Top 10 Things to Do in Sicily
In the Med’s largest island, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cities, towns and historical sites. With the menacing milieu of Mount Etna and the outstandingly beautiful circumference of coastline, there is much to see. From the quirky capital of Palermo to the volcanic Aeolian archipelago, here are the top 10 things to do during your stay.
1| Colourful Markets of Palermo
Get into the swing of true Sicilian life and join the locals at their historical city markets in the beautiful capital. Pick up fresh fruit and veg at Vucciria Market, breathe in the seductive smells at Il Capo’s spice stalls, or taste the local cheeses at Borgo Vecchio Market.
2| Valley of the Temples
Valley of the Temples or “Valle dei Templi” is one of Sicily’s most exciting historical attractions. This archaeological site in Agrigento is one of the most remarkable demonstrations of Greek architecture and features the restored remains of seven Greek temples. The archaeological park is open every day from 8:30am to 7:00pm and guided tours are available.
3| Mount Etna
It’s the most active volcano in Europe, yet it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Italy. Go to Etna Sud and take a walk around the old craters or see the summit craters by taking the cable car to the top. Open to tourists all year round, this ominous volcano is one of the most spectacular sights on the island of Sicily.
4| Historic Siracusa
Siracusa is one of the most significant cities of Italian and Greek history. This once very powerful city in the Magna Graecia Italian coast was described by Cicero as “the most beautiful of all Greek cities.” Visit Siracusa today and the Greek designs remain; combined with today’s modern Sicilian culture, it’s the keystone of two melding nations. Visit the historical sites which are open to the public, wine and dine in the lively city centre, or take a day trip to the surrounding sea caves.
5| The City of Catania
Second largest to Sicily’s capital, Catania is alive with energy day or night. Despite the noise and chaos that greets you as you step into the city, this UNESCO World Heritage site still holds much of its ancient charm. Under the shadow of Etna, Catania comes bursting to life at night with bars and restaurants filling up with locals and visitors alike. For drinking / eating out, Teatro Massimo is a lively meeting place and draws a young crowd or you can find fine establishments by Piazza del Duomo.
6| The Aeolian Islands
Just north of mainland Sicily, you will find the striking Aeolian Islands. The UNESCO protected archipelago is made up of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi, and each island offers its own unique charm. Head to Lipari for energetic island life and stunning beaches, sail to Stromboli for hiking and nature, or take a day trip to Alicudi for some off the beaten path exploration.
7| Vulcano Thermal Baths
Vulcano is a small volcanic island which is a part of the Aeolian archipelago. Here you will find four volcanos (all of which can be explored on hikes) and natural mud baths which are healing to the body. Relax and wind down in the thermal baths and let the sulphur-rich mud work wonders on your skin.
8| The Town of Taormina
Taormina is a small town on the east coast boasting spectacular views, magical sunsets and bustling streets filled with restaurants, bars and shops. For many years now, Taormina has been a popular travel destination and a holiday in Sicily isn’t complete without a day or two in Taormina. Walk around the winding streets of the commune, take in the Greek architecture and enjoy cosmopolitan cuisine in a glorious setting.
9| Villa Romana del Casale
A few miles outside of the Sicilian town of Piazza Armerina is a Villa Romana del Casale; a great example of Roman exploitation of the countryside. This famous villa is one of the most excessive and lavish of its kind, and beautifully preserved mosaics decorate every single room. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture the magic of the intricate mosaic designs.
10| Cava Grande Natural Reserve
Sicily is famed for its beautiful beaches but Cava Grande is a fantastic alternative if you’re looking for something a little bit different. There are no public transport links to Cava Grande so you will need to make travel arrangements by rental car or join an organised tour. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit for a dip in the lush lakes of Avola.