Maybe it’s the sweet smell of lemons. Or it’s the view of Mt. Etna from Taormina’s Greek Theater. Or perhaps it’s the eye-popping blue of the Ionian Sea.
Sicily is Italy… and so much more.
Whether you want to bask on untouched beaches or make cannoli from scratch, Sicily is sure to delight. In fact, Sicily has been a center of travel and trade for millennia now. But, despite being the biggest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is still unknown to most foreign tourists.
You won’t find annoying tour buses in Sicily’s cities or hilltop towns. Instead, you’ll encounter the soul of Italy – real traditions, spectacular scenery and welcoming locals. No matter what inspires your trip, we help you unlock Sicily’s secrets.
Spanning over 1,000 km, Sicily’s coast brims with beaches and bright blue seas. Whether you’re eager to sail azure seas or sun at Torre Salsa beach, Sicily’s warm waters will welcome you. Some of Sicily’s most dramatic seascapes are found near Trapani (Western Sicily), Agrigento (Southern Sicily), Taormina (Eastern Sicily) and the Zingaro Nature Reserve (North-West Sicily). No matter where you stay in Sicily, you’re never far from the coast. Gems like Lipari (Aeolian Islands) boast pebbly coves with clear water. Between Sciacca and Agrigento, along Sicily’s southern coast, you’ll find stretches of golden sand.
If sun-soaked shores mean paradise to you, Sicily will not disappoint. Sun-worshippers in Sicily might enjoy a private cruise around the island of Favignana – dropping anchor at beaches only reachable by boat! Travelers in Taormina might take the scenic cable car to Isola Bella’s untouched coves. And, visitors to Agrigento can laze the day away atop the Scala dei Turchi’s sun-bleached cliffs.
For more information on the beaches of Sicily, click here.
Mention Sicily to an Italian and they’ll bring up one topic – food! Sicily’s varied landscapes – spanning craggy coastlines, green hills, fertile plains and vineyard-draped valleys – is as diverse as Sicilian cooking. Over the years, countless cultures reshaped Sicilian cuisine – including the Greeks, the Romans, the French, the Spanish and the Arabs. As a result, traditional dishes boast a surprising mix of flavors – couscous in San Vito lo Capo, chocolate in Modica, pistachio-laced cheese in Sant’Angelo Muxaro, and arancini in Palermo.
Being an island, Sicily teems with fresh seafood – inspiring local dishes like tuna steak, braised octopus, grilled sardines, and swordfish pasta. Hungry travelers can enjoy a guided tour of Catania’s Fish Market or savor street food at Palermo’s colorful Mercato del Capo. Food-loving visitors might also make caponata with a Sicilian grandma or perhaps lunch with a family in the scenic Sicilian hills.
Sicily has been producing wine for thousands upon thousands of years. The most famous Sicilian wine is the fortified kind made around Marsala. But, recent decades have seen wine boom in Sicily – with smaller-scale, quality bottles produced across the island. Today, Sicily boasts more vineyards than any other region in Italy! Indigenous grapes – such as Nero d’Avola (red) and Inzolia (white) – make Sicily a must-sip destination for wine lovers. Of particular note are the earthy reds and mineral-rich whites grown on Sicily’s volcanic soil. Wine fans can slumber at the elegant Planeta Winery Estate near Menfi or enjoy a picnic and tasting on Mount Etna.
A carefree, slower way of life – what Italians call the dolce far niente – thrives in Sicily’s scenic villages. Beautiful hamlets – rich in history and local customs – define the Sicilian countryside. In hilltop gems like San Biagio Platani (Southern Sicily) or Sant’Angelo Muxaro (Agrigento), visitors can go behind-the-scenes with a local baker – savoring oven-fresh pani cunzatu or learning how ricotta gets made.
In the postcard-perfect fishing village of Marzamemi (Syracuse/Siracusa), travelers might watch fishermen haul in the day’s catch from brightly-colored boats. Stone streets are the stage for connecting with the time-honed traditions of the Sicilian people. If you want to experience the true soul of Southern Italy, head straight to the Sicily’s charming villages.
Sicily’s landscape is unlike anywhere in Italy or Europe. On the east, you can hike the snow-capped summit of Mount Etna – Europe’s largest active volcano. Near Agrigento, you can dive into the sea from white sea cliffs. Hilltop towns, like Ragusa and Enna, pepper Sicily’s rocky inlands. Salt pans and vineyard-draped plains fill the land between Marsala and Trapani. Sicily boasts over 80 nature preserves – comprising 10% of the whole region!
Sicily also boasts its own stunning satellite islands – including the Aeolian Islands (Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi), the Egadi Islands (Favignana, Marettimo, Levanzo, Formica and Maraone) and Lampedusa (south of Sicily). On the same day, you can go from trekking snow-dusted slopes to soaking in Sicily’s sun-kissed coves.
Greek temples. Roman ruins. Neolithic necropolises. Sicily has been inhabited for almost 10,000 years. Multiple ancient cultures – from the Phoenicians to the Romans – colonized Sicily, leaving behind splendid architecture and astonishing art.
The Greeks built the Valley of the Temples (Agrigento) here over 2,500 years ago— to this day, they’re better preserved Athens’ temples. Bronze-Age people carved the Necropolis of Pantica into Sicily’s limestone gorges. Near the town of Piazza Armerina, history buffs might explore the Villa Romana del Casale – a mosaic-adorned Roman palace preserved by a mud slide around 400AD.
Cities are strung like pearls around Sicily’s coast – including enchanting towns like Palermo, Cefalù, Catania, Siracusa, and Messina. The presence of so many cities in just one island attests to Sicily’s historic role as a nexus of trade and power. In the island’s South-East, visitors will be awed by the beauty of Sicily’s Baroque gems. Cities such as Ortigia, Modica and Noto saw their heyday between the 17th and 18th centuries – adorned with ornate piazzas, cathedrals and sculptures. In northern Sicily, travelers can spot the stylistic influences of Arab, Norman and Byzantine settlers in must-see cities like Palermo and Monreale.
Sicily is the opposite of mass tourism. It’s the rustic ristorante where grandma cooks your meal. It’s the 100-year-old ceramic shop—still owned by the same family. It’s the medieval village where locals greet each other by name.
Sicily is soul. Sicily is authenticity. Sicily is family.
So, which Sicily inspires you? Not sure? Check out our sample itinerary for ideas that you can incorporate into your Sicily vacation.
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