Top 20 Things To Do In Sicily
Sicily has so many things to do and see that even if you stayed for the whole month we are sure it would not be enough time to see the most interesting, beautiful, enchanting and breathtaking things and sights that Sicily has to offer. And as we know that your holiday time is precious, we have created Top 20 things to do in Sicily - just to make sure you have seen what you should. Let us know if we were right!
1. Excursion to Mount Etna
The wonderful looming spectre of Mount Etna, rising dramatically above Catania and the towns on the eastern coast, is also a fantastic playground for those that like adventure activities. Here you can ski in winter, hike or bike in every other season and also go horse riding. If you have time, taste some of the wine that is produced on the slopes of Mount Etna. If you are not the adventurous or sporty type go by cable car and volcano SUV to main crater area at 2.900 m.
2. Marvel at the mosaics of Monreale
Sicily is dotted with wonderful remnants of the craftsmanship of the Normans. But the ones at the at Cathedral of Monreale are simply breathtaking. The mosaics here are also particularly important in the Christian world and depict scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.
3. Walk the 142 ceramic steps of Caltagirone
Caltagirone is famed for its ceramic crafts - workshops and display rooms dot the town liberally. But the most dramatic ceramic feature of them all is "La Scala", a 142-step staircase displaying particularly fine creations - each stair has a different ceramic tile and glistens in the night.
4. Visit the Valley of the Temples
One of Sicily’s most popular sights, the Greek temples in Agrigento on the western coast should be on your travel wish list of Sicily. The massive archaeological site features enormous columns, altars, statues and chunks of stone to explore.
5. Take in the activity at Catania’s most exciting market - La Pescheria
La Pescheria is a fish market held every morning in the vibrant square below the cathedral of Catania. Here you could pick up a good bargain on a fresh catch, watch the fishmongers displaying their wares, snap a few good images or even eat a wonderful meal. It's atmospheric and colourful and not to be missed.
6. Feast on the wonderful Sicilian dish Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is a popular dish, particularly in Catania, and is a rather divine combination of aubergines, tomatoes and smoked ricotta cheese - heavenly indeed.
7. Take a thermal bath on Vulcano
The thermal baths on the island of Vulcano are an experience akin to wallowing in mud - still it’s one of the must do experiences on the Aeolian Islands. The mud is supposed to be good for your skin and bones - a healthy but smelly experience. If you don't want to smell of sulphur for the next 48 hours skip the healthy bath and walk instead up to the scenic crater. Go along for a bit of fun.
8. See a concert at the wonderful Greco-Roman theatre in Taormina
The famous theatre of Taormina has a superb vista of Mount Etna and is also one of Sicily’s most celebrated ruins - dating to Roman times but of Greek design. While you can visit during the day, it's worth coming back in the evening, too, for an open air concert or opera. These are usually held during the summer months and are an amazing experience.
9. Stay in an ancient tonnara
In Sicily fishermen once used fixed-net systems a few kilometers long with associated plants for processing the tuna catch - these were called the tonnare. Today there are very few of these left given new rules about fishing and the diminishing number of the tuna fish themselves. There are several left in the Mediterranean, and some of the best in Sicily include those at Bonagia and Favignana. If you wish to stay in one consider visiting the tiny town of Scopello and its associated tonnara right by the sea.
10. Celebrate the Holy Week in Sicily
Sicily has a strong traditional Catholic community and religious events such as those at Easter are celebrated fervently. One of the best of the Easter celebrations are the silent processions in Enna, a cold and blustery hilltop town in the central part of the island. During the week, processions of fraternities march solemnly through the streets in absolute silence dressed in hoods and cloaks somewhat similar to the dreaded American Klu Klux Klan. The spectacle is quite spooky - could be scary for children!
11. Bathe at San Vito lo Capo
Splash into the waters on one of Sicily’s most beautiful coast lines. San Vito Lo Capo has a superb arc of sand with a backdrop of spectacular mountains and it’s small enough to be intimate and enjoyable. The local food specialty here is couscous – make sure you try it while in town.
12. Hang out with Montalbano
Montalbano was (and still is) one of Sicily’s most popular television shows about the life of a Sicilian detective and the beautiful women, food and towns he met / tried / visited. If you’re a fan of the series, a highlight of your visit to Sicily will no doubt be visiting places used as locations in the show such as Ragusa Ibla, Licata and Punta Secca.
13. Experience the Baroque
A trip to Sicily is incomplete without venturing into the heartland of Sicilian Baroque architecture of Noto, Ragusa, Syracuse and Modica - all built in this dramatic style after an earthquake in 1693 that destroyed much of the area. Highly decorative with plenty of curves and flourishes, these towns are particularly attractive. There’s also a dedicated train line for exploring the region.
14. Indulge in the foods of Sicily
Sicilian food is worth mentioning in this list as an item on its own as there are simply so many good drinks, snacks and meals to be had here. Some things to make sure you try while you’re on the island include the refreshing ice drink granita sold in summer, wonderful arancini - rice balls stuffed with cheese and meat, pizzas dripping with tasty toppings, great Marsala wine and sweets such as cannoli - tubular pastries stuffed with sweet ricotta. Buon appetito!
15. An island of ancient cities
Sicily is liberally dotted with the ruins of ancient cities and you could easily play at Indiana Jones exploring these in almost every part of the island. Some of the more impressive ruins include the well preserved temple in Segesta and ancient Selinunte by the sea.
16. Wander Medieval Erice
Erice, the ancient Eryx, would probably win the "most delightful hilltop town" award in Sicily – replete with cobbled streets, old villas, wonderful views, hidden piazzas, bell ringing churches, boutique shops and restaurants - there's plenty to see and do.
17. Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina
One of the best sights in central Sicily are the wonderful Roman mosaics of Piazza Armerina. Dating back to the 4th century these mosaics contain images of hunting scenes and women working out in gymnasiums plus the villa contains remnants of thermal baths and apartments.
18. Explore Sicily’s wonderful National Parks
Sicily has a number of fantastic wilderness areas including Parco Regionale delle Madonie, Parco dei Nebrodi and Parco Regionale dell'Etna. These are great places to walk, ski and enjoy the wildlife and each is significantly different from the rest.
19. Visit an island or three
While Sicily itself is an island don’t forget it is surrounded by smaller islands which are simply delightful. To the north are the beautiful Aeolian Islands famed for their thermal activity, delightful villages, good hiking, fishing and eating. Near Palermo you’ll find Ustica - renowned for diving - and the Egadi Islands with their excellent swimming and diving opportunities and wonderful panoramas of unspoilt land and seascapes. Pantelleria lies to the south and is the most isolated of the Sicilian islands. It has bronze age villages, sweet wines and a distinct Arab influence in the population and architecture.
20. Gole dell'Alcantara
For those basing on the east coast near Catania or Taormina, this wonderful gorge is a fantastic place to beat the summer heat. With fantastic swimming holes and lots of shady waterside spots it’s a good place to bring a picnic and relax for the day. You can also join tours venturing past the waterfalls and boulders.