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7 Big Ideas For The Best Vacation In Sicily

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Sicily – the island of the sun! Sicily is lucky enough to have about 250 days of sunshine a year, which makes it perfect as a vacation spot. It is one of the most tropical destinations in Europe and we can also call it the pearl of the Mediterranean because this small yet big island has a lot to offer.

Here are the 7 places you must see in Sicily to make your vacation memorable.

Read also: The 9 Prettiest Paradise Beaches of Sicily

Quick Sicily Travel Guide

Sicily Accommodation: San Domenico Palace and Grand Hotel Timeo for luxury accommodation in Taormina, and Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel or Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel for intimate vibes in Palermo. Dome or B&B Oriental Palace in Catania. Room Of Andrea Hotel or Gaura Apartments in Trapani. Le Tre Campane Ortigia or Palazzo Alfeo Aparthotel in Syracuse. Principe Di Salina Boutique Hotel or Il Gabbiano Relais in Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands.

Top Sicily Activities:

1. History and culture in the downtown of Palermo

Palermo is the capital of Sicily. Being founded in 734 BC, it is rich in ancient history. When walking through the center of Palermo, you will mainly notice several monuments from the 15th to the 17th century, but it is not uncommon in Sicily to find buildings that were started around the 9th century or to simply find that almost the entire historical part of Palermo is mostly built on top the first Punic settlements.

We recommend that you dedicate at least one full day to your visit and get the best out of Palermo’s culture and history. Walk down Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele, which are the main streets of the historical part. Right around these streets, you will see the best monuments of Palermo, which are:

  • Fontana Pretoria
  • Quattro Canti
  • the Cathedral
  • Teatro Massimo
  • Porta Felice
  • Piazza Marina and the largest tree in Europe

Even without looking for great monuments, walking down Via Vittorio Emanuele, you will see many noble palaces, with huge entrances, large windows and well-decorated balconies, most of which were built in the 16th century.

Take the time to try all the typical street food of Palermo, such as panelle, crocchè, arancine, spleen, sfincione, stigghiola or desserts such as cannolo, cassata, granita or ice-cream with brioche, because as all Sicilians say: “If you haven’t eaten an ice-cream in Sicily, you don’t know what an ice-cream is.

Palermo also has many interesting museums for permanent and temporary exhibitions. Visit the Modern Art Gallery Sant’Anna, Palazzo Abatellis, Palazzo Riso Museum and Antonio Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum.

2. Be amazed by the Sicilian baroque in Noto

This small town is an open-air museum! You will be amazed how every single building in the town looks like a monument, so you must see them all! Wherever you look, you can see many Sicilian Baroque-style decorations, built in the early 18th century. Many of them are considered to be among the finest examples of this period. If you happen to visit Noto during the summertime, look for via Rocco Pirri where you can see a unique colorful carpet made of colored salt crystals.

BONUS IDEA: If you have more time, visit also Ragusa and Modica, which are another picturesque late Baroque towns, just a few kilometers from Noto. And don’t miss Marzamemi for lunch or dinner!

3. Hike up to the most active volcano of Europe

Black rocky ground, you can hear the explosions of the eruptions every now and then and see the smoke around the peak. This is Mount Etna, it is 3326 meters (10,912 ft) high, being the highest active volcano in Europe.

There are many ways how to go up to the top of the volcano. At first, you can arrive by car until Rifugio Sapienza. For the brave and active ones we can recommend continuing going up on foot, this will require a lot of time and effort, but it will help to have close contact with all the particular surroundings. Other options are with the cableway or with the cableway and mountain bus.

Please note that the red lava is visible only during eruptions from distance. You won’t see any lava during a normal visit. But you will be amazed by the colors of the volcanoes and all the smoke and clouds.

BONUS IDEA: A very fun and also the easiest way how to go down the volcano is to run in a zig-zag pattern.

4. The crystal clear turquoise water beaches

Cala dell’Uzzo beach in the Zingaro Nature Reserve

So you were wondering, what about all those tropical beaches you have seen in the pictures? The best choice is to go to the Northwestern coast of Sicily. If you want to stay on a nice large beach with white soft sand, go to San Vito Lo Capo, which is a small town with one of the top-rated beaches in the world. The beach can indeed get a little crowded in July and August, but this totally transparent and turquoise water is just so much worth it! For a little bit wilder experience, go to the Zingaro Nature Reserve, which is just 12 kilometers from San Vito Lo Capo.

Zingaro Nature Reserve is a perfect place where to feel and breathe pure nature.  This nature reserve has two main entrances, one close to Scopello, the other one close to San Vito Lo Capo. We recommend you to enter from the San Vito Lo Capo side entrance, this will help you to arrive at the best beaches quicker. But the more you walk along the natural paths, the more you will see different secret beaches along the way. All the path along the coastline is 8 km (5 mi) long.

5. A medieval town with a breathtaking view

Erice is a small medieval town on top of a mountain, at 751 meters (2,464 ft) in the province of Trapani. The streets of Erice have been often used also as movie sets because they still look the same as back in history. A good idea is to go to Erice in the afternoon and have dinner in one of the local restaurants. Most of the restaurants, bars and shops stay opened only for the summer period.

From Erice you can have a beautiful view over the city of Trapani and on the other side of the town, there’s a magnificent view above Mount Cofano, one of the most picturesque mountains surrounded by the sea.

6. Tropical paradise lakes and waterfalls in the middle of the mountains

The nature reserve Cavagrande del Cassibile is a true paradise in the middle of the silence of nature. This area is characterized by the Cassibile river, which has dug deep gorges and canyons, creating waterfalls and lakes with clear water. With bright mountain walls and light blue water, this is just a natural paradise.
 

7. The largest archaeologial site in the world

Did you already know that the largest archaeological site in the world is in Sicily? Most people don’t know that before visiting the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art in the world, including seven Doric style remains of temples.

BONUS IDEA: Sicily has also 18 other smaller inhabited islands, which are all unique experiences! Check out the Aeolian Islands, Aegadian Islands, Pelagie Islands, Stagnone Islands and Ciclopi Islands.

All the photos in this article were taken by Chiara Magi. Book your travel photoshoot in Palermo here or write us at [email protected].

Want to see more travel photos of Sicily? Follow us on Instagram here

Chiara Magi
Chiara Magi
I'm a photographer and filmmaker, and most of all probably the biggest lover of Sicily! I am also the creator of Sicily Insider, sharing the best travel information, tips and advice.

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