There are many reasons to fall in love with Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean; Mount Etna, which is still active, the ever inviting sea with all blue shades, multiple small and big surrounding islands, historical monuments from previous civilizations… It is also a gastronomic heaven with Bronte’s pistachio, Modica’s chocolate, unmatched sea foods, wines, olive oils, and tasty canolis in all patisseries. If you would like to feel like a real Sicilian, go to one of the crowded cafes where Sicilian people enjoy their breakfasts and snacks and ask; “Un caffè per favore” and let your Sicily holidays begin!
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Sicily Holidays:
Etna is an active volcano and a true natural spectacle. It is over 3,300 meters high, making it the highest volcano in Europe. A sight not to miss on you Sicily holidays.
You can take the bus or car to the Rifugio Sapienza mountain station, from where you can continue on the cable car to 2500 meters. It then continues with an off-road bus that takes you to the south crater.
From above, not only look down into the crater, but also to the incredible view of the sea and the lava flows that have solidified around.
You’ll feel like you are in a different world: everywhere there are fissures, black earth and only a few small bushes and moss plants.
There is also a restaurant and a hotel in the mountain station. In addition, there are also guided hiking tours that take you to the summit.
Syracusa – Ortygia
Ortygia is the old town of Siracusa, which is located on the southeastern tip of Sicily.
It is also special because it is located on a small island in front of the city, which you can easily reach via two small bridges.
Ortygia is well worth seeing and one of the baroque pearls of Sicily: here you can see the remains of a Greek temple, narrow, branched alleys with designer and craft boutiques, the baroque cathedral of Syracuse and a Norman fortress.
A coastal road (“Lungomare”) winds around the old town, circling all of Ortygia several meters above the sea. In places you can walk down steep stairs to the isolated beaches or jetties from the street.
The town of Taormina is one of the most beautiful sites of Sicily and cannot be missed when visiting the east coast. It is the town you shouldn’t miss in you Sicily holidays!
Taormina is only 40 kilometers from Mount Etna, on a terrace of the Monte Mauro mountain with a wonderful view of the sea below.
Taormina is full of sights. The most famous is probably the Ancient Theater, an open-air Roman theater that is still used for theatrical performances and operas. From the theater you have a great view over the bay to the nearby Etna.
Another Roman theater is the Odeon, in addition there is the cathedral of Taormina, several noble palaces, the shopping mile Corso Umberto and the wonderful city park of Taormina.
The beach of Taormina, which you can reach by cable car, has a name all over Sicily. It is located in the Mazzarò district, below the old town and is particularly known for the small island Isola Bella.
Sicily’s capital, Palermo was an important city in Europe in the early Middle Ages. You can see that very well today, because the old town is bursting with historical sights.
There is a memorial or a medieval church on almost every corner, there are branched narrow streets, magnificent avenues, markets and many bars and restaurants. If you are traveling to Sicily, don’t miss the capital!
The small coastal town of Cefalu is one of the most beautiful in Sicily and is around 40 minutes by train from the capital.
In Cefalu there is a beautiful beach that has often been used as a backdrop for postcards and calendars. The water is wonderfully clear and shines in all shades of blue, there is a lively beach promenade and many small restaurants.
The old town is also well worth seeing off the beach. There is a very beautiful medieval cathedral, branched, narrow streets and many small boutiques.
In the evening there is always something going on and in the piazza in front of the cathedral or on the beach promenade life pulsates until late into the night.
There is a lot going on in Cefalu, especially in summer, because the place is very popular with Sicilians and local tourists from mainland Italy.
Scala dei Turchi
The Scala dei Turchi, the “Stairs of the Turks” is a huge, white rock formation on the coast of Realmonte.
The name probably goes back to Arab pirates, who were popularly known as Turks and who anchored their boats here in the Middle Ages.
The rocks are so special because they fall down step by step into the turquoise sea. Most of the steps are accessible because they are very wide and lead very flat down into the water.
The place is less suitable for swimming, even if there is a small beach right next to the rocks. But for taking photos and walking, the Scala dei Turchi is absolutely worth a visit.
For more on the best beaches in Italy, please check our recommendations here.
Valley of Temples – Agrigento
The Valley of the Temples is one of the most important archaeological areas of Sicily. The remarkable site is located just south of Agrigento. Don’t forget to add it to your Sicily holidays.
It is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site and covers approximately 1,300 hectares. It is the largest archaeological site of its kind in the world.
Here was once, one of the largest Greek cities in the Mediterranean, Akragas. That was almost 2,500 years ago and the temples and buildings have stood here since then.
Some temples, for example the Concordia Temple, are almost completely preserved. There are also seven other temples to visit, the Agora, an early Christian necropolis and an underground aqueduct network.
Fun fact: The Valley of the Temples is actually not a valley at all, but a chain of hills. It is only called a valley because it is located below Agrigento.
The Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, located between Sicily and Tunisia, is an idyllic place for a vacation near the nature by the sea.
Together with the islands of Linosa and Lampione, Lampedusa is one of the Pelagian Islands. At 20 square kilometers, it is the largest of these. Lampedusa is 200 kilometers from Sicily, belongs to the province of Agrigento and is the southernmost island of Italy. as it is this far it may not be the destination on each of your Sicily holidays, but you should definitely see it at least once!
The north of the island is dominated by steep cliffs. In the south, on the other hand, there are numerous beautiful bays and sandy beaches. So the Cala Maluk, the Cala Croce, Greca, Madonna, Galera or the Spiagga della Guitgia.
A holiday on Lampedusa promises sun, sea and pristine nature. There are good diving and snorkeling opportunities and there are opportunities for boat tours around the island.
Hikes lead to Monte Rosso, Monte Nero and Monte Vulcano. An excursion to the small island of Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island/Beach) is unforgettable: It is a marine reserve and home to the rare loggerhead turtle.
You wouldn’t be the first person to think this is the best beach in the world. Isola dei Conigli, or “Rabbit Island,” is an island way out in the Mediterranean Sea. Travelers just adore it for its “crystal clear” water, “soft sand” and “aquamarine colors”.
Of course, the island’s culinary delights should not go unmentioned: Lampdedusa’s cuisine is influenced by Sicilian and African influences and, above all, offers freshly caught fish in all variations.
BONUS – Aegadian Islands
This wonderful archipelago, which consists of three islands, lies off the coast of Trapani: Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo.
All three are typical Mediterranean islands, with small fishing villages, natural dream beaches and almost no cars.
You can reach all three islands from Trapani by ferry, which departs several times every three hours every day.
The trip to Favignana, the largest of all three, takes around 20 minutes. To Levanzo around 40 minutes and to Marettimo, most distant thus untouched, around one hour and 15 minutes.