Five Places to Go in Sicily

Sicily is one of the most diverse regions in Italy, so it is darn near impossible to narrow it down to just five places you should consider visiting.

But I tried.

A few months ago, I quizzed our Italian B&B guests, particularly those from Sicilia on their choice of top five places to go.

Here’s what they said.

1. Cefalù

This romantic beach resort is just 40 miles east of Palermo and is built on the site of an ancient Sicanian and Greek settlement. In addition to the striking beaches, the medieval historical center is filled with winding side streets and a large cathedral. I literally gasped when I saw it (corny, I know) but it is *that* stunning.

2. Palermo and Monreale

Yes, Palermo and Monreale are two different places, but the Sicilians I spoke with recommended you get a two for one when visiting the area. Both cities are dripping with rich cathedrals and a beautiful history. For my list of top 10 things to do in Palermo, see my guest post over at Why Go Italy.

3. Agrigento

Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, or Valle dei Templi, is Sicily’s oldest tourist site that was founded around 582 BC by Greek descendants. The magnificent Temple of Concord can be seen as you enter the archeological park.

4. Ragusa

Ragusa is largely overlooked by tourists traveling through southern Sicily, but those who trickle into this part of the Val di Noto are greeted with ancient churches, historical artwork, quaint side streets and a plethora of Baroque architecture.

5. Taormina

Trendy Taormina tops many travelers’ to-see list for its dramatic panoramic views and glistening blue waters. In addition to its chic and glamorous feel, the medieval town is well preserved and offers easy access to nearby Etna.

I know, I know. I left off your favorites … eeeek! Which cites and sites do you think I should include in the follow-up?

Traveling south? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip to Calabria or southern Italy.

Photos: Commons, Mario, TonioMoro, Scott MacLeod Liddle, Stills, fpatrizi

24 Responses
  1. Finally someone writes about the “red headed step sister”!!!!
    After many years of visiting Italy(and being overwhelmed) with family when we tried to vacation, we asked our Italian relatives where they traveled on vacation….Sicilia was the answer.
    So…now we are leaving for the 7th year for Sicilia….Can’t get enough of that good stuff!
    And like you wrote there are many many places to see and be.
    p.s…on one visit, our older daughter met her Sicilian husband.

    A ha! And there’s the “real” reason you love it so much … right? 🙂

  2. Fabulous photos Cherrye.

    I’ve not made it to Sicily yet, but then as I’ve not explored much of Calabria that’s not surprising. Maybe this month?


  3. I would agree 100% with that list, actually. We spent a couple fo weeks driving around Sicily some years ago and covered a lot of territory, but the destinations above were definitely our favorites. Would love to return!

    Thanks, Lara. I’m so glad you agree-you are the most traveled person I know!

  4. These are great recommendations. Palermo is my favorite place in Sicily, but Ibla (Ragusa’s ‘old city’) and Cefalù are not far behind. I also really enjoyed walking around Siracusa, although there didn’t seem to be a whole lot to do besides look at ancient ruins/cathedrals (unlike Palermo, for instance, which is bustling and enormous).

    My husband’s grandmother was from Siracusa, but I haven’t been. I would love see it!

  5. Vanessa

    MOUNT ETNA!!! Though i guess you can see it from Taormina (and Catania). Is truly spectacular close up, amazing views, the lava/ craters/ activity/vegetation and lack of noise make it my pick. If you like the great outdoors…

    I know you love Etna! Sometimes I feel *so* close, yet so far away. 😉

  6. Che bella Sicilia! Beautiful photos and lovely post on my favorite place in Italy. I would agree with all the cities you’ve listed. As I say to anyone who asks, you could/should spend an entire vacation just in Sicily. I would definitely add the Aeolian Islands. Also there are Ortigia (A beautiful old city that is an island attached to Siracusa by bridges), Erice, and Castellammare. OK, maybe you need more than just one vacation. Obviously, I love Sicily.

    Awesome additions – grazie mille!

  7. Nice post, Cherrye,
    I never made it to Sicily on our trip to Italy but now I have some places that I have to see.

    Thanks for stopping by, Jason! You’ll definitely have to add Sicily to your next Italy itinerary – with a stop in Calabria, of course!

  8. Ortygia (Syracuse)–it feels like stepping into a way-back machine when you cross the bridge and enter this magical island–it has Greek ruins, a gorgeous Sicilian Baroque Piazza, delicious daily market, pastry shops, wine bars, wonderful seafood restaurants…

    Sounds fabulous, Susan!

  9. Nick

    Gioiosa Marea in Sicily is an absolutely spectacular little town on the northeast coast of Siciy.I also agree that Cefalu is enchanting to say the least.Cefalu is about 40 minutes from Gioiosa Marea so you can take them both in in a week.

    Thanks for the info, Nick. I know my readers will appreciate hearing about this little “jewel!”

  10. Nice list! I have visited each of the locations many times! Not to be forgotten though is Ortigia (Siracusa), Catania, Noto, Erice and quite frankly any small town to get a flavor of real Sicilian life!

    Thanks so much for the additions to the list!

  11. I love all the places on this list although I have yet to go to Agrigento or Ragusa. (That picture of Ragusa is just calling me there right now!) I would also recommend Trapani and the Aeolian island of Ustica. I love your site- I got to visit Calabria (Scilla) for the first time this past summer and loved it. I would love to stay in your B&B in Catanzaro my next visit!

  12. Serritella

    If one is in Palermo or on their way to Trepani, they must spend a day or two in Erice; small hill-top town with a minimum of tourists, three great restaurants, two better than average hotels. We have cruised through for a day and have stayed five days to recharge and have never regretted the experience. Lot’s of local craft shops to keep me busy while hubby dozes in the sun.

  13. Mary calhoun

    My family is from Cefalu, the most beautiful place in the world!!!!
    Sicily is so full of beautifully places, and wonderful people, I cannot wait to return.

  14. I’ve been to Sicily – conveniently when Mt Etna erupted in 2002. It was loads of fun experiencing earthquakes for the first time, with ash spewing out everywhere ;). Nah, I love it. Have relatives there, need to go back soon!

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