you should opt for a unique and exceptional activity : A Private helicopter flight over Mount Etna!

Now, I would love to know what you have planned to do during your trip to Sicily!

On , I give you all my best tips and itineraries to plan your trip to Sicily by yourself. (All Sicily articles are here)

However, if you prefer to book a Sicily tour with a travel agency , I recommend you to check the 10 best Sicily tours by clicking the button below:

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day at sea during your trip to Sicily, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental.

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Sicily? 😊

To help you get a better overview of this big island, I have created a tourist map of Sicily , which lists all the best places to visit I mention in this article. You can view the map’s legend by clicking on the upper left button, the one with a small arrow.

Sicily travel Guides

  • Buy the Lonely Planet Sicily guide on or on
  • Buy the DK Eyewitness Sicily guide on or on

Discover all my articles about Sicily : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Sicily are listed there.

  • Itinerary: 2, 3, 4, or 5 days in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (East + West)
  • Itinerary: 1 week in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (East coast)
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (West coast)
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (Full Sicily tour)
  • Agrigento: The 10 best things to do in and around the city
  • Catania: The 12 must-see attractions
  • Palermo: The 15 things to do in the capital
  • Syracuse: The 15 best things to discover
  • Taormina: Top 10 things to do and must-see!
  • Trapani: The 10 best things to do
  • Agrigento Valley of the Temples: visit the archaeological site with my detailed guide!
  • Zingaro nature Reserve: All my best tips to enjoy this wonderful hike
  • Where to stay in Sicily? My guide of the best hotels, sorted by cities and budget!

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

Visit Sicily

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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Discussion 63 comments.


Hi Vincent!

I’ve really been enjoying reading your information on Sicily. You have offered some great ideas and advice!

I do have a quick question for you. Next April my husband and I are going to Sicily for about 10 days. We’d like to settle in 2-3 areas for that time, as we all really like to linger in a place for a while.

Since this is our plan, I was curious what 2-3 towns would you might suggest for this kind of trip. I have a feeling we’ll be settling on only 2 locations, but we’re just in the beginning stages of our planning, so we may change it to 3 different spots.

Thanks so much!


Hi Allyson!

I am glad my articles are helping you to plan your trip!

If I had to choose 3 cities, I would go for Taormina, Syracuse and Palermo, these are the 3 most interesting cities to visit. But it really depends on what you want to see, if you like more cities, historical sites or nature for example. Tell me what you prefer.

If you are interested in visiting the temples (Agrigento, Selinunte) + Marsala Salt pans + Aegadian Island + Erice village (all 3 next to Trapani city), staying in Selinunte or Sciacca town can be a good idea.

It also depends if you plan to rent a car there? Let me know! Then you can pickup a few places you would like to see from this article: The 20 best things to do in Sicily . I will then tell you where to stay to optimize your trip in Sicily.

Hey Vincent!

Thanks for your response! My husband, David, and I will be traveling with another couple that has been to Italy many, many times. They are pros at traveling around the country! 🙂 We will definitely have a car, and will do a little bit of everything. I’m a big nerd, so I love the history. LOL We will also plan on some active type activities, as well as travel to big cities.

There has been a development in our planning, though. We had decided on Sicily, but in a conversation late last week, Greece was mentioned. Now we are trying to decide if we want to go to Sicily or Greece! It’s a rather difficult one to make, because we would all love to go to both places! The pros to going to Sicily are that my friend Lisa speaks the language, has driven there many times, and the FOOD!! Oh the food!! Pros for Greece include the history and architectural ruins, the many islands, and again, the FOOD!

I checked your website, and I noticed that you haven’t been to Greece. I’ll have to do some searching around on other sites to find information that will help our decision-making. We want to have it decided upon within the next two weeks, so we can book our flights.

Anyway, any advice, tips, or whatever you’d like to share will be most appreciated. Thanks so much!

Hey Allyson,

If you love history, you should really go to at least one of the temples archeological sites, it’s amazing!

I haven’t been to Greece, I am planning to go relatively soon (This year or next year, not sure if I will do Portugal first, or Greece, no idea for now!), but the country is big and attractions aren’t close to each others, so traveling 10 days in Greece seems a bit short in my opinion (15 should be a minimum I think, 20-25 would be best).

So my personnal advice for a relatively short trip would be Sicily, as traveling from place to place with a car is super easy there, you will lose a lot less time in transportation.

After, you decide!

Just one important thing: If you go to Sicily, you need to be very careful with the car rental scams, it’s unfortunatly very common there. I have written an article about it and how to avoid them, but it’s just in french for now. (if needed I can sum it up for you)

The article is here, just in case: Rent a car in Sicily – How to avoid scam (in French)

If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to let me know.

johnny morgan

We will be on the Amalfi coast for three days and i plan to go to Sicily for a couple of days by car…the 7 hour drive is bad enough so i dont plan to go all the way to Palermo…for time sake. However I would appreciate you advice on things to do in eastern sicily… i have only two days to allow and then back to Rome for our flight back home…thanks

Hello Johnny,

If you don’t want to drive too much, the best is to spend your 2 days in Taormina, it’s a very beautiful town, and the closest to Messina (where the ferry boat to Sicily arrives). You can spend your 2 days like this: Day 1: Visit Taormina and go to Isola Bella beach Day 2: Go to Castelmola village (less than 10 minutes drive, very beautiful!) + enjoy the beach again, or go to Alcantara Gorges.

Another option for Day 2 is to go to Mount Etna.

You can read my article about Taormina: The 10 best things to do in Towwn

Enjoy your trip to Sicily!


Hello Vincent, I really enjoyed reading all the information in Sicily, my boyfriend & I we are (48 & 64 years old)are wanting to go in November, we enjoy history, beaches, and are big “Foodies” and love to explore new places, I have some Sicilian history (Great Grandfather from a small town that was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1970’s and most of the family moved to Polamero at that point. Anyways… We are thinking 8-10 days maybe ? in Sicily and then pop over to Barcelona for a week or so ?, I could really use some help planning some of the details can you recommend someone? We live in USA and also do not speak any Italian so I want to make sure we don’t get scammed.

I also read that Greece is on your list and I do have a great person for planning that, check out Fantasy Travel, they only plan Greece and Egypt however.

Hello Nicole,

For Sicily, i will be glad to answer your questions and help you plan your trip (for free of course) if you want to organise it yourself.

No need to worry, if you book everything in advance, you can’t really get scammed. The only scams that are problematic in Sicily are the car rental scams, but you can avoid them easily by taking an insurance, as i explain in my itineraries articles.

Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who can organise your trip for you, but, if you want, you can tell me what you would like to visit, and I can tell you how many days you will need.

By the way, have you read my 10 days and 2 weeks itineraries articles? They can give you a good idea about how long it takes to visit the various places!

I am currently in Greece, I have visited most of the country during the past month, so I will prepare some travel guides when i will be back.

I am sure you will love your trip to Sicily, Barcelona and Europe!

Kristine Price

Good afternoon Vincent,

Thanks for your great tips for visitors to Sicily. My husband and I are planning a holiday for a month in Italy in May/June 2019 and have decided to include Sicily in our itinerary.

We will certainly be taking your advice and visiting many of the places you have mentioned but are a little undecided what to do about booking accommodation. Would you suggest pre booking from Australia or perhaps just ‘winging’ it when we arrive. We really are at a bit of a loss on this one so hope you may be able to help us out a little with you great knowledge of the country.

Many thanks, Kristine

Hello Kristine,

I would really suggest you to book your accommodations in advance, Sicily is quite touristic and the hotels offering the best value for money are full quite fast.

This is especially true in Taormina, Ortigia (Syracuse) and next to the Valley of the Temples for example.

If you haven’t already, I recommend you to have a look at the itineraries I have written: they give you a better idea of what you can visit in how much time. I also suggest the best hotels for every budget in each cities. Click here for the list of the best Itineraries in Sicily

And if you need help to plan your trip, don’t hesitate!

Kristine Price

Thanks Vincent, will take your advice and book prior to going. Will also look at your recommended areas to visit. Nothing like having some local knowledge so will probably be back in touch.

Cheers Kristine😊

You’re very welcome, talk with you soon then 🙂

Hi again Vincent,

Quick question. If we decided to base ourselves in one hotel and then travel to different towns/cities in Sicily, where would you suggest we do that. We will have transport and as we live in Australia we are used to driving distances so that wouldn’t be an issue but just wonder if this idea is feasible.

Thanks again,

Hi Kristine,

I wouldn’t suggest to do this at all, as it is really a waste of time 😊

Even by staying in the most central location (in the middle of Sicily, where there is nothing very interesting to do), you will have around 4 or 5 hours of driving each day to reach the main attractions and come back.

Not to mention a few places deserves at least 2 days to visit, like Syracuse or Trapani if you also want to go to Aegadian islands.

In Sicily, doing an itinerary is really the only viable solution.

Grant Phillips

My family booked a house for a week in Trappeto. We are already planning to spend a couple days going to Palermo. On top of that what would you recommend? Should we stay on the west side of the island (Castellammare del Golfo/ Trapani)? Or does maybe an overnight, two-day trip to Mt. Etna and Taormina make sense during that week? Thank you so much and I have really enjoyed reading all of your articles!

If you are in Trappeto, it’s really better to stay on the west side of Sicily. There is enough to keep you busy, with attractions such as:

– Palermo of course and Monreale Cathedral – The Zingaro nature reserve – Erice village, near Trapani – or even Selinunte temples, as they are only 1 hour drive from Trappeto – Marsala Salt Pans – The Aegali islands (Favignana or Levanzo) – Cefalu is at around 1h30 if you want to go there too.

You can group some of them. For example, you can do, in 1 day:

Selinunte temples in the morning, then do a loop: Marsala Salt Pans and Erice village at the end of the day. That would be a pretty awesome day of visits!

To go to the east side (Catania), it’s a 3 hours drive. A bit far in my opinion for just a week. Going back and forth, you would be losing half a day in the car.

It’s really better to plan to come back to Sicily another time, and enjoy the east side, as there is enough places to visit to spend another great week there 😃

Have a nice trip, and if you have other questions, don’t hesitate!


I love your blog and will use your advice for our 2 weeks in Sicily and for a few days in Rome, thanks so much for your insights.

We are seniors and the idea of navigating ourselves is a bit intimidating, I was wondering if you could recommend a driver who could take us around on our 2 week sojourn in Sicily.

I suppose we can do it but it would be a real luxury to be able to look out the window and have someone else ( who knows the terrain) get us around.

Thank you in advance for any help and information, we loved your blog!

P.S. we will be traveling in February 😊

I am glad my articles about Sicily are helping you to plan your trip! Unfortunately, I don’t know any driver in Sicily. I think your best bet would be to contact one of your hotels in Sicily and ask them. They generally know a few local taxi drivers.

Have a great day and enjoy your trip to Sicily! And if you have any other question, don’t hesitate.


Hi, My husband and I are going to have just 3 days in Sicily but have yet to decide where to stay. He wants to rent a car but I would rather hire a guide to lead us around. Which would you suggest? Also, we speak no Italian and I am really concerned about the language barrier. Which area of Sicily would be best for English speaking Americans?

It really depends on what you want to visit. If you don’t mind driving a bit, the best place to visit in 3 days would be Catania/Taormina/the etna Volcano and castelmola village. If you do not have the time, you can do just half a day in catania, it is enough to visit the best attractions of the city.

You can read my 3 days in Sicily itineraries article here: the best things do to in 3 days in Sicily .

There are links to my city guides in the article too.

For the car rental/guide question, it depends: the guide would be useful if you want to have detailed historical information about the places you will visit and if you don’t mind being with someone else all day.

Else, it is pretty straightforward, you just have to drive from A to B with the car. The city historical centers are very small, so you cannot get lost.

And don’t worry about the language barrier, Sicily is a very touristic place and everyone speaks a bit of English there.

Elizabeth Dahlen

Great article. My daughter and I will be in Sicily for one week. She would like to do wine tasting. Can you recommend a specific region that would allow for both wine tasting and hitting the sites/cities you recommend.? Thank you!

Hello Elizabeth,

I’m glad my article is helping you to plan your trip to Sicily.

The 2 best regions for wine tasting in Sicily are around Marsala and Trapani on the west coast and around the Etna volcano on the east coast.

I have written 2 detailed itineraries that will help you to plan your stay.

You can read the one about the east coast of Sicily by clicking here And the one about the west coast there .

The west coast itinerary is for a 10 days trip, but it can be slightly modified to fit a 7 days holidays in Sicily. If you need any help for this, don’t hesitate to ask me.

If you choose to visit the east coast, I highly recommend you the following tour:

Mount Etna 5 hours wine tasting tour

Kisa Valenti

Hello Vincent,

Love your website. Thank you so much. Problem is I want to see it ALL and I know that will never be possible. So I’m hoping you might have some ideas for us.

My husband and I will be going to a family wedding in Trapani. The wedding is on Aug. 4. I know, groan, August is not the best time to travel in Italy and especially not Sicily. We will be flying from NY. We were thinking of spending maybe 3 days in Rome and then flying to Sicily.

We would like to spend 2- 3 days in Trapani, perhaps Aug. 3, 4 & 5? And then tour a bit more of the island. We would want to spend no more than 14 days total (including the days devoted to transatlantic flights). If we take a 14 day total trip, subtract 2 days for transatlantic travel, 3 days for Rome, 3 days in Trapani, that would leave us 6 days to tour Sicily. Can you suggest an itinerary?

Would flying home to NY directly from Palermo be possible? Are there flights every day? Would it add a lot to the air fare to book flights NY → Rome, then Rome → Catania, (rental car from Catania ), then Palermo → NY? I am assuming the total trip time will be shorter if we fly directly home to NY from Palermo, but that it will be more expensive .

Thank you so very much for any ideas you have.

Hello Kisa,

Thanks a lot, I am glad my website is useful for you to plan your trip to Sicily.

For the 3 days you will spend in Trapani, you should have a look to my detailed article about the things to do in and around the city, if you haven’t cheked it yet. It also includes itineraries to visit the city in 1, 2 or 3 days. You can read it here: The 10 best things to do in Trapani

For the 6 other days in Sicily, the best would be to land in Catania and do the following itinerary:

– 1 day in Catania – 1 day in Syracuse and Ortigia Island – 1 days in Noto, Modica and Ragusa – 1 day in Agrigento and Scala dei Turchi – 1 day in Selinunte – 3 days in Trapani for the wedding – 1 day in Palermo and take your flight back

It’s a tight schedule, and you will have to change hotel each night, but that’s the best way to see many places in such a short amount of time.

You can read all my articles about Sicily by clicking here , you will find a list of the best things to do for each place + itineraries ideas to plan the visits.

For Palermo to New York flights, you should have a look on a flight comparator such as Skyscanner . I have checked, and it seems there are flights everyday (with 1 stop) for around 400€.

By the way, I have also written a detailed travel guide about Rome, with all the best things to do and itineraries to visit the city in 3 days, you can read it here: The 25 best things to do in Rome .

Don’t hesitate if you have any other questions.


I am planning for a three week trip to Sicily in Mid August. I plan to rent a car.

I am researching places now but was wondering what places you recommended. I am interested in nature, culture and history.

I know that it will require driving but is it possible to base myself in certain places (of an area) for a couple of days and then do day trips to surrounding areas?

Thanks in advance.

The thing is, in Sicily, all the 99% of the must-see attractions are located along the coast. So to visit, you really need to drive around the island.

It’s not really possible to do it with only 3-4 stops for example, you would end up driving 5 or 6 hours per day!

For a first long stay in Sicily, I recommend doing the itinerary I talk about in my “How to spend 2 weeks in Sicily” article. You can read it here: 2 weeks Itinerary in Sicily .

It’s a 9 stops itinerary, and the only ones you can group together are “2) Syracuse / Ortigia Island (2 days)” with “3) Noto / Ragusa / Modica (1 day)”. You can spend one more night in Syrcause and visit Noto/Ragusa and Modica as a day trip. You will waste a bit of time, but as you have 3 weeks, that’s alright in your case!

As you have 3 weeks in Sicily, in addition to the itinerary I linked above, you definitely should add a few days on the Aeolian Islands. 4 days would be a good start to explore them.

If you have any questions to plan your trip to Sicily (advices for your itinerary draft, best places to stay in a city or anything else), don’t hesitate to ask me 🙂


Hi, Thanks for this very informative site; it’s really helped me plan our trip to Sicily. Thought I’d leave you my itinerary to get your opinion on if we will manage with what we doing:

– Day 1: Arrive in Palermo pm – Day 2: Palermo – Day 3: (road trip begins) am Cefalù/ pm Taormina (sleep in T) – Day 4: Taormina/ Castelmola- drive to Syracuse (sleep in S) – Day 5: Syracuse – Day 6: Syracuse + Ortigia (drive to Catania/ sleep in C) – Day 7: Catania – Day 8: Catania…pm ferry to Amalfi

U think it’s all good ? Can you recommend any accommodation ?

Thanks, Dan

Your itinerary seems to be perfect!

About accommodations, I have written suggestions in the detailed articles about each city, in the “where to stay?” section

Here are the direct links, for the cities you will visit during your road trip in Sicily:

Where to stay in Palermo Where to stay in Taormina Where to stay in Syracuse Where to say in Catania

If you have specific questions about accommodations or anything else, don’t hesitate!

Agnes Barton

Hi Vincent There is so much to see and do I think I need a month! However, we are flying into Palermo late evening and have then 5 nights for a road trip. We want to see Palermo, Agrigento and Syracuse and whatever you suggest along the way. We are then heading for Taormina where we have a hotel booked for a week. We went there last year and loved it so decided to see a little more of the Island first. Would really appreciate your help.

If you want to visit Palermo, Agrigento and Syracuse during your road trip before going to Taormina, I suggest you the following itinerary:

– Day 1: arrive in Palermo – Night in Palermo

– Day 2: Visit Palermo. If you have time, you can also go to Monreale town to see the cathedral. Night in Palermo

– Day 3: Go to Agrigento (2 hours by car) and visit the Valley of Temples. At the end of the afternoon, you can head to the Scala dei Turchi beach to watch the sunset. Night in Agrigento.

– Day 4: Discover the 3 baroque cities: Ragusa, Modica, Noto and then head to Syracuse. Night in Syracuse.

– Day 5: Visit Syracuse and Ortigia. Night in Syracuse.

– Day 6: Visit Catania and night in Catania or Taormina (depends if you count the first night in Palermo in the 5 nights total or not).

If you have other questions to plan your trip to Sicily, don’t hesitate!

Thank you Vincent. The 5 nights includes the first night in Palermo but we can drive to Catania from Taormina for a day trip. Do you think we would have time to visit Trapani/Erice on our full day in Palermo?

From Palermo to Erice, it’s 2 hours by car, so it’s too short to do Palermo + Erice on the same day.

If you prefer, you can skip Palermo and do a day trip to Erice.

From Palermo, you can take the coastal road, go to the Zingaro Nature Reserve or see some nice beaches around San Vito Lo Capo and Monte Cofano (Bue Marino beach for example) for the first part of the day.

Then head to Erice, try to be there around 4-5pm.

Erice is very small, so 1h30-2 hours is really enough and Trapani city iself isn’t very interesting (not worth going).


Thank you for this great site. We are going to be hiring scooters to tour the Island in September, and have found you advise tremendous. What are the roads like in terms of safety?

Hello Jane,

To be honest, I wouldn’t hire scooters to tour the island, for a few reasons:

– Sicily is a very big island, a typical tour of Sicily takes about 2 weeks, if done by car. (You can have a look at my 2 weeks itinerary in Sicily ). With a scooter, unless it’s a 400cc or more, travel times would be very very long. – Sicilian driving is crazy: if you are not used to drive in the South of Italy, renting a scooter is quite dangerous. – You will need to be very careful of thieves. Even if you rent a car, it’s not recommend to leave it unattended with something inside. So you can’t really park the scooter near a wild beach and go swimmming, as you might have a bad surprise when coming back.

While renting a scooter is great for small islands (like the Aeolian islands, reachable from Sicily), it’s really not adapted to visit Sicily itself.

Enjoy your trip, and if you have other questions, don’t hesitate!


I would like to ask you for the best breathtaking panoramic/view points in Sicily. We will be driving a rent car for 4 days starting from Catania.

Hello Mariyana,

The best viewpoints of the east coast are located in Taormina and in castelmola, a small village located near by.

Kate Kinsella

Hi Vincent,

My Boyfriend and I are planning to spend 4/6 weeks in Sicily and hope to see as much as possible during that time.

We are planning to fly to Palermo and spend at least 1 week there first. We were not intending on renting a car for our trip- do you think this is a bad idea? Are there any other modes of transport for getting around the island?

As we will be staying for quite a while we are not in a rush to see everything as quick as possible and can stay a few nights/ a week in each place. I would love to get your advice on the best way to get around the island and if a car is absolutely essential!

Hello Kate,

As you will spend 4/6 weeks in Sicily, it’s in my opinion even more important to rent a car.

Of course, it will be a lot easier to get around with a car, but that’s not all: during such a long trip on the island, you will probably want to explore remote “secret” places, villages, go hiking in the mountain, find secret beaches and so on. And all this can only be done with car, as public transportation in Sicily is rather limited.

Of course, if you want to stick to the main highlights of the island and you have the time, you can for example do something similar to my 2 weeks itinerary in Sicily , but by bus, on a slower pace. That works too!

So it really depends on what you plan to visit, what kind of things you enjoy doing while traveling. In my personal opinion, the complete freedom you get when doing a road trip is totally worth the amount spent on the rental car!

If you really don’t want to rent a car, here are the options you will have in terms of public transports:

– You can take the train. Here is the train schedules: Trenitalia . – You can also take the bus. There are 3 main bus companies: Interbus , SAIS and AST .

However, please note that public transport in Sicily is not very reliable. Most of the time, trains and buses will arrive or depart late.

If you need help to plan your stay in Sicily, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Enjoy your trip,

Andreas Windels

First of all, I would like to thank you for all the lovely guides you’ve put on this website. They are really useful and in-depth, so thank you for that! I was hoping to get your advice in certain aspects!

Around August 15, I’m flying to Palermo to start a 1-month trip in and around Sicily. I’m 21 years old and I’m going to travel by myself, hoping to meet a lot of new people and to have a wonderful time. I’m just going to travel with 1 large backpack. I’m not planning on renting a car, but I will just travel by train mostly (and sometimes take a bus or taxi). I should also note that I’m a real fan of nature, so I love hiking & visiting coastlines, coves, mountains, … and I’m not really into museum and churches.

I’m planning on visiting the following cities ( in this order):

Palermo (+ Mondello) – Cefalù – Milazzo & the Aeolian islands (Vulcano + Lipari + Salina + Stromboli) – Taormina – Etna visit – Catania – Siracusa & Ortigia island – Ragusa or Noto – Agrigento (Valley of Temples & Scala dei Turchi) – Castelvetrano (for Selinunte) – Trapani + Erice – the 3 Aegadian islands – Monte Cofano and ending in Palermo again.

Next up, I have a couple of questions:

– Should you advice me to visit Enna or Messina? I could integrate both of them in my tour, but I’m not sure if it is really worth the extra time? At first sight, it appeared to me that those cities were not as interesting as the rest of my planned tour.

– I saw you adviced both Noto, Modica or Ragusa, but I think I will only visit 1 of them ( or maybe 2). Currently, Noto & Ragusa seem the nicest to me. In case you would have to choose between them, which one do you believe is the nicest one to visit?

– Do you think it is feasible to book everything just day by day? That includes tickets for museums, ferry tickets, train tickets, hotels (or hostels,…)? Or do you really suggest me to book in advance? ( I would like to avoid this though as I want to have to freedom to stay as long as I want in the places I want to spend more time than anticipated.) This implies that I book my hotels like 24 or 12 hours in advance only.

– Do you have any advice in general before I head off? (Concerning travelling by train or items I should definitely take with me in back pack? Tips and tricks to survive Sicily in the summer?)

I’m really looking forward to your advice! Don’t hesitate to send me a private PM as well, I can show you a powerpoint I prepared with everything that I have planned in my trip. Please also let me know if I should skip some cities and focus more on others instead!

Thanks in advance!

Andreas Windels

Hello Andrea,

Thank you!I’m glad my blog is helping you plan your trip to Sicily.

Regarding your questions about your itinerary:

1) Messina is not worth it. Enna is charming and offers beautiful views over the whole of Sicily, but it’s really quite small. So as it takes quite much time to get there by train, you might want to skip it.

2) I recommend visiting Noto, Modica and Ragusa in 1 day because by car they are very close to one another. So it’s super easy! By train or bus, it’s definitely better to choose just one or two. For me, Noto was the more impressive as it has a few very beautiful monuments. It’s a very nice place, even if small (it will not take you a full day to visit for sure).

3) You can book day by day for the museums and the ferry. For the train, I’m not sure how it works in Sicily but booking your ticket 24 hours in advance should be enough. For hotels or hostels, it’s more complicated. There are already many hotels that are fully booked in August. With Covid, many Italians aren’t going abroad and prefer to spend their holidays in Sicily. So the destination is even more popular than usual! In some places like Cefalù, the Aeolian Islands and Taormina, it would be a lot better to book in advance. At the last minute, you will just end up with prices and “not that good” accomodations.

4) I haven’t travelled in Sicily by train, but I have seen several warnings that they are often late (same for buses).

I think your itinerary is great. You will enjoy your stay in Sicily for sure!

Hey Vincent, thanks for your previous reply!

I’m planning my visits on the northcoast of the Sicily right now. Regarding the Aeolian islands, I’ve noticed that booking hotels is quite expensive, so I’ve decided to stay in Lipari for 3 days (as it is the biggest island, it provides the most possible hotels and air bnb’s.)

I would then use my time there to visit the several islands by ferry. I would discover Lipari on the day of arrival (maybe with a scooter or bike) and we’ll do a boat excursion to Panarea & Stromboli on the 2nd day. My question now is, what to visit on the final day? Vulcano seems like a unique experience, while Salina seems very quiet and peaceful. And what about the remote islands of Alicudi & Filicudi? Would you advise me to visit only 2-3 islands and take my time in doing so or would you recommend to visit all of them in like half a day?

I’m looking forward to your feedback regarding these Aeolian islands.

Kind regards!

Hello Andreas,

You are welcome!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to help you too much with the Aeolian Islands because I don’t know all of them very well (especially Salina, Alicudi and Filicudi, I can’t tell you if they are worth it or not).

But for sure you should at least plan 1 day per island. It will be impossible to visit them all by spending only half a day on each one.

For the last day, I think the best thing is to wait until you are there to decide. It will allow you to ask your hotel about the details + to decide depending on what you feel like doing that day!

Have a nice day,


Hello, Vincent and thank you for this wonderful resource. My wife and I are planning to spend one week in Sicily next July (2022.). Before I read your blog my plan was to rent an Airbnb in Cefalu because of the beach and then take day trips from there. Now that I have read your comments, I wonder if you would have a different suggestion. We would really like to be by a sandy beach but we are flexible as to where on the island. Do you have a better suggestion?

Hello Gerry,

Thank you very much! I’m glad that my article about the best things to do in Sicily is helping you to prepare your trip.

If you want to be close to a sandy beach and spend the week in one accommodation, you should in my opinion stay around San Vito lo Capo or Castellammare del Golfo.

From there you can visit: – The Zingaro nature reserve – The Monte Cofano nature reserve – Trapani and Erice medieval village – The Aegadian Islands (Favignana) – The temple of Segesta – Marsala

If you want to know more about these places, you can also read my articles: – Trapani: The 10 best things to do – Zingaro nature Reserve – Palermo: The 15 things to do in the capital

It’s better than Cefalu to organize day trips, there are a lot more places to visit in the area.

Enjoy your stay in Sicily!

First of all, Vincent, I can’t get over what a valuable and generous resource you provide. I will look into it right away and perhaps bother you again with a question or two. Thank you again.

Yes, please do not hesitate if you have any further questions about planning your trip to Sicily.


Hello Vincent, Love your help…… we land in Palermo on Wednesday night and we’re thinking of going to Siracusa the next day and visit Taormina and possibly Ragusa too before we head back to Palermo on Saturday. So we can see Palermo too… our flight leaves at 9.00pm on Sunday. My questions are as follows: 1. Should we go to Siracusa and what is the best way to go? We are not renting a car.

2. Should we base in Siracusa? How should we go to Taormina?

Kind regards, Manisha

Hello Manisha,

If you don’t plan to rent a car, you will have to take the train or bus to get around Sicily. You can check the timetables and fares on this website: OMIO

All the visits you want to do are quite far from Palermo. For example it takes more than 4 hours to go from Palermo to Syracuse by car (even more by bus/train). You will already lose a whole day to go there and back. And to go from Syracuse to Taormina by public transport, it takes about 2 hours. To do what you planned, it’s much better to land at Catania airport.

If you arrive in Palermo, I really advise you to visit the west of Sicily (San Vito, Trapani, Erice, Zingaro, temple of Segeste, Favignana).

I am already booked to fly into Palermo since that was the only airport with a direct flight. I was thinking of going to Siracusa and staying there for 2 nights and doing a day trip to Taormina. How do I get to Taormina from Siracusa and how long does it take for a day trip?

You can take the train or bus as I have mentioned in my previous comment, simply click on the Omio orange link above to check the timetables and book a ticket. For Syracuse Taormina, the train is a bit faster than the bus. (With the bus, you generally need to take 2 buses: 1 from Syracuse to Catania and then another one from Catania to Taormina. The train that goes to Taormina from Syracuse takes 2h45. Considering you need time to go to from your hotel to the train station, need to arrive a bit in advance etc… Round trip, that’s more than 6 hours of transport in 1 day. It’s a lot!

You have 4 full days in Sicily (roughly 40 hours of day time), and you plan to spend:

6 hours to go from Palermo to Syracuse 6 hours to go from Syracuse to Taormina and back 6 hours to get back to Palermo for your return flight

That’s 18 hours (and I am being very conservative, in real it can end up being quite more if you include train station to hotel transfert time, waiting time etc.), almost half your visit time in Sicily, in the public transports. That’s why I said I couldn’t recommend you this itinerary, it won’t even be enjoyable. After you do as you please, but really, it’s a question of ethics: I can’t recommend you do organize your stay like this (but after, you do as you please of course!)

Have a nice trip!

Anna Kearney

Hello Vincent I have just discovered your blog and it’s really helpful. My husband and I are flying into Palermo in April and have 9 nights in Sicily. We want to see as much of the island as possible and are contemplating multiple sites dotted around the coast to spend 1/2 nights at each. We are hiring a car. It all looks so beautiful but can you offer some advice. Thank you, Anna

Hello Anna,

To give you an idea of what you can do in 10 days with an arrival in Palermo, I recommend you to read my other article: 10 days itinerary in Sicily .

During this trip, you will discover all the must-see places in Western Sicily: Palermo, Agrigento, Selinunte, Trapani, Scopello, Castellammare. As Sicily is a really big island, in 10 days, it’s better to focus on the Western part of Sicily. And come back another time to visit the East!

Neil Katz

My husband and I are planning to go to the Amalfi Coast and Sicily (east side) for 14 days at the end of August 2022. I am 70 years old and my husband is 73. WE are both in good shape. Can you please tell me, do you think this is too much. Also, we were not planning to rent a car. Could you please suggest an itinerary for us along with accomodations.

I read your blog and found it very interesting.

Much appreciated.

Neil Katz (Toronto, Ontario CANADA)

Hello Neil,

Unfortunately, I can’t help you for your trip to the Amalfi Coast as I didn’t have the chance to visit it yet.

About Sicily, if you only want to do the East Side, you can have a look at this itinerary: One week in Sicily detailed itinerary Here you can find all the things to do and my selection of accomodations.

For this itinerary I recommend to rent a car, but if you don’t want too, you can do it by bus and train. In that case, maybe you can spend 9-10 days there and do a similar itinerary at a slower pace.

Enjoy your trip in Sicily!

U. Dall

Hi Vincent, Thanks for the great info about 2 weeks in Sicily 🇮🇹 My husband and I are going to Sicily for 3 weeks in September 2022. We have rented a car for the whole period, and we are planning to drive around the island. We have a few questions, which we hope you will kindly answer 😊 1) Your trip goes clockwise, we are thinking about doing the opposite starting in Catania driving to Taormina, Palermo etc. Is there a good reason why you suggest to go clockwise around the island? 2) We would like to rent a bike 2 or 3 days during the vacation. Is there 2 or 3 areas on the island you can recommend for mountain and race bike? 3) We have seen photos on Instagram of a new hotel called Villa Saraceni at Scala Dei Turchi that should open in 2022, but we haven’t been able to find further information. Any chance you can help? We are looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance. Kind regards Marc and Ulrikke 🕺🏻💃

Hi Ulrikke,

That sounds like a nice trip!

1) You can definitely do it in reverse, this is really up to your preferences.

2) For biking, the first place that comes to my mind is Favignana island, as it can only be visited by bike. Then, you can also probably rent bikes around the Parco delle Madonie (near Cefalu) and the Parco dei Nebrodi (north east of Sicily).

3) this hotel doesn’t exist, the picture you saw is a 3d render.

It’s not possible to build anything there, as it’s a protected area.

Enjoy your trip to Sicily, and if you have other questions, don’t hesitate!

Tammana Begum

Wow what a brilliant article. I am off to Sicily for five days late next week and this has been extremely helpful. Thanks so much!


Hello Vincent! Thanks a lot for your articles about Sicilly, I guess I’ve read all of them 🙂 Could you please help me and answer several specific questions? Small backround info: travel time – end of March-beginning of April, we are traveling with 2 kids (2 and 8 y.o.) by a rental car. We love more nature beauty than historical sights. So, back to the questions: 1) Alcantara gorges – is it possible to walk there to see te beauty of the place, since I am not sure that it is possible to do kayaking with a small child. 2) Zingaro natural reserve. Is it worth a visit in April when the water is to cold for swimming. I really want to go there, but if we do, we need to change the itinerary a lot, since we will have 8 full days on Sicilly arriving and departing from Catania. I am hesitating between 2 options now: – stay in the eastern part without rush -skip Syracuse and Taormina and try to make a bigger circle including Etna vulcano, Cefalu, Zingaro reserve, Marsala and Erice, Agrigento-Catania. Do you think second option is doable if we have 8 full days (+2 days for arrival and departure)

Hello Daria,

Thanks a lot! I’m glad that my articles on visiting Sicily are helping you prepare for your trip.

Regarding your questions: 1) Yes there is a small part of the Alcantara Gorges accessible on foot. 2) The Zingaro reserve is beautiful in all seasons. Even if you can’t go swimming, it’s worth taking a walk along the way to enjoy the scenery. But it’s a long way from Catania.

As for your hesitation, that’s really up to you. If you don’t mind doing a lot of driving every day, it might be possible to do a loop. You can look at the journey times on Google maps to give you an idea of the distances.

But of course it would be more relaxing to visit only the east of Sicily if you’re arriving and departing from Catania.

I’d recommend visiting the west by arriving and departing from Palermo, as it’s much more practical. I hope this helps.

Enjoy your family trip to Sicily!

Thanks a lot for your pompt answers, it helps a lot. One more question about Zingaro natural reserve. You wrote that it’s 7 km long and that you did a round trip in 4 hours? Looks like it is nor a round trip, judging by time. Is there some public transport that helps you get back to the southern entrance, if you started from the southern part and reached the northern part?

You’re welcome!

Yes, that’s right, it took us 4 hours to walk there and back (including the photo breaks). There’s no mistake. No, there’s no public transport, you have to do the round trip.

One more question from me:) It is very subjective, but still. If you had a choice between Taormina and Ortigio, which one would you choose, what impressed you more?

Taormina feels more special as the setting of the town is quite unique (the view, the roman theater). But keep in mind it’s also more turistic. Ortigia feels more like an italian old town where italian people actually still live.

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Best places to visit in Sicily

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If you want to know the best places to visit in Sicily then make sure to ask an expert. Our friend Karen La Rosa from Sicily tour specialists La RosaWorks is exactly that person. Her passion for Sicily is infectious and in this article she shares the unmissable towns and sights of this fascinating island.

Article contents

Join us on tour in sicily

Why visit Sicily  

For years, the Italian mainland has been the desired destination for tourists. Seems they can’t get enough, eating and drinking their way around the triangle from Venice to Florence to Rome. Venturing to the south of Italy never occurred to tourists and didn’t seem necessary.

Recently, that has changed. A switch has flipped, and the light is now shining bright on this magnificent and still somewhat secret island. Or, maybe the light is emanating from the island itself – that unique sunshine that reaches down to embrace Sicily from piercing blue skies more days of the year than most places? Tourists are re-considering.

This just means that on your visit, you will change your historic hat frequently and question frequently the style of architecture, the food, the human gestures and the ambience. In some places, it’s all jumbled together, a reflection of the way the Sicilians adapted, incorporated, and demonstrated great resilience.

Who is Sicilian? The answer, in short, is no one and everyone. Sicily is a great mosaic, still vibrant, still changing and still adapting. It’s an exciting place to visit, and oh, that wine!

Eastern Sicily

First, let’s land in Catania , unsung Catania. Sicily’s second largest city is far less touristed than Palermo, the largest. Situated in the middle of the eastern coast of the island, it is a Baroque town but also has black lava stone buildings. It is one of the few places to see Roman remains.

The Cathedral that houses the relics of their beloved Patron Sant’Agata, the Benedictine Monastery (Catania University), the various churches and the Bellini Gardens that sit across from Sicily’s best arancini at Pasticceria Savia , are all worth a visit. The Museo dello Sbarco , dedicated to the Allied campaign in WWII is terrific.

Catania is alive with entrepreneurial spirit and has one of the Sicily’s must-see markets, the Pescheria . This fish market has been in continuous operation since the 9th century, Arab times, 6 days a week from dawn until lunch time, just steps from the beautiful grand Piazza Duomo .

You can pass through one of the city’s original gates, Porta Uzeda , or emerge from behind the larger than life fountain cascading water above the now submerged Amenano River. In the center of the piazza, a slight turn of the head, you’ll see another fountain and the city’s symbol, the Fontana dell’ Elefante . In the evenings, this area is hopping with musicians and people enjoy the traditional stroll called the passeggiata, along the pedestrian only Via Etnea , arriving to the piazza, gelato in hand.

READ: Our guide to the Best things to do in Catania .

This city is undergoing a food renaissance and good eating is to be had in every corner. From street food of sublimely fried fish-in-a-cone to some of the best arancini around, to re-interpreted classic dishes at Catania’s first Michelin starred restaurant Sapio to Vinoteca Ostier where wines are paired to your entrée, there is so much to feast on.

There is no shortage of wine sourced from Mount Etna, Sicilian craft beers, and local specialties. To tourists, Catania is yet under-appreciated for its sights and food, but it is the ideal place to arrive and from which to venture on day trips before moving on. Okay, let’s head north!

LISTEN: The Tastes of Sicily

People have talked about Mount Etna for millennia. A volcano referred to as Mother, she provides a huge geographic area with remarkable fertility from her ongoing spurts of mineral rich lava ash that settles on the soil. Her imposing profile is visible from miles away and in every direction.

A visit up close is a must. There are various ways to experience her majesty, that begin with a visit to the extinct craters. Driving into the Etna Park, you will observe the landscape changing as you ascend. Boulders are everywhere. You arrive to the Rifugio Sapienza and the Silvestri Craters where you have a chance to climb up slopes of varying steepness and peak inside. The wind is audible, the soil rich in mineral colors, and the vistas, breathtaking.

Venture a little further to the next car park and you will find the cable car . A ticket will get you a seat on a 10-minute ride soaring to a platform where large 4-wheel drive vehicles whisk you further up onto the black lava sea, some 9800 feet high. From this vantage point you see the sky and the sea, the mountains and even Sicily’s center on a clear day. The wind is chilly in the warmer months and cold other times, but wrapped in warmth, you suddenly appreciate the power and magnitude of this volcano.

Private guides can take you on off the beaten path hikes and to experience this UNESCO recognized volcano in other ways. Be sure not to miss a visit to one of Etna’s more than 250 wineries. There is treasure in those hills.

Taormina is a small hilltop town, draped in floral displays of vibrant bougainvillea and about which great writers and romantics have waxed poetic. It is perched high above the sea, with a view to the mainland and draws hordes of international tourists to feast eyes on its unique beauty.

The Greek Theater is one of the most beautiful and at the edge of town it has exceptional views of both Mount Etna and the coastline, too. The historic center is given over to pedestrians who wander among the high-quality shops and cafes, climb up and down steps, and poke around narrow little corners, with restaurants serving aromatic foods tucked in here and there.

Taormina is unique in Sicily for its pristine and refined beauty. It is Sicily’s perfect place to relax and shop. Should you want some activity, take the cable car to the Mazzaro Beach whose white sand is just below the town, and hire a boat to skip you across to the crystal-clear Blue Grotto. Back in town, sit back and sip a crisp Etna white wine overlooking the breathtaking expanse and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about this town.

Ortigia is the small island that sits just steps over a connecting bridge from the mainland. For some, this place defines charm. It is the most historic part of the area with a long history, having been one of Greece’s most important cities after its founding in 734 BC. It can be explored through very narrow lanes that meet up at one of Sicily’s grandest piazzas, a perfect place for people-watching.

Before you is the stunning Baroque Cathedral, but a close look reveals its original Greek Columns, evidence of an earlier time, the ultimate recycled building. In one direction you can find a fountain steeped in mythology and papyrus growing in its sea water. In every direction there are ornately beautiful aristocratic palaces, some still privately owned, and some used for government functions. Shops selling both fine and delightful hand made goods line the streets.

There is a Jewish quarter in which it is possible to see two ritual baths, the Mikveh , and underneath the Church of San Filippo Apostolo there are catacombs and WWII shelter drawings. For a small island there is much to interest a visitor.

Off the island there is the Archeological Park with Sicily’s largest Greek Theater and the intriguing Ear of Dionysius.  Here, in the spring, you can see fabulous interpretations of ancient Greek plays.  There are also remains of a Roman amphitheater. Go with a guide and expect to stay 2-3 hours.

My advice: if you are planning a day trip, stay the whole day and enjoy. There are terrific restaurants and a market with places to eat fresh and delectable things.

South-Eastern Sicily

Just a short 20 minutes away from Siracusa is Noto . Built after the earthquake of 1693 destroyed the original town, it is now recognized by UNESCO for its refined Baroque architecture. The town is laid out in a grid form so the sun shines along the streets, reflecting light off the golden limestone. Perched atop a large flight of steps the Duomo is an imposing feature in the center of the main thoroughfare. Its steps are inviting to all for a sit down. The Duomo faces another beautiful building, the Palazzo Ducezio , now used by the government.

Noto has a slower pace to it than Ortigia and people mill about eating gelato from well-known pastry shops, climbing to one of the two church roofs for fabulous cityscape photos, and exploring the balconies that drip with fanciful and ornate decoration. It is a welcoming place and one of the few where I have seen LGBTQ flags.

Stay at the Gagliardi Hotel for its beautiful spacious rooms and a rooftop for wine and cocktails with a view before dinner. Eat local almonds. Drink Nero d’Avola and Moscato di Noto wines, produced nearby. Visit the Vendicari Reserve in the morning or at dusk to see migrating birds (including pink flamingoes!), the sandy beach and old tuna fishing structures. The boardwalk paths are lovely to traverse.

Ragusa is another town that was a victim of the earthquake of 1693. It combines a newer town above the historic town below with iconic images of beautifully colored domes visible from the windy road in between. Like many other places, the main area is the Piazza Duomo, where many streets converge. Here you can sit and enjoy wine-flavored gelato while gazing at Ragusa’s quintessentially Baroque Cathedral, so recognizable with its steep stairs and wrought-iron gate.

The best view is from the parlor inside the Palazzo Arezzo , which is open to the public. Deeper into town there are steps leading to great vantage points and interesting streets. The Iblean Gardens are a peaceful oasis of exotic plants and ponds, flanked by the old convent. Don’t miss a visit to Rosso Cinabro . Cart-makers in the old tradition, they are the design creators for Dolce and Gabbana’s SMEG line of appliances. From this tiny workshop, the designs reach the world.

Not too far from Ragusa is Modica . If by now you are in need of chocolate, you will find it here. Modica is chocolate central and here the chocolate is made in the same way the Aztecs did, a style brought over by the Spanish. Cooked over a low fire, the chocolate remains granular. It comes in plain or many delicious flavor varieties. There are several places that will give you a tour with samples of their chocolate bars, chocolate syrup and confections, including the traditional ‘Mpanatigghi , that has more than just chocolate baked inside, a secret ingredient that always surprises.

You will then have the energy to climb the steps of the ornate and beautiful Cathedral San Giorgio . Much like Ragusa, the town is full of steps all leading away from the main Corso (Umberto) offering views, intriguing history and fun. Come dusk, you should position yourself next to the San Giorgio Hotel to see the lights as they cover the surrounding hills, another iconic image. Dinner can be in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a small trattoria whose owners bring in cheese and other delectables from their farm. It is aptly named Ricotta.

READ: about the Delicious typical desserts of Sicily

It is well worth a visit to head a little further south to Scicli (pronounced She-cli). Yes, it’s another of the Baroque towns recognized by UNESCO in the Val di Noto and it is probably the smallest, but it has big surprises. Any Detective Montalbano fan can tell you that it is the home of the police station, the center of all story lines. Fans flock to this area to trace the steps of the beloved Inspector who mixes charm, insight, bravado, warmth and humor all into one character.

Visit the Chiesa San Bartolomeo to be amazed by the large and stunning diorama of the Nativity. The Palazzo Beneventano is interesting with its strikingly odd ornamental features. In the afternoon head to Gli Aromi , a nearby herb farm where its passionate owner Enrico will give you an ‘olfactory’ tour and his chef wife Rita will whip up a fabulous lunch. Herbs never tasted this good.

Val di Noto

In all of the surrounding areas of the Val di Noto , you have the opportunity to taste excellent wines. To the west is Vittoria, home to Sicily’s only DOCG wine, the Cerusuolo di Vittoria which blends Frappato with Nero d’Avola. To the east there is Moscato di Noto , a dry, delicious, historic white. There are women winemakers, historic wineries and new producers who arrived to try their hand in Sicily.

LISTEN: Exploring the Val di Noto

Central Sicily

Piazza armerina.

From Catania, Piazza Armerina is a day trip, fewer than 90 minutes away. In Sicily it is always best to talk about the time to travel, not the miles because going off the main roads can be slow with lights, trucks, and sheep traffic. Piazza Armerina is a good-sized town with a beautiful church and some lunch-time eateries, but the reason to drive here is to visit the Villa Romana del Casale , just a few minutes on its outskirts. Think 4th century wealthy Romans.

We don’t know exactly who they were, but the vast expanse of this villa and their intricately decorated rooms, would suggest they were very important. It was a hunting villa in the woods, and it contains miles of some of the best-preserved Roman mosaics in the world. Animal scenes, allegories, mythology and family life is all described with small stone, glass and ceramic tiles in each spectacular room. Another UNESCO site , a tour around will give you a sense of their very advanced living, from hot baths to a gym and much in between.


The ceramics tradition in Sicily dates back to the indigenous peoples who used the rich clay in the area to make useful things. The Greeks advanced to firing vases and pots. Fast forward to the Arabs who brought with them a knowledge of ceramics-making from the East and they began making decorative objects, later refined further by the Spanish.

History in Sicily is always complex, and all the peoples that came through left their own mark. Caltagirone is the largest of the ceramic centers in Sicily. Walk through the town and it is like you are in an open-air museum seeing glazed pottery on walls, balconies, decorative objects and on the town’s centerpiece, the Scala Maria del Monte .

These 182 steps are each adorned with ceramic tiles that tell a chronological story from most recent to older styles as you climb. Alongside the steps, the workshop doors are ajar for you to come in and browse or watch artistry at work. There are many, many shops in town from museum quality refined to the inexpensive.

The mother-lode of Greek ruins lies in the town once known as Akragas . It was a thriving, highly populated metropolis in the 6th century BCE. In the amazing place known as The Valley of the Temples , visitors will see 7 temples along a paved road (where it is possible to hop on a bus for a fee), among which is one of the world’s best-preserved temples, Concordia. This stunning group of temples all have similar light-colored stone now, but we know that back in the day, each temple was a colorful sight.

There are olive, almond and carob trees, ongoing digs, a few goats, and a rest stop or two as well. Imposing and majestic, this is an unforgettable sight with a complex history and mythology best explained by a guide. Allow yourself half a day for the Archeological Park (with comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen) and if archeology interests you, the well-stocked Archeological Museum is nearby.

The town itself is small but has some old churches worth seeing and a few good restaurants. A visit to the Monastero Santo Spirito is worth the steep walk and rewarded, as these nuns are one of the only ones on the island that still sell their marzipan sweets. Pay attention to parking rules in town. That’s experience talking.

READ: Our guide to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples .

Sicani Hills

The Sicans were an indigenous population from Sicily’s central area and recent efforts have been successful at bringing tourists to see a bit of pre-history. In tucked away caves and small off-the-beaten-path places, this area is awash with experiences for the curious, food and wine lovers, too, from visiting farms that raise goats to pistachios, from olive oil producers to winemakers.

You can spend a memorable day with a knowledgeable guide, immersing yourself in a bit of Sicily known to few. Afterwards, head to the sea and there you will find sandy beaches from which to watch the sunset. Accommodations in the area run from five-star hotels to wonderful rural properties, known as either a baglio or an agriturismo. You can watch a video about the Sicani hills on the La RosaWorks Sicily Presents YouTube channel .

North-West Sicily

Sciacca and selinunte.

On the windswept sea, along the Southern coastline sits Sciacca . It had thermal springs that served nearby Selinunte , a large Greek settlement in the 5th century BCE. Today Sciacca resembles a charming medieval town, built on an incline affording beautiful views of the sea. It is known for its ceramics with its own distinctive style, with many shops and workshops in town and also for its celebration of Carnevale.

If you visit the town for a half day of relaxed exploring, you can spend the other half roaming the vast Archeological Park of Selinunte . Among the least visited of the archeological sites, here the ancient grain blows in the wind, the stones are strewn about and it is easy to imagine the time when these lands were the scene of great Greek and Carthagenian battles. Buy a book at the newly opened visitors center to learn about the history. Signage at the site is minimal. Remember the sunscreen. Archeological sites generally offer little shade.

Mazara del Vallo

Coming up the west coast, the town of Mazara del Vallo says a lot about Sicily. As the crow flies, it is not far from Tunisia and this port town seems like a colorful extension, complete with a section of town called The Kasbah, Arabic art and signage, and the population itself often in Muslim dress.

There are Mosques and couscous, the signature dish, but there is also an old Jewish Quarter, Catholic churches and a museum housing one of Sicily’s great art treasures, a Greek statue. The Dancing Satyr was found in a fishing net off the coast and after careful restoration, looking up at it is a Stendhal moment. Sicily’s complex history is on display in this small town, a microcosm of diversity. Feast on the fish couscous here.

Not far, further north and also on the sea is Marsala – Mars-Allah, the Port of Allah. The Arab influence in Sicily is distinctly felt in the West in contrast to the Greek influence in the East. This town is known for its fortified wine. Marsala was Sicily’s first DOC wine. It became famous in the mid 19th century because the wine would remain drinkable for sailors and merchants on long voyages.

Although this small town is pleasant enough to explore, visiting wineries here is the thing to do. There are a number of cantine right around town; Florio , Donnafugata , and Pellegrino are all large scale and welcome tourists interested in seeing how Marsala is made and tastes, Florio being the most historic. Alagna Vini , just outside of town, offers a very personal approach to the wines they make, a delicious education. All by appointment only.

Outside of the city are the salt pans, and in the Summer, you can see white, conical piles of salt that were once used to preserve tuna from the local fishing industry. There is a small museum to explain the salt collecting process and different varieties.

Take the 5-minute boat ride over to the island of Mozia , a settlement of Phoenician merchants and sailors from the 7th century BCE. There are remains all over the island and archeological digs to observe. The main attraction is the museum, in which stands another of Sicily’s great art treasures, The Charioteer sculpture. As you gaze upon this stunning Greek body, you are sure to be amazed by its grace, power and unusual pose.

Not on most tourist itineraries is a trip into the interior. Salemi is not far inland from Marsala and well worth the visit. Known for its intricate breads made for the Feast of Saint Joseph , there is a museum that explains the meanings of the many bread shapes that decorate the special feast time altars. In town you will also find the remains of a Norman castle and a grand church. It’s a charming hill town with expansive vistas.

Nearby are many wineries offering tastings and each one offering their unique expression of winemaking. Tenuta Orestiadi combines their winemaking efforts with art and they are situated across the road from the Contemporary Art Foundation Orestiadi , a wonderful museum and relatively new addition to the landscape.

Trapani is further north and west. It was once an important trading port inhabited by wealthy merchants as is evidenced by the impressive houses that still line the streets. Trapani is known for its intensely somber Holy Week events that draw people from all over the world.

There is an historic medieval Jewish quarter that has narrow streets and some good restaurants, including Cantina Siciliana , where Pino’s Fish couscous is a signature dish. Sicily’s Jewish population before the Inquisition was quite large.

From the port of Trapani, you can ferry to the Egadi Islands where the fascinating history of the tuna fishing ritual can be seen at a museum on Favignana . On Levanzo , a less populated island, scooters and light hiking offer beautiful and peaceful moments. Boating and water sports are available. Bring the camera.

From Trapani take the funicular up to the hill town of Erice , or you can drive up a steep and curvaceous road with many switchbacks, but fabulously stunning vistas. The town of Erice is small with a distinct medieval ambience but its history goes back to the Greeks. There was once a temple to Aphrodite, an important spot where a fire always burned and to which travelers came from afar to pay the goddess respects.

In later times there was a Norman castle with a breathtaking view. Flash forward and we can find Maria Grammatico’s Pasticceria . As a young girl from a poor family, Maria was sent to the convent. She spent her days helping to bake the traditional sweets for which the convents were known.

Today she bakes still, and her shop is quite famous. You must not miss her Brutti ma Buoni , almond paste or divine pistachio treats. You can see Erice in a half day, but if you have the time, walking the cobblestone streets and exploring slowly is my recommendation for all town visits.

Segesta rises from the landscape seemingly from nowhere. This was an ancient Elymian settlement and the ruins of the temple and the amphitheater are well preserved, making this site one of Sicily’s most visited.

A guide is useful to explain this particular ancient history. There is a bus every thirty minutes that can shuttle you to the higher ground on which the amphitheater sits, overlooking the rolling hills, or you can walk, although it is a steep climb that will take time. Half a day should be enough time here, and you can move along towards Palermo.

Northern Sicily

Monreale .

Perhaps one of Sicily’s top must see sites is Monreale Cathedral . It is simply spectacular and renowned for its beauty but also because it remains a symbol of a time when multiculturalism was at its height.

Begun in 1174 by William the Good, it exemplifies the best of the Arab/Norman heritage. It is an imposing Norman structure, covered in miles of brilliant Byzantine mosaics and colorful stonework with distinctly Arab motifs. It has decorated wooden ceilings, again displaying intricate Arab craftmanship.

On the side walls are gilded saints and Biblical stories while the glittering iconic Christ Pantocrator looks out towards devout worshipers. You can visit the cloister, a separate entrance, that is surrounded by unique columns and more mosaics, radiant in the sun. Another treat is climbing up to the walkway that surrounds the cloister for an aerial view of the cloister and surroundings.

Monreale is best seen with a guide to understand and not miss the layered meanings of its stunning contents. If you are hungry after being wowed, head to the wonderful Pavone for a very nice lunch with wine, but pizza in the Cathedral piazza is quite good, too.

Palermo is Sicily’s capital, the largest city with roughly one million inhabitants. It has UNESCO designation for its Arab/Norman heritage, but even beyond this important history, Palermo has so much to offer!

LISTEN: Palermo, Not what you expect!

It is advisable to give yourself at least 2-3 days in Palermo to experience its variety: fabulous markets, famous for their chaos, colors, and cacophony; the historic sites, including the Palazzo Royale and its Cappella Palatina the extraordinary private chapel of King Roger II (with more incredible mosaics); Palermo Cathedral that houses the remains of Palermo’s patron saint, Rosalia, medieval tombs and a rooftop experience; the Teatro Massimo , Europe’s third largest opera house (tours are offered); the excellent Archeological Museum Salinas with its unique lay out in an historic convent; the large circular Pretoria Fountain with its particular history; the Galleria Arte Moderne , GAM; the ornately decorated Oratorios decorated in stucco relief by the artist Serpotta, and the charming traditional puppet shows, the most well-known and central of these being L’Opera di Pupi Cuticchio .

There is a wonderful Orto Botanico as well as 16th-18th century Spanish palazzi all around the city, some of which you can visit by appointment. Stanze al Genio , a private collection dedicated to the important history of ceramic tiles in Southern Italy is well worth the guided tour.

READ: Our guide of the Best things to do in Palermo .

These are highlights of what Palermo can offer to fill your days, but Palermo’s nightlife is busy, too. In Palermo’s old Vucciria Market , there is a party of street food and music. On pedestrian only Via Maqueda you can hear street musicians and eat arancini. The Piazza Verdi which fronts the Teatro Massimo is always alive with buskers and tourists. Palermo is a wonderful city, at one time Europe’s most important city, and it is a mistake to overlook it.

LISTEN: Great day trips from Palermo

Cefalù sits on the Tyrrhenian seacoast, a small but very charming town built around its main Cathedral whose sturdy Norman spires dominate the landscape. It’s an iconic image of an unusual setting with sandy beach at its front and the Madonie Mountains at its back. To the side of the Cathedral is La Rocca – a rocky promontory whose top can be reached on a path that leaves the center of town and after a moderate hike gifts you with stunning views of the sea, the town and the mountains.

Cefalù has a good tourist population but it seems far less international than Taormina. In the evenings the narrow streets are full of locals taking the passeggiata or sitting in the Piazza Duomo for an espresso or gelato. There are eateries aplenty here and if you go to the edge of the town on Via Bordonaro, you can sit on one of their terraces on the water and listen to the water gently lapping as you devour a great pizza and local red wine.

Don’t miss the Duomo itself, filled with more amazing and well-preserved Byzantine mosaics in the Arab/Norman style. The small Mandralisca Museum is a gem of a collection and contains the famous ‘Portrait of an Unknown Man’ by Antonella da Messina . If you are looking for down time with a few things to do, for a base from which to do relaxed day trips, consider staying in Cefalù for a couple of nights.

READ: Our guide to the Best places to stay in Sicily .

Which places will you visit in Sicily?

The message for visitors is clear: do not miss feasting on the variety of what Sicily has to offer, on your plate, in a glass, and with your eyes. The history is layered, the contrasts are great, the landscape is stunning and the overall experience otherworldly. And this list is but a sampling, for in every town large and small, there are untold stories to uncover.

DISCOVER: Best Things to do in Sicily during a visit

Delve deeper into the places to see in Sicily

Recommended reading to inspire your Sicilian adventures!

  • Seeking Sicily and Sicilian Splendors by John Keahey;
  • The Peoples of Sicily by Louis Mendola and Jacqueline Alio
  • The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • The Wine Dark Sea by Leonardo Sciascia

You’ll find more books and inspiration for your trip to Sicily at La RosaWorks .

About the author

Karen la rosa la rosaworks sicily, latest italy travel podcasts and articles, rome jubilee 2025: tips and information for planning your visit, the best towns in tuscany to visit and explore, italy in december – reasons to visit and what to expect, episode #228: top 5 experiences to try in florence, episode #227: pesto perfection – a local’s guide to italy’s favorite green sauce, can you travel to italy – latest travel information [june 2024], episode #226: discover turin – the local’s guide to must-see sights & experiences, 3 day itinerary for venice: explore the lagoon city, planning a trip to italy.

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25 Best Things to Do in Sicily, Italy

Home | Travel | Europe | Italy | Sicily | 25 Best Things to Do in Sicily, Italy

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If you want to know what  things to do in Sicily , Italy, you’re in for a treat. There are so many beautiful  places to visit in Sicily  from dreamy beaches to active volcanoes and historic cities. And of course, its food is out of this world!

Sicily has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation. It’s also a special place for us, as the first trip we took together was to this lovely island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. We did a 10-day Sicily road trip and, while I may be biased, there’s no denying Sicily’s charm. There are plenty of  tourist attractions in Sicily  worth visiting, and we’re planning to return in the future so we can see even more.

Before I share my tips and recommendations, I want to mention that the best way to get around the island is by renting a car. This way, you’ll have more flexibility to see the different sites at your own pace. However, I should warn you that Sicilians aren’t known for their pristine driving skills. So, be sure to check out our  rental car hacks , and don’t skip the insurance.

Find Cheap Rental Cars in Sicily

With that said, let’s dive into the 25 best things to do in Sicily . Get ready to discover the most gorgeous places on this island!

1. Visit Palermo, the best thing to do in Sicily

Palermo  is one of the  best places to visit in Sicily , especially for its history. As with many capital cities, Palermo doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of cleanliness and security, but it’s still one of the most popular sites on the island.

The port city sees hundreds of cruise ships each year, although it’s quite easy to  find cheap flights to Palermo too. For this reason, lots of visitors start their Sicily itineraries here.

Palermo, places to visit Sicily Italy

Among the most popular  places to visit in Palermo , the  Palace of the Normans  is a top choice. Also known as the Royal Palace, this building is home to the Sicilian Parliament. You’ll also find the  Palatine Chapel  inside, a must-see in Sicily.

Visiting the beautiful  Cathedral of Palermo  and the  Teatro Massimo , the largest opera house in Italy, is another great  thing to do in Sicily ‘s capital city. Afterward, head to the  Vucciria market  for some delicious food. If you don’t mind creepy stuff, check out the Catacombs of the Capuchins and make friends with the corpses.

This free tour is perfect if you’re not sure what to do in Sicily since it takes you to the coolest attractions in the city center. Also, if you have a couple of free days, I suggest visiting Mondello Beach  and the  Cathedral of Monreale , a  UNESCO  World Heritage Site.

You can find more tips about Sicily’s capital in our 25 top things to do in Palermo  guide.

2. Taormina, one of the best places to visit in Sicily

Taormina  is a beautiful medieval city, making it a great historical  attraction in Sicily . There are lots of ancient ruins to explore here, and different areas reflect the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine empires. The European aristocracy admired these old remains so much that Taormina became a luxury destination in the 19th century. To this day, you can find many 5-star hotels along these classic streets.

The  Taormina Theater  is a  beautiful place in Sicily . This Greek Theater is, like the rest of Taormina, over a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna.

Taormina, Sicily tourist attractions

Another interesting thing to do in Sicily is to take the cable car to  Isola Bella  at the foot of Taormina. I wouldn’t go to Taormina for the beaches, but during the funicular ride, you’ll get spectacular views of the island’s more luxurious tourist attractions.

What makes Taormina a great  place to visit in Sicily  is the cultural heritage. There are many  things to do in Taormina   along  Corso Umberto Street , such as the  Duomo di Taormina , a 13th-century cathedral dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Bari. I also suggest stopping by the  Piazza IX Aprile , the main square with nice views. But where you’ll get the best views in Taormina is in  Madonna della Rocca Sanctuary , so be sure to add it to your list.

3. Climb Mount Etna, the best hike in Sicily

Mount Etna  is the highest active volcano in Europe at 10,990 feet. If you like hiking, a trek up this volcano is one of the  coolest things to do in Sicily .

Unfortunately, during our trip in 2016, the volcano was quite active and dangerous, so we couldn’t get as close to it as we would’ve liked. As soon as we’re back on the island, we’re going to visit this famous  Sicilian landmark  again!

Climb Mount Etna, best thing to do in Sicily Italy

As a top  place of interest in Sicily , Mount Etna is very popular. The most-visited area around the volcano is the  Silvestri Craters  region, which is located below the top of Mount Etna. You can visit this area on your own, but you need  a certified tour guide  to take you to the top.

Most tours start from the Sapienza Refuge just next to the Silvestri Craters. Then, you will take a cable car and 4×4 Jeep to the hiking trail, about 9,500 feet up. From there, it’s about a 2-hour walk and, if you complete it, you’ll be rewarded with the most stunning views of the island.

4. Catania, something you can’t miss in Sicily, Italy

With so much to see and do here,  Catania  is one of the  main attractions in Sicily  you don’t want to miss. Besides, the city has an international airport, so many travelers end up starting their journey here.

Catania’s proximity to Mount Etna has exposed it to several severe eruptions and earthquakes throughout history. Even so, it’s one of the most scenic  places to visit in Sicily , so I recommend checking it out.

Most of Catania’s tourist attractions are in the historic city center, and it’s possible to see them all in one day. If you’re short on time, this  guided walking tour  will ensure you see all the main sites.

Catania, Sicily things to do

Something you can’t miss in Catania is the  Cathedral of Santa Ágata , which many consider the crown jewel of Italian Baroque architecture. I also recommend visiting the  Ursino Castle , where you’ll find the  Communal Museum . This museum is a  must-do in Sicily  if you love art and history. The collection includes over 8,000 archaeological pieces such as sculptures, columns, coins, paintings, sarcophagi, and more.

Another gorgeous site in Catania is the iconic  Elephant Fountain  and  Caltagirone , where you can climb the  Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte . This 142-step ceramic staircase was built in 1608, and each step features a unique composition.

Finally, visit La Pescheria, an old fish market where locals sell fresh fish and some ready-to-eat treats.

5. Syracuse, something you must see in Sicily

Syracuse  is another essential  place to visit in Sicily . Not only is it beautiful, but the streets are like a time capsule of Greek history. Syracuse is an important part of the island’s past, so I recommend adding it to your itinerary.

As a prime  Sicily tourist attraction , Syracuse offers plenty of cool sites and excursions. One of the best places to visit is the island of  Ortygia , where you can see ancient Greek ruins. The island is less than a mile long, but parking is a pain, so I recommend walking across the pedestrian bridge, the Ponte Santa Lucia.

Syracuse, places to visit in Sicily Italy

In Ortygia, you can visit the  Cathedral of Syracuse , which sits on an old Greek temple. The  Arethusa Fountain  is another popular attraction, as are the ruins of the  Temple of Apollo , the oldest temple in Sicily.

You can also explore the outskirts of Syracuse, where you’ll find  Neapolis Archaeological Park . The area is so rich in ancient ruins that there’s a  guided walking tour  through the park. I recommend taking this tour to learn more about the old Greek amphitheaters and other archaeological relics from the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic period.

For more information on  what to do in Sicily  on this part of the island, read our  things to do in Syracuse guide.

6. Cefalù, the most beautiful lookout in Sicily, Italy

If you’re wondering  where to go in Sicily  for the best views, look no further than  Cefalù . I would even say that this area is one of the most beautiful places in all of Italy.

Cefalù is nestled on the Sicilian coast between the Tyrrhenian Sea and La Rocca, a mountainous 885-foot rock from which you’ll get fantastic views. The village is less than 45 miles from Palermo, so it’s a popular tourist destination. The downside to this is that the prices in Cefalù are noticeably higher than anywhere on the island.

Cefalù, where to go in Sicily Italy

That said, visiting this area is a  cool thing to do in Sicily , and you’ll find plenty of interesting sights. For example, the  Cathedral of Cefalù  is one of the most important Norman monuments in Sicily. Built in 1131, the basilica is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes an amazing mosaic of Christ Pantokrator.

Cefalù’s sparkling beaches make it a  must-visit in Sicily . However, if you want to avoid the crowds, I recommend the Giudecca Reef or this  boat ride  along the coast.

Other   places to visit in Cefalù  include the  Madralisca Museum , where you can see the work of Italian painter Antonello da Messina; and the  Fiume Cefalino  medieval lavatory, which dates to the Middle Ages.

7. Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, a unique activity to do in Sicily

Agrigento  is a famous place to visit in Sicily, thanks to its impressive ruins. This is your chance to see one of the best archaeological sites on the island, including the ancient city of  Agrigento  and the  Valley of the Temples .

The city sits on a hill on the southern Sicilian coast. During the Greek and Roman times, the city was in its prime. However, it fell into disarray with the arrival of the Byzantines and Christians in Sicily.

Most people would agree that seeing the Valley of the Temples is one of the  best things to do in Sicily . Besides being an important historical landmark and  UNESCO  World Heritage Site, the ruins are a remarkable archaeological feat.

Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, best place in Sicily to visit

Where else can you feast your eyes on ancient temples dedicated to Hera, Hercules, Hephaestus, Concordia, Asclepius, Castor, Pollux, and Zeus? Plus, all but the Temple of Hephaestus are in good condition, so it’s like being transported to another world.

Given the historical significance of these temples and how well they’ve been preserved, I consider them a top visit to do in Sicily. If you don’t have much time, this  electric scooter tour  is just 2 hours and takes you around most of the ruins. That said, if you can’t get enough ancient Greek and Roman relics, check out the  Agrigento Regional Archaeological Museum .

8. Scala dei Turchi, one of the best beaches in Sicily

While you’re in Agrigento, you’ll be close to another  Sicily tourist attraction , the  Scala dei Turchi . Also known as the Stair of the Turks, this rocky cliff in southern Italy overlooks the Realmonte coast. The name is a reference to its former use as a port of call for Saracen and Arab pirates.

Scala dei Turchi, Sicily visit

Not only does Scala dei Turchi have a colorful past, but it’s also a stunning geological wonder. The cliff’s distinct shape is the result of tens of thousands of years of impact from wind and water. Plus, the turquoise waters on Realmonte provide an interesting contrast to the white limestone of the rock.

On either side of the cliff, you will find a white, sandy beach. Many locals admit that the beaches at Scala dei Turchi are among the best beaches in Sicily . It’s no surprise that these marvelous cliffs have been featured in famous books and movies and that they’ve joined the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Scala dei Turchi is among the top  things to see in Sicily . Just be sure to protect yourself from the sun, as there isn’t any shade here.

9. Visit Stromboli and the Aeolian Islands, an extraordinary thing to do in Sicily

No, I’m not talking about the delicious Italian dish!  Stromboli  is an Aeolian island famous for an impressive  Sicilian landmark :  Mount Stromboli . This stratovolcano is one of three active volcanoes in Italy, with a summit of over 3,000 feet.

If you want to climb Mount Stromboli, I recommend  this excursion , which takes you to the  Sciara del Fuoco , a 13,000-year-old horseshoe-shaped crater where you can see flowing lava. The tour leaves a couple of hours before sunset, so you get stunning views of the fiery Mediterranean landscape.

Stromboli and the Aeolian Islands, beautiful places to visit in Sicily Italy

In the town of Stromboli, you’ll feel a sense of calm since the streets are free of cars. That said, you might see a  Piaggio Ape , a strange three-wheeled Vespa. If you have time, check out the black sand beach of  Grotta di Eolo , which has a magnificent cave.

Without a doubt, the  Aeolian Islands  are a  top thing to see in Sicily .  Lipari  is the largest of the islands and is known for the  Lipari Castle  and some beautiful coastal coves.  Panarea  is smaller but boasts underwater eruptions you won’t want to miss.

Vulcano  has several popular fumaroles, steam jets, and therapeutic sulfur mud.  Salina  has one of the highest peaks on the archipelago, as well as the fern forest of  Fossa delle Felci.

Finally,  Alicudi and Filicudi  to the west are full of dormant volcanic craters. So, if you aren’t sure  what to visit in Sicily, Italy , start with the Aeolian Islands.

10. See the Segesta Temple, the best thing to do in Sicily, Italy

If you’re curious about  where to go in Sicily ‘s northern region, I highly recommend  Segesta . This beautiful rural area is a major settlement of the indigenous Elymians in Sicily. It is also home to the  Segesta Temple , an ancient symbol of Athenian architecture.

The temple is just 50 miles from the capital, and the surrounding rocky landscape makes it a picturesque journey. What’s interesting about the temple is that it’s unfinished and doesn’t even have a roof. Still, the 36 completed columns remain in good condition, and the temple has several Doric features, such as a molded doorway and a frieze with triglyphs and metopes, or carved patterns.

Segesta Temple, best places to go to in Sicily

It’s not the most impressive temple in Sicily, but if you’re going to be in the capital for only a couple of days, it’s worth seeing. I suggest  this excursion  of Segesta, which includes a visit to Erice and the Trapani salt flats. It’s a great  activity to do in Sicily  if you don’t have much time.

Visiting the  Greek Theater  in Segesta is another cool  thing to do in Sicily, Italy . Unlike other Greek theaters in the region, this one faces the north, so you get lovely views of the foothills and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a pleasant sight that you should take advantage of while you’re in the area.

11. Trapani, an incredible place to visit in Sicily

A visit to  Trapani  is another  fun thing to do in Sicily . This popular city is one of the best places to enjoy a stroll through town. Trapani is a charming, quiet city with a historic district free of vehicles.

Here, you’ll find gorgeous Baroque buildings such as the  Cathedral of San Lorenzo . I recommend walking along  Via Garibaldi  and  Via Vittorio Emanuele  to experience the true essence of this town. Trapani is known as ‘the city of 100 churches,’ many of which you’ll see on the two streets I mentioned.

Trapani, must do things in Sicily Italy

If you ask any Italian  what to see in Sicily , they’ll point you towards the Trapani salt flats. Visiting this area is a must-do, and if you can go at sunset, that’s even better. They create a crystalline landscape that you won’t find anywhere else.

Other unique sites in Trapani include the  Palazzo Senatorio , a palace for the Senate; and the  Dark Tower , which has one of the oldest astronomical clocks in Europe. If you come here in July, you can partake in the Straugusto Gastronomic Festival and taste delicious local and international dishes.

Also, Trapani’s strong seafaring tradition means that several ferries depart from the port each day. From here, you can reach some of the  best   attractions in Sicily , such as the Aegadian Islands.

12. Aegadian Islands, the best Sicilian islands you can visit

The  Aegadian Islands  are a group of small islands to the west of Trapani. Thanks to their amazing beaches, they’ve become a popular summer  tourist attraction in Sicily .

The archipelago consists of Favignana, Marettimo, Levanzo, and other smaller islets that mark the boundary between the Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian Seas. Each island has something unique to offer, and exploring these lands is an exciting  thing to do in western Sicily .

I suggest starting with  Favignana’s  old town, a pedestrian-friendly coastal area. One of the best things to do in Sicily , is to explore the Lido Burrone, Cala Rossa, and Cala Azzurra coves, on Favignana. As the largest of the Aegadian Islands, Favignana boasts the most idyllic beaches in Sicily.

Aegadian Islands, places to see in Sicily

12. Aegadian Islands, one of the best Sicilian islands you can visit

Marettimo  is smaller, with a town of 300 inhabitants. This island offers a beautiful natural landscape and the  Castle of Punta Troia , a Saracen fortification that’s now in ruins. In addition to being a great snorkeling destination, Marettimo is home to several sea caves like Camello, Ficaredda, and Tuono.

Levanzo  is even smaller than Marettimo, but it’s the most beautiful of the islands. Surrounded by clear blue waters, Levanzo has gorgeous beaches and a 912-foot hill,  Pizzo Monaco , from which you can get stunning views. The island is also famous for the  Genovesa Cave , which has prehistoric cave paintings dating back about 10,000 years.

To get to the Aegadian islands I recommend booking this tour .

13. Temples of Selinunte, one of the can’t-miss attractions in Sicily

Selinunte  is in Trapani province, about an hour from some of  Sicily’s main attractions , yet many tourists overlook it.

Even so, this ancient Greek city is well worth visiting and has some impressive temples of its own. The temples have suffered quite a bit of deterioration, so it’s not entirely clear which deity each temple honors. Still, if you love history and ancient ruins, Selinunte is a top  place to go in Sicily .

Temples of Selinunte, places to visit in Sicily Italy

To better distinguish the temples, historians have named each one after a letter.  Temple E , which is suspected to be Hera’s temple, is in the best condition.  Temple F  is the oldest and is believed to honor Athena or Dionysus.  Temple G  is the largest of all and was probably that of Zeus. Lastly,  Temples A and O  are known as the Twin Temples. They were the last to be built but are the most deteriorated. They may belong to Castor and Pollux, or Apollo, or maybe Poseidon.

The entire archaeological site is divided into five areas: the Eastern Temples, the Acropolis, the Ancient City, the Sanctuary of Malophoros, and the Necropolis. You could spend all day exploring this area, and with the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop, it’s one of the best things to see in Sicily .

14. Erice, an unforgettable place to go in Sicily, Italy

Erice  is another beautiful  place to visit in Sicily ‘s Trapani province. This medieval town sits atop Mount Erice, over 2,460 feet above sea level. From here, you can get incredible views of the Trapani salt flats and the Egadi Islands.

Besides this spectacular lookout, you can also find medieval monuments and rich ancient Greek history here. For example, the  Castello di Venere  is one of the top historical  points of interest in Sicily . This Norman fortress was built on top of an old Roman temple and dates to the 12th century.

Erice, must see places in Sicily

Another can’t-miss attraction in Erice is a pair of castles:  Torretta Pepoli  and the  Castle of Venus . The former is a unique stone residence reflecting the Saracen period, while the latter was constructed on top of the ancient Temple of Venus. Both structures are located on a cliff, so you’ll get beautiful views of the sea.

A visit to Erice is  something to do in Sicily  if you’re already in Trapani. It won’t take long to see everything, but the sights are among the most impressive in the region.

15. The Baroque Tour to Ragusa, Noto, and Modica, the best thing to do in Sicily

If you don’t know  what to do in Sicily , one of my top recommendations for you is to visit the baroque cities of  Ragusa, Noto,  and  Modica , which share a rich cultural and artistic history.

Back in 1693, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake destroyed nearly every building in southeast Sicily. During the rebuilding phase, architects turned to the style of the day, creating what is known as Sicilian Baroque. As a result, these three cities display some of the most elaborate architecture in Sicily.

The Baroque Tour to Ragusa, activities in Sicily Italy

Noto  is known as the Jewel of the Sicilian Baroque or the Garden of Stone, thanks to its massive cathedrals and palaces. Modica  also has a few baroque churches, but is most known for the  Antica Dolceria Bonajuto , the oldest Sicilian chocolate factory.

Finally, Ragusa is divided into Ragusa Ibla, the one built over the ruins after the earthquake, and Ragusa Superiore, that was built over a close hill for a new start.

Noto, Modica, and Ragusa are  beautiful places to visit in Sicily . We were lucky enough to have a local friend guide us around, although  this tour  is a great alternative.

If you plan to visit the baroque cities of Sicily, check our Ragusa, Noto and Modica itinerary.

16. The Alcantara Gorge, one of the best places to go in Sicily, Italy

Seeing the  Alcantara Gorge , is one of the best  things to do in Sicily . Located just 30 minutes from Taormina’s city center, the gorges have a mystical air about them.

Geologists believe that this natural phenomenon occurred after a Mount Etna eruption thousands of years ago. Subsequently, erosion along the Alcantara River created a basaltic canyon over 1,300 feet long and 16 feet wide.

The Alcantara Gorge, must visit places in Sicily

If there is a natural wonder you should  visit in Sicily , it’s these jagged gorges. The black rock walls and craggy, prismatic texture is something you have to see to believe. Plus, when the light hits the canyon just right, the gorges look like a scene out of a fairytale. This setting is a photographer’s paradise, too!

Not only that, but you can access the canyon and wade in the river. Cooling down in the Alcantara Gorge is one of the most unique activities to do in Sicily  on a hot summer day. It’s certainly something you’ll want to brag to your friends about! The  Botanic and Geological Park of the Alcantara Gorges  is open year-round and has several walking paths that lead to the canyon.

17. Marsala, one of the most spectacular places to go in Sicily

Wine tasting  is one of the best things to do in Sicily but there is no better place than Marsala to do so . This western Sicilian city is famous for its great wine, so what are you waiting for?

You’ll find local wineries scattered throughout Marsala, and tastings typically range from 20€-30€ ($24-$35). What makes Marsala wine special is that it’s usually mixed with brandy and makes a great dessert wine, although there are drier varieties, too.

Marsala, Sicily sights to see

If you’re a teetotaler or just not into wine, Marsala offers a beautiful historic center. Here, you can visit charming shops, lovely cathedrals like the  Church of the Addolarata , and the quaint little houses that are characteristic of the city.

Some other interesting  things to do in western Sicily  include visiting the  Lilibeo Regional Archaeological Museum of Marsala  and watching the sunset over the  Saline Della Laguna  salt flats.

18. Savoca, the best thing to visit around Sicily

If you’re a fan of  The Godfather  movie, then Savoca is one of the  best cities to visit in Sicily . The village of Savoca was the main setting for the film, although it has plenty of hidden gems you might not know about.

As I mentioned in our  guide to Savoca , the town is an intriguing maze of narrow streets, and it’s best to discover its charm on your own. That said, here I’ll tell you  what to see in Sicily ‘s Savoca region if you’re short on time.

Savoca, Sicily things to see and do

First, you must visit the  Vitelli Bar  at  Piazza Fossia , which is famous for  The Godfather  saga. Today, the bar is also a mini-museum, full of film memorabilia that you can check out while you enjoy a beverage or snack.

Not far from the bar is the  Church of San Nicolo , which was also featured in  The Godfather  movies. The Church of Santa Maria in Cielo Assunta  is also worth visiting.

The cathedral is in Savoca’s historic  Pentefur  section and overlooks the entire city. The  Pentefur Castle  is nearby, although it has remained empty since it being riddled by earthquakes in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Another Savoca  activity to do in Sicily, Italy , is visiting the  Historical Ethno-Anthropological Museum .

19. Zíngaro Nature Reserve, another hike to do in Sicily

Visiting the  Zíngaro Nature Reserve  is one of the top  things to do in northern Sicily . As the first place to be declared a nature reserve in Sicily, Zíngaro is a lovely area of lush vegetation, wild animals, and archaeological relics.

Nestled between Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo, Zíngaro Nature Reserve is a refuge of greenery and fresh mountain air. This area has everything a nature lover could want since there is also a beach along the  Gulf of Castellammare .

Zíngaro Nature Reserve, places to go in Sicily Italy

Spending a few hours here is also a fun  thing to do in Sicily with kids . You’ll all be able to spend time together in the great outdoors and maybe learn a bit about the area’s archaeological past.

There are several trails you can take, and while they’re all enjoyable, I recommend the 4.3-mile path along the coastal coves. Just be mindful of the heat, as it can get quite hot along this unshaded path. I think it’s worth it though, as you’ll discover several  Sicily sights  along your route. Among these are the seven stunning beaches of Zíngaro:  Cala Capreria, Cala Varo, Cala Disa, Cala Berretta, Cala Marinella, Cala dell’Uzzo , and  Cala Tonnarella .

20. Enna, the best place to see the sunset in Sicily

There is a mythical atmosphere in  Enna and visiting this city is a  romantic thing to do in Sicily . It’s the highest city in Sicily, at 3,280 feet above sea level. If you visit on a clear day, you’ll get incredible views of the island and Mount Etna.

Even if the weather isn’t great during your visit, you won’t have any trouble figuring out  what to do in Enna, Sicily . I suggest visiting  Lombardy Castle , an impressive military fortress built in the 1st century and restructured by several kings throughout history. The archaeological sites of  Murgantia  and  Lake Pergusa  are also noteworthy, with the latter being the location of the Persephone myth.

Enna, Sicily what to see

Perhaps the  best thing to do in Sicily ‘s highest city is to see the  Cathedral of Enna  on Via Roma. While the church was built in the 14th century, a fire ravaged it in 1446. The original apse still stands, and even though the rest has been restored, the cathedral is a significant architectural monument in Sicily.

If you have time, stop by the Alessi Museum, where you can see part of the Cathedral’s treasure, including jewels, “Crown of the Virgin,” Byzantine iconography, ornaments, and ancient coins.

21. Visit Aci Trezza and Aci Castello, the best thing to do in Sicily for couples

The most enjoyable  thing to do in Sicily, Italy , is to visit  Aci Trezza  and  Aci Castello . These two coastal towns are a relaxing paradise after a sightseeing excursion around Sicily and they are not far from Catania.

First, the   best thing to do in Aci Trezza  is to take a seaside stroll to see the  Faraglioni . Also known as The Island of the Cyclops, these three sea stacks jut out of the water and are only accessible via boat. They are said to be the giant stones the cyclops Polyphemus threw at Odysseus in  The Odyssey .

Visit Aci Trezza and Aci Castello, famous places to visit in Sicily Italy

Aci Castello is another  must-see in Sicily  that’s equally as impressive. Your first stop should be the  Norman Castle , which was completed in 1081. Besides these ancient ruins, the highlight of Aci Castello is its black sand beach. The color comes from the tiny volcanic stones along the shoreline, which contrast spectacularly against the crystalline waters.

While I don’t think you’ll ever run out of  things to do in Sicily , I recommend making time for Aci Trezza and Aci Castello. They’re conveniently close to each other, and we managed to visit both before boarding the plane home from Catania.

22. Explore Villa Romana del Casale, one of the best things to do in Sicily, Italy

The  Villa Romana del Casale  is one of the most  famous places to visit in Sicily . Located in Piazza Armerina near Enna, this  UNESCO  World Heritage Site has the largest collection of Roman mosaics on earth.

The palace dates to the 4th century and belonged to a powerful Roman family. The ancient mosaics cover nearly 38,000ft², not only on the walls, but also on the floors and ceilings. A series of landslides preserved the work for centuries, so it’s one  main attraction in Sicily  that’s in great condition.

Explore Villa Romana del Casale, cool things to do in Sicily Italy

The villa’s entrance is flanked by three arches and leads to a courtyard and central fountain. The southern rooms include the  Diaeta of Orpheus , a small room covered with depictions of Orpheus, as well as a peristyle garden.

The main basilica features marble floors and columns made of pink Egyptian granite. There is also a great hall with a mosaic of Hercules going through the 12 labors.

Afterwards, pay a visit to the center of Piazza Armerina, where you’ll get striking views from 2,365 feet above sea level. Even on its own, this town is a gorgeous example of Baroque architecture. However, if you’re short on time and now sure  what to see in Sicily ‘s Enna province, I recommend the villa.

23. Necropolis of Pantalica, another interesting attraction in Sicily, Italy

The  Necropolis of Pantalica  is another popular  tourist attraction in Sicily  thanks to its great historical significance. Located in Syracuse in the southeastern part of the island, the Necropolis has about 4,000 tombs from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. The area covers nearly 510 acres and is a  UNESCO  World Heritage Site.

Obviously, this is one of the most historical  points of interest in Sicily , but it’s also a beautiful natural place. The tombs are scattered across a limestone hill surrounded by the Calcinara and Ánapo rivers. While you’re exploring the area, you may come across all kinds of unique flora and fauna.

Necropolis of Pantalica, Sicily vacation ideas

It’s practically impossible to see all the sites at the Necropolis in a single day, but several trails run through it, and they pass by the main highlights. The most impressive tombs are those of the  Necropolis of Filiporto , which has about 1,000 graves that were excavated around the 4th century BC. They’re the most recently discovered tombs, so they’re the best preserved.

You should also check out the  North Necropolis , the largest area which also has viewing platforms overlooking the Calcinara River. The  Anaktoron  is another intriguing section of prehistoric houses. Finally, the Grotta Pipistrelli is a natural bat cave that seems quite fitting for a Necropolis.

Many would say that this excursion is a creepy  thing to do in Sicily , but it’s also super unique.

24. Cava Grande de Cassibile Nature Reserve, the calmest place to go in Sicily

The  Cava Grande del Cassibile Nature Reserve  is one of the most incredible  things to do in Sicily, Italy . This gorgeous nature reserve is closer to Ávola, about 30 minutes south of Syracuse and just 15 minutes from Noto.

It encompasses over 6,670 acres within the  Iblei Mountains . It’s a protected park, so you can enjoy lush vegetation, impressive geological formations, and a wide variety of wildlife. Spend some time walking through canyons and to waterfalls and serene pools. This is where you’ll find some of the most beautiful natural wonders in Sicily .

Cava Grande de Cassibile Nature Reserve, places to visit Sicily

You can also get a good hike in while you’re here. If you visit during the summer, you can cool down in the refreshing crystal-clear waters after hiking around. Along the edges of the canyon, keep an eye out for the Paleolithic caves. Some of them date to the 10th century BC.

Even though this is a spectacular place to go, many visitors overlook it. We wouldn’t have known about it if it weren’t for our Sicilian friend, who insisted we check it out. He was right, so we’re including it in our list of top things to do in Sicily .

25. Walk around Morgantina, the best activity to do in Sicily

The final  must-see in Sicily  that I recommend is  Morgantina , also known as Murgantia or Morgantium. It is an ancient Greek city located to the east of the island that often goes unnoticed despite its historical value.

Back in those days, the city served as a connection point between the north coast, the south, and the east. Moreover, archaeological ruins at Morgantina date as far back as the 4th century BC, such as a Greek theater dedicated to Dionysus. The theater had a 2,000-person capacity, not bad for ancient times!

Walk around Morgantina, Sicily to do

Today, Morgantina is one of the  best cities to visit in Sicily , especially if you love ancient history. As you walk around the town, you’ll see the Agora sanctuary, the public square, Roman gymnasium, and the  ekklesiasteron , an assembly meeting place. The  bouleuterion  Senate house is a good example of Hellenic craftsmanship.

As you observe the commercial area, you’ll notice the remnants of different stores. Also, some of the homes still have recognizable mosaics and other ornamental elements. Morgantina is, without a doubt, a peculiar place, and visiting this city is an excellent  thing to do in east Sicily .

Now you know the 25  places to visit in Sicily  that I recommend. I’m including a map of  what to see in Sicily  to help you find all the cities, monuments, and points of interest. This way, you can plan your Sicily activities and create the perfect itinerary.

There are so many awesome things to do in Sicily , so no matter where you go, you’ll find something amazing. If you have any questions about where to go in Sicily , leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

I wish you safe and happy travels!

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tourism in sicily

tourism in sicily

Southern Italy

A dive into sicily, where a sea of art, culture and nature will seduce you and become eternal love.

A predominantly hilly and mountainous area, but one that wins the hearts of tourists from all over the world with its wonderful sea and rich cities with a charm all their own. Sicily is a picture-postcard island characterised by the indelible marks of the people who have lived there and made it unique, amidst artistic and cultural testimonies of enormous value.


Sicilian capital and crossroads of cultures and traditions, Palermo will cause you to fall in love with its exhilarating colours, fragrances and flavours. Palermo is a city teeming with churches, monuments and priceless works of art, animated by noisy working-class neighbourhoods adjoining sumptuous aristocratic buildings. Icing on the cake is the pleasant climate in all seasons, a breathtaking ocean view and a compelling culinary tradition.


History, nature, art and islands Pristine nature overhanging the sea and hidden coves, art, culture and tradition: Trapani, the western tip of Sicily, is home to this and more. Nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Churches”, we recommend exploring the streets of the old town, stopping to admire the Tower of Ligny and walking along the Mura di Tramontana, the ancient defensive perimeter leading from Piazza Mercato del Pesce to the Bastione Conca. Don’t miss the spectacle of the salt pans, which turn a deep pink when bathed by the sunset. From Trapani, you can take the cable car to the medieval town of Erice, to admire breath-taking views of the city and surrounding area. Along the coast from north to south are the splendid gulf of Castellammare, the fishing village of Scopello and the Caribbean-like beaches of San Vito Lo Capo, which hosts the Cous Cous Festival every September. Nearby, you can explore the pristine nature of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Mazara del Vallo is home to the famous Dancing Satyr, and from the Stagnone you can take a boat to the island of Mozia, once home to an ancient Phoenician colony. From Trapani you can visit the Egadi Islands, to spend a day in the coves of Favignana. If you love diving, Marettimo is the place for you. For ancient ruins, check out the temples of Segesta and Selinunte. Meanwhile, in the Mangiapane Cave you can discover the ancient village built into the rock.


The majestic gateway to Sicily A renowned cultural and commercial centre, Messina is the gateway for travellers to Sicily. We recommend visiting the Norman Cathedral, which houses Italy’s second largest organ and the world’s largest, most complex mechanical astronomical clock. Also worth exploring is the seat of the university, founded in 1548 by St Ignatius of Loyola. The province is home to the beautiful Taormina, famous for its picturesque pedestrian streets, archaeological sites and breath-taking views. The natural terrace on Monte Tauro, 206 metres above sea level, offers unique views of the Mediterranean. The village is home to the Greek Theatre, the region’s second largest theatre. Be sure to treat yourself to a few hours relaxing on the beach overlooking Isola Bella, a stunning islet that has become the symbol of Taormina. While in the area, don’t miss a visit to the villages of Novara di Sicilia, Tindari and Milazzo. The latter is famous for the Pool of Venus, a paradise for anyone who loves snorkelling, from which you can also reach Lipari, Vulcano or Stromboli. You can discover the charm and power of nature by plunging into the icy waters of the Alcantara Gorges. You can walk among the lava walls, and go rafting, climbing and trekking in the geological park surrounding the gorges.


"There lingers a wind that I recall afire / within the manes of slanted horses / that marks and gnaws the sandstone and the heart / of the gloomy telamons, lying / above the grass". The verses of Salvatore Quasimodo introduce visitors to the awe-inspiring Valley of the Temples, where the effect of the large telamons that supported the Temple of Olympian Zeus is anything but lugubrious. One thing's for certain, the archaeological park of ancient Akagras (the Ancient Greek word for Agrigento) - which the Greek poet Pindaro called “the most beautiful city” -and which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Sitewon't leave you indifferent. The magnificent Doric temples date back to the 5th century BC, when the city was at its peak. Excavations have also brought to light other parts of the ancient city such as public buildings, water systems, necropolises and fortifications, up to the archaeological and monumental ruins dating from the early Christian era. In the park, there are also nature trails through the Mediterranean scrub, amid agaves and prickly pear trees and acres of olive groves, vinyeards and almond trees. Among the many places of worship dedicated to the gods of Olympus, what else but a Greek myth could explain the luxuriant early flowering of the almond trees. Every year, the people of Agrigento celebrate the arrival of spring with the Almond Blossom Festival, remembering the mythical but ill-fated love story between a princess and a warrior. The medieval and modern city developed around the 9th century AD, on the Girgenti hill. Even beyond the archaeological park, Agrigento still retains many traces of its splendid history , such as the medievalcentre with its winding maze of streets typical of Arab cities and the plethora of churches and buildings constructed in different styles through the centuries. Agrigento has been proclaimed the Italian Capital of Culture 2025, together with Lampedusa and the local towns.



The essence of Sicily among the sea, castles and traces of a rich history Caltanissetta and its province are a destination to be discovered all year round, thanks to a pleasant climate even in the winter months. Discover the welcoming beaches of the Gela coastline and the green hills of the surrounding hinterland, with their archaeological remains from centuries of history. The entire area is dotted with small villages to be discovered at leisure, such as Borgo Santa Rita and Delia, during a camper van or car holiday. Caltanissetta itself has a lot to offer its visitors, from the imposing Baroque cathedral of Santa Maria la Nova to the colourful Church of Sant'Agata overlooking the large Corso Umberto I. Towering over the city are the ruins of Pietrarossa Castle, destroyed in the earthquake that struck the city in 1567. Be sure not to visit the Archaeological Museum to dive into this land's past. Overlooking the sea, the city of Gela is noted for its archaeological sites of great importance, starting with the Mura Timoleontee, for the Biviere Nature Reserve covering more than 300 hectares and for its historic centre full of Liberty-style buildings.


At an altitude of almost 1,000 metres - the highest provincial capital in Italy - Enna has always been an 'urbs inexpugnabilis', and is still a great little town that the Italian Touring Club has described as a 'ring of wonder', an 'up-and-down town', a 'summit suspended over the land', a 'balcony of incredible views'. The austere and enormous fortified system of the castle of Lombardy, created during the Swabian domination, offers a panorama that dominates both the city itself and the other urban pyramid of Calascibetta, perched opposite. A classic journey through the Erei and Iblei mountains from here to the tip of Cape Passero would hardly begin from Enna: it is logistically too far inland for people arriving from the mainland or landing at Catania airport. However, it is worth driving half an hour from Piazza Armerina to convince yourself that Enna has preserved its character as a historical city with a sober medieval tone, together with some marginal Baroque and 18th-century contaminations. Archaeological finds have confirmed the age-old origins of the city, which tradition says was the ancient centre first of the Sicans and then of the Siculians. Today's gastronomic discoveries include maccaruna with meat sauce, lamb or mutton chops, omelettes with vegetables, focaccias stuffed with bacon and tomato, and piacintinu pecorino cheese flavoured with saffron and black peppercorns, and much more.


With its breathtaking sea and unparalleled artistic heritage, Catania is fascinating and captivating. Indulge in the magnetic energy of a city with a long and colourful history, be swept away by its vitality and captivated by its art, architecture, food and wine. A visit to Catania is certain to be an unforgettable experience.


The city of Syracuse is located in one of the most beautiful inlets on the Mediterranean. It is a vital and dynamic city, worthy of its great past, and in 2005 was duly recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to Syracuse is a journey back in time and to discover the wonderful beauty of the natural environment in which the city is immersed. Syracuse has given rise to great figures of the cultural and artistic history of the Mediterranean and still has a very lively intellectual life. Archaeological evidence confirms human presence on the island of Ortigia as early as the 14th century BC, although urban construction dates back to the 8th century BC, with the foundation of the Greek colony of Syracuse. The political and economic growth of the city between the 6th and 4th centuries BC led to an increase in the number of inhabitants and the expansion of the city beyond the primitive walls. Having grown too large to be properly defended, Syracuse suffered enemy incursions from the hinterland and was besieged by the Athenians (416-13 BC). The war against Carthage in 405 BC placed the city in the hands of Dionysius I, who was forced to carry out major fortification works, remove the population from Ortigia and turn the island into a fortress for military purposes. The death of Dionysius around the middle of the 4th century started a long period of transition, which led to the defeat and sacking of the city by the Romans in 212 BC. Christianity had been spreading since the first centuries of the empire and the first buildings of early Christian worship began to appear in the third century. After a long siege, in 878 the city was taken and devastated by the Arabs, who, nevertheless, left a strong mark of their presence on its layout. Having finally the Arabs from the island, the Normans completed the work begun by the Byzantines, with their renovation of the ancient fortifications. The Aragonese government brought Syracuse considerable economic advantages, which left their mark in the construction of the ramparts that surround the island and of many buildings. The dramatic earthquake that struck in 1693 was a decisive event in the city's history, not because it caused irreparable damage but as the impetus for a Baroque-style restructuring, which gave the city an 18th-century appearance in place of its ancient identity. The city layout was then significantly altered by gutting operations during the fascist era, particularly the construction of Via del Littorio, the present-day Corso Matteotti. The economic expansion of the 1950s and ’60s heralded a period of coexistence with large industrial complexes, which was not always easy or lucrative. This sequence of often traumatic events has had a fascinating overlapping effect, in the form of a harmonious integration.

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Sunset is the best time to visit Etna Park and experience the heart of the volcano

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The Baroque towns of the Val di Noto: when art marries beauty

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The Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina

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Pantelleria, island of the wind and the earth

In Syracuse in the footsteps of the Greeks

island of eternal summer, culture and archaeology

A dive into Sicily, where a sea of art, culture and nature will seduce you and become eternal love. A predominantly hilly and mountainous area, but one that wins the hearts of tourists from all over the world with its wonderful sea and rich cities with a charm all their own. Sicily is a picture-postcard island characterised by the indelible marks of the people who have lived there and made it unique, amidst artistic and cultural testimonies of enormous value.


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10 Reasons to Visit Sicily on Your Next Trip to Italy

From the lively capital of Palermo to the hilltop city of Taormina, Sicily is finally being discovered for the magical destination that it is.

tourism in sicily

Italy's classic cities of Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan have long attracted tourists from around the world. All the while, Sicilians quietly produced wine, dined on superb seafood, and grew almonds, pistachios, olives, and citrus. Word has been getting out, though, about the island's picturesque coastline, historic towns, and abundant attractions.

From the lively capital of Palermo and the hilltop city of Taormina to Trapani in the west, the large tricornered island off the toe of Italy's boot is bursting with magical — and diverse — destinations. Sicily offers beaches, mountains, active volcanoes, and even snow skiing. Well-preserved archeological sites, cathedrals, and buildings show evidence of its history as a home for Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and other peoples. The indigenous Sicanians, about whom little is known, are thought to have occupied the island as far back as 8000 B.C., giving Sicily its name.

The yellow and red flag of Sicily depicts a three-legged woman with the head of the mythical Medusa, called the "Trinacria." The three legs symbolize the three corners of Sicily, and, according to legend, the three mythological nymphs who created the island. You'll see this symbol everywhere on the island, from its flag to the souvenirs you'll want to take home as memories of your extraordinary visit to Sicily.

Laura La Monaca/Travel + Leisure

Delicious Food

Sicily has its own style of Italian cuisine; its location and history influence its most popular dishes. It's not unusual to see couscous on a menu, reflecting Arabic tastes, as well as pasta served with ingredients that reflect each locale's specialty. Delicious fresh seafood is plentiful — the island has more than 600 miles of coastline — and sardines are served on their own or in the flavorful pasta con le sarde, which includes fennel, pine nuts, and raisins. Pasta alla Norma features tomato, eggplant, and salted ricotta cheese. Fried rice balls called arancini are popular snacks, and a favorite antipasto is caponata, a luscious mixture of tomatoes, capers, and eggplant.

Sicilians love desserts and are known to make the best cannoli — fried pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta. Granita, crushed ice flavored with fruit, almond, or coffee, and cassata , sponge cake with liqueur, ricotta, and marzipan (almond paste) are also top picks. Frutta Martorana, a Sicilian specialty, are miniature fruits and vegetables embellished by hand. Sicily's almonds, pistachios, and citrus appear in desserts like gelato and biscotti. And where else would you encounter the summertime breakfast treat brioche con gelato — gelato in a brioche bun?

Stunning Archaeological Sites

Sicily is home to some of the world's best-preserved examples of Greek and Roman temples, structures, and art. In the southwest, Agrigento's Valley of the Temples includes the nearly intact Temple of Concordia and columns remaining from several other Greek temples. On Sicily's southeast coast, Siracusa — once the leading city of Greece — a massive amphitheater built around the fifth century B.C. is still used for theatrical presentations. A third-century Roman amphitheater still stands in the area. On the nearby island of Ortigia are the remains of the Temple of Apollo, built in the seventh century B.C.

Farther north in the coastal hilltop city of Taormina, the Teatro Greco, dating to the third century B.C., was later enlarged by the Romans. Today, the theater is home to film festivals, concerts, and plays, with the audience enjoying views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna along with the performances. In Segesta, a striking Doric temple has stood for more than 2,000 years near a massive amphitheater. Selinunte, once a major Greek city on the south coast, is another impressive archaeological site. The Regional Archaeological Museum in Palermo contains historical Sicilian sculpture and artifacts.

Luxurious Beaches

Surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas, Sicily boasts miles of varied and beautiful coastline, so visitors will find something they love, whether it's secluded spot or a lively resort. Near Taormina, Isola Bella features a gorgeous beach, and it's common for lidos, or beach clubs, to offer umbrellas, chairs, beverages, and dining. A cable car takes visitors from central Taormina to beaches at Mazzarò. The sea is clear and warm, but the sand is pebbly, so beach shoes are suggested. Nearby Giardini Naxos has both lidos and public areas.

Palermo's beaches on the north shore, including Mondello, Magaggiari, and Cefalù, feature sandy shores. About 40 miles east of Palermo, Cefalù, once a fishing village, offers several beaches, cafés, restaurants, hotels, and nightlife. Near Ragusa, along the southeastern shore, popular beaches include Fontane Bianche, San Lorenzo, and Marina di Ragusa.

Distinctive Wines

Sicilian wines are increasingly popular, and winemaking on the island dates back millennia to the Greeks. Marsala, in western Sicily, produces fortified wines by the same name, categorized by their age and residual sugar. In the Mount Etna area of eastern Sicily, volcanic soil and a favorable climate lead to excellent wines like Carricante (white) and Etna Rosso (red) made mostly from Nerello Mascalese grapes. The widely planted native grape, Nero d'Avola, produces dark, robust, complex wines.

White wines, sometimes called Etna Bianco, are created primarily from the Carricante grape. Catarratto, the most planted grape, produces dry wines. Grillo, another dry white with medium body, is a lovely accompaniment for seafood. Sample local varieties and choose some favorites to look for when you arrive back home so you can relive your Sicilian experience.

Rich Culture and Traditions

The two-wheeled, horse-drawn cart painted with bright colors depicting religious scenes, flowers, and intricate designs is a recognizable symbol of Sicily. Originally used for transportation, the carts were pulled by horses also decorated with ribbons, bells, or plumes. Skilled craftsmen built and painted the carts, seen today at festivals, museums, and in miniature versions for souvenirs.

Sicily's cities and towns host festive events throughout the year, with many honoring patron saints, holidays, or seasons. In Agrigento, the springtime Almond Blossom Festival features 10 days of traditional costumes, music, and parades. The Sagra della Ricotta every April in Vizzini, one of Sicily's oldest cities, celebrates the cheese used in cannoli, cassata, and savory dishes. The Feast of Santa Rosalia in Palermo is a major event in mid-July with music, processions, and fireworks. Easter season brings carnival and Holy Week processions that show the authentic nature of Sicily's culture.

Beautiful Islands

Several groups of islands off Sicily's shores offer some of the most spectacular beaches in the area. The Pelagie Islands are southwest of Sicily in the Mediterranean. Lampedusa, the largest of these islands, features white-sand beaches and clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The Egadi Islands off Sicily's west coast are accessible for day trips from Trapani. Favignana, the largest of the Egadis, is home to luxury hotels, beaches, and popular diving spots.

Off Sicily's northern coast in the Tyrrhenian Sea are the volcanic Aeolian Islands. Lipari is the largest and most popular with tourists who enjoy its hot springs and historic architecture. Small, but also a tourist favorite, is Panarea. Stromboli features an active volcano, and many visitors take guided hikes to its summit. The island of Salina is known for its delicious capers and mountain peak. Off Sicily's west coast, volcanic Pantelleria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with fumaroles, mud baths, and agricultural products that include olives, grapes, and their well-known capers.

Impressive Cathedrals and Architecture

The Cathedral of Monreale , near Palermo, is a stunning example of Norman architecture begun around 1171 by King William II of Sicily. Notable for its mosaics — many made of pure gold, — its marble floor, and the inlaid detail of the columns in the cloister, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. On Siracusa's historic Ortigia island, the seventh-century Cathedral of Syracuse was built on the site of a Greek Doric temple whose columns are still visible on the cathedral's exterior. An expansive piazza enhances the cathedral's facade, an impressive view from one of the many cafés lining the area.

The hilltop Cathedral of Cefalù dates to 1131 when King Roger II began construction. The Cathedral of Catania , dedicated to St. Agatha, was originally built in the 11th century on the site of ancient Roman baths. After damage by earthquakes and fires, it was rebuilt in 1711 with a Baroque-style facade. Sicily's cities of Palermo, Noto, Ragusa, and Modica all offer spectacular cathedrals in a variety of architectural styles.

Villa Romana del Casale , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates to about the fourth century and contains an extensive collection of Roman artwork and mosaics. Set in the interior of Sicily, the villa is open for tours.

Welcoming Accommodations

From five-star resorts and exclusive villas to casual beach hotels, you'll find the right place to stay in Sicily. Verdura Resort on the south coast offers white-sand beaches, golf, a spa, and luxurious accommodations. Therasia Resort on the island of Vulcano features an expansive spa, pool, and views of the other Aeolians. The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina is a classic, with elegant rooms, gardens, and views of Mount Etna and the sea. Or book a grand villa overlooking the sea for a group or family.

Hotels in major cities include the boutique Villa Carlotta and the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons Hotel in Taormina, the Monaci delle Terre Nere near Mount Etna, Grand Hotel Wagner in Palermo, and the Baglio Sorìa in Trapani. For a different experience, enjoy the environment and comfort of a farmhouse stay. Choose a locale by the sea, mountains, or amid olive trees and grape vines. Farmhouse lodging can range from rustic to ultra-luxurious.

International airports in Palermo and Catania receive flights from most cities in Europe. Eurostar trains from Rome and Naples and other cities in Italy arrive in Sicily via a ferry across the Strait of Messina, an enjoyable trip. From the Italian ports of Naples, Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia, and Villa San Giovanni, ships sail to Palermo, Catania, and Messina. It's even possible to drive from the mainland and other European countries, taking the ferry to Messina.

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Sicily   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Federico Scotto | Getty Images

tourism in sicily

15 Best Things To Do in Sicily

Updated Apr. 27, 2022

Sicily is big, with a nearly endless list of things to do. Some of the island's top amusements are its beaches, of course. Then there are the curious ruins – the Valley of the Temples and the Greek Theatre of Taormina , among others. Experiencing

  • All Things To Do

tourism in sicily

Aeolian Islands Aeolian Islands

There are many lovely islands off the coast of Sicily, and the hardest part may be choosing which ones to see. A popular choice is the Aeolian Islands, located near Messina and composed of seven main islands, which were created by active volcanoes. There you will find incredible sites like a Greek acropolis, a Norman cathedral, beautiful beaches, volcanic vents and even lava running into the sea.

Past visitors recommended visiting Stromboli volcano (seeing it at night when erupting is extra spectacular), the Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano on Lipari, the Scalata al Cratere on Isola Vulcano and Chiesa Vecchia di Quattropani on Lipari, as well.

tourism in sicily

Mount Etna Mount Etna

Located on the island's east coast, Mount Etna is perhaps Sicily's best-known geological feature encompassing nearly 48,000 acres within Etna National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest volcano in Europe known for its frequent activity (it's erupted as recently as spring 2019), Mount Etna hosts hikers in the summer months and skiers during the winter. It is a great stop for nature lovers. In addition to the volcano itself, there are several interesting geological features like caves, grottos and even a glacier. The Etna Park Visitor Center offers naturalist-guided tours that depart from the center.

Visitors recommend taking the Circumetnea Railway nearly 130-mile ride around the volcano, but advise you may have to pay to park and suggest bringing layers of clothes for changing temperatures. You can also opt for a cable car operated by Funivia Dell'Etna followed by a bus ride to reach the upper crater area of the volcano. The south area with cable car access, Rifugio Sapienza, offers free parking. You can also hike at any point, but certain elevations require you to have a guide.

tourism in sicily

Greek Theatre of Taormina Greek Theatre of Taormina

History buffs will want to visit this ancient Greek theater, overlooking the Ionian Sea. Built in the third century B.C., the theater could hold thousands of people attending ancient Greek performances and later gladiatorial games. The structure is built out of rock and is designed so attendees could hear well from any part of the theater. Today, it hosts modern concerts and events.

Past visitors said this is a must-see attraction and that the views of the coast and Mount Etna are incredible. They recommended visiting in the morning to avoid crowds.

tourism in sicily

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tourism in sicily

Selinunte Archaeological Park Selinunte Archaeological Park

The largest archeological area in Europe at about 670 acres, this site was once home to one of the largest Greek colonies on the island, dating to 600 B.C. Today, visitors can tour the ruins of seven Doric temples, as well as the necropolis and caves. There are different hiking routes to see the various structures that range from about a quarter-mile to about 3 ½ miles.

Recent visitors said the site does require a lot of walking on uneven ground, and they recommended hiring a guide to fully explain the history of the area.

tourism in sicily

Monreale Cathedral Monreale Cathedral free

Monreale's cathedral, built by William II, dates to 1172 and is now part of a larger UNESCO World Heritage Site that also encompasses the Royal Palace and the Palermo Cathedral, among other sites. Designed by Islamic architects, the cathedral's walls are filled with gilded mosaics depicting Old Testament events, the life of Jesus Christ and the life of the apostles. There's also a Benedictine cloister on site with a courtyard and garden built during the same time period.

Visitors say the duomo is stunning and recommend visiting the cloister. They also suggest allowing a day to see both.

tourism in sicily

Villa Romana del Casale Villa Romana del Casale

Stroll through the villa of a wealthy Roman family filled with well-preserved mosaics on both the floor and walls. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, which dates back to the fourth century, also contains columns, capitals, statues, coins and the remains of thermal baths.

Recent visitors said the mosaics are stunning and some even described it as the highlight of their trip to Sicily.

tourism in sicily

Valley of the Temples Valley of the Temples

Located in Agrigento in southwest Sicily, this more than 2,000-acre archeological site dates back to the sixth century B.C. and includes the remains of numerous Greek temples. A highlight is the Temple of Concordia, which is known as one of the greatest remaining Doric temples (along with the Parthenon in Athens) and which was later converted to a Christian church. Other highlights include the remains of aqueducts, mosaic floors and a tomb.

Past visitors said it's worth visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site and recommended allowing at least half a day, if not a full day to explore the area. Others suggested timing your visit for the cooler months, as the ruins are actually situated on a ridge (not in a valley, as its name suggests) and the temperatures in the summer can get quite hot.

tourism in sicily

Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel

Completed in 1143, this chapel is part of the Royal Palace complex in Palermo and was once described by the French author Guy de Maupassant as "the finest religious jewel ever dreamed up by the human mind." It is a mix of various styles, including European, Sicilian, Byzantine and Arabic, and features Byzantine mosaics and an Islamic-style wooden stalactite ceiling. You can also tour the Royal Apartments area, though they are closed Tuesday through Thursday, as well as the Royal Gardens. The palace also features rotating exhibits.

Recent travelers said the chapel is a must-visit and describe the mosaics as breathtaking.

tourism in sicily

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Teatro Massimo Teatro Massimo

The largest theater in Italy, Teatro Massimo is located in Palermo and opened in 1897. The theater, which is known for its exceptional acoustics (and its appearance in "The Godfather: Part III"), hosts opera, ballet and music performances throughout the year.

According to recent visitors, the building is impressive and the neoclassical architecture magnificent. Reviewers suggested looking at the performance calendar ahead of your visit to see if any shows pique your interest. If not, consider tagging along on a guided tour of the theater.

tourism in sicily

Mondello Beach Mondello Beach

When in Sicily, you must visit some of its beautiful beaches, including Mondello, a popular beach in Palermo. Palm trees line this beach with pale sand and emerald waters. Dotting the beach are art nouveau villas and colorful cabins with an old fishing village filled with brightly-colored boats just around the corner.

Past travelers highly recommended a visit to this beach thanks to its clear waters and advise that you can rent chairs and an umbrella for a day in the sun. They also say it's easy to reach from Palermo via bus, although several reviewers warn of inconsistent bus frequency and a crowded ride in the summer. If you're willing to pay for the convenience, travelers suggest you take a taxi from Palermo to the beach. Part of the beach is free to visit (though according to reviewers, it's a very small section). For more space and access to amenities, you'll have to fork over some euros.

tourism in sicily

Zingaro Reserve Zingaro Reserve

Outdoor enthusiasts won't want to miss the Zingaro Reserve. Stretching for more than 4 miles along the Gulf of Castellammare on Sicily's northwestern tip, the reserve has been left largely untouched by human hands since it was established in 1981. The reserve offers spectacular ocean views, many lovely bays, small beaches and plentiful hiking among abundant flora and fauna.

Past visitors said the area is great for snorkeling and intermediate hikes, and highly recommend its beautiful beaches. Others suggested wearing comfortable shoes and bringing plenty of water and snacks.

tourism in sicily

Palermo Cathedral Palermo Cathedral

Built by the Normans beginning 1184, the Palermo Cathedral is a must-see for the many architectural styles incorporated into its façade. Altered throughout the centuries since its inception, the cathedral demonstrates Catalan Gothic architecture and features hints at its past life. The site the cathedral now occupies once housed a mosque (among other religious edifices), and you'll see an inscription from the Quran on one of the cathedral's columns. Inside, you will find a crypt, the crown of Constance of Aragon and the tombs of several royal figures.

Recent visitors described the cathedral as an architectural and cultural masterpiece and recommended going up to the roof for fantastic views of Palermo. If you're visiting in the summer, reviewers suggest you stop by early in the day to avoid the queue. Others advised wearing sensible shoes to easily traverse the narrow steps up to the roof.

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North Sicily Coast

Sicily is full of superlatives, many of them relating to treasures of the ancient world. In Agrigento's Valley of Temples , for example, you'll see one of the three most perfect temples in the Greek world. At Selinunte is one of the largest of all known Greek temples. Villa Romana del Casale in Enna, with more than 3,500 square meters of mosaics, is one of the best-preserved villas anywhere in the Roman Empire and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

So are the twin towns of Ragusa and Modica for representing Europe's zenith of Baroque art. Both the stunning mosaics and the exquisite cloister at Monreale are considered highlights of European art, and the collections at Palermo's Archeological Museum rank it as one of Italy's best.

Sicily has its share of natural wonders, too, with Mount Etna ranking as continental Europe's tallest active volcano, and the nightly display from Stromboli , in the neighboring Aeolian Islands, its most dependable. Beyond its tourist attractions, you'll enjoy Sicily for its lively local culture and spirited people.

Discover the best things to do on this diverse island with our list of the top attractions in Sicily.

1. The Cathedral of Monreale

2. the valley of temples in agrigento, 3. church mosaics in palermo, 4. eastern temples at selinunte, 5. explore mount etna by rail or cable car, 6. villa romana del casale in enna, 7. parco archeologico della neapolis, syracuse, 8. taormina's townscape and greek theater, 9. aeolian islands, 10. go to the beach, 11. antonino salinas regional archeological museum, 12. ragusa and modica, 13. cefalù cathedral, 14. ortigia, sicily (palermo) - climate chart.

The Cathedral of Monreale

The cathedral of Monreale reflects at once the politics, religion, and artistic heights of Sicily under the Normans. And in doing so, it also achieved a place in the art history of Europe, all the more remarkable because it remains today almost exactly as it was built in the 1100s.

The cathedral's architecture represents the move away from Eastern Byzantine forms, but its decoration with dazzling mosaics – considered the church's magnificent highlight – keep it firmly in the Byzantine traditions. They cover every available surface, in intricate illustrations of Biblical text and themes rendered in vibrant colors and with exceptional artistic virtuosity.

Artistically, the cloister ranks right alongside the mosaics, a masterpiece of 228 double columns, with intricately carved capitals, surrounding a garden with a lovely fountain in one corner. The stone carving is not only beautiful, but the motifs are an engaging mix of mythical, religious, animal, floral, and human figures. Many of the columns are inlaid with colored stones, and no two are alike.

Just a few steps from the cathedral, the boutique hotel Palazzo Cuto occupies a historic home furnished in antiques and decorated by paintings and sculptures. Views from the hotel are spectacular, sweeping across Palermo and the inland mountains.

Address: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Monreale

  • Read More: Exploring Monreale Cathedral: A Visitor's Guide

The Valley of Temples in Agrigento

The large complex of temples and tombs in Agrigento dates as far back as 500 BCE and includes Sicily's best preserved Doric temple – Tempio di Concordia – one of the most perfect to survive anywhere. Along with it in the eastern group is the Tempio di Juno Lacinia , almost as large, and in the western group is Temple of the Olympian Zeus , the largest of them at 40 meters but toppled by an earthquake.

The circular Doric Tempio di Heracles , also in the western group, was destroyed by the Carthaginians and rebuilt by the Romans, only to be partially destroyed in an earthquake. The entire group is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Luxurious guest rooms and suites of the Hotel Villa Athena overlook the Tempio della Concordia in the Valley of the Temples, and the garden surrounding the resort includes a swimming pool and spa.

Address: Valle dei Templi, Agrigento, Sicily

Official site:

  • Read More: Best Tourist Attractions in Agrigento

Church Mosaics in Palermo

Two of Palermo's three major churches, the Cappella Palatina and Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, better known as La Martorana , are famed for their mosaics. Those in the chancel of the Normans' court church, Cappella Palatina, are thought to be from 1143 and the mosaic of Christ between Peter and Paul from about 1350. Other highlights of the church are the Arabic stalactite ceiling, the pulpit on carved and inlaid pillars, and the tall candelabra.

La Martorana's beautiful mosaics are also from the 12th century on a gold ground and are the oldest of their kind in Sicily. The image of Christ is the centerpiece, and elsewhere in the vaulting, dome, apses, and narthex are scenes from the New Testament.

The third church, the cathedral, is worth visiting for its 1453 Gothic-Catalan portico, monumental Norman tombs, and jewel-encrusted crown of Constance of Aragon in the cathedral treasury.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Palermo

Temple at Selinunte

One of the largest and most significant of Sicily's ancient sites, Selinunte has eight Greek temples dating as far back as the fifth century BC, plus the nearby Temple of Demeter. The most important are those known as the Eastern Group, labeled by letter: Temple G for its impressive size and Temple E for its architectural grandeur, considered the highpoint of the Classical period. Temple G, now in ruin, was among the largest of all Greek temples.

In a separate section is the large Acropolis surrounded by defensive walls, some dating from the seventh century BC. Temple C is the largest and oldest, from about 550 BC, and sits on the highest ground.

Temple Shapes in Selinunte

Etna is an enigma; even its height is never certain, as it changes with each new eruption. But at more than 3,000 meters, it rules the skyline with its often-smoking cone. Volcanic vents, fumaroles, hot springs, and lava flows add to its changing landscape, much of which you can explore (although not too close to the central crater) on foot or in all-terrain vehicles designed for traction in the volcanic surface.

Roads lead to the base of cable cars, which will take you to the 2,500-meter point, an easy day trip from Catania or Taormina . In the winter, you can ski near the summit.

A narrow-gauge railway, Ferrovia Circumetnea takes you almost completely around the mountain, or you can circle it by car, through towns with castles, archeological sites, and splendid scenery. Along Mount Etna's northern side, the Alcantara River has cut a spectacular gorge through a long-ago lava flow to create the Gole dell'Alcántara (Alcantara Gorge).

Etna Map - Tourist Attractions

A 12th-century landslide buried this sprawling Roman villa outside Enna, thus preserving it almost intact to be discovered and excavated eight centuries later. One of the best-preserved villas anywhere in the Roman Empire, it still has most of the original decoration.

In the 50 rooms so far excavated are more than 3,500 square meters of mosaic floors with detailed scenes from mythology and contemporary life, including hunting wild animals for use in gladiatorial combat. The thermal baths with their colonnaded courtyard and fountain are especially beautiful. The villa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Address: Contrada Casale 1, Piazza Armerina, Enna

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Enna

Enna - Villa Romana del Casale - Floor plan map

  • (1) Entrance
  • (3) Aphrodite ante-room
  • (4) Frigidarium
  • (5) Salve and massage room
  • (6) Tepidarium
  • (8) Vestibule
  • (9) Peristyle
  • (10) Water system
  • (11) Small temple
  • (12) Small latrine
  • (13) Palaestra or Salone di Circo
  • (14) Large latrine
  • (15) Room with stove
  • (16) Inner hall
  • (17) Dance hall
  • (18) Geometrical stellar mosaics
  • (19) Lost mosaics
  • (20) Room of the Seasons
  • (21) Room of the Little Hunt
  • (22) Cupids fishing
  • (23) Square mosaics
  • (24) Octagonal mosaics
  • (25) Corridor of the Great Hunt
  • (26) Rectangular mosaics
  • (27) Maidens exercising
  • (28) Orpheus Room
  • (29) Xystos
  • (30) Amorettos at the grape harvest
  • (31) Wine press
  • (32) Vine growing
  • (37) Vestibule of Polyphemo
  • (38) Erotic scenes
  • (39) Representations of fruit
  • (40) The Great Basilica
  • (41) Room with Arion
  • (42) Atrium with columned hall
  • (43) Boys hunting
  • (44) Vestibule with Eros and Pan
  • (45) Vestibule with a Small Circus
  • (46) Musicians

Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, Syracuse

One of the largest theaters in the ancient Greek Empire is a good reason, but not the only one, to visit the archaeological park in Syracuse. The view of the excavations as you approach along Viale Rizzo will give you an idea of their extent, which includes both the Greek Theater and a large Roman Amphitheater .

The massive Altar of Hiero II dates from the third century BC, a century later than the 15,000-spectator Greek Theater. The Roman Amphitheater is from the third century AD and is partly hewn from the bedrock.

An interesting feature of this archaeological park is the opportunity to see the quarries where the building stone was cut on-site for the various structures. The largest of these is the Latomia del Paradiso , where limestone was quarried since the sixth century BC. One of the underground galleries has such perfect acoustics that it is known as l'Orecchio di Dionisio, the Ear of Dionysius .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Syracuse

Syracuse - Parco Archeologico - Site map

Competing with mountaintop Erice as Sicily's most beautiful town setting, Taormina would be a favorite with tourists even without its magnificent Greek Theater and its iconic view of Mount Etna . Taormina's streets open into terraces, each one with postcard-worthy views of the sea or mountain.

Corso Umberto is the main street, crossing the town in a series of squares and terraces and lined by venerable buildings, smart shops, and open-air cafés. Lanes lead upward, becoming long flights of stairs that lead higher and higher to more viewpoints and a castle.

The best-known view, immortalized by painters for centuries, is from the landmark Greek Theater, built in the third century BC by the Greeks and completely rebuilt a century later by the Romans. It is largely intact and used for performances.

For spectacular views of the town and Mt. Etna and a peaceful setting above the busy streets, choose the small, luxury boutique Hotel Villa Ducale . Guest rooms and suites are individually designed in a blend of traditional Sicilian and Italian contemporary style. A free shuttle takes guests to the town center and the beach.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Taormina & Easy Day Trips

Aeolian Islands

These seven islands, all of volcanic origin and some still active, lie off the north coast of Sicily and are easily reached by boat from Messina or Milazzo. The best known is perhaps Stromboli , whose pyrotechnics light the sky each night, much to the delight of passengers on cruise ships, which time their departures for the display.

The volcanic activity has created beautiful coastlines of rough, craggy rocks, as well as natural attractions-fumaroles and thermal and sulfur springs-to visit. Water sports of all kinds are another draw for tourists, who find beaches, boat rentals, diving, and scenic boat excursions, as well as ferry connections between the islands. Prehistoric sites abound, as do later sites from Greek and Roman periods.

Beach in San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily

Some of the best beaches in Italy lie along the shores of Sicily, long stretches of white sand that slope into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian seas. While many of these beaches are equipped with the typical stabilimento balneare , with lounge chairs ( lettini ) to rent and the use of changing tents, showers, and restrooms, there are less developed beaches located inside nature preserves.

One of these is Torre Salsa , inside a World Wildlife Fund nature reserve close to Agrigento and Selinunte. Instead of the usual beach facilities and crowds of sun worshipers, you'll find six kilometers of unspoiled sand beach backed by white chalk cliffs. The water is just as pristine, clear, and filled with marine life, which makes this a popular place for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Also protected as part of a World Wildlife Fund nature reserve , the tiny island of Isola Bella is directly below Taormina , and reached by a cable car. It is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of rocky beach, and the beach itself is pebbles instead of sand. But a more beautiful setting is hard to imagine, and the waters are crystal clear. Snorkeling is popular here, and there are lounge chairs for rent, as well as kayaks.

Adjacent to the Zingaro Nature Reserve , on Sicily's northwestern coast, and sheltered by a soaring headland at one end, is the beach of San Vito Lo Capo. The scene is idyllic, complete with palm trees, a kilometer-long beach of soft white sand, and clear blue water, and there are tourist facilities here.

Turtles in a fountain at the Antonino Salinas Regional Archeological Museum in Palermo

In a place so filled with Greek, Roman, and earlier sites, you'd expect to find many impressive museums. And you'd be right. But even among this abundance, Palermo's Antonino Salinas Regional Archeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas) tops them all, and is one of the finest in all Italy.

Among its highlights are the Palermo Stone with hieroglyphics listing Egyptian Pharaohs of the third and fourth millennia BC, a colossal second-century BC statue of Zeus, and the outstanding sculptures and friezes from the temples at Selinunte. Look also for the Etruscan Mercury staff, grave carvings from Chiusi, Attic grave-reliefs, as well as Stone Age and Copper Age tools and vessels.


The earthquake of 1693 leveled much of the southern tip of Sicily, including the neighboring towns of Ragusa and Modica. Both towns were rebuilt in the then-current Baroque style, with local interpretations that became known as Sicilian Baroque. Along with six others, Ragusa and Modica were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the "culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe."

Ragusa built a new town on a hill above the old one, but enough buildings were left in the old town for it to remain active, with new Baroque buildings replacing fallen ones. Modica, too, is built on two levels, and its upper town is highlighted by the Church of San Giorgio , built with materials recovered from fallen buildings after the earthquake. In the lower town, look for the 15th-century Gothic rose window in the Chiesa del Carmine .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Ragusa

Cefalù Cathedral

One of Sicily's most interesting medieval buildings, the imposing cathedral was built, so legend has it, by the Norman King Roger II as a votive offering for surviving a storm at sea. The cathedral is a Sicilian history book, with architecture and decorations reflecting almost every wave of conquest in the island's history. Look for Arab, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Norman elements.

The semi-circular dome of the apse is filled by a mosaic of Christ by Byzantine artists, among the best-preserved mosaics in Sicily. Along with the mosaics, look for the baptismal font from the 12th century and for the highly ornamental plasterwork in the choir.

The cathedral stands out above winding stone streets that drop into the colorful fishing harbor and a long white-sand beach that stretches along the coast from right below the old town. If you're looking for a place to stay, Cefalu Sea Palace is an affordable beachfront resort with a large pool and rooftop restaurant.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, Cefalù

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Cefalù

Picturesque street in Ortigia

The Citta Vecchia (Old City) of Syracuse is on an island, a tightly packed warren of streets dating back to ancient times and connected to the larger new city by two narrow bridges. The Greeks fortified it, and built temples to Apollo and Athena.

One of these remains today, incorporated into the cathedral in the 7 th century (you can see its Doric columns in the walls). It later became a mosque for more than two centuries, and was re-Christianized by the Normans, who added the mosaics. It was rebuilt again after a 1693 earthquake, in the Sicilian Baroque style.

Also in the Citta Vecchia are remains of a Greek theater and a Roman amphitheater. These, the Cathedral and the Necropolis of Pantalica on the outskirts of the newer city, are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Besides seeing these landmarks, tourists find plenty of things to do in the narrow lanes and waterside promenades of this old city. Ortigia is a good place to get a feel for local life, in its shops, cafés, and the daily open-air market. Stroll along the promenade of Foro Italico and stop to enjoy the sea view from a shady bench.

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Exploring Sicily: Most tourists arrive in the busy port city of Messina , at the eastern tip of Sicily, and explore the nearby attractions on day trips from Messina . At the western end of the island, the historic port city of Trapani is filled with things to see and do; Selinunte is only one of the interesting day trips from Trapani .


Where to Go from Sicily: Ferries connect Sicily to other Mediterranean islands. Weekly service runs to Cagliari , from which you can explore the attractions of Sardinia . More frequent ferries travel to Valletta , the main port for the island of Malta .

Sicily in Antiquity Map - Tourist Attractions

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Referring to Italy, in addition to the powerful and mighty of Rome, the rich culture of Tuscany or the vibrant of Naples, surely the name Sicily or Sicilia will evoke lot of emotions to anyone. Sicily, not only has famous for the novel ‘The Godfather’, ‘specialty’ Mafia and Separatism but also owns a lot of great things that no other land in Italy can match, including the rich and diverse culture of the land with the oldest history in Italy after Rome. In terms of landscape, cultural identity and geographical location, Sicily is not inferior to any other place in Italy, but what has made this land stray from the image of a prosperous Europe that people often imagine? This Sicily blog not only shares with you Sicily travel experiences, but also provides a part of the social picture of the evil land in the pages of Mario Puzo’s books. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Sicily — The largest island of Italy for the first-time? Let’s check out our Sicily travel blog (Sicily blog) with the fullest Sicily travel guide (Sicily guide, Sicily tourist guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!

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  • Cinque Terre travel blog — The fullest Cinque Terre travel guide for a great trip on a budget for the first-timers

tourism in sicily

If you have read the world famous novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo, you will surely know the legendary land of Sicily of Italy which is also the beautiful southernmost island with tradition of producing wine for more than a thousand years. Not only being the “land of Mafia”, this place also contains many interesting and strange things.

tourism in sicily

Unlike many other large cities and regions in Italy, Sicily is not dense with monumental or massive, majestic or high-rise buildings, but it has many palm trees and other rare trees and plants that evoke the feeling of being in a country of Middle East or North Africa. The streets of cities or towns in Sicily are also small, and there are many more flea markets, shops right on the streets, diverse markets from food markets selling meat, fish and vegetables, to clothing stalls, Chinese game electronics, to gas stoves and ovens.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: Overview of Sicily

Where is sicily.

tourism in sicily

Well, if you imagine Italy as a boot or a high-heeled shoe, Sicily is like a kicked ball. Indeed, this image ironically compares Sicily’s position in the heart of Italy: Backward and isolated. Despite the distance from the mainland (ie Italy) to the port of Messina of Sicily is only 6.6km, but Sicily is already considered a remote island of Italy.

tourism in sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea with an area of up to 25,711 km² and a population of over 5 million (2022), it is separated from mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina, is one of five autonomous regions, officially known in Italian as Regione Siciliana. The most prominent landscape of the island is Mount Etna, the most famous volcano in Europe with the most frequent and powerful eruptions.

tourism in sicily

Sicily is 3km from Calabria (in mainland Italy), 160km from the coast of Africa, and to this day, it is still impossible to confirm whether Sicily was once attached to Africa or mainland Italy. Due to its geographical location, Sicily is the most important island in Mediterranean Sea.

tourism in sicily

A brief history of Sicily

Since the appearance of the first inhabitants, the ancient people of Sicanians, there have been many peoples to occupy, successively inhabiting this hilly and rich in flora and fauna island. After the primitive civilization of the Sicanians came the civilization of the people of Sicels (the origin of the name Sicily), then the people of Elymians originated from West Asia (now Turkey), and then continued to be assimilated by Greek army. For hundreds of years, people jostle against each other to occupy this vast and majestic island, Sicily was handed over from the Greeks to the Carthaginians, to the Roman Empire, to Arabia, to Norman, to France, to Spain, to Austria… until Giuseppe Garibaldi unified Italy and regained Sicily in 1860.

tourism in sicily

Due to its prime location with hundreds of years of changing thrones, Sicily is the cultural exchange of many different cultures, the Sicilian people are famous for their multi-racial diversity and colorful culture. Coming to Sicily, you can see a blending of ancient indigenous civilizations such as Sicanians, Sicels, Elymians, to the civilizations of invaders such as Roman, Greek, Arab, Norman, Albania, France, Spain. A lot of people in Sicily today are of Albanian origin because this people have occupied and settled here since the 16th century…

tourism in sicily

The Greeks also invaded the southern Italy and Sicily, so Sicily is so heavily influenced by Greek culture and its civilization, so there are a lot of Greeks here, more Greek-style temples than in Greece itself. The language of the Sicilian people therefore also has a lot of foreign elements mixed (there are even some Albanian-influenced communities who have occupied here since the sixteenth century and to day they still speak the ancient Albanian language). Even the eye color and hair color of a large number of people in Sicily (red hair and blue eyes) are also considered traits they inherited from the Normans. In addition, there also are many people with Arab surnames. So, many Italians sometimes joke that Sicily isn’t Italian, and many Sicilian themselves also don’t identify themselves as Italian.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: Is Sicily safe?

There is no country is absolutely safe but actually in Sicily you will be surprised because the security here is better than you think. I lived for a year in Sicily and have never been pickpocketed, stolen or cheated while in Rome I was scammed as soon as I arrived at the airport. The proud Sicilian are sincere, generous and respect to foreigners. What about the mafia? I didn’t see the influence of this criminal organization on the daily life here. However, you should not be too casual when talking about this topic or discuss it with natives because it is a rather complicated topic.

tourism in sicily

Generally, fewer pickpockets than other famous tourist cities such as: Rome, Barcelona, ​​Paris… also not as many robbers as Naples, Sicily is much safer. There is also absolutely no gunfight like in the movies, probably because civilians, tourists are not the object of interest of mafia gangs. However, you should also be careful when wandering around in slums or suburbs, which may not be as safe as in downtown areas.

tourism in sicily

What about poverty and backwardness? Indeed, Sicily has poorer infrastructure than northern regions and high rates of unemployment, ghost towns and abandoned cities when young people move to the North to finding jobs that makes the cities become deserted, full of elderly people but in general people still have a comfortable life.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel blog: When to visit?

Sicily is endowed with a mild Mediterranean climate, warm winters, cool summers, and little rain. The average temperature in winter is about 6-7 degrees Celsius, 18-20 degrees Celsius in summer.

tourism in sicily

The golden rule when traveling to countries with sea and islands is to go in sunny summer, even if it’s the peak season with higher costs. Summer in Italy is similar to Vietnam, lasting from the end of May to the end of August. The Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and due to its geographical location close to North Africa, summer in Sicily is hotter than other European regions. However, the European summer is very pleasant compared to the summer in the North or Central Vietnam.

tourism in sicily

You can also come to Sicily in spring with lush green trees, flowers blooming everywhere, it will be more beautiful but not as crowded as in summer, especially for ocean lovers. However, many hotels and restaurants only open in the summer when tourists flocking here.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: How to get to Sicily?

The simplest and most efficient way to get to Sicily is by plane. The island has two international airports: Palermo and Catania, connecting to many major cities in the world and the most famous airline is Alitalia – the national carrier of Italy.

tourism in sicily

There are no direct train routes from mainland cities to Sicily because there is no bridge connecting the island to the mainland. Due to the distance is too far from other regions of Italy, so taking a bus will takes a lot of time, so I do not recommend you to choose this option.

Traveling by boat also is a option to reach Sicily. There are many ferry companies such as Alicudi Palermo Ferry, Alicudi Milazzo Ferry, Civitavecchia Palermo Ferry, Civitavecchia Palermo Termini Imerese Ferry, Favignana Trapani Ferry… which are operating routes to Sicily, you can directly buy tickets at ticket counters at ferry piers or buy online in advance, refer to departture points, routes and timetables here .

tourism in sicily

Sicily guide: Getting around Sicily

Unlike other developed regions or cities in Italy, public transport in Sicily is even more backward. Usually, in order to save time and make the most comfortable, tourists often choose to travel by coach (passenger car) between tourist destinations on the island. You can refer to the website of the Etna Travel Service Company here or via Facebook , the web is not available in English, so please use Google Translate. According to my experience, you should look up the departure time on the website and then follow the address that listed on the website to buy tickets right on the spot, because online payment also is not available.

tourism in sicily

For trains you can book and pay online here . However, not every city in Sicily has a train station and the frequency of trains is not as much as that of passenger cars.

tourism in sicily


However, you should rent a private car if you want to freely explore the tourist attractions on the island. It is recommended to rent in advance online, especially to avoid the holidays or special occasions. The car rental price for a week ranges from €250 to €500. Large rental companies often offer better prices, should not be rented from small firms, they often offer cars with poor quality, prices are not fixed. All car rental companies have offices at the airports and in major cities in Sicily.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: What to do and where to go?

Trapani – marsala, salt flats and ancient windmills.

Since ancient times, salt has always played an extremely important role in human life. People get rich from salt, war for salt, even in Italy there are many roads named “Via Salaria” – Salt Route.

The hot winds from Africa, the long sunny summer days, the saltwater coastal lands are all the perfect conditions for the birth of immense salt fields. Here, natural sea salt is still crystallized from the evaporation of water, just as the ancient Phoenicians did 2,700 years ago. Salt was sold throughout the Mediterranean, as far away as the Nordic countries. Thanks to salt, in the mid-16th century it was one of the most important ports in Europe. Today, although there are many different substitutes, the salt here is still preferred by culinary experts because of its purity, no preservatives and the salty taste of natural sea salt.

tourism in sicily

Leaving the highway, driving along the highway from Trapani to Marsala you will encounter salt fields along both sides of the road. The scene of salt fields is adorned by scattered ancient windmills on the horizon. The first windmills were built in the Middle Ages, today most people use mechanical pumps, but sporadically, there are still 1-2 windmills that continue to lead into and drain water out of the salt fields.

tourism in sicily

Not available in Sicily tours, and if you want to go, you also have to rent a private car to get there, so not many tourists know this place. But if you have an opportunity to get here, remember to visit the Museum of Salt and the restaurant Trattoria del Sale. You can both visiting, admiring artifacts and documents regard the salt industry in Trapani, and you can also enjoy dishes using salt according to local recipes. And of course, you should also take advantage of buying a few bags of sea salt to use and give as gifts to friends.

tourism in sicily

Isola Di Vulcano – The Island of Volcanoes

The ancient Greeks named the island Thérmessa, meaning “Source of Heat”, and in Greek mythology it was known as the forge of God Hephaestus (Vulcano in Roman, the god of fire, blacksmiths, and craftsmen). The small island of only 21 square kilometers, 25 kilometers off the northern coast of Sicily, is the closest island to Sicily in the cluster of eight Aeolian Islands. From the main island of Sicily, there are many ports to catch a boat or ferry to the island, but you should go to the port of Messina, the port closest to the island cluster, from there, you can take ferries or boats to reach the island. Buying ticket is simple, just go to the port to see which boat preparing to depart, then go to its ticket counter right on the street and then get on the boat, it only takes 40 minutes to get to the island.

tourism in sicily

Currently there are 3 volcanoes on the island, of which the Gran volcano is still active. Rated as the most impressive attraction on the island, the scene of the crater is truly breathtaking. The smoldering columns of white smoke, the strong smell of sulfur. However, you should not reach too close, might will be suffocated.

Due to the volcanic terrain, an interesting place to visit is the natural hot mud bath area of ​​Fanghi. The mineral mud here contains very high sulfur content (the smell is quite concentrated), especially good for people with rheumatism and skin diseases (oily skin, acne, psoriasis).

tourism in sicily

In addition, due to the formation of lava flows, there are many volcanic black sand beaches on the island. The best way to go around the island, stopping at any beach you like is to rent a motorbike, or an ATV, the rental price for a day is not too expensive, about 15-25 Euros depending on the season.

tourism in sicily

Besides tourist services, people on Vulcano island mainly live by goat farming and hunting. So there are also great local cheeses like goat ricotta, and traditional dishes like fried ricotta, pasta with ricotta, seasoned with local specialties including herbs and spices.

The medieval fishing village of Cefalu

With narrow winding cobblestone streets, small beaches and a lovely harbor, Cefalu is one of Sicily’s most beautiful and most popular medieval fishing villages. The most impressive thing in Cefalu is the Lavatoio – a public laundry area that dates back to the 16th century in the Middle Ages. The laundry area was built where the Cefalino estuary empties into the sea. A special thing is that this river originates in the mountains next to Cefalu, flows underground, slips under the small houses in the village before emptying into the sea. Legend has it that this murmuring stream is the tears of the river goddess, who mourns her beloved husband day and night. From the main street, gracefully curving stairs lead down to the laundry area carved out of monolithic blocks with cool water designed to flow into 22 small faucets, of which 15 are designed in the shape of a dragon’s head which still well preserved to this day.

tourism in sicily

Until the 60s and 70s of the last century, Cefalu women loved to gather to do laundry here, especially in the hot summer days of the southern Mediterranean because they loved the cool water here due to underground flow through several kilometers before being exposed and flowing into the sea.

Located on the Mediterranean coast, Palermo – the capital of the island of Sicily, is famous for its fresh food and the enthusiasm, generosity, hospitality and kindness of the coastal people. Visitors can return to the past and riding around streets on unique horse-drawn carriages that will not be disappear even when the most modern vehicles appear. Most Palermo people are proud to talk about their homeland, a peaceful coastal city with bold classical European architecture.

tourism in sicily

And having come to Palermo, it is impossible to ignore its markets. All you need is to walk along the Vucciria market (Mercato della Vucciria) to experience local life. This is a place where locals and tourists come to buy fresh fruit, seafood and fresh cheeses with the enthusiastic, soulful sales style of the Mediterranean people.

tourism in sicily

Aeolian Islands

Aeonlian Islands is a must-go destination on the journey to Sicily, it is a volcanic archipelago of Sicily, Aeolian not only has pristine coastlines, volcanic black sand beaches, caves and cliffs, but also has a full range of amenities and tourist facilities such as mineral hotspring resorts, water sports, interesting relaxing fishing service.

tourism in sicily

Don’t miss the beautiful scenery in the town of Marzamemi which is one of the friendliest destinations for a summer vacation. If you want to relax, enjoy beautiful space, experience ancient Italian style, nice climate all year round and saving memories with your family, then Marzamemi is a good choice.

tourism in sicily

The town of Gangi was built on a small hill in central Sicily, about 80 kilometers to the southeast of Palermo, like a giant tortoise shell. About several years ago, very few people outside of Italy had heard of this village. Considered as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, this 12th-century old town had a population of about 16,000 in the 1950s but today only 7,000 remain.

tourism in sicily

Sicily Valley

Located next to a mountainside outside the city of Agrigento, the valley of Sicily possesses seven Greek temples, so it is called the valley of the temples. The Temple of Concordia, built in the 5th century BC, is the best preserved in the valley and is one of the largest and best preserved Doric temples still standing. Doric columns with 7 m high, 1.3 m in diameter. Other temples include the Temple of Juno, used for wedding ceremonies, and the Temple of Heracles, the oldest temple in the area.

tourism in sicily

Town of Piazza Armerina

The people of Piazza Armerina speak a different language than in other parts of Sicily. Here, visitors have the opportunity to visit beautiful Gothic works and buildings, especially the Villa Romana del Casale, a palace built in ancient Roman times in the middle of the 4th Century AD with the extraordinary mosaics decoration.

tourism in sicily

This town located in the southeast of Sicily is known as the “town of Baroque culture”. The Baroque structures in Val di Noto were remodeled in 1693 after a terrible earthquake and were recognized by UNESCO in 2002. The best time to visit Val di Noto is spring, when there are many festivals are held.

In Greek mythology, Etna is the place where Zeus imprisoned the monster Typhon, ending the war that is considered the most terrible in the history of Greek mythology. Currently, Etna is one of the most active and powerful volcanoes in the world, each time the volcano erupts Italians often joke that it is the wrath of the monster Typhon to escape the captivity of Zeus. Etna is also considered a symbol of Sicily, if you are a person who likes challenges and adventure travel, you cannot miss the opportunity to witness firsthand this great volcano.

tourism in sicily

Taormina is an extremely famous mountain town in Sicily. From Taormina you can see ravishing pebble beaches below, the beautiful Isola Bella island as its name suggests, the old streets for walking and shopping.

tourism in sicily

You can get to Taormina by bus and if you want to go down to the pebble beaches at the foot of the mountain, you can choose the bus or cable car, in the peak seasons you can go early to get a seat or access to the private beaches of restaurants. Entrance fees will be charged per person.

In addition to beautiful beaches, Taormina is also famous for its Greek theater, this is a theater built by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. You can also take a walk in the old town of Corso Umberto – a shopping and culinary paradise to explore every corner of Taormina.

tourism in sicily

The port city and economic center in Eastern Sicily. Although not as famous as the capital of Palermo, Catania is a city worth visiting due to its location right at the foot of Mount Etna – Europe’s largest active volcano. Due to its proximity to the volcano, the structures, buildings and houses here are built mainly of lava rock, creating a slightly sad gray color for the whole city.

tourism in sicily

Tourist activities of the city are concentrated along the Via Etnea avenue, where you can visit the Cathedral and Badia of Sant’Agata, the Central Square, the University of Catania – one of the oldest universities in the world, shopping street, fruit market, fish market and Ursino fortress. Just walk along the avenue and turn sideways and turn along the directions of the map. Catania is quite small, so it only takes one afternoon to visit its center. From afar, do not forget to watch the Etna volcano, which is still growling day and night to release smoke into the sky.

tourism in sicily

This is a small city on the Ionian coast, not as famous as Taormina but as beautiful as a gentle wave of the sea. Acireale has a very small and lovely Central square, not to mention the small and narrow alleys that go forever without seeing an end. Far away is the pale blue sea. We kept walking along small alleys to find that color of blue sea, but we forgot about our tired feet. In the past, Acireale used to be quite crowded with tourists, but due to the economic downturn, today the city is gradually deserted. I listened to uncle Grazia’s story and I saw that faint blue color become sadder.

tourism in sicily

The city is named for both its culture and architecture, so the beauty of Noto is truly overwhelming. The Baroque architectural style is famous for its sharp shapes, high contrast of colors and delicate curves of sculpture. In Noto, those elements are pushed to an astonishing level of sophistication and exquisition. I have visited many Baroque buildings in Vatican, Naples but Noto really is the most elegant. The cathedral here is not grandiose and the streets here are also small, but it is the honey yellow color of the stone that makes Noto really unique. We originally planned to go to Siracusa, the city where the famous Malena movie was set, but uncle Santi said Noto was equally beautiful without being touristized. Indeed, when traveling far, you have to ask the locals to know the real good places.

tourism in sicily

Ragusa Ibla

The last city before parting with Sicily and also the city with the most memories for me. Since I lived for 8 months in Ragusa Ibla, this is really my second home. Ragusa is also close to the southernmost point of the island, traveling so far away to meet my Italian friends when I was a student. I was really surrounded by the kind people of Sicily and taught me many things. Ragusa Ibla rose to prominence a few years back as the setting of an Italian TV series. From an average tourist city, it has become a trending destination for Italians. The city is located on a mountain, so just go from the lowest point to the highest peak to enjoy the beauty of the romantic mountain town.

tourism in sicily

Diving in Lampedusa

Lampedusa is voted by many travel sites as the most beautiful coast in Europe with a long coastline, many beautiful beaches with clear and blue sea water. This is also a very suitable spot for those who love diving and watching coral. In addition, you can also witness turtles come ashore to lay eggs in the evenings of early September, this must be an extremely interesting experience.

tourism in sicily

Whisper your secrets at the Ear of Dionysius cave

Even if you talk in a whisper in the Ear of Dionysius cave, be careful because any of your secrets can be exposed whether those around you are near or far away.

tourism in sicily

The Ear of Dionysius man-made rock cave located in the city of Syracuse (southern Sicily), has been designed so that even the slightest whisper is clearly amplified. Legend has it that this cave was created by Dionysius I – the famous abuser of Syracuse to eavesdrop on the whispers of prisoners locked inside.

Rafting and trekking in Gole Alcantara

Gole Alcantara is a botanical and geological park 40 minutes by car from the town of Taormina, Sicily. This park is an interesting destination for locals and tourists instead of crowded beaches, everyone enjoys spectacular gorges, towering cliffs with strange structures, even water can freeze even in summer time. In addition to activities such as rafting, group boating, water parks, etc. Adventurers can also try challenging adventure sports such as mountain climbing, canyoning, etc.

tourism in sicily

Tasting Sicilian fine wine

This beautiful island with a typical Mediterranean climate, fertile soil is very suitable for growing grapes, and this is the region with the oldest winemaking tradition in Italy with famous wines such as DOCG, DOC, white wine Moscato di Noto and other famous red wines.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: What to eat?

Sicily has many dishes using local products such as cheese, olive oil, tomatoes, especially the seafood here is very fresh and quite cheap. If you have time, you should visit the local markets as well as tasting specialties here with full of fresh vegetables and local produce such as Vucciria Market in Palermo or La Pescheria fish market in Catania.

Due to influenced by Arab cuisine, Sicily is flooding with pastries. First, you must try Arancina (Arancini), rice balls that are stuffed with, cheese and tomato sauce then coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Next is Cannolo (Cannoli), an extremely seductive cream-filled pastry consisting fried pastry dough, stuffed with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. It has crispy crust with sweet ricotta cream, soft at every bite. Don’t forget to try the almond milk from the province of Agrigento as well. In Catania, don’t forget to try grilled horse meat.

tourism in sicily

Smorgasbord is the popular type of serving here with many delightful mixing dishes which are influenced by Arabic, Greek, French, Spanish and North African with an Italian twist, giving it a speacial flavor and style that you should try!

tourism in sicily

Sarde a beccafico – The famous Sicilian stuffed sardines here.

tourism in sicily

The restaurant we dined in in Catania was Trattoria Da Zia Tanina (Address: Via Plebiscito, 428, 95122 Catania CT, Italy/Hours: 12–3:30PM, 7PM–12AM; Monday: 7PM–12AM) , which specializes in horse meat dishes. There is another restaurant specializing in Sicilian cuisine called Giaca Ristorante Pizzeria (Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 245, 95029 Viagrande CT, Italy/Hours: 6PM–1AM; Wednesday:Closed) , in the town of Viagrande near Catania. Here we tried pizza and pasta for dinner. If you spend the night in Ragusa Ibla, you can dine at U Saracinu and Da Nito Titos , two popular restaurants in the region.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel blog: What to buy?

Definitely the world famous Marsala red wine. In addition, Caltagirone ceramics is also the pride of this dangerous land.

tourism in sicily

Sicily travel guide: How should I combine my Sicily travel itinerary?

Normally, tourists after finish their journeys to exploring famous destinations in the North of Italy such as Rome, Venice, Florence and then they will going to the South or making another trip to return Italy for the second time and want to explore more deeply the beauty of the boot-shaped country.

tourism in sicily

Because the island of Sicily is quite large and possesses so many tourists attractions as introduced above, so it will take at least a week or two week to explore all famous places here. For those of you who just want to explore the most famous places, there are two itinerary you can refer to as follows:

Explore the western part of the island:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Palermo – Visit the capital city of Palermo
  • Day 2: Traveling to Cefalù, a beautiful seaside city near Palermo
  • Day 3: Traveling to Erice, a lovely little city and then return to Palermo, ending the trip.

Explore the eastern part of the Island

  • Day 1: Arrive in Catania – Visit the port city of Catania
  • Day 2: Traveling to Taormina – the most beautiful tourist city in Sicily – Traveling to Acireale – a lovely small city and back to Catania.
  • Day 3: Traveling to Noto – A city that representing a school of architecture – Traveling to Ragusa Ibla, the emerging tourist city in Siclia – Return to Catania.

tourism in sicily

The East and West of Sicily has significant differences in landscape, culture and architecture, so choosing only one of the two is definitely not enough to fully understand this beautiful island. However, due to limited time, I chose the Eastern itinerary, also known as the Val di Noto journey to explore Sicily.

Sicily travel guide: Where to stay?

Check out top ratings and best accommodation, hotels, apartments on Agoda , Booking or Airbnb.

tourism in sicily

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Sicily you can refer to

  • Catania: Mount Etna Day Trip with Tasting and Cave Trip
  • Etna: Summit Craters Trekking
  • Lipari and Vulcano: Day Trip from Milazzo
  • Mount Etna Summit and Crater Trek
  • From Tropea: Day Tour to the Aeolian Islands
  • Palermo 3-Hour Street Food and History Walking Tour
  • Catania: Mount Etna Sunset Jeep Tour
  • Syracuse and Noto Day Tour from Taormina

tourism in sicily

Are you looking for more top things to do in Sicily: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here . And Italy travel guide here .

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The Road Reel

30 Super Useful Sicily Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Visiting Sicily for the first time? You will love it! To make your trip absolutely amazing, here are my 30+ super handy Sicily travel tips you need to know before embarking on the Sicilian adventure. 

I traveled around Sicily twice so far (and I am pretty sure I will be coming back). During my two road trips (one and two weeks respectively), I got familiar with local culture, the best ways to get around, what to see, and also how to plan a great Sicily road trip .

Whether you are going for a day, a week, or a month, let me guide you through some practical traveling in Sicily tips, as well as share some inspiration on why you should visit Sicily.

In this Sicily guide, you will find the most important topics and questions answered about Sicily travel: when is the best time to go to Sicily , how to get to Sicily and the best way to travel around Sicily (public transport or driving), how many days in Sicily and which part of Sicily (east or west) to choose for nature, history and architecture, as well as insights into culture, food, and Sicilian lifestyle . 

  • Related reads: 21 practical tips for driving in Sicily stress-free .

Sicily travel tips- cefalu is one of the best places to visit in west sicily

Disclosure :  This Sicily Travel Guide contains affiliate links to our trusted partners. It means that we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase by clicking a link. It helps us grow the blog and create more of free useful travel advice for you. 

30+ essential Sicily travel tips: plan your perfect visit

Sicily travel essentials.

  • Rent a car : The best way to explore Sicily is self-driving. Rent a car at the best rates at Discover Cars . I use this website to book my rental cars.
  • Stay: find your perfect accommodation in Sicily on .
  • Best flight deals: Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest and fastest flights to Sicily from your location.
  • Peace of mind: always remember to get travel insurance to be on the safe side. Get a quote at SafetyWing .
  • eSIM Card: Stay connected as soon as you land.   Airalo   offers an eSIM card with up to 20 GB (7 to 30 days) data packages for Italy and Europe.


1. there is italy and then there is charismatic sicily.

Kicked by the toe of mainland Italy, the volcanic island of Sicily developed its own identity with a distinct character. Sicily has delightful mischief that you won’t find anywhere else in Italy. 

Sicily, although part of Italy, could easily be a country on its own (historically it used to be the Kingdom of Sicily before it became an autonomous region of Italy). Locals proudly call themselves Sicilians and even get offended if you refer to them as Italians.

Indeed, everywhere you go you will see Sicilian flags stretched between the balconies. Meanwhile, colorful Sicilian ceramics are a statement of Sicilian house decor. However, the most obvious way to understand Sicilian identity and witness the pride of being Sicilian is while interacting with locals.

We stayed in different parts of Sicily during our road trip. Every host we met was raving not only about how wonderful Sicily is but also pointing out that the area they are from is the best on the island.

And trust me, the way Sicilians describe their hometown will make you excited to explore it. We got particularly lucky in Palermo with our host Mario whose passion for the town and food made us fall in love with the underrated capital of Sicily.

In short, when the place has a distinct character and identity of its own ready to be explored, it makes traveling way more fulfilling than just scratching the surface of main tourist sights. And Sicily definitely has the charisma!

tourism in sicily

2. Sicily has some of the most diverse histories in Europe

Sicily has been invaded dozens of times by Arabs, Spaniards, Normans, Greeks, and Romans, to name a few major ones. Therefore, if you have an interest in history, discovering Sicily’s layered and diverse past through many remaining historical sites will definitely keep you busy.

Today’s Sicily is like a living museum, a historical artwork celebrating and commemorating some of the most powerful cultures and civilizations. 

With a history that stretches over thousands of years, you will find out about the ancient Greek settlements in Agrigento and Syracuse, learn about Baroque architecture in Val di Noto, Roman cultural influence in Villa Romana del Casale mosaics, Arab and Norman impact in Palermo, as well as discover frozen in time medieval villages of Madonie mountains. 

To sum up, Sicily is a perfect place to travel back in time and get acquainted with its turbulent history. 

palermo aerial view, sicily

3. Is Sicily worth visiting? 

Sicily is a must-visit place in Italy. You can expect to have a very different travel experience even if you have already been to other parts of the country.

You may already know that Italy is very diverse, with different regions having distinct landscapes, architecture, and even cultural nuances. But even if you have been all around Italy, and think that there is just so much more you can expect from yet another region, you will be pleasantly surprised how different from other parts of the country Sicily is.

Sicily can satisfy any kind of traveler as it has everything- fantastic beaches, nature reserves , mountains with hiking trails, some of the most impressive architecture (Syracusa, Val di Noto, Palermo), important historical sights like the valley of temples in Agrigento, frozen in time mountain villages of Madonie , and even wonderful low-key Egadi and high-end Aeolian islands you can easily catch a ferry to. 

But above the scenery and cultural sights, Sicily’s highlight is the locals. To me, Sicilians appeared to be some of the friendliest people compared to other parts of Italy. Locals in Sicily are genuinely happy to see you and are very welcoming, curious, and outgoing.

  • Make sure to also check my post about 21 must-visit places in Sicily .
  • Find The most beautiful small coastal towns and fishing villages in Sicily.

sicily travel tips- gangi mountain town

4. Is it safe to travel to Sicily – the birthplace of the Mafia?

Travelling in Sicily is very safe . From my personal experience everywhere we went felt extremely safe in Sicily. People are very welcoming, kind, and genuinely curious about travelers. 

Leaving the luggage in the car was probably my biggest safety concern while road tripping in Sicily . Leaving bags in the car was heavily advised against on other travel blogs, but in reality, it wasn’t an issue at all. Of course, there is no need to irresponsibly display your digital camera, laptop, or wallet on the seat which could seduce some robbers. But even if you left some of your belongings in the back seat, it doesn’t mean someone will definitely break into your car. 

The only place I was looking over my shoulder was when we walked in the Ballaro neighborhood in Palermo. Later on, however, our local host explained that there was nothing to be worried about. Apparently, Mafia owns many hotels and restaurants in the capital of Sicily. That means tourism is one of their main businesses and travelers are sort of looked after. Thus, small criminals don’t dare to touch a tourist. 

Regardless, I would still suggest keeping your guard up in busy areas of Palermo as pickpocketing certainly happens. Just make sure to keep your wallet and phone somewhere safer than the back pocket of your jeans when walking in crowded areas of Palermo, or Catania. 

  • Related article: Is Sicily safe? Areas to avid and safety tips.


5. the best time to visit sicily-when should you go.

The best time to visit Sicily is from May to the beginning of June, and from September to the beginning of October. These are shoulder seasons when the weather is great both on the coast, in the towns, and in the mountains. Also, around these months tourists either haven’t arrived yet or already departed.

If you love beaches, September will be better than May as the water in the sea is still warm as opposed to slightly chilly late spring temperatures.

If you don’t care much about the beaches and swimming, and prefer cultural activities, like wandering UNESCO-listed towns and small villages, then any time of the year is a good time as Sicily has a pleasant island climate all year round. You might encounter some fogs and rain if you visit during autumn/winter. On the bright side, it may add to the mysterious atmosphere and interesting photography scenarios.

I would suggest avoiding July and especially August when the majority of Italians are on vacation. Prices of accommodation and car rental shoot up, while beaches and towns are packed with people- not the greatest time to travel to Sicily.

Nonetheless, if you only have summer months, you can still have a great time and pick some less visited places around the Island. Sicily has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be explored. 

  • READ MORE: Planning on hiring a car in Sicily? Here are my 21 Useful Tips for Driving in Sicily, Italy.

6. Go before it is too late! 

Is Sicily very touristy? Yes and no, depending on which place and when you choose to go.

In recent years Sicily has definitely seen a quick increase not only in local but also in foreign tourism. The rough towns like Palermo which used to be considered a bit dangerous, are now completely tourist-friendly and adapted to serve the foreign visitor.

Meanwhile, even remote villages are slowly but steadily opening up cozy B&Bs and getting completely booked out during the peak season.

While many popular beach towns are packed with sun-seekers and local holidaymakers during summer, still there are enough places on the island where you can have an authentic Sicilian experience without crowds. But don’t wait too long, as with social media being so proactive, Sicily is getting on tourist radar pretty fast. Some of the seemingly remote places I have discovered on Instagram!

sicily streets


Getting to sicily: airplane, ferry, or train.

Sicily is an island separated from the mainland of Italy by the narrow strait of Messina. The good news is that Sicily is very well connected not only to mainland Italy but also to the rest of Europe and even other parts of the world.

Getting to Sicily by air

As expected, most travelers come to Sicily by air. There are 4 airports in Sicily -one in the capital Palermo in the West North, one in Catania in the East, one in Trapani in the West of the island and one near Ragusa Ibla in southeast of Sicily.

If you are flying from Europe, sometimes you can get insanely cheap deals to land in Sicily.  Search for the best flight deals using KIWI flight search aggregator .

Getting to Sicily by ferry

Another also quite popular option to reach Sicily is taking a ferry, both nationally and internationally. 

Nationally, the main places from where you can reach Sicily are Rome, Naples, Salerno, Genoa, and San Giovani in Calabria (southern Italy-the toe of the boot).

The overnight ferries from Naples, Salerno, Genoa, and Rome arrive in Palermo. Meanwhile, if you are traveling by land from Southern Italy, you can take a 30 min ferry from Villa San Giovani to the port town of Messina, Sicily. This is precisely what we did on our combined Sicily and Calabria road trip. 

Internationally, you can reach Sicily from Malta and Tunisia. 

Top tip: Ferries to Sicily also accommodate various vehicles. Therefore, if you travel by car, instead of driving long distances, you can “jump” onto the ferry.

  • You can easily search for the ferry schedules from your selected departure place using the Directferries website.

Popular ferry routes to Sicily

  • Palermo-Naples: 10.5- 11.5 hours; from 50 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Palermo-Rome (Civitavecchia): 14.5 hours; from 60 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Palermo-Genoa: 19.5-20.5 hours; from 45 or 75 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Messina- Salerno: 9-10.5 hours; from 52 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Messina- Reggio Calabria (South Italy) : 30 minutes; from 10 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Catania- Valletta (Malta): 4 hours 45 minutes; from 80 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here
  • Palermo-Tunis (Tunisia): 10.5 hours; from 85 EUR one way (foot passenger); book tickets here

getting to sicily by ferry- sicily travel tips

Getting to Sicily by train

The third way is taking a train from the mainland of Sicily. There are train departures from Rome (12 hours) and Naples (9 hours) to Palermo. The train also has routes heading to East Sicily and stops in Taormina, Catania, and Syracuse.

Question- how on Earth does this train get through the water? Apparently, there is a special ferry which transports, yes, the train! This could be an interesting and fun travel experience.

  • You can find a train route and book tickets from Italy to Sicily using Omio train search aggregator.

8. Driving is by far the best way to explore Sicily

I am a huge fan of road trips, and Sicily is a perfect place to go on one (check out my 2-week in Sicily Itinerary ).

I am sure you have heard that driving in Sicily might be challenging, which is partially true (if you don’t know what to expect).

However, driving is by far the most convenient way to get around Sicily as you don’t have to rely on irregular and not frequent public transport schedules. Also, hidden gems are only accessible by car (well, in some cases by boat-like Favignana island ). Finally, you will be able to travel at your own pace and get from place to place much faster than with a train or a bus. 

Therefore, I strongly recommend renting a car if you are planning to see more than just bigger towns like Catania or Palermo (those places don’t require a car). 

Important: book your car well in advance to get the best deal! We booked 3 months ahead to secure a good deal (20 EUR per day). If you leave it to the last minute, chances are, the car rental rates will be much higher.

I found the best car rental prices for my road trip in Sicily with DiscoverCars.

  • Car rental tip:  if you are looking for  an affordable rental car, check  Discovercars .  This is a car search website that I use for all my trips to Italy. Just by comparing rates between different rental companies,  Discovercars can help you save up to 70% on your rental rate .  It also gives an option to add a reasonably priced full coverage (insurance).

9. Getting around Sicily with public transport

Public transport in Sicily connects main destinations and more popular tourist towns like Palermo, Catania, Agrigento, Taormina, Messina, and Trapani. If you are not willing to drive you might be able to find your way around using only busses, or trains. Also, you can join organized day trips to places like Taormina, Etna Volcano, and Agrigento.

When it comes to using public transport in Sicily, buses are known to be the most complicated to deal with. I have read stories of buses having completely unreliable schedules, lack of accurate timetables online, needless to say not the most frequent service.

All this makes travelling and planning your time quite tricky. Although, larger companies like Interbus are pretty good. However, regional buses, unless you have unlimited time in Sicily, you can forget about. More often than not, you will have to rely on asking around for accurate information when travelling between smaller towns.

I personally would avoid using buses, except if you are planning to get between main towns and are not going to explore beyond the main tourist destinations. Even some of those places do not always have a guaranteed regular connection.

Trains mainly connect the coastal part of Sicily but are not available for the inland due to its mountainous terrain. Trains as far as I have researched are quite efficient and run according to schedule.

sicily travel tips-old men sitting on the bench next to blue fiat- sicily driving tips


10. how many days do you need in sicily .

You need at least 2 weeks and at least 5 different overnight bases to explore the whole perimeter of the island at a medium pace .

To see all the highlights plus some hidden gems of Sicily you will need at least 3 weeks, ideally a month. Having this amount of time, you can slowly drive all around the island discovering different parts of Sicily. Those would include beaches, mountains, archeological sites, baroque towns, fishing villages, Etna volcano and you can even squeeze in a trip to Egadi or Aeolian islands.

Do not try to see the whole island of Sicily in one week. Sicily is bigger than it looks at a first glance. Driving time from West to East of the island is around 4.5 hours.

Understandably, not everyone has a month worth of time to allocate for their vacation. Still,  as a bare minimum, I would recommend 10 to 14 days in Sicily . However, you will have to be strategic about how and where you spend your time. You will definitely have to trim down the long list of places of interest in Sicily leaving only what excites you the most. 

If you have only around one week in Sicily, the best is to focus on one side of the island. For example, highlights of the west and northwest part, or highlights of the east and southeast part of Sicily, depending on which airport you land at. Definitely don’t try to move all the way from west to east as you will end up spending most of the time in a car. 

  • Check my two-week road trip itinerary for inspiration and help to you plan your own vacation in Sicily.

11. Visit West Sicily and the hinterlands for a more authentic experience and wild nature

If you are landing in Palermo or Trapani, you are for a treat of wild beaches and nature, the unfiltered lifestyle of Palermo, sleepy Madonie mountain villages, and a slow-paced Favignana island. Western and Norther parts of Sicily are less touristy than the Eastern part. This means you will have a very authentic travel experience wherever you choose to go.

madonie mountain village sicily- a woman

12. Visit East Sicily for Baroque and Greek architecture, Etna volcano, and famous archeological sites

If you are landing in Catania on the Eastern part of Sicily, then you are getting a treat of unparalleled architectural gems-Val di Noto baroque towns like Ragusa, the Greek amphitheater of Taormina, the valley of temples in Agrigento, spectacular Syracuse with Ortigia at its heart, and mighty Etna volcano which you can explore up close by hiking .

Note, that the Eastern part of Sicily is more touristy (due to its cultural wanders and a large number of UNESCO heritage sights which indeed made Sicily famous).

13. The best beaches in Sicily are on the northwestern side of the island. 

If you are seeking the sun and going to Sicily mainly for the beaches, then head to the North West. Here, you can find crystal clear waters and some of the most spectacular beaches in Sicily.

The mountainous backdrop characterizes the northwest of the coast. There you will find a perfect natural combination of mountains and the sea offering an array of hiking and swimming activities in one place.

You can find exactly that in Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve . To me, it was the best nature spot with the most incredible beaches in the whole of Sicily.

If you love sandy beaches, then San Vito Lo Capo at the northwestern tip of the island is a place to be. If you are looking for great city vibes with a close-by beach escape then Mondelo beach is just 30min drive from Palermo.

Finally, Favignana islands on the West side of Sicily will surprise you will azure waters and wild beaches to lay your towel at. Read my post about visiting Favignana island for more details.

cove at zingaro reserve sicily

14. Mix up big cities, small towns, and the seaside for a diverse experience in Sicily

To get a real taste of Sicily, plan on visiting a mix of different parts of the island. To understand daily hustle and bustle as well as admire impressive historical buildings, aim for a few days in the biggest towns (Palermo, Catania, Ortigia Island in Syracuse), for the beach scene, go to smaller seaside towns (Cefalu, Castellammare del Golfo), you will find UNESCO listed Baroque architecture in Ragusa, Modica or Noto, for the important archeological treasures head to Agrigento, while for chilled island life- to Egadian islands, for raw nature – to Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve, and to get the sense of the frozen time drive up to medieval villages in Madonie mountains. 

ragusa ibla viepoint at dusk, sicily

15. Get used to sweating up the hill-mountainous terrain of Sicily

Sicily’s climate and terrain can be very unforgiving in summer. It might become overwhelming if you are not used to almost African heat and hiking. Many Sicilian towns are located in mountainous areas. Getting from landmark to landmark on foot will require broken-in shoes, a hat for shade, lots of sunscreen, and good stamina. Indeed if you are planning to visit some of the small mountain tows, be ready to burn a few calories (which is great considering the carbs intake you will have while in Sicily).


There is no shortage of accommodation in Sicily. Depending on your budget, you can pick a room in a boutique hotel, stay in a dorm or in a fancy timeless hotel, rent a cozy apartment, or opt for a homestay. Bigger towns like Palermo and Catania or Trapani will have all these options. Meanwhile, smaller villages may only offer homestays and boutique hotels. In remote locations, you may not always find dorms in Sicily.

The only type of accommodation I have not seen (gladly) was monstrous seaside hotels. Okay maybe a couple of ugly ones in Cefalu were ruining the scenery, but they weren’t nearly as massive as the ones you can find in the UAE or Turkey, for example. And I hope it will stay this way.

16. Stay in homestays for the best local experience in Sicily

I always aim to support local small businesses when travelling, and one of the best ways to do so is to stay in a family-run B&B. Not only do you bring business to a local family but in return, you get more personal and warm treatment as opposed to the very formal approach in regular hotels.

Finally, Sicilians are very knowledgeable about their local area and they are more than happy to share some tips for sightseeing, the best places to eat, and sometimes they even cook for you!

For example, we were very lucky with our host in Palermo who was extremely passionate about his town and Sicily overall. He shared some insider tips, and fantastic stories about Palermo, and gave some great insights about Sicily. It enriched our travel experience and helped us understand the local culture much better. 

homestay in sicily

17. Book your stays in popular destinations in Sicily early in advance

Some of the towns in Sicily receive way more visitors than others during the high season (July/August). Therefore, booking early is strongly recommended.

The most popular places that get booked out are Cefalu, Taormina, Syracuse and Ortigia, Favignana (Egadi islands), and Trapani.

For example, even at the beginning of May, accommodation in Cefalu seemed to be 70 percent occupied when I looked it up on the booking site. So I can imagine it can be pretty tough finding a place to stay in summer, let alone getting a reasonable deal.

Alternatively, if you are driving, there are countryside guesthouses called Agriturismo- those are usually fantastic family-run getaways not too far from the main towns.

  • Accommodation: I always book my stays through . This accommodation search site provides a variety of places to stay for any budget. Also, as a returning customer of, you get some great Genius discounts (10-30%), and special mobile-only prices when booking through their app. Tip: always check the booking cancelation policy, and if possible, choose accommodation with the most flexible cancelation terms. I usually book places that I can cancel as close to the trip as possible to be on the safe side in case my plans change.

18. Make sure to check if the parking is available and is not in the ZTL zone

If you are driving, parking is one f the factors you will be making your decision about whether or not you should book a place. Often in towns like Cefalu, there won’t be any parking included in accommodations located in the historic center. Thus, you might have to look for a place to stay outside but close enough to the historic center.

Also, in case you manage to find a place to stay that offers parking in the historic center, double-check with your host if it doesn’t fall under ZTL (Zona Trafico Limitato) , which only permits registered vehicles. You can read more about sneaky ZTL zones in my post about driving in Sicily .

a narrow lane in sicily old town with a car passing


19. travel to sicily just for food.

You could travel to Sicily just for the food.  From the famous Pasta alla Norma , tuna burgers, couscous with fish, all sorts of arancini , pizzas to ricotta-filled pastries with cannoli being the king of all, brioche with ice cream, and many more- eating Sicilian specialties can keep you busy all day long. Just looking at the menu in trattoria you can quickly realize that Sicilian cuisine adopted the crossroads of civilizations. There are flavors from Europe and Africa on one plate.

Moreover, Sicily’s capital Palermo is worldwide famous for the best street food. Therefore, forget about fancy restaurants, and go try the fast food- it is fresh and delicious.

tourism in sicily

20. Breakfast is not the main meal of the day, but in Sicily, you can fuel up with ice cream in a bun

Sicilian breakfast (as common everywhere in Italy) is always sweet. But having ice cream in brioche is something unheard of and probably only to be found in Sicily.

I know that eating an omelet in the morning sounds bizarre to Italians, but come on, ice cream with bread?! This is whole another level of weird…

Nonetheless, this combination is a guaranteed energy boost and is extremely filling. I have tried brioche with ice cream but decided to stick to the regular pastry and coffee.

Note: when you see breakfast included in your accommodation booking, do not expect English breakfast with sausages and beans. Usually, you will only get coffee and pastries. On a rare occasion, you may find B&Bs offering some panini (sandwiches with ham and cheese). Continental breakfast is only common in bigger hotels.

brioche ice cream sicily

21. Catch up on your sleep during riposo – understanding Sicilian time (aka siesta) 

You probably have heard of siesta in south European countries. Unlike any other timing-related matters, Sicily is taking the midday nap very seriously.

Shops, museums, and restaurants close for so-called riposo or siesta at around 12-1 pm and re-open at around 3-4 pm or even later. Siesta’s starting time is always on the dot while the finishing time is sort of flexible.

Longer siestas are very common in smaller towns. We have struggled to find a place to eat lunch in Madonie mountain villages-everything was closed, and there was no live soul to be seen in the afternoon. Taking into account Sicilian summer heat, having a power nap in the middle of the day is probably the best thing you can do. 

Sundays are usually days off and shops and museums, and even some restaurants are also shut for the whole day.

However, in bigger towns like Palermo and Catania, as well as touristy places like Cefalu, Taormina, or Syracuse you can find quite a lot of cafes and gelaterias, and casual eateries which are open during siesta hours and even on Sundays.

22. There is time for aperitivo and then there is time for dinner

Restaurants and trattorias usually open at around 6-7 pm, however actual dinner time is around 8-9 pm in Sicily and Italy. Therefore, it is recommended to reserve a table to avoid the disappointment of having to wait for an even later meal.

However, before heading out for dinner, you should not miss aperitivo which is a time between late afternoon and dinner when people head out for a drink and a small snack before they actually go to have a proper meal.

23. What is coperto – tipping culture and service fee in Sicily, Italy

Coperto (or servizio ) in Italy and also Sicily is a fixed service fee that you pay per person for being served at a restaurant. The amount you must pay varies from place to place but usually it ranges between 1-2 euros. Some more expensive restaurants may charge 2.5-5 euros for coperto per person.

The amount of coperto is usually indicated on the menu. It is a fixed charge and doesn’t depend on how much or little you eat or how long you spend at a table. 

If I pay coperto , do I have to leave a tip? 

If you love the service and food, the tip will be highly appreciated but it is not a must in Sicily, Italy. 

palermo ballaro market man is preparing a table in outdoor restaurant

24. Coffee price at a bar vs at a table

Note that you may have to pay coperto in some coffee shops/bars if you choose to have your cappuccino at a table rather than at a bar, as most Sicilians do. Most likely the cost of being served coffee at a table will range from 20 euro cents to one euro.

This doesn’t apply to all coffee shops though. Charging extra for a coffee at a table is more common in touristy and popular areas or famous fancy coffee places. For example, I have been to places in Venice, Rome, Amalfi Coast , and Naples where we had to pay extra for having our cappuccini at a table. Smaller and more casual bars and coffee shops do not collect this fee.

colorful cup of espresso machiato in sicily


25. a few italian phrases will go a long way but be ready for the sicilian language.

Sicilians barely speak English. Most of the locals don’t speak a word, especially in smaller towns and villages. I can count on my one hand fingers how many fluent English speakers we met on our road trip (when I think of it, probably only 3 or 4 people were very well versed in English and those guys were our hosts at the B&B). Nonetheless, you can still meet younger generation people working at bars and restaurants who can speak some basic English, but not as much as you may expect.

Moreover, even information in museums, churches, and even parking signs are in Italian! Therefore, learning some basic survival phrases in the local language will go a long way.

After many years of thinking about it, I finally signed up for an online Italian course just 3 months before my Sicily road trip. I could not be happier about dedicating some time to learning Italian. It really came in handy in Sicily and South Italy.

It seemed that Sicilians really appreciated my effort to speak in Italian, even if it was a very basic conversation. It also helped me to understand simple daily things related to accommodation questions and directions. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to say something properly, Sicilians will always try to help you out when you are lost in translation.

castellamare del golfo sicily aerial drone shot

Nonetheless, there was a bit of a catch. Sicilians apparently often speak the Sicilian language (it is a language, not even a dialect). Although they do speak official Italian, there were times when they spoke in Sicilian and it sounded like a totally different language- I couldn’t catch a single familiar word!

However, this didn’t happen often. Most of the time people spoke regular Italian and if you are lucky- even a few English words.

If you are thinking of learning some Italian basics, the best interactive course that I found online is Rocket Languages. Rocket Italian course is a set of audio conversations, grammar, and written and oral practice. You can have it on an app on your phone or your laptop, and learn at your own pace, come back to it whenever you want to repeat something or skip ahead.

Subscribing to the course gives you a 2-week free trial, lifetime access, and also 60-day money-back guarantee if you don’t find it useful (I definitely find it super useful and I still continue to study after my trip).

26. Meet the locals

Interact with locals. Sightseeing is amazing, but the true joy is in those short (or long) conversations and cheerful interactions with the local people. Sicilians are very outgoing and friendly (I think I already mentioned that before).

Even if you don’t speak Italian, don’t shy away from the hand language. I am sure the minimum you can learn is a friendly ‘ciao’ when you meet a person on the street. Trust me, they will happily respond. Sicilians are often curious to know where you are coming from-‘ di dove sei? ‘.

Usually, their guesses revolve around the most well-known destinations such as UK, Germany, France, or America (apparently people from these countries are frequent visitors). Sicilians were extremely delighted to find out that we came all the way from the UAE to their beautiful island. In fact, many of them confessed that Dubai is their dream destination to travel to. To this, I always joyfully replied, that yes indeed it is a beautiful place to see and live, but there is no place as wonderful as Sicily (I do have a very soft spot for Italy- a perfect place to move to one day). 

sicilian couple well dressed in madonie mountain town

27. Do not joke about Mafia

Sicily is often associated with the birthplace of the Mafia. Thanks to Hollywood films that have glorified organized criminal groups in movies such as Godfather, there are a lot of misconceptions about past events. In reality, Sicilians had to deal with horror created by the local mafia and face consequences until today.

Therefore, this is a sensitive subject to bring up when talking to locals. It is not advisable to joke about it as you never know whose family member has actually been a victim of organized crime in Sicily.

Although the local mafia in Sicily still exists and operates today. In some places, business owners still pay a second tax that goes to organized crime and so-called protection. 

However, as a tourist, you are not likely to come across any of these mafia-related aspects. Let alone experience any violence or dealings with the Mafia. Interestingly, in Palermo some hotels are owned by Mafia, while some actually set themselves free and signed anti-extortion charters – there is even a “pizzo-free” map with the list of these accommodations, in case you want to avoid supporting the bloody businesses. 

old men in sicily joking around


28. is sicily expensive to travel to .

Sicily is still less expensive to travel around than, for example, northern and central Italy. Especially if you go to smaller and less known towns like Castellammare del Golfo, you can find great accommodation deals. When it comes to food, you can get some bargain deals for street food in Palermo, amazing pizzas, and an unlimited supply of pastries everywhere.

You can check the budget breakdown on my Sicily Road Trip Itinerary post HERE to get an idea of what it costs to travel in Sicily.

29. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Sicily but always have some small change

Contrary to what I had read online before traveling to Sicily, debit and credit cards were widely accepted across the island. Even in smaller restaurants and shops. We paid for all our accommodation by card and very rarely needed to use cash (usually the possibility to pay by card is indicated on booking, or it is an automated advance charge prior to arrival).

Nonetheless, I still advise having some emergency cash for small spending. Not all the shops will have card machines, and even if they do, sometimes they may say it is not working so they can collect cash (as we learned from a local).

Some self-service petrol stations might also have card issues- which happened to us- and in this case, you definitely want to have cash.

Also buying small things like souvenirs or paying for toll gates is usually more convenient in cash.

30. Get a local sim card for cheaper data

If you are travelling for a couple of weeks in Sicily, it is well worth getting a local sim card with data and calls. It would usually be much cheaper than roaming. Tourist packs are available to purchase from TIM or Vodafone providers are offering pay-as-you-go tourist packages with the best coverage.

31. Be ready to allocate a couple of hours to sort out the SIM card

Okay, there is a catch when it comes to sorting out the local SIM card in Italy, and also Sicily. It is probably one of the most complicated places when it comes to getting a data plan. The tricky part is that you may not be able to get SIM card at the airport which is the most convenient way when starting your journey in a foreign country.

Instead, you may have to look for a local TIM or Vodafone store in the town. If you are renting a car at the airport, the best way is to look up the nearest store and pre-download its location on Google Maps.

Be aware of your arrival time- if it is during working hours or not. Also, take siesta time into consideration (stores close from around 1-2 PM till 4-5 PM). Luckily, this might not be applicable if the store is located in a bigger shopping center. However, malls are not that common in Italy.

Once you are at the store, expect around 30 minutes to sort out payment, and installation, and then add another hour for activation of the SIM.

I am sharing my personal experience here. When landed at Naples airport, there was no SIM card shop available (2022). Therefore, we pre-downloaded Google maps with the nearest mall that had TIM shop (it was open during siesta time- made sure to check it). It took around 2 hours to sort out the internet but it was totally worth it to get this out of the way for our 3 -week-long journey in South Italy and Sicily. We purchased a generous 70GB plan for around 20 EUR, which was valid for 30 days, local calls included.

32. Big supermarkets are less popular than local specialty shops and markets

When travelling to Sicily, and also Italy, you may notice that big supermarkets are not that common. Thus, whenever you want to do grocery shopping, it might not be as per your usual habit of buying everything in one spot.

In Sicily, people still love using markets and specialty shops where they buy a specific product. There are separate pescaterias (fish shop), paneterias (bakeries), cheese, meat, fresh pasta, and vegetable shops. Those are the best places to get fresh produce.

Certainly, you can find mini-markets in every town where they sell the basics- milk, eggs, canned stuff, a small selection of cheese and sausages as well as some cleaning and shower products, detergents, and whatnot.

Talking about mini markets, we had a fun experience in Castellamare del Golfo. We were looking for a small bottle of olive oil to use for breakfast, but all shops had only 1-liter bottles which we couldn’t carry around and it would have been a waste of buying one. A lady working at one of the mini-markets in town understood our situation, and literally pulled out a bottle of olive oil and poured some of it into a small plastic cup for us to take away (at no extra cost). It was very kind of her and something you are not likely to experience in big shopping centers.

a meet shop vendor in sicily village

33. Covid – 19 in Sicily requirements

UPDATE: this is not applicable, Corona is gone!

Today you can travel to Sicily and Italy by air for tourism purposes. All Covid-19 regulations have been lifted for travel to Italy. For more information about the requirements related to covid- 19 refer to this page .

Masks are still being worn inside supermarkets, churches, and museums. It was a strict requirement to wear a special medical mask (sold at the coffee shop at the port in case you don’t have one) on the Trapani-Favignana ferry. I have noticed that many elderly people still wore masks outside, and even in small towns. Knowing that Italy was one of the countries hardest hit by pandemics, it comes as no surprise.

Have you ever been to a destination where traveling felt challenging, or on the contrary- a complete breeze? Share your experience in the comments below. Also, if you have more questions about traveling to Sicily, please feel free to get in touch.

More Italy travel guides

Sicily travel guides.

  • Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Sicily and Driving Stress-Free
  • Renting a car in Catania, Sicily
  • Renting a car in Palermo: what you need to know
  • Epic Road Trip for 2-weeks in Sicily itinerary
  • Essential Sicily Travel Tips .
  • 21 spectacular places to visit in Sicily 
  • How to visit Favignana island, Sicily
  • Guide to hiking Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve
  • Visit Gangi mountain town in Sicily
  • The most beautiful small coastal towns and fishing villages in Sicily.
  • The most charming mountain towns in Sicily .
  • Which is better: Amalfi Coast or Sicily?
  • Is Sicily safe? Areas to avoid and safety tips by a regular visitor.
  • Airports in Sicily Italy : which one you should fly to?

Italy Itineraries

  • 15 Most Beautiful Road Trips in Italy: great ideas for your Italy itinerary
  • 10-Day South Italy Itinerary: Naples to Calabria road trip
  • 14-Day Sicily Itinerary: a 2-week Sicily road trip
  • 2 Days in Amalfi Coast Itinerary: how to spend 48 hours on Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • 2 weeks Puglia itinerary – Italy’s heel in 14 days

General Italy travel guides

  • Browse all my  blog posts about Italy   HERE .
  • Looking for romantic road trip ideas in Italy? Check my list of  15 Best Road Trips in Italy.
  • The ultimate guide to renting a car in Italy
  • Tips for driving in Italy for the first time
  • Thinking of renting a car in Rome? Read my guide to  How to rent a car in Rome .
  • Best coastal towns in southern Italy.
  • Explore Calabria- the least visited region in Italy.
  • Visit Sicily- the biggest island in Italy.

Italy travel resources

Here are links to essential travel resources and services I always use when organizing my trips.

  • HIRE A CAR : Rent a car at the best rates at Discover Cars .
  • CHEAP FLIGHTS: find the cheapest and the best flight combinations with Skyscanner .
  • ACCOMMODATION: find your perfect stay on .
  • VISA: apply for a Schengen visa easily at iVisa . Use OneWayFly to reserve dummy flight tickets/hotels if required for your visa application.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: get 5% off your insurance by using my link on Heymondo , a travel insurance provider. For the cheapest travel insurance on the market check SafetyWing .
  • eSIM CARD: Stay connected before you land. Airlo offers an eSIM card with up to 20 GB (7 to 30 days) data packages for Italy and Europe for reasonable rates.
  • GUIDED TOURS:  Find the best day tours in Italy on  GetYourGuide , outdoor tours and activities with Manawa .
  • PRIVATE TRANSFER: Book a private transfer to any location in Italy with GetTransfer .
  • FLIGHT GOT CANCELLED OR DELAYED? You may receive compensation of up to 600 EUR. Consult and get support from AirHelp or Skycop .

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10 Best Places to Visit in Sicily

By Fiona Fiorentino · Last updated on April 3, 2024

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily lies at the toe of Italy’s “boot,” separated from the mainland by the narrow Strait of Messina. Home to Europe’s tallest active volcano, Sicily is a mountainous island with rugged landscapes tamed by centuries of cultivation and deforestation. The range of cultures that have dominated the island over its long history have left their mark as well, and while rumbling Mount Etna remains a strong tourist draw, many visitors come to Sicily to explore its diverse array of archeological wonders.

The outlying Aeolian Islands are also popular places to visit in Sicily . With its unique cuisine, temperate climate and sandy beaches, a vacation in sunny Sicily is always memorable.

Map of Sicily

Sicily Map

10. Monreale [SEE MAP]


Monreale is a small town located near the city of Palermo , the capital of Sicily. The city sits atop a hill overlooking the Golden Shell, a valley known for its olive, orange and almond trees. The city’s star attraction, however, is the magnificent Cathedral of Monreale, a stunning example of Norman architecture. Although the church has a rather unimpressive façade, the interiors are breathtaking. The Italian cloisters are famed for both their size and incredible detail, but it’s the mosaics covering the walls that make this cathedral so special. Almost every square inch of the interiors gleams spectacular mosaic images set against a gold background.

9. Erice [SEE MAP]


Situated on the summit of Mount Erice, the town of Erice overlooks the city of Trapani nearly a half mile below, making a visit to Erice worthwhile for the views alone. Reached by cable cars from Trapani, the historic city also offers visitors to Sicily a break from the hot summer sun as temperatures tend to be cool and crisp here year round. The town’s main attractions are two medieval castles, one built by Arabs, the other by Britons. The Norman castle was built atop an ancient Temple of Venus.

8. Doric Temple of Segesta [SEE MAP]

Doric Temple of Segesta

Located in the northwestern part of Sicily, Segesta was one of the major cities of the Elymians, an indigenous population of Sicily who also founded Erice. The Doric temple that lies just outside the ancient site is well preserved. It was built in the late 5th century BC and has 6×14 Doric columns. Several things suggest that the temple was never actually finished. The Doric columns have not been fluted as they normally would have been and the temple also seems to have lacked a roof over the main chamber. The setting of the Temple, perched on a hill, is simply beautiful with views that stretch right down to the sea.

7. Villa Romana del Casale [SEE MAP]

Villa Romana del Casale

Located on the outskirts of the town of Piazza Armerina in southern central Sicily, the Villa Romana del Casale is one of the island’s must-see attractions. The 4th-century Roman villa features one of the largest and best-preserved collections of ancient mosaics in the world. Each of the main rooms in the villa has a mosaic floor decorated in a specific theme, including a hedonistic mosaic in the main bedroom. The mosaic depicting the Olympic games is the most famous as it features the first image of women wearing what are known today as bikinis.

6. Syracuse [SEE MAP]


Also known as Siracusa, Syracuse was once considered the most important city of the ancient Western world. The 2,700-year-old city is mentioned in the Bible, in the writings of Cicero and in the myths and legends of many civilizations. The oldest part of Syracuse is situated offshore on the island of Ortiga and is filled with historic temples, churches and important archeological sites, including a necropolis that dates back from 1270 B.C. Theatrical productions are still staged at the 5th-centry Greek Theatre, which boasts one of the largest seating areas ever built by the ancient Greeks.

5. Palermo [SEE MAP]


Sicily’s bustling capital city, Palermo has a history that dates back 2,700 years. Founded by the Phoenicians, the city reached its cultural peak during its Arab occupation when Palermo was called the “city of delights” for its beautiful gardens and architecture. Today, the city is known more for its boisterous street markets than for its cultural attractions, although there are first-class museums and historic churches in Palermo well worth exploring. The top attraction is the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, an underground maze of open crypts beneath the Capuchin monastery. Some of the 8,000 mummified human remains are extraordinarily well-preserved but creepy.

4. Aeolian Islands [SEE MAP]

Aeolian Islands

Located off the northern shore of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands attract around 200,000 visitors each year. The seven islands that make up the archipelago are the result of volcanic and seismic activity, and climbing the active volcanoes on the islands of Stomboli and Vulcano attract adventurous travelers from around the world. Most visitors, however, come to the Aeolians for their picturesque white-washed villages and luxury resorts. With steaming fumaroles located on most of the isles, relaxing in a percolating pool of mud or lazing in bubbling thermal waters are popular activities as well.

3. Taormina [SEE MAP]


Perched on a cliff near Mount Etna on the island’s eastern shoreline, Taormina has long been a popular place to visit in Sicily. Well-heeled travelers have been including the resort town on their itineraries since the 19th century. There are scenic beaches near the city to enjoy too, and as they’re only accessible by an aerial tramway, traveling to them is half the fun. The Teatro Greco is Taormina’s most popular attraction. While the architecture of the amphitheater is Roman, its layout indicates that it was built upon an older Greek theater. Although the original seats have been replaced, much of the 2nd-century theater remains intact.

2. Mount Etna [SEE MAP]

Mount Etna

One of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Etna stands around 3,300 meters (11,000 feet) tall, towering over the east coast of Sicily. Most of the volcano’s eruptions occur at the summit, continually adding to or subtracting from the mountain’s height. During the winter, visitors come to Etna to ski on its snowy slopes. In warm-weather months, adventurous travelers make their way to Rifugio Sapienza, a popular departure point for climbs up the mountain. Accessible by private car, the ski station Piano Provenzana on Etna’s less active northern slopes has tour operators who drive visitors up to the Volcanic Observatory station or up to the main crater.

1. Valley of the Temples [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Sicily

The city of Agrigento on the southern coast of Sicily was a city of great importance in Ancient Greece, and it’s the archaeological remnants of its gloried past that make the town a popular travel destination. Just outside the city lies the Valley of the Temples where a series of 5th-century Doric temples stand on a ridge facing the sea. Of these, the temples attributed to the goddesses Concordia and Juno Lacinia in the eastern section are the best-preserved. The western section features the unfinished Temple of Zeus, the largest Doric temple ever unearthed.

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November 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

I live in Milo, Catania, directly on the most active Volcano in Europe. I am very happy to hear about my beautiful island and its many attractions.

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May 17, 2017 at 6:23 am

We also visited Palermo this year. Nice city anyway. There are some best sights to see. Highly recommended. We love Palermo!

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Tourist information

Are you planning a holiday in Sicily? Our Information Offices, located in the most popular tourist locations on the island, can provide you with useful advice for planning your trip.

Assistance continues upon your arrival! Our counters are ready to welcome you to offer any useful information.

Opening hours to the public:

From Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 13.30 Wednesday from 16.00 to 18.00

SCIACCA (Agrigento) Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 84 Tel. +39 0925 22744 [email protected]

  • CALTANISSETTA Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 109 Tel. +39 0934 583692 [email protected]
  • GELA (Caltanissetta) Viale Mediterraneo, 3 (Palazzo Municipale) Tel. +39 0933 913788 [email protected]
  • CATANIA Via Beato Bernardo, 5 – Via Etnea, 8 (Piazza Duomo – Museo Diocesano) Tel. +39 095 7477415 [email protected]
  • ACIREALE (Catania) Via Romeo, 2 (Piazza Duomo) Tel. +39 095 891999 [email protected]

CALTAGIRONE (Catania) Via Volta Libertini, 4 Tel. +39 0933 350093 [email protected]

  • LINGUAGLOSSA Etna Nord (Catania) Piazza Annunziata, angolo Via Marconi Tel. +39 095 643677 [email protected]
  • NICOLOSI Etna Sud (Catania) Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Tel. +39 095 914488 [email protected]

ENNA Servizio Turistico Regionale n.15- Enna Piazza VI Dicembre, 6 Tel. +39 0935 500875 [email protected]

CAPO D’ORLANDO (Messina) Contrada Bagnoli presso Porto Marina Tel. +39 0941 912784 [email protected]

RAGUSA Via Ducezio, 2 Tel. +39 0932 082396 [email protected]

TRAPANI Piazza Umberto I, 15 (interno Stazione) Tel. +39 0923 540993 [email protected]


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Sicily Tours & Trips

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207 Sicily tour packages with 1,411 reviews

Discovering the Best of Sicily Tour

In-depth Cultural Family

Discovering the Best of Sicily

  • €50 deposit on some dates

Sicilian Secrets - Tour of Sicily 8 days Tour

Sicilian Secrets - Tour of Sicily 8 days

"The tour matched if not exceeded my expectations. Hotels were very good quality." Jim, traveled in April 2024

Sicilian Secrets - Tour of Sicily 10 days from Palermo Tour

Sicilian Secrets - Tour of Sicily 10 days from Palermo

"The tour guides with rich knowledge of the attractions, we learned a lot from them; and we tasted lots of typical Sicilian dishes and they were delicious." QueenieLee, traveled in November 2019

Private Tour of Sicily: Highlights Tour

Private Tour of Sicily: Highlights

"Loved Sicily and we were well looked after by Sicily Activities. I would recommend them without hesitation." Paul, traveled in October 2023
  • 10% deposit on some dates

Small Group Tour of Sicily: Highlights (Maximum 8 Guests) Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Food & Culinary Hiking & Trekking +2

Small Group Tour of Sicily: Highlights (Maximum 8 Guests)

"Our tour of Sicily was outstanding. We could not have asked for a better experience." Robin, traveled in January 1970

New Tour of Sicily from Palermo 10 Days Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

New Tour of Sicily from Palermo 10 Days

"Less cathedrals and maybe add beach time?" Helen, traveled in May 2024

Splendor of Sicily 8 Days Tour - from Catania Tour

In-depth Cultural Coach / Bus

Splendor of Sicily 8 Days Tour - from Catania

"We saw a lot of amazing and beautiful places in Sicily, some with local guides, ate a lot of delicious food and were entertained." Jen, traveled in May 2023

Sicilian Landscapes: Catania-Catania (8 days/7 nights) Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Coach / Bus +1

Sicilian Landscapes: Catania-Catania (8 days/7 nights)

"The accommodation was good and comfortable although we did have single beds at all our accommodation." Paula, traveled in July 2019

Absolute Sicily: Palermo - Palermo (10 days/9 nights) Tour

Absolute Sicily: Palermo - Palermo (10 days/9 nights)

"The tasting, breakfast and dinners were great. The hotel accommodation was very good." josephine, traveled in August 2022

Best of Sicily - 8 Days (Small Group Tour) Tour

Explorer Family Historical

Best of Sicily - 8 Days (Small Group Tour)

"The organized meals were some of the finest I've ever enjoyed. The accommodations were all great, some spectacular." David, traveled in April 2023

Explore Southern Sicily Tour

In-depth Cultural Historical

Explore Southern Sicily

"This tour is an ideal way to taste some of the many flavours on offer in Southern Sicily." Frieda, traveled in September 2022

Magical Sicily - 7 Days Tour

In-depth Cultural Active Family +1

Magical Sicily - 7 Days

"A lot of camaraderie was lost due to the language barrier. It was just by luck that we found a wonderful board walk." Alaine, traveled in November 2023

TREASURES OF SICILY: a Weeklong Adventure Tour

In-depth Cultural Explorer Christmas & New Year +1

TREASURES OF SICILY: a Weeklong Adventure

  • €100 deposit on some dates

Splendours of Sicily Tour

Splendours of Sicily

"Comprehensive! We will be back! Food venues chosen were varied with a good variety of excellent Sicilian foods." David, traveled in October 2022

Sensational Sicily Tour

In-depth Cultural Coach / Bus Historical +1

Sensational Sicily

"Tour was excellent, hotels very good but communication could improve." Loretta, traveled in April 2024

What people love about Sicily Tours

We enjoyed ourselves and that is the principal objective in any holiday. Travelling in April meant that the weather was perfect for us - not too hot. The hotels were good - the Mercure in Palermo and the one in Agrigento excellent. Either lunch or dinner was laid on and we're of a high standard. The sites we visited were truly impressive although sometimes a little fleeting. Sicily is a big island so we did spend a lot of time on the coach. Thankfully we had a smart vehicle, Dino the driver was brilliant but the most plaudits have to go to Angelo the tour guide. Angelo was in turns helpful, informative, knowledgeable and great company. He went out of his way on a number of occasions to assist members of our party be it with lost property, illness or other mishaps. The tour was great value and I would strongly recommend.
Good guides and good hotel and meals. Didn't expect my initial group of 30 to swell to 45 a few days later. Such a large number made visiting sites difficult. Didn't have listening devices for the first 3 days. Couldn't hear guides very well. Didn't expect to have to pay entrance fees. Web site should make that clear. Loved the selection of sited we visited.
Loved Sicily and we were well looked after by Sicily Activities. I would recommend them without hesitation. Paul Roberts - New Zealand.

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"We had a wonderful experience with knowledgable and helpful guides. The tours were fabulous and the hotels were very good. I recommend this tour highly.

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12 amazing ways to experience Italy

Nicola Williams

Jan 11, 2024 • 8 min read

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Few joys compare to discovering the beauty of Italy with friends © MStudioImages / Getty Images © © MStudioImages / Getty Images

With its awe-inspiring art, architecture and culinary delights, Italy has been a star of the world stage for millennia.

The epicenter of the Roman Empire and the birthplace of the Renaissance, this European virtuoso practically groans under the weight of its cultural cachet. The challenge for any visit to Italy is not so much where to go – an amazing experience is honestly assured wherever you end up – but rather how to go about it.

The following advice on the best things to do from a veteran visitor can help you turn every trip into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) overlooking Positano and Isle of Capri, Campania, Italy

1. Glam it up on the dramatic Amalfi Coast

Whether you follow the rugged cliff-laced coast in search of a wild swimming spot or live the high life with spritz-sipping A-listers in Positano , the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's most glamorous destinations. This dramatic coastal strip has thrills and spills to suit every taste and budget, from hunting down traditional marquetry in Sorrento's maze-like old town to garden-hopping in Ravello .

Planning tip: Make time for the Sentiero degli Dei ("Path of the Gods") – a rugged hiking trail that delivers on its name with positively celestial views.

2. See artwork as part of Tuscany's sustainable tourism project

Most Tuscan tours begin in the UNESCO-listed city of Florence , a cinematic feast of Renaissance palazzi (palaces), medieval-frescoed chapels and art museums brimming with Botticelli and Michelangelo masterpieces .

At the historic heart of Florence is the Uffizi , whose unmatched Renaissance masterpieces are ogled by millions of visitors each year. To take the art journey further, the five-year Uffizi Diffusi project started in 2021 to encourage art buffs to trek across Tuscany's backcountry – on foot, by bike or by car – following an untrodden trail to Italian masterpieces.

Designed to diffuse Florence's heavy tourist load, this sustainable tourism project is bringing pop-up galleries to remote chapels, fortresses, hilltop villages and other unconventional spaces. Not only does it lead visitors off the beaten track, but it also allows artworks to be admired among the very Tuscan landscapes that inspired the artists – think iconic terrain of rolling hills dipped in morning mist, timeless cypress alleys, silver olive groves and terraced rows of vines. Check current venues on the Uffizi website .

Young woman looking at her phone on a parked red moped, Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy

3. Tour Rome, the epicenter of empire

Working out the best way to spend your time in the Italian capital is a cultural conundrum. Rome is the former caput mundi (capital of the world), the epicenter of the Roman Empire, the spiritual HQ of the Christian world and the repository for over two millennia of European art and architecture. The city exudes must-see sights from every pore.

Zooming around Italy's Eternal City on the back of a Vespa moped to sightsee at speed is one option and a great way to sample the dolce vita (good life). From the Colosseum (buy a "Full Experience" ticket to access the underground vaults), the Pantheon  and the Roman Forum to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums , there's history and culture at every turn.

Planning tip:  There's simply too much to cover in a single visit – so before you leave, toss a coin into the pool below the wild horses and cascading rockfalls of the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to this captivating city.

4. Spend time on one of Italy's many idyllic islands

Italy's prized island collection hovers around the 450 mark, meaning il bel paese ("the beautiful country") has a beach-laced island with your name on it. Myriad islands dot the Mediterranean, Ionian, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas. Venice alone is made up of 17 islands, and Sicily and Sardinia – the country's biggest and busiest islands – offer an enticing mix of outdoor thrills and living history.

Unblemished Capri , a boat ride from Naples, attracts celebrities and the super-rich (as does posh Panarea in Sicily's Aeolian archipelago). Volcanic Ischia is awash with thermal spas and manicured gardens.

Planning tip: Traveling with nature lovers? Then head to the peaceful salt marshes and mudflats teeming with birdlife in the pristine Grado lagoon , on the country's northeast border with Austria and Slovenia in little-explored Friuli Venezia Giulia .

A mother and son look out at the Grand Canal from a bridge in Venice, Veneto, Italy

5. Help to save Venice

Venice is impossible to ignore – which explains the hordes of tourists who pile into this dreamlike city of romantic canals and ethereal fogs. In an average year, some 25 million arrive to snap selfies beneath the Bridge of Sighs and glimpse heaven (in fresco form) in Basilica di San Marco . To curb future crowds, turnstiles at city entrances and advance reservations via an app to enter the city are all on the drawing board. And 2024 will see the long-awaited implementation of a tourist tax  designed to make sure day-trippers contribute to the city's survival.

Planning tip:  To make a positive impact on Italy's most mobbed city, come out of season , and don't duck in and out on a day trip. Instead, stay for a few days using the community-powered, home-sharing platform Fairbnb and meet and learn from Venetians who are passionate about their city through Venezia Autentica . At mealtimes, favor lagoon-caught seafood in local restaurants over tourist joints with English-language menus.

The village of Colledimezzo with mountains in the background, Abruzzo, Italy

6. Get off-grid in rural Abruzzo

The Abruzzo region doesn't have the Amalfi's natural glamour or the cultural gems of Rome, but for travelers seeking an immersive, emotive brush with rural Italy and its people, it definitely hits the spot. Cradled by the gritty Apennine mountains and unforgiving Adriatic sea, the region was hit by an earthquake in 2009. Yet Abruzzo is slowly rebuilding itself and reclaiming its rich heritage.

In the quiet town of L'Aquila, a new outpost of Rome's MAXXI (National Museum of 21st Century Arts) is just one sign of this cultural rebirth. In remote Santo Stefano di Sessanio, the Sextantio albergo diffuso program hosts visitors in rustic rooms scattered around this pretty mountain village. Spotting rare Marsican bears padding around the Parc Nazionale d'Abruzzo is the icing on the cake.

7. Follow the Via Francigena pilgrim trail

Cycling and walking are great ways to get under the skin of Italy's diverse landscapes, and there is no finer long-distance trail than the medieval Via Francigena . A perfect, less-trodden alternative to Spain's Camino de Santiago, Italy's most celebrated pilgrim route wends its way for 1900km (1180 miles), running all the way from Canterbury in England to Rome.

The scenic Italian section unfurls at a meditative snail's pace through Tuscany and Lazio , breaking for breath at beautiful hilltop villages, volcanic lakes, Etruscan ruins , remote monasteries and enchanting emerald hills around Lucca ; the UNESCO-protected Val d'Orcia ;  Viterbo ; and other gloriously overlooked spots.

A scooter drives by shoppers on narrow Spaccanapoli, Naples, Campania, Italy

8. Enjoy the drama and excitement of Naples' street life

As Italy's most spirited urban hub, this highly charged, charismatic city in the country's deep south is a curious potpourri of nail-biting history, classical art and a grungy grassroots cocktail of frescoed ruins, frenzied markets and epicurean adventures . Drama is the order of the day in boisterous Naples , where street life unfolds like a grand opera.

Shop for swordfish heads and sweet ricotta pastries at Naples' oldest market, ogle street art in the Centro Storico, admire Mt Vesuvius views from the Lungomare seafront, explore subterranean catacombs , then follow the lead of locals and join the after-dark passegiatta (promenade) on Via Chiaia. Whatever you do, count on drama 24/7.

9. Savor slow food in Piedmont

Rare white truffles from the vine-striped countryside around Alba offer the most grassroots gastronomic experience in all of Italy. Once these fabulous fungi are tracked down by dogs in the woods, ceremoniously sniffed and greedily scoffed, there is no going back.

Truffles aside, the northwestern region of Piedmont , birthplace of the Slow Food movement , entices gourmets with sweet, creamy hazelnuts from the rolling Langhe hills and silky chocolate and myriad cocoa creations in gilded cafes in elegant Turin . Nebbiolo grapes metamorphose into magical Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and lavish banquets pair these treats with sacrosanct aperitivo (pre-meal snacks to eat with a drink and open up the appetite).

Planning tip:  Go hungry and savor the slow feast, one delicious mouthful at a time.

The square by Piazza del Duomo in Ortigia, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

10. Soak up the timeless beauty of Sicily

The eternal crossroads of the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily dazzles with a brilliant diversity of landscapes and cultural treasures. In the southeast, honey-hued Syracuse was the largest city in the ancient world – bigger even than Athens and Corinth – and played an important role in classical Greece. Its hypnotic archaeological ruins, rising out of lush citrus orchards and the sparkling blue Mediterranean, continue to encapsulate Sicily's timeless beauty.

Planning tip:  Greek dramas still flourish in Syracuse's great amphitheater, alongside contemporary theater, live music and more. Plan to see a show beneath the stars on the antiquity stage at Teatro Greco – and expect an unforgettable and spellbinding spectacle.

11. Harvest grapes in the Cinque Terre

Nothing matches Cinque Terre's stunning setting – five teeny, sherbet-colored villages pinned to a jaw-dropping backdrop of terraced vineyards, wave-carved cliffs and blue sea on the Italian Riviera. Summer packs these celebrity villages to bursting point, but the autumn vendemmia (grape harvest) ushers in quite a different scene.

Planning tip:  Come in the fall for mellow days of strolling along quiet cobbled lanes and hiking through vertical vineyards and hillsides perfumed by macchia (herbal scrub) to ancient sanctuaries. The sight of local pickers gallantly harvesting the grapes that go into the Cinque Terre's sweet, fortified Sciacchetrà, and sipping the resulting vintages in a Corniglia or Riomaggiore wine bar with vertiginous views is an experience that will stay with you forever.

A skier on a trail at a resort in Breuil-Cervinia, Italy, Alps

12. Hit the ski slopes and hiking trails in Valle d'Aosta

Ringed by some of Europe's highest peaks, including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso, the Aosta Valley sports some of the best winter sports facilities on the continent. In fashionable Courmayeur , winter skiers descend hair-raising runs into France and Switzerland, crossing glaciers and returning via lofty cable cars.

And when the snow melts, spectacular hiking trails in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso and around Mont Blanc await. Whatever the season, keep your ears peeled for Franco-Provençal (also known as Valdôtain), the Franco-Italian valley's distinctive local language.

This article was first published Oct 21, 2021 and updated Jan 11, 2024.

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Virtual spacewalk, aka The Infinite, makes only Florida stop in West Palm Beach

I went up to the International Space Station the other day. It was an awe-inspiring trip, even if I never actually left the ground. 

A few small steps inside the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’s Cohen Pavilion was all it took to make a giant leap 250 miles above Earth, where I spent 45 minutes hanging out with astronauts inside and outside the space station. 

The special virtual reality headset I wore helped, too.

“Space Explorers: The Infinite” landed in West Palm Beach earlier this month for a summer long Kravis Center run that ends Sept. 2. Billed as “the world’s most captivating immersive space experience,’’ the one-of-a-kind production delivers exactly as advertised. 

Using never-before-seen 360-degree video, this self-guided tour is the closest the vast majority of us will ever come to experiencing the sensation of being in space.

“It is the most immersive experience of life in space ever made. You feel like you are there,’’ said the man who helped make it all possible, Felix Lajeunesse, chief creative officer of Felix & Paul Studios.

The beauty and fragility of Earth as seen from space

“You will be able to step outside the walls of the ISS and experience floating above the earth and seeing planet Earth and experiencing what astronauts refer to as the ‘overview effect’ — this feeling of seeing planet Earth as a whole and feeling the extraordinary beauty but also the fragility of it and how humans occupy just a small tiny place on that enormous planet. That emotion is really central to the show.’’ 

The most surreal part: That visceral ‘overview effect’ is experienced simply by wandering around the Kravis Center’s 9,000-square-foot Gimelstob Ballroom, the setting in the weeks before The Infinite of mundane earthly events like a Palm Beach County League of Cities banquet.

To see the magic of space unfold, you have to wear a VR Oculus headset, with special eye glasses and audio. These special headsets collect information from a series of sensors spread across the ballroom floor as green dots. Those sensors help transmit breathtaking 360-degree video into your field of vision. 

“When you put your VR glasses on, you don't see any walls. You just see the Space Station in outer space,’’ Lajeunesse told me. “You can step outside of the ISS and you can look around and see the solar panels, radiators, the enormouse truss that connects all the modules of the space station. And if you look down you will see planet Earth. So you don't have a feeling you are in a relatively tight space. You have a feeling of being in an infinite space.’’ 

How the Kravis was transformed into outer space

I’d never worn a VR headset before. With assistance from Kravis staffers in “Mission Specialist” shirts, I strapped it on my head and flipped down the audio earmuffs. Suddenly, my wife and four others in our group appeared as ethereal stardust avatars. Seeing those avatars helped us avoid walking into other virtual space station visitors.  

We entered a pitch-black portal that gave way to an expansive view of the massive space station over Earth. Floating around us at arm’s length were dozens of luminous orbs. 

I reached out and tapped one, activating a 360-degree video of a short scene filmed inside a space station module where astronauts just a few feet from me were performing experiments. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me. I turned around, and there was European Space Station astronaut Luca Parmitano staring into my eyes, describing in English accented with his native Italian the wonders of zero-gravity. 

Another orb. Tap. And I’m inside NASA astronaut Jessica Mier’s cabin, where she’s dressed in red-striped pajamas reading a book by the portal window. The setting is so intimate, I felt sort of awkward, as if I’d unknowingly barged into a stranger’s bedroom.

Tap. And I’m watching two astronauts preparing to strap into spacesuits for a spacewalk. In their excitement, still wearing T-shirts, they bend their elbows and slap hands — the slap so clear it sounds like it came from exactly the distance they are from me, about three feet. 

When one scene ended, a glove from a space suit floated in microgravity in front of me. I tried to grab it, and it bounced off my fingers, making a crinkly sound, as if I was poking a bag of potato chips.

After each video ends, words appear across your field of vision directing you to the next area where more floating orbs are waiting to be tapped. 

There are some 60 orbs in all. You’ll only see a fraction in your visit. And chances are others in your group won’t tap the same orbs you did, meaning they will have an experience different from yours.  

But everyone experiences the same breathtaking grand finale. About 35 minutes into my journey, I am directed to sit down in a chair. Suddenly, I'm sitting on a robotic arm outside the ISS watching astronauts take a spacewalk.

I look up and see massive panels rising into the dark universe above the space station. I look down and see the unmistakable boot of Italy and the island of Sicily, framed in clouds against deep blue. Without the headsets, I’d be looking at a ballroom chandelier and black floor dotted with those green sensors. 

Capturing the reality of space took three custom-made cameras

How in the name of Buzz Lightyear is this all possible? 

Lajeunesse was only too happy to share with me some behind-the-scenes details on how the production was made. 

In partnership with NASA, the production is a joint venture between Felix & Paul Studios and PHI Studio, two Montreal-based pioneers in the so-called XR industry. XR is the acronym for Extended Reality, an umbrella term for technologies combining virtual, augmented and mixed realities — with the shared goal of producing immersive experiences. 

In association with TIME Studios, the two companies worked with NASA, the ISS U.S. National Lab and the Canadian Space Agency during six space station missions over three years.

Three custom-made cameras were taken on each mission. Astronauts installed the cameras at various points in the space station and recorded short scenes of life in space. They were directed in real time by Lajeunesse and his colleagues back on Earth, in places like their offices in Montreal, at Johnson Space Center in Houston or at the MarshallSpace Flight Center in Alabama.

“These eight astronauts you see were the protagonists of the story and also the entire production crew up there in space. The astronauts would be installing the camera and we would provide feedback so they placed the cameras exactly as we wanted them,’’ Lajeunesse said.   

“Every orb you encounter in your exploration is at a place where the camera was. Everything is precisely geo-localized. Let's say you walk inside the U.S. lab and there are six spheres there. Those are all the places the cameras were placed, exactly at that vantage point, so there's a perfect alignment between the virtual world and the cinematic world.’’ 

Each camera is made up of nine different camera lenses to capture imagery in three-dimensional stereoscopic 360. For viewers, the result is a sense of full presence. To accomplish that, the astronauts received unique instructions on how to use the cameras.

Teaching astronauts to regard the camera as another crew member

“We told the astronauts in space, ‘Think of this camera as a person.  When you place that camera inside of a scene, we would always always ask you to place it where a human being would stand,’’’ he said. 

“The other thing we told them, ‘When you talk to these cameras, you are talking to a fellow crew member. You're not talking to a camera. You’re talking to a colleague.’ They really embraced that idea.’’ 

For the spacewalk video, astronauts installed a special extravehicular camera, built to withstand the hostile environment of outer space, onto  CanadArm2 , the nearly 60-foot long robotic arm built by the Canadian Space Agency for the ISS.

When the spacewalk was filmed, the robotic arm was slowly moving around the space station. That’s why, even though I was sitting in a chair, I felt the sensation of moving around in space. 

“It’s not the kind of project where you wonder, ‘What's a good shot?' It’s more about ‘where does it make sense to place a person inside of a scene?’’’ Lajeunesse said.  

“If you have astronauts together around a table, then we placed a camera at the same height as the astronauts at the table. It would occupy the place of a person. So when you are in the VR experience, you look left and right and you're just there with them. You feel as present with them in the moment as they feel.’’

My wife and I loved it, as did the others in our group who were sorry it ended so soon, in just under an hour.

“People come back two and three times because they want to see more,’’ Lajeunesse said.

Is it really quiet in space?

My only complaint: Even with the headphones of my headset covering my ears, I could hear real-time ambient noise that was not part of the space station experience, noise similar to a crowded shopping mall. It was the voices of other participants, and I couldn’t blame them: They were so excited and awed by the show, they couldn’t help talking out loud to people in their group about what they were seeing. 

Admission is $50 for adults, $40 students and $30 children 8 to 12. (Children under 8 will not be admitted, including little ones in baby carriers.) That’s pocket change compared to the cost of actually flying into space – $250,000 to $60 million, according to commercial  space tourism  opportunities.

West Palm Beach is the seventh city to host the production, which opened in 2021 in Montreal before runs in Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Vancouver. It’s scheduled for Charlotte in September.

The real heroes of the production are the astronauts, whose photos and bios are displayed on posters along the entrance to the room where you get your VR headsets.  

“There have been a lot of films made about the ISS, one of them in iMax a couple years ago. But this was the first time someone attempted to do a fully immersive virtual reality experience captured in space. So it was really new for the astronauts," Lajeunesse said. "I think they really saw the promise at the beginning, that it would be possible to capture their experience, to be able to share it with people, not as a film that you watch but as an experience you live, with your buddy, with your heart, with your soul, being there in a full state of presence. They supported that vision from the beginning. Otherwise this project would not have been made.’’

If you go to: The Infinite

What: The Infinite is a 45-minute immersive experience (35 minutes in Virtual Reality goggles) for visitors ages 8 and older.

Where: The Cohen Pavilion at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

When: The exhibit is lifting off daily through Sept. 2, 2024

Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 4 – 9pm; Fridays: 2 – 9pm; Saturdays: 10am – 9pm; Sundays: 10am – 8pm

Tickets: $45-50 for adults. $35-40 for students. $25-30 for children ages 8-12.

For more information: or call 561-832-7469


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