Sicily Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Sicily

What to See and Do in Sicily


Sicily is known as one of the tourist jewels of the Mediterranean Sea, its attractions undoubtedly gather the emblematic elements of Italy: culture, tradition, natural landscapes and a fascinating history.

It is the main island of the region and has an exceptional location, when touring Sicily you will be able to see the Ionian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Mediterranean.

In fact, Sicily is the largest island in Italy. Its island capital is Palermo, and other major cities include Catania, Messina and Syracuse. The island is known for its natural beauty, its history and its culture.

Sicilian gastronomy is also very famous, with dishes such as pasta with sardines, rice with seafood and the famous cannoli dessert. The island is also a popular tourist spot, with beaches, ancient ruins, and archaeological sites, as well as historic cities like Agrigento and Selinunte.

Photo of Ruth Troughton in Unsplash


Location of Sicily


Map of Sicily in Google Maps


Main Sites of Interest in Sicily


Below, we will tell you briefly about the most important attractions in Sicily:

  1. Catania: Founded by the Greek settlers as Katane, it is one of the most important coastal cities in Sicily. It has an extraordinary landscape, facing the Ionian Sea and at the foot of the famous Etna volcano. In addition, it offers an important historical and cultural heritage, as well as exquisite Baroque architecture.
  2. Taormina: It is on the eastern coast of the island, in a mountainous area near Mount Etna. The Greek Theater of Taormina is one of the most visited sites, it has Greco-Roman architecture from the 3rd century BC. It is currently the venue for film festivals, plays and concerts. Taormina's beaches are known for their natural beauty, Giardini Naxos is only 6 kilometers from the city and awaits you with crystal clear waters.
  3. Cefalu: It is a coastal town that is 70 km from Palermo, it has a picturesque port facing the Tyrrhenian Sea and medieval architecture. You will have the opportunity to see the Duomo Square and the Norman Cathedral of Cefalù, they are at the foot of “La Rocca di Cefalú” a rocky mountain that offers a panoramic view of the coast.
  4. Tour to the Egadi Islands: the beautiful archipelago of the Aegadian islands (Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo) is close to the port of Trapani (western coast of Sicily). The tour takes place in a mini-cruise from the port of Trapani, leaving at 09:30 and returning at 18:00. It allows you to get to know the towns and their attractions (natural and historical), you can even bathe on their beaches.
  5. valley of the temples: It is an archaeological site where important temples of Greek architecture are preserved (declared world heritage by UNESCO). It is comprised of 7 temples located on top of mountains, which were built in honor of the Greek gods. Excursions to the area allow you to get to know one of the testimonies of its art and culture up close. They are only 3 km from the city of Agrigento.
  6. Etna: It is an imposing active volcano with more than 3 thousand meters of height. Its splendor can be appreciated from the cities of Catania and Taormina. This great natural park offers trails that allow you to enjoy the view and get to know the mountain up close. You can take an excursion to the crater and live a unique experience!


Tips to Visit Palermo


Palermo is the capital and emblem of Sicily, it stands out for its variety of attractions full of history, tradition and culture. Palermo is one of the places to visit in Sicily, in addition to the beaches you will also be able to visit important sites of its history:

  1. Palazzo dei Normanni: the Palace of the Normans (Royal Palace), is the seat of the Sicilian parliament. Built in the 12th century in the Norman-Byzantine style, it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside you can appreciate the Byzantine mosaics, as well as the Hercules Room (parliament site) and the beautiful Palatine Chapel.
  2. Capuchin Catacombs: It is one of the places visited by tourists in the city, they are in the convent's basement and its history dates back to 1599. The Capuchin friars preserved almost 8 thousand bodies and some mummified bodies of the inhabitants of Palermo.
  3. Palma di Montechiaro: in a town that is 2 hours by car from Palermo and 25 kilometers from Agriento. One of the most visited sites is the Mother Church (Chiesa Madre), you can admire its baroque architecture.


How to Get to Sicily


One of the most frequent accesses to the island of Sicily (from Italy) is by ferry across the Strait of Messina. They originate from the port of Villa San Giovanni (Reggio Calabria) to the port of Messina, the journey takes only 20 minutes and allows you the possibility of taking the car to explore Sicily. In addition, you can arrive on cruise ships, Sicily is a very popular destination among Mediterranean cruises.

The Italian island also has airports that offer national and international connections, Palermo Airport (Falcone Borsellino) is a 35-minute drive from the city.


How to Get Around in Sicily


The most common way to get around Sicily is by car, as this allows you to explore the island freely and at your own pace.

It is also possible to travel by bus or train, although connections may be limited in some areas.

Another option is to rent a motorbike or scooter, which is a popular way to get around the cities and towns of Sicily.


Cruise to Sicily


A cruise to Sicily is a great way to explore the island and its surroundings. Cruise ships usually depart from ports such as Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome), Genoa, Venice or Barcelona, ​​and usually include stopovers in cities such as Palermo, Messina, Catania, Agrigento, Syracuse, among other.

On board, passengers enjoy amenities such as restaurants, bars, swimming pools, a spa, entertainment and much more. In addition, cruise ships often organize shore excursions so that passengers can visit the main tourist spots on the island.


What Is the Best Time to Travel to Italy


The shoulder season (between the months of April - May or September - October) offers an opportunity to visit Sicily without encountering crowds. You will also be able to enjoy a pleasant climate, in addition, the opportunity to get plane tickets and accommodation rates with attractive discounts.

In the month of April, you can enjoy the famous Ricotta Festival, religious activities are also held during Holy Week and Easter. The “Festa di San Jorge” takes place in May, offers a fireworks display. If you travel in September, you will have the chance to participate in the wine festival, which takes place near Mount Etna (you can visit wineries and guided tastings).


Eating and Drinking in Sicily


One of the aspects that visitors enjoy the most in Sicily is its gastronomy. Sicilian cuisine is undoubtedly the most varied and fascinating of any Italian region.

The island is closer to Tunisia than to Rome, and the influence of its invaders throughout history (Greeks, Arabs, Normans and Spanish) allows it to offer extraordinary cuisine. As expected for an island, fish and shellfish feature on the traditional menu.

Sicily offers from organic bars (Slow Food style) to creative trattorias and country restaurants.

It also has establishments recognized with Michelin stars for their excellent menu. Places like the Principe Cerami Taormina and Locanda Don Serafino in Ragusa have up to 2 Michelin stars.

You will also find traditional and cheaper restaurants, such as Locanda del Marinaio that offers dishes with fresh pasta, meat and fish.

At breakfast you will have the possibility of eating a croissant filled with pistachio cream, at lunch a traditional dish can be “pasta alla norma” (fresh pasta with natural tomato sauce, basil, aubergine and ricotta).

As an appetizer there is Arancini, a croquette stuffed with rice, while the traditional dessert is the famous cannolis (ricotta, candied fruit and sugar).


Documentation to Visit Sicily


Tourist cards offer important advantages in Italy, allowing you to visit monuments and museums at a discount and without having to queue. The cost of the card depends on each city and the duration you choose, it can be from 12 hours to 3 days. The advantages also extend to public transport, some of which may be free. In addition, they can be purchased at tourist offices and in some museums.

In Sicily there are tourist cards in some cities, in Trapani they are valid for up to 2 days and offer discounts of up to 50%, even allowing free bus travel. The island of Pantelleria also offers a tourist card, offering 20% ​​discounts in restaurants and clothing stores.

In addition, if you visit the city of Catania you can have the Catania Pass, a tourist card that provides discounts between 10% and 50% in shops and restaurants. You can also access the museums and it allows you to use (without limit) the transport systems (including bus from the airport).


PMO Tourist Card or Palermo Tourist Pass


They are the tourist cards used in the capital of Sicily (Palermo), they allow free use of public transport (AMAT), as well as discounts on private transport. They also provide discounts at more than 35 museums, tourist sites, restaurants, and shops. Each card includes a map of Palermo, free coupons for gastronomic activities and a tourist guide. You can also have an App to access card information, digital maps, etc.


In Greca you can find packages of travel to Sicily and Italy at the best price and modify them to suit you!

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