Did you know that the fertility goddess Demeter played a special role in Sicily? Or that Archimedes was Sicilian? Sicily was a part of ancient Greece for about 500 years, it belonged to the cradle of European culture. Agrigento, the Greek Akragas, was one of the most important and mightiest cities of Magna Graecia – Greater Greece. Size and number of the temples speak a clear language. The Romans kept using the temples after their conquest of Sicily, so thanks to them they are so well preserved. The Valley of the Temples is one of the most outstanding examples of the architecture of Magna Graecia, and is a national monument of Italy. Valley is a misnomer, regarding the fact that the temples are located on a ridge. Akragas was, according to the Greek poet Pindar, "the most beautiful city built by mortals". Nowadays the Valley of the Temples is one of the main attractions for holidays in Sicily.
(Video by courtesy of Todaro Net)
"The large number of Doric temples is one of the most remarkable monuments of Greek art and culture."
With these words the UNESCO declared 1997 the Valley of the Temples as World Heritage Site.
Things to do and see in Agrigento
Valley of the Temples - Sightseeing Tips
Please inform yourself before your visit or bring a guide along, because the plaques are not really helpful. The archaeological zone, which is divided into eastern and western sections, deserves several hours. The temples are spread all over the valley and the whole area is generally toured on foot.
The climate in Sicily is very mild, although summers can be very hot with temperature around 35°C. It's definitely worth still coming despite this, but if you can come a little out of season it will be far more enjoyable. Please bring a good suntan lotion with a high SPF, a hat and mineral water, there is very few shade in the valley.
Click here for detailed information about the Valle dei Templi
Best time of the year to visit the Valley of the Temples is in winter, because you will have the mighty temples nearly all for your own – an unforgettable experience.
Best month to visit is February, when the valley is dotted with the fragrant pink blossoms of hundreds of almond trees – you will agree with Pindar. And do not forget to book on the spot the evening tour. This is really romantic – all temples are bathed in golden floodlights.
Our favourite restaurant – Ristorante Leon D’Oro
This exceptional restaurant is run by two brothers, who are very creatively using the ingredients of the Sicilian cuisine. Didn’t you always want to eat one or two of Salvo Montalbano’s favourite dishes? Here you can. Or try one of the specialties, pasta with sardines and spices which are traditionally used in the area of Agrigento.
More good eateries in and around Agrigento at Restaurants
Accommodation in Agrigento
In the centre and at “Villaggio Mosè” you will find hotels and B&B of varying qualities. If you book a room be aware that big hotels are mostly frequented by travel groups. A wonderful place to stay is the five star hotel Villa Athena, nestled in lush green and overlooking the valley.
Please have a look at Accommodation
A 45 minutes drive away from Agrigento up the coast to Sciacca, golfers will find an exclusive paradise: the five star Verdura Golf Resort & SPA. The two championship-level 18 hole courses and a 9 hole course are designed by leading golf architect Kyle Phillips, come with great views of the Med, are surrounded by orange and olive groves and free of buildings.
For beach aficionados we highly recommend a detour to the seaside at Eraclea Minoa where you will find one of Sicily’s most beautiful beaches: splendid and pristine and quite quiet even during high season in summer. Nearby is the archaeological site of Eraclea Minoa.
Events in Agrigento
Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore & MandorlARA Sagra del Mandorlo a Tavola
Every year in February, when the almond trees are blossoming, Agrigento hosts these two festivals at the same time – both spectacular events not to be missed. Costumed parades in the valley, international folk dance groups, sale of sweets made from almonds and marzipan.
How to get to Agrigento
From Catania take the A 19 via Enna southwest to Caltanissetta, then follow the Strada Statale SS 640 to Agrigento (2 h). From Palermo take the SS 121/SS189 (2 h) and from Ragusa the coastal SS 115 (2 h).
With Trenitalia from Palermo (c. 2 hours) and Catania (c. 3 h 40 min), from Agrigento Centrale train station local bus transport to the Valley of the Temples.
Local bus connections to and from Catania, Palermo and Enna
Distance to airports
Comiso - 118 km (2h)
Palermo - Aeroporto Borsellino e Falcone – 160 km (2h 10 min)
Catania - Aeroporto Vincenzo Bellini – 165 km (2h)
Trapani-Birgi – Aeroporto Vincenzo Florio – 180 km (2h 15 min)