A Beginner’s Guide to Sicily
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
A panoply of pleasures – from the delicious cuisine to the captivating ancient history to the spectacular landscapes – Sicily is a cultural crossroads. If you can’t decide on which Europe experience you’re after, Sicily is an excellent choice for its diverse attractions and charms. One can sail the Mediterranean, take in a grand opera show, lounge for hours on gorgeous beaches, shop alongside locals at the fish market, take in dramatic volcano views, and wander through centuries-old vineyards.
In our beginner’s guide to Sicily, we’ll provide a peek at the various regions of Sicily to pique your interest and help you imagine your time there.
Palermo Dine your way through Palermo’s delectable street food scene, tasting all the goodies, from chickpea fritters (panelle) to potato balls (crocchette). Feel the pulse of the historic and colorful Capo Market. Here you’ll find stalls brimming with produce, seafood, and meat. If you’re an art lover, don’t miss the Palazzo Alliata, built in 1473 and home to extraordinary ceiling frescoes by Vito D’Anna. Opera fans should attend a performance at the Teatro Massimo Vittoio Emanuele. The largest opera house in the country.
Tantalizing Taormina has been boasting mountain and Mediterranean views to residents and visitors since the 4th century BC. Enjoy a music performance where Roman gladiators once battled. Drink in the views of Mount Etna, Messina, and the Calabrian coast. Go hiking, sail on Mazzaro Bay, explore the famous Blue Grotto and soak up the ambiance of Giardini Naxo’s, Taormina’s seaside resort village.
Catania Feel the Baroque vibe of Catania, between the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna on Sicily’s east coast. This is a fantastic place to people-watch, particularly on the buzzy Piazza del Duomo and at the lively La Pescheria fish market. Visit the Teatro Romano to marvel at the Mount Etna stone that was used in its construction, and don’t miss the exquisitely decorated e Catania Cathedral.
Sciacca If you love the sea and a good spa, Sciacca is for you. The city was built on the Roman Thermae Selinuntinae sites and was revered by the ancients for the healing properties of its sulfur springs. Today, you can soak in hot springs, then lounge on pristine beaches facing a turquoise sea. Of course, history is everywhere you look. So take time to explore the Luna castle ruins and the 14th-century Church of Santa Margherita.
Siracusa A must for history buffs, Siracusa flourished in 480 BC. Today, it’s a busy archaeological site. Here you’ll find rare temples and amphitheaters dating back to the Greek and Roman eras. Visit the Ear of Dionysius and the Duomo (built on the former temple of Athena). Add in a trip to Ortigia, an offshore island community filled with beautiful architecture and delightful cafes.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Sicily? Now that you’re ready to go, when should you go? Aim for spring or fall between March and June or October and November to avoid crowds and uncomfortably warm temperatures. If you can only travel in July, August and September, plan as far ahead as possible to secure hotels, resorts, and ferry transportation. We’d Love to Hear from You From indulging in eggplant-rich pasta alla Norma at a family-run trattoria in a small Sicilian village to a private helicopter tour over Mount Etna’s smokey craters, Sicily speaks to our soul. We hope you’ve been inspired to visit. Connect with us to create the ideal, personalized Sicily experience.