There are many places to see in Sicily. It is an inland island, very Mediterranean, with a mixture of spanish air, Arabic and Greek for its history, without neglecting the character of southern Italy. Sicily is an island of mountains and volcanoes, of "virgin" beaches, of temples and churches or even of Arab cities. It is a really complete island, something perhaps for being thelargest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicily is an island seven times larger than the island of Mallorca, so first before leaving you have to take into account its important size. Touring the entire island in a week is doing something as epic as Homer's Odyssey, come on, a feat that will make us enjoy the island. There are many places to see in Sicily. and therefore you have to focus on the area you want to visit. We choose the east coast, the richest in culture possibly, but others bet on the west coast, more Arab and with less tourism.
Due to the particularity of our trip, the east coast was easier for us, but we were also attracted to discover places like Mount etna or cities like Siracussa, Taormina or Caltagirone.
Our particular Journey
We had fifteen days, enough days to see the entire island of Sicily, but instead we took a flight to Naples to see this decadent city and go down the Amalfi Coast and enjoy the Sorrentina Peninsula, ascend to Vesuvius, see the ruins of Pompeii and Paestum and then go south and access Sicily by Strait of Messina. Objective, see the east coast and finish in Palermo.
As our flight was back and forth through Naples, we had to access the Strait of Messina and return through Palermo, in aferry back to Naples, since we had to return our small rental car. In the end we met our Sicilian goal, about ten days to make a almost circular route where is the most interesting points of the island.
Our route through Sicily
Sale Sicily 5: 1 (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
- Gregor Clark, Cristian Bonetto
- Publisher: GeoPlaneta
- Issue no. 1 (09/26/2017)
Travel costs to Sicily
Traveling to Sicily is like traveling through Spain. Similar prices, somewhat higher the truth, and in high season double the prices depending on demand. To give you an idea, here are several expenses of our trip.
- Car rental with Rentalcars for 9 days A Nissan Micra or similar € 380
- The gasoline. The price varies a lot, but it is usually a little more expensive than in Spain. They were around 800km, about € 120
- accommodation. Our trip was between campsites and small hotels, little luxury. Around € 500
- Food and drink. The bottle of water comes out for € 1, an ice cream € 2, each dish in a restaurant comes between € 8 and € 12
- Log into monuments or palaces about € 10
- He funicular of Etna It costs about € 30 per person
Excursions or tours in Sicily
An option to visit Sicily in a more comfortable way is to book a tour of the area. We recommend that of Palermo or that of a winery next to Etna.
What to see in Sicily. Palermo and the east coast
Upon entering Messina we follow the itinerary as we have ordered on the map, but if you come from Palermo you can do exactly the same but in reverse. In fact, it would be best to always leave Palermo, the largest city of the entire route, for last.
- Mount etna
- I notice
- Villa Romana del Casale
1 Climb Mount Etna
One of the most active volcanoes in all of Europe is Etna without a doubt. Whenever Etna roars, southern Italy trembles. From it you can see all of Sicily and it is one of the most rugged and unique landscapes of the entire island. Climbing Etna is not a matter of being fit, really the National Park is so prepared for you to upload it up to funicular. Whether you like the mountain or not, Etna has to be on your trip to Sicily.
More information in our article about our experience climbing Mount Etna.
2 Taormina, the most visited
Taormina next to Palermo is possibly the most visited city in all of Sicily. Taormina is located in front of the sea, next to a spectacular terrace in the mount taurus. In summer Taormina is a hotbed of tourists and to access this population they ride long jams, several hours, just to access places like the most famous Greek theater on the whole island, the Greco Theater. In Taormina wealth is perceived, very different from the rest of the island. Its beauty is natural, and in addition to the ancient Byzantine capital it was one of the favorite places of the Spanish during their stay on the island. Unfortunately, in the months of July and August it is practically impossible to find accommodation and even dine at a restaurant, the city it's just crowded, something that makes you lose part of its charm in the summer months. It takes us 2 or 3 hours to travel just 5 kilometers….
Taormina - Source: shutterstock.com
In Taormina you can not miss:
- Greco Theater. You have to go first thing in the morning, since later they are crowded with tourists
- Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza IX Aprile
- Chiesa San Giuseppe
- The views from Castelmola, 5km of ascent with really beautiful views. You can go by bus.
3 Catania, decadent but full of life
Catania is a somewhat dark city. It's dirty like her alone decadent as much of southern Italy, but with that life that gives a city with a wide community university. The center seems forgotten, but perhaps that is the charm of the city. Street markets in narrow streets or night spots for have a good drink They are part of the genetics of this city, but if we go to the past, Catania is dotted with the history of Etna, since it was buried in the 17th century leaving desolation and death to more than 20,000 people.
Worth passing At least one night in Catania, since the decay is lived by day and the light is enjoyed at night.
Source: Traveltipi - Diving in the Riviera del Ciclopi
In Catania you can not miss:
- Piazza del Duomo
- Fontana of the Elephant
- The Catania Cathedral
- Diving in the Riviera del Ciclopi, north of Catania. See articlethe best beaches in Sicily (in English).
4 Siracussa, the most beautiful
Siracussa and everything that surrounds it is one of the most complete areas of the island. It is the best thing to see in Sicily. The Ortigia Island It stands out for its churches, some of the Spanish era, Piazza del Duomo, the Fontana de Aretusa and the facade of the cathedral. Next to Siracussa is a splendid and huge archaeological park, where is the Teatro Greco and a spectacular Roman amphitheater.
The area of Siracussa is so large that worth a night here, since between the island and the archaeological complex goes a whole day.
In Siracussa you can not miss:
- The Ortigia Island
- He Archeological Park of Neapolis
5 Noto and the Baroque
For many the baroque de Noto you can get them to be somewhat tacky and even made of stone cardboard for their golden reflections. For others it is the prettiest city in all of Sicily, for its long staircases, its balconies and for the symmetry of all its streets. It was not in our initial plans, we had many things to see in Sicily, but Noto in the end surprised us.
The current Noto is a city born from the earthquake devastation in the seventeenth century and the work of a duke-architect of doubtful taste but of great pretensions. I notice surprise, you just don't expect it.
Noto, St. Nicholas Cathedral
In Noto you can not miss:
- The St. Nicholas Cathedral
- The Palazzo de Villadorata
- The mansions surrounding the Piazza Municipio
As Noto, Caltagirone is a beautiful baroque city. It is famous for its ceramics, where tourists hungry for souvenirs make their August. We can say that it is a city of passage, as in our case, on the way to the Villa Romana del Casale, but we were enchanted by its terraces and the long staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, from where you can see much of the city.
In Caltagirone you can not miss:
- The Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte
- The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte
7 Villa Romana del Casale
A beautiful Roman villa that deserves a stop on the road to northern Sicily. Two things stand out from Villa Romana del Casale. Their mosaics, unique, for something they are Unesco World Heritage, and the massification, since in July and August it has more than 2,000 visitors a day.
Villa Romana del Casale
Villa Romana del Casale
8 Céfalu, with the best beaches in Sicily
Located in the Tirrena Coast, which comprises from Palermo to Milazzo, has the "award" for the highest concentration of tourist settlements in all of Sicily. It has a lot of private beaches and fishing villages, but if there is one that stands out above the rest that is Céfalu. Céfalu is a town with narrow streets of character medieval, but if you are from the beach, one of the most famous beaches in all of Sicily, the one that bears the same name, Céfalu beach, a crowded beach in summer and where prices become astronomical in high season.
Cefalu, north of Sicily
Besides, you can take a boat to the Aeolian Islands, but these are only enjoyed if you stay at least two days in them.
9 Petralia Soprana
One of the locations better preserved The center of Sicily is Pretralia Soprana. In principle we did not have it in mind, but when we saw it at the top of a hill next to a huge pine forest we could not say no. We loved your small medieval town and the beautiful church of Santa María de Loreto. Nearby we stop to eat, in a small pizzeria called Salvatore, with a wood oven of the most authentic.
Not far from there we camp in the Nebrodi Regional Park, next to a lake as quiet.
10 The decadent Palermo
Like Catania, Palermo is a city that also has a decadent appearance. his slope It is obvious, it is not what it was, but as is also the case in Catania, it is beautiful and attracts a lot of attention. People are friendly, there is a lot of noise in the streets and maybe too much motorcycle, it is the southern Italy, as you can imagine.
We left two days to get to know Palermo, parking the car and forgetting it, in order to live it a little more intensely and to visit the main museums. It is worth getting up early and approaching some open air market, as well as taste on the terrace the true Sicilian cuisine.
In Palermo you can not miss:
- Cattedrale di Monreale
- The Archaeological Museum
- The Fontana Pretoria
- The Massimo Theater
- The Palatine Cappela
More on the transalpine country in our section of Italy
How to get?
There are two ways to get to Sicily, by boat or plane. Inship can be reached from Messina, crossing the strait, or from Naples, where they leave loaded with cars every day. The other way, and the most used, is the plane, where the following companies stand out:
- Ryanair (direct from Madrid)
- Vueling (direct from Barcelona)
- Iberia (direct from Barcelona)
- Skyscanner, the best flight comparator in the market. The one we recommend!
Claim a flight
If you need to claim the company for loss of luggage, flight delay, etc., do not hesitate, use the services of an agency that will be free and you will have many guarantees of success.
Claim a flight
When to go?
The best time to visit Sicily is outside the high season. If your vacation allows you, run away from summer, especially in July and August, as the beaches are crowded and cities like Taormina become almost unhospitable. The interior is something else, it is quieter and suitable for any time of the year, although summer, as in the rest of the Mediterranean, the sun is scorching.
Without hesitation the best time to visit Sicily is from May to June and from September to October, since you can enjoy the interior and the beaches without feeling overwhelmed with so much tourism.
Where to sleep?
Here is a selection of users' hotels. If you know one that is worth the quality / price, do not hesitate, we will add it to the list.
- Picadilly House, from € 40 in the center and with very bright colors
- Katane Place, from 85 € this charming hotel
- Hotel Livingston, in the heart of Ortigia Island from € 100. The views are fabulous
- Domus Mariae, one of the favorites for its quality / price. From € 70
- San Pietro, from € 50
- Sole del Mediterraneo, from € 50
- Seven Rooms Villadorata, exceptional rooms with palatial air and overlooking the city
- Dolce Vita Bed & Breakfast, from € 50 in the center and by the sea
- Bouganville Bed & Breakfast Cefalu, from € 50 with rural air and in the countryside
- Astro Suite, with pool and beach access
- NH Palermo, a classic with a pool from € 90
- B&B White, a cucada with exquisite decoration from € 50
Car rental in Sicily
Many car rental companies work in Sicily since the car is the best way to travel the island. In July and August the rates tend to double, as it joins the holidays of the Italians and of course much of Europe, so getting a good price is very, very difficult. Still, here are several companies that we recommend.
- Comparator Rentarlcars (discount up to 15%). You can compare the rate in several rental companies.
- Maggiore, Italian company with fleet in Sicily
- Happycar, another car comparator with many companies that work in Sicily
- Discount up to one 25% with Europcar in Sicily
- Sicily by car, one of the cheapest
- Sixt, the company that has the newest cars
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