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Last Updated on 7th September 2023
Sun, sea, and history, Sicily has it all. This gorgeous Mediterranean Island in the Regione Siciliana region of Italy has unparalleled coastal beauty, and the excitement of the two active volcanoes in Italy, with both Mount Etna and Stromboli having eruptions this year, with only Vesuvius near Naples also spewing lava enough for the title.
There are several reasons why you should to go to island of Sicily. The stunning natural beauty includes picturesque beaches, rugged mountains, and charming countryside are typical Med beauty.
Sicily enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. This makes it an ideal destination for beach lovers, as the island boasts numerous beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
The history includes influences from various civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and more. This heritage is reflected in the island’s architecture, art, and cuisine, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. This includes well-preserved ancient ruins and archaeological sites like the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the Greek Theatre in Taormina.
And for lovers of Italian food, Sicilian cuisine is renowned for its flavours and diversity, from fresh seafood and pasta dishes to sweet pastries and gelato. The island is also known for its vineyards, producing excellent wines such as Nero d’Avola and Marsala.
So here is our comprehensive guide on essential activities, accommodations, and travel information, where to find the Roman architecture, for the perfect Sicilian destination.
Where is Sicily
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the southern coast of Italy and separated by the Strait of Messina. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean and you likely know it from childhood as what Italy is giving the boot.
Things to do in Sicily
1. Visit Mount Etna: Explore Europe’s largest active volcano, take a cable car ride to the summit, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
2. Explore the Valley of the Temples: Discover the ancient Greek ruins in Agrigento, including well-preserved temples such as the Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Juno.
3. Explore Taormina: Wander through the charming streets of this hilltop town, visit the ancient Greek theater, and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.
4. Visit Palermo: Explore the capital city of Sicily, visit the Palermo Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni, and the bustling markets like Ballarò and Vucciria.
5. Discover the Aeolian Islands: Take a boat tour to these picturesque islands, enjoy the beautiful beaches, hike to volcanic craters, and indulge in fresh seafood.
6. Explore Syracuse: Visit the archaeological park of Neapolis, explore the ancient Greek theatre, and wander through the charming Ortigia Island.
7. Relax on the beaches of Cefalù (main image): Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches of this picturesque coastal town, and visit the stunning Cefalù Cathedral.
8. Taste Sicilian cuisine: Indulge in local specialties such as arancini (rice balls), cannoli, pasta alla norma, and fresh seafood dishes.
9. Visit the Villa Romana del Casale: Explore the well-preserved Roman villa, known for its beautiful mosaics, located near Piazza Armerina.
10. Discover the Baroque architecture of Noto: Stroll through the UNESCO-listed town of Noto, admire the beautiful Baroque buildings, and visit the Noto Cathedral.
Where to stay
As mentioned previously, it’s a big Island, and 2.5 times the size of Cyprus, and 3 times bigger than Corsica and Crete. That is also reflected in the population of 5 million, with roughly the same amount in tourists each year. Which is considerably more than the 1.6 million in Sardinia, despite being only marginally bigger in size.
Popular places to stay include:
- Palermo: Sicily’s capital city offers a mix of historic architecture, vibrant markets, and a lively atmosphere. It’s a great base for exploring the island and has a wide range of accommodation options.
- Taormina: A picturesque town located on the east coast of Sicily, famous for its stunning views of Mount Etna and the Greek Theatre. It offers luxurious hotels, charming guesthouses, and easy access to beautiful beaches.
- Syracuse: This historic city boasts well-preserved ancient ruins (including the well-preserved Greek Theatre and the Ear of Dionysius.), beautiful architecture, and a charming old town. It has a range of accommodation options, including boutique hotels and guesthouses.
- Cefalù: Located on Sicily’s northern coast, Cefalù is known for its sandy beaches, medieval streets, and the impressive Cefalù Cathedral. It has a variety of accommodations, including beachside resorts and cosy bed and breakfasts.
- Agrigento: Home to the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ancient Greek ruins. It offers a mix of hotels, guesthouses, and countryside villas.
- Catania: This bustling city is the second-largest city in Sicily, sits at the foot of Mount Etna and offers a unique blend of known for its history, culture, known for its Baroque architecture and vibrant street life. It has a range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options.
- Ragusa: Known for its Baroque architecture and charming old town, Ragusa is a popular destination for those seeking a more relaxed and authentic Sicilian experience. It offers a variety of accommodations, including boutique hotels and guesthouses.
- Trapani: A port city located on Sicily’s western coast, Trapani is known for its beautiful beaches, historic centre, and access to the beautiful Egadi Islands. It offers a range of accommodations, including hotels and vacation rentals.
- Syracuse: This ancient Greek city offers a mix of history, art, and vibrant culinary scene. It has a range of accommodations, including luxury hotels, boutique B&Bs, and apartments.
- Aeolian Islands: This group of volcanic islands off Sicily’s northern coast is a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Each island offers unique accommodations, including boutique hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals, with the highlight being Stromboli which you can climb.
- Capo d’Orlando: Okay, bias here as this is where I stayed, but it’s a beautiful scenic coastline, and the town is full of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s also very close to Tindari, famous for its sanctuary dedicated to the Black Madonna of Tindari.
There are various types of accommodations available in Sicily from budget options to luxury resorts. This includes hotels, charming B&Bs, guesthouses and villas.
Depending on the time of year, Sicily can get very hot in peak summer, and this July 24th saw 47°C being recorded in the Capital. Unexpected European heatwaves aside, it would be highly recommended to look at getting a Sicily villa with pool for your own private oasis for the end of a days sightseeing. Considering these are available beachfront and hillside, with breath-taking panoramas of the much lauded coastal beauty, it’s a worthy option for those seeking peaceful poolside relaxation.
But whatever suits you, it is recommended to book any accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (June to August) and for popular destinations like Taormina and Palermo.
You can hire cars and they drive on the righthand side of the road. But be warned Palermo is pretty hectic, and the coastal routes carved into the mountains. First hand advice, there will be tolls and head for the slow lane. The fast smart line will be marked rapido and only opens if you have a tracker on the windscreen.
It’s likely you are landing in Palermo International Airport, which has great train links across the country.
Visa Requirements in Sicily
Currently, Brits only need a passport to enter Italy and can stay up to 90 days.
Weather in Sicily
Being a Mediterranean climate, Sicily experiences mild and wet winters alongside hot, dry summers. Peak summer is May to June, with minimal rain.
|Average Rain (mm)||66||40||34||35||14||10||10||17||28||48||67||19|