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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

Isola Bella

Isola Bella

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
Mt. Etna (Monte Etna)

Mt. Etna (Monte Etna)

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
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)

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
Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo)

Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo)

Over the centuries, Sicily was ruled by successive waves of conquerors, each one leaving their mark on the island’s architecture, culture, and cuisine. A perfect example of this blend of cultures is the Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo), a fascinating patchwork of Norman, Arabic, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architectural styles.More
Ortygia (Ortigia)

Ortygia (Ortigia)

The captivating former Greek and Roman city of Syracuse wasn’t actually founded on Sicily, but on a tiny island just offshore called Ortygia. Connected by two bridges to the mainland and modern expanse of the city, Ortygia is where you’ll find Old Town highlights such as the Duomo, Temple of Apollo, and Fountain of Arethusa.More
Taormina Piazza Duomo

Taormina Piazza Duomo

Taormina is best known for its 2nd-century Greek Theatre, but this Sicilian city perched high above the eastern coastline of Sicily has a number of impressive historic attractions. One of the most important is the Cathedral (Duomo), set on a pretty square of the same name (Piazza del Duomo) along the main Corso Umberto I thoroughfare.More
Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo)

Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo)

Palermo’s beautiful opera house, the Teatro Massimo, is the largest opera house in the entire country. It’s an important landmark in the center of historic Palermo, and even if you don’t like opera you may be familiar with the theater’s imposing front staircase.The Teatro Massimo was built in the late 1800s, opening in 1897 with a production of “Falstaff” by Giuseppe Verdi. The original plan called for seating for 3,000 in the audience, but the theater seats 1,350 today. There are seven levels of theater boxes in a semi-circle around the seats on the floor, all pointed toward the stage - a design very typical of opera houses at the time. As mentioned, it’s the largest opera house in Italy - and it ranks third in size in Europe.The regular opera season in the Teatro Massimo excludes the summer, so if you’re visiting in the fall, winter, or early spring you can check with the box office to find out what’s playing and whether there are any seats available. In the summer, there are sometimes smaller orchestral or ballet performances in the Teatro della Verdura in Palermo instead of the Teatro Massimo. Palermo’s grand opera house is open for tours year-round, however. Inquire at the box office inside the main doors.More
Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino)

Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino)

From a road winding through the Sicilian countryside, family owned Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino) appears atop a hillside in the Etna wine region. The unique climate and soil of the area produces some of Italy’s tastiest wines, both white and red. Most wines are derived from either Nerello mascalese or Nerello cappuccio grapes, many of which are given DOC designation. Innovative winemakers in this region are making some of Sicily’s best wines, and while not all are available to taste Gambino Winery allows you to sample quite a few.Mount Etna being an ancient volcano (the largest in Europe,) views from the winery are scenic and the surrounding landscape is beautiful to take in. There’s nothing like drinking a glass of wine right in the place in which it was produced, and there’s no shortage of great wine or views at Gambino. The winery also serves delicious food, cheeses, and local olive oils.More
Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)

Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)

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
Cefalù Cathedral (Duomo di Cefalù)

Cefalù Cathedral (Duomo di Cefalù)

Though the giant, craggy La Rocca may dominate the Cefalù skyline, the Cefalù Cathedral (Duomo di Cefalù) competes for that attention. The Norman-style church was constructed starting in 1131, prompted — according to legend — by Roger II, who, during a shipwreck at sea, promised God that if he survived, that he’d construct a church right in this very place. Today’s cathedral is noted for its fortress-like exterior, and for its interior mosaics, particularly the lavish Christ Pantokrator mosaic.The grand mosaic is complemented by a relatively humble interior, which makes the contrast all the more striking. Almost just as important as seeing the inside of the church is experiencing it from the outside from the palm tree-filled plaza. It’s the perfect place to grab pizza, coffee or an ice cream — you might pay a premium for it, but the splendid views and free cathedral-entry more than make up for it.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

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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a truly delightful experience...
Karen Z, Oct 2016
Sicilian Cheese and Wine Tasting in Palermo
Would highly recommend this event to anyone new to visiting Palermo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Great Tour, Great Tour Guide
Lori_P, Jan 2020
Taormina and Castelmola Tour from Messina
I usually fall asleep on bus trips but this one I stayed awake the whole time.
Temples and Villa Romana- mosaics not to be missed!
Michael_G, Oct 2019
Valley of the Temples and Villa Romana del Casale Day Trip from Taormina
Our local guide was good, although there were long delays as she had to do each talk twice, once in German, then in English.
Great birthday! We LOVE Raffaele! ❤🌋❤
klwojcik, Oct 2019
Private 6-Hour Tour of Three Etna Wineries with Tasting
Hope to visit Sicily again!
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