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Things to do in Sicily

Things to do in  Sicily

Welcome to Sicily

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is full of the beauty and history that gives Italy its reputation as a top-tier destination. Separated from the mainland by the narrow Strait of Messina, across which ferries travel regularly, the island boasts a strategic location in the Mediterranean, making it a desirable prize for many a conquering culture—that may help explain Sicily’s dizzying variety of architectural and culinary styles. Food is a serious pastime here, and a food tour (which often also includes wine) of cities such as Taormina, Syracuse, Palermo, or Catania will acquaint you to regional delicacies, as will a cooking class. To make sense of the busy, regional capital of Palermo—which boasts historic churches and the gilded mosaics of Monreale—take a guided walking or bike tour. Taormina, by contrast, has been a popular seaside resort for centuries—there's even an ancient Roman theater overlooking the town center, to which some guided tours provide skip-the-line tickets. Near Taormina, the massive volcano of Mount Etna looms over the landscape and makes the soil perfect for growing wine grapes—see for yourself on a tasting tour. The oldest part of Syracuse is the small island of Ortygia, on Sicily's eastern coast, that's designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the southern part of Sicily, the ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento are also UNESCO listed. The island is ringed by beaches, making Sicily a beloved summer vacation destination for Italians and visitors alike.

Top 10 attractions in Sicily

#1
Mt. Etna (Monte Etna)

Mt. Etna (Monte Etna)

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Set on the eastern coast of Sicily, Mt. Etna (Monte Etna) is among Europe’s tallest (and the world’s most active) volcanoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013, the volcano has shaped Sicilian history and continues to impact life on the island today. Visitors can explore the mountain’s smoldering volcanic craters and lava fields.More
#2
Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie)

Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie)

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie) comprise eight small volcanic islands off the northeastern coast of Sicily. Famous for beautiful coastlines and beaches, active volcanoes and mud baths, pretty resort towns, and leisurely pace, this archipelago is a popular day trip destination.More
#3
Isola Bella

Isola Bella

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The Italian name of Isola Bella contains both a truth and a misnomer: though worthy of being called beautiful, this tiny rocky outcrop along Sicily’s coast near Taormina is not actually an island. Located off the Lido Mazzaro beach on the Mediterranean Sea, Isola Bella is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand that is often covered with water at high tide. The picturesque point was gifted to Taormina in 1806 by the King of Sicily and later purchased by the Scottish Lady Florence Trevelyan—her villa still sits on the highest point—until being taken over by the region of Sicily and made a nature reserve in 1990.More
#4
Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi)

Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi)

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Italy is rich with ancient Roman ruins, but Sicily’s Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) is unique. Here, some of the some of the best-preserved ancient Greek ruins on earth dot the hillside outside of what was once the Greek city of Akragas, dating from when this area was part of Magna Graecia in the fifth century BC.More
#5
Alcantara Gorges (Gole dell'Alcantara)

Alcantara Gorges (Gole dell'Alcantara)

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Following the path of an ancient Mt. Etna lava flow, Sicily’s Alcantara River carved intricate ravines and underground passages through the volcanic rock. The resulting Alcantara Gorges (Gole dell'Alcantara) are part of the Alcantara River Park, popular with travelers drawn to the beautiful rock formations and the refreshing river water, especially in summer.More
#6
Trapani and Paceco Salt Pans Natural Reserve (Riserva Naturale Integrale Saline di Trapani e Paceco)

Trapani and Paceco Salt Pans Natural Reserve (Riserva Naturale Integrale Saline di Trapani e Paceco)

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The Natural Reserve on the Sicilian coast from Trapani to Marsala is set aside for multiple uses, from collecting sea salt to preserving wildlife. The salt pans are still used to harvest sea salt, using the same methods that have been used for centuries, which include the use of some historic windmills. There is also a museum, set in a former salt mill, that is dedicated to the salt harvesting history in the area.As a haven for wildlife, the Trapani and Paceco Salt Pans Natural Reserve (Riserva Naturale Integrale Saline di Trapani e Paceco) has been under the direction of WWF Italy since 1995, and visitors can often see more than 150 species of birds here. Among them, look for flamingoes, cranes, storks and osprey.More
#7
Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)

Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)

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One of Taormina’s most spectacular sights is its 2nd-century Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco), which, despite its name, is actually an ancient Roman amphitheater built in the Greek style. Sitting high above the coast, the theater has beautiful views over Taormina, the Sicilian coastline, and Mount Etna.More
#8
Martorana

Martorana

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The church known most commonly as the Martorana is an architectural example of Sicily’s changing allegiances over the centuries. The facade alone features three different architectural styles.The Martorana (Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio is the official name) dates back to 1141. You can no longer see the original Norman facade, but you can still see the typical Norman red dome from the exterior. Thankfully, once you’re inside the church, the original 12th century mosaics still shine in all their Byzantine glory. These mosaics are the highlight of a visit to La Martorana, and if you want to see them at their best, go first thing in the morning.Back outside the church, you’ll notice that over the old Norman facade there is now a Baroque facade and a Romanesque bell tower. After the church was completed in the mid-12th century, it was later given to a Benedictine nun by the name of Eloisa Martorana - hence the church’s nickname - in the 1190s so she could establish a convent there. The convent flourished through the 19th century, and it was under the direction of the nuns that many of the architectural changes were made. By the early 1900s, the convent was no more - Mussolini gave the church to the Greek Orthodox in Palermo in 1935.More
#9
Villa Romana del Casale

Villa Romana del Casale

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Just outside the town of Piazza Armerina in southern Sicily, the ruins of Villa Romana del Casale are home to the world’s largest collection of ancient Roman mosaics. These incredible designs date from the fourth century and were stunningly preserved by a 12th-century landslide before being unearthed in the 19th century.More
#10
Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò)

Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò)

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If you are looking to immerse yourself in the local culture of Palermo, the Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò) is the place to go. As the city’s oldest street market and one of the most vibrant markets in Europe, Ballarò also provides a glimpse into Palermo’s past as a major commercial center and port.More

Trip ideas

Best Ways to Experience Mt. Etna

Best Ways to Experience Mt. Etna

How to Spend 1 Week in Sicily

How to Spend 1 Week in Sicily

Baroque Hill Towns in Sicily

Baroque Hill Towns in Sicily

Recent reviews from experiences in Sicily

star-5
Definitely worth it!
Katharina_B, Jul 2021
Syracuse, Ortigia and Noto walking tour from Catania
It was a relaxing time, I got the chance to see so many beautiful sceneries, listen to the stunning stories of a competent and friendly tour guide, ask questions, got some free time to explore the places on my own and experience more of fascinating Sicily!
star-5
Highlight of our trip!
Kym_A, Nov 2021
Etna 2000m & Taormina
The trip itself is great value for money as you get to visit multiple locations, all of which are beautiful and full of history.
star-5
Unforgettable tour
Mathilde_D, Aug 2021
Etna Horse Riding Tour 2 Days
Impossible to visit Sicily without doing this tour.
star-5
Flawless experience
Naomi_E, Aug 2021
Tour of Mt Etna Off-Road with Quad Bike
Especially during the summer months as temperatures can reach about 30C+ Our guides were great and made sure no body was left feeling uneasy with the trip!
star-5
Good fun
Traveller, Aug 2020
The Godfather Movie Iconic Locations: Savoca & Forza D'Agrò small group tour
Had a good time on this tour, getting to see some stunning parts of Sicily we wouldn’t have found on our own.
star-5
More than met expectations
Alexia_A, Jul 2019
Commissario Montalbano day tour
It covered all that we wanted to see from the Commissario Montalbano programmes but also, our guide, Alessio, was also extremely interesting and well-versed in the overall history and geography of Sicily.
star-5
Amazing experience, excellent guide
Heather C, Aug 2018
Ortigia: Syracuse's Ancient Town Center Private Tour
And we were able to see in detail by walking that any other form o f transportation.
star-5
This was a very worthwhile trip! A...
Silka F, Sep 2017
Half-Day or Full-Day Wine Tour in Western Sicily
A fantastic way to see Sicily's lovely scenery and experience the beautiful wineries and culinary delights.
star-5
This was a great tour, got to see...
Patrik A, Dec 2017
Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea
This was a great tour, got to see the Aeolian archipelago in a day and also the wonderful Stromboli island and it’s volcano.
star-5
An excellent tour well worth the...
Raymond_M, Sep 2017
Valley of the Temples and Villa Romana del Casale Day Trip from Taormina
An excellent tour well worth the very long day out which also allowed us to see much of the Sicilian countryside.
star-5
What a truly delightful experience...
Karen Z, Oct 2016
Great Sicilian Wines and cheese Tasting in Palermo
Would highly recommend this event to anyone new to visiting Palermo.
star-5
It was a great tour. I enjoyed all...
Victor A, Aug 2016
Palermo Walking Tour and Street Food
It was great that we got to see some sights on the tour as well.
star-5
The tour was great! Marco the guide...
Leesa I, Apr 2017
Godfather Private Tour in Savoca and Forza d'Agro with Wine and Dinner Option
Bar Vitelli was really interesting to visit.
star-5
Amazing tour!
Sabrina, Oct 2020
Mount Etna and Taormina day tour
When I come back to Sicily, I will reach out to him first to see which tours are available.
star-5
Beautifully Baroque
Sabrina, Oct 2020
Baroque shades of Sicily (Noto, Modica and Ragusa day tour)
When I come back to Sicily, I will reach out to him first to see which tours he has available.
star-5
Nice day excursion to the Etna and Taormirna
Andreas_K, Oct 2020
Etna And Taormina Full Day Excursion from Palermo
But it has to, if you want to see Etna and Taormina in one day.
star-5
A memory for life
Suzanne, Aug 2020
Etna’s Summit Craters:Guided tour+Cable car+jeep(one way) for experienced hikers
Nicos, our english speaking guide, was wery knowlegdable and helpful/kind.
star-5
Highlights of North Sicily
Ivy, Mar 2020
Private Monreale, Cefalù & Castelbuono Tour, from Palermo area
Recommend this tour to see some highlights in comfort and style!
star-5
Excellent tour, absolutely no negatives
Rosie_C, Jan 2020
Palermo Old Town Bike Tour
We saw most of the main attractions in Palermo city centre (many more places than were listed on the tour page) and sampled some great street food.
star-5
Guide - Marco “Simply the Best Better than all the Rest” A real gem!
Carson_S, Jan 2020
Godfather Private Tour from Catania: Savoca and Forza D'Agro with options of Food, Wine tasting and Dinner
We would love to come back during the spring.
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