Travelling on Budget

If you're on a budget and want to head to Sicily there are plenty of options for you. This is one place that doesn't have to break the bank. While it may not be as cheap as you might wish it's not as expensive as a holiday in Rome, Venice or Florence in the north.

The most expensive period to visit Sicily is without doubt the peak holiday period in July-August but even then there are places you could visit that don't put their prices up. This may mean visiting out of the way places but you could then have a more authentic experience of Sicily away from the tourist crowds. Another way of seeing places cheaply is to visit just out of season when the weather is still good and you can enjoy the tourist Meccas like Taormina, Agrigento, Palermo, Ortygia and the Aeolian Islands without the crowds and the costs. So plan well and you will certainly save.

See also our Travel Light & Happy tips....

The best ways to save are on food, accommodation and sights.

Eating well in Sicily doesn't have to blow your budget. Always avoid buying food or drinks near tourist sights as they will be a lot more expensive. If you have your own water bottle you can fill up at public taps in towns and cities and you easily visit a market to pick up some bread, cheese and fruit for lunch and snacks. Every town and city has a market (and supermarket) and many are tourist attractions in themselves. At these you can pick up some quality produce either to use as a snack, for lunch or even for dinner if you have cooking facilities. However a full meal in a restaurant with local wine should only cost about € 20.

Local tip: bakeries (panificio) usually sell delicious pizza and street food, and butcher shops (macelleria) panini (sandwiches).

When dining out always look for a coperto (cover charge) as this can be quite high in touristy areas. Usually little places down side alleyways out of the big piazzas are far cheaper. You can also stand to eat and drink in bars and cafes to avoid the table costs.

Accommodation is probably the single most expensive part of travel in Sicily. Solo travellers will feel the Euro bite if staying in hotel rooms that usually charge for double rooms or charge a single supplement. However if you stay in a hostel where they charge per bed, or a campsite, you could get by for less than € 15 per night. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of either in the interior, but there are lots of options along the coast. Hostels with a kitchen are particularly good as they allow you to purchase food in markets and supermarkets that you can cook yourself, saving a lot of money. If you are travelling out of season you might also be able to negotiate lower prices than the advertised one. B&Bs are another affordable solution.

Remember: the slower you travel the more you will cut down on travel costs. If you do plan to move around there are options again. For example there are slow ferries out to the islands around Sicily that take longer but are cheaper. You could also attempt some longer journeys over night to save time but these are fairly rare in Sicily. If you're travelling in a group then renting a car and sharing fuel costs could well save you time and money for getting around.

While some museums and paid sights are a must in Sicily there are often cheaper options for sight seeing. The Necropolis of Pantàlica for example is for free, many churches, cathedrals and castles don't charge and the less known but nevertheless very interesting archaeological sites like Morgantina, which belongs to Sicily's biggest excavation sites, and the Villa Romana del Tellaro (Roman mosaics) charge only few euros entrance. Check out regulary our website, study your guidebook and local newspaper for any free local events, guided tours or walking tours you can do on your own. Remember also that hiking is one of the cheapest and most fulfilling activities you can undertake (see our Top 10 Hikes), followed by biking which only involves the cost of rental.

Things to do for free you'll find here


European budget airlines (e.g. Easy Jet or Ryanair) offer super cheap one way airfares, but they don't pamper clients - don't expect in-flight meals, free drinks or pre-booked seats.

You will be landing at a remote airport, as much as an hour away from your destination city or even in a different country. Check with the airline before you reserve in order to make ground transportation plans - some small European airports do not have regular shuttle services.

Budget airlines are more subject to flight cancellation than those of major carriers, meal and hotel vouchers are usually not provided in the event of cancellation. Budget airlines allow very little luggage and charge exorbitantly if you exceed baggage limits. Ryanair, for instance, limits checked baggage (the limits can change) and you'll be charged for any excess. Ryanair also advises against checking sporting goods such as bicycles and snowboards. They accept these items for a charge, but without responsibility for them. Good to know: Ryanair's flight insurance only applies to UK residents, don't pay for it if you live elsewhere. The key to a cheap Ryanair flight is a carry on bag or cabin case, paying cash (to avoid the credit card fee), and reading the fine print when you book.

Be flexible to get the cheapest airfare on any European budget airline - airfares vary from day to day. Our tip: weekdays are generally less expensive.