One week in Sicily: Epic 6-7-8 Day Itinerary (First Time Visit)


One week in Sicily: Which Itinerary for 6, 7 or 8 Days?

You’re planning to visit Sicily for your next trip?

Great choice! Sicily is the ideal destination to spend a week of holidays in the sun, without breaking the bank. You will be able to enjoy magnificent beaches, breathtaking landscapes and numerous archaeological remains. All accompanied by the legendarily delicious Italian food.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared a detailed 1 week itinerary in Sicily, so you won’t miss anything during your trip!

In addition to showing you the best things to do and must-see attractions, I will give you tips as well as accommodation suggestions depending on your budget. Planning your 6, 7 or 8 days trip to Sicily will be easy as 1, 2, 3 !

As you can’t visit the whole Sicily in a week (you need 2 weeks for that!), please note that his itinerary is about the East coast of Sicily. I have also written a 10 days itinerary about the West coast, which you can find here: How to spend 10 days in Sicily (West coast). It can also be done in one week.

I will now show you how to spend a week in Sicily!

Itinerary: A week in Sicily (East Coast)

1) Catania (1 day)

When booking your plane ticket to Sicily, you will have the choice between arriving in Palermo or Catania international airports.

To visit the east coast, it’s best to land in Catania. Many airlines offer flights to this destination but the cheapest (in most cases) is undoubtedly Easyjet, with round-trip flights from 60€ (without checked baggage).

I told you, it’s possible to go on a trip to Sicily without breaking the bank!

When you arrive in Catania and start your 7 days itinerary, the best way to get around is to rent a car.

If that’s your plan, I advise you to book it in advance on the internet to be sure to have your car. The best website to book your car is Cars for 2 reasons:

  • It allows you to compare prices between all the rental companies. It’s the best way to save money!
  • You can choose the “Full Protection insurance” when booking. You would get complete excess refund in case of car accident (or any damage done to your rental car) as well as rental agency’s scams. They are unfortunately very common in Sicily, they costed me more than 1300 euros, hopefully all refunded by Cars Full Protection insurance!

That’s why it’s now the website I always use to book my cars when I go travel! You can go on the website by clicking here. I highly suggest you to bookmark it!

If you don’t want to rent a car, many buses and trains depart from Catania and serve the surrounding cities such as Syracuse or Taormina, but if you want to be completely autonomous, the best option is still to rent a car.

This is what we did for our one week road trip in Sicily!

Depending on your plane arrival time, you will have about half a day to visit the city.

I advise you to first visit the piazza del duomo, the heart of the city. Sicily‘s cities organisation is very simple: they all have their own piazza del duomo which concentrates a lot of monuments. Theses Piazza always are the starting point of a lot of beautiful small streets to wander in.

The piazza del duomo in Catania is recognizable by the emblem of the city that stands in its centre: the elephant fountain.

fontana dell elefante
Fontana dell’elefante

On the place, you can also admire the palazzo municipio or take a touristic train or bus ride around the city. It can be a good option if you want to start your stay in Sicily slowly!

But the must-see monument is Catania Cathedral (St. Agathe Cathedral), located behind the the elephant fountain. It can be visited every day of the week and free of charge! You will be able to admire the Saint’s relics and the tomb of a famous Sicilian composer: Vincenzo Bellini.

You can continue your visit of Catania by walking along the 2 main streets: the via Etnea which starts from the piazza del duomo and the via Crociferi. The must-see attraction on this street is the former Benedictine Monastery, which now houses the 2nd largest university in Europe. You can visit it freely or with a guide, and it will take you about an hour.

This half day in Catania is a great start for your week in Sicily!

If you want to spend more time in this city, I advise you read our guide of the best things to do in Catania.

Voyage Tips Advice

If you plan to spend a bit of time in Catania, I recommend you one of these 2 guided visits. Simply click on the orange links to book them:

Where to stay in Catane

  • City-In Hostel B&B: Located opposite Ursino Castle. Dormitory Bed from 17€, breakfast 3€. Free Wifi. Free public parking. Tip: Avoid rooms on the street side that are a little noisy.
  • Tra L’Etna E Il Mare B&B: Located a kilometer from the piazza duomo. Large room with refined decoration from 50€ per night. Breakfast included. Free Wifi. Additional: Free private parking. It’s for me the best value for money in Catania!
  • Il Giardino Di Piazza Falcone: Situated about fifteen minutes’ walk from the piazza duomo. Large bright room from 68€ per night. Breakfast included. Free Wifi. Public parking at 10€ per day. Additionally: a large garden with terrace.
  • Duomo Suites & Spa Catane: Located at only 100 meters from piazza del Duomo, the heart of Catania. Beautiful large and bright double room starting at 190€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the perfect location, the comfortable bed, the view from the terrace. It’s my favorite hotel in Catania, perfect for a luxury stay!
Benedictine Monastery
The Benedictine Monastery, in Catania

2) Syracuse / Ortigia Island (3 days)

Syracuse, located at 1-hour drive south of Catania is the 2nd stage of your one-week itinerary in Sicily.

Syracuse itself is a large modern city of little interest, so I recommend you find a much nicer and typical accommodation on Ortigia Island.

Spend your first day visiting the island and don’t hesitate to stroll along all the small alleys. Impossible to get lost, you will always fall back on the piazza del duomo or the Seafront.

Best things to see in Ortigia Island:

  • The fish, fruit and vegetable market overflowing with freshness and bright colours.
  • The harbour with its typical boats and its very special species of marine worms (you will quickly see what I am talking about!)
  • The majestic piazza del duomo with its cathedral, the town hall and many palazzo.
  • The Castello Maniace offering a breathtaking view of the bay.
  • The Fountain of Arethusa, the best place to see the sunset on Ortigia!

If you don’t feel like walking a lot and want to visit the town of Ortigia in a more original way with a guide, you should really opt for a Segway tour:

After this, enjoy a refreshing swim or a good coffee at the shady terrace of one of the island’s many restaurants.

And if you’re not on a diet, you can also enjoy an ice cream on the steps of the piazza, but let me  warn you: there is a high risk of addiction because they are so delicious!

Piazza Duomo of Syracuse
Piazza Duomo of Syracuse

For this second day of your one-week stay in Sicily, I suggest you to start your morning with a good walk along the Syracuse bike path.

To do this, you just have to leave Ortigia island by crossing the bridge and turn right, along the road by the sea. The starting point of the stroll is the piazzale dei Cappuccini, recognizable by its horses’ statues.

The walk offers many views of Ortigia and its surrounding cliffs. It is equally suitable for everyone because the path is flat and has no difficulty.

If you want to do something else than visiting the city, you can opt for an original activity: a kayak tour!

Accompanied by an instructor, you will spend the morning discovering the most beautiful landscapes of the coast.

To Book your guided kayak trip in Syracuse, you simply need to click on the button below:

After a picnic or a good meal in one of the trattorias (Italian typical restaurants), you can spend your afternoon visiting the Neapolis Archaeological Park (also named Archeological Park of Syracuse).

Admission costs 10€ except on the first Sunday of the month, where it is free of charge. Be careful to plan sunscreen and hats, because there isn’t much shade!

You can as well see:

  • A huge Roman amphitheatre almost completely carved out of the rock.
  • A Greek theatre with a capacity of up to 20,000 people.
  • The altar of Hieron II dedicated to Zeus and serving the sacrifices of animals.
  • Ear of Dionysius is a cave located in a limestone quarry more than 20 meters high.

For the archaeological park of Neapolis, plan about 2 hours of visit If you have some energy lef. You can combine this visit with the archaeological museum, located 500 metres from the park.

Another option is to opt for a guided visit of Neapolis archaeological park. The one on Getyourguide is great, and it also includes the guided visit of Ortigia!

To book it, it’s simple, you just have to click on the button below:

Voyage Tips Advice
If you only have 6 days in Sicily, the best thing you can do is to do the 2 first days in Syracuse in 1.

Here is how:

Leave from Catania early in the morning to arrive in Syracuse around 9:30-10am

  • Visit Ortigia Island in the morning
  • In the afternoon, go to the archaeological park of Neapolis.
  • Go back on Ortigia Island (it’s where your hotel will be located) at the end of the day. Don’t miss the sunset at Arethusa fountain!

It’s a quite busy day (but still enjoyable, don’t worry, you won’t spend your day running!), but it’s the best way to view all the must-see attractions I talk about it this itinerary!

You’re not in Sicily everyday, right?

Syracuse Archeological Park (Neapolis)
Syracuse Archeological Park (Neapolis)

For your last day in Syracuse, don’t hesitate to take your car to visit baroque cities around Syracuse.

The 3 best known are Noto, Ragusa and Modica. They are all listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites for their architecture and historic centres, and compete with each other for beauty.

  • Things to see in Noto: Baroque palaces and churches along the corso Vittorio Emanuele
  • Things to see in Ragusa: The San Giorgio Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo
  • Things to see in Modica: Its historical medieval centre and its magnificent Baroque cathedral
Voyage Tips Advice

if you are lucky enough to do a 8 days trip to Sicily, I advise you to spend one more night in Syracuse. This would allow you to be able to go to the beautiful nature reserve Orientata Cavagrande del Cassibile.

I talk about it in my article: The 15 best things to do in Syracuse and around

Non Sicily
Noto, a beautiful baroque town in Sicily

Where to stay in Ortigia

An advice, spend the night in Ortigia rather than in Syracuse, the prices are not necessarily higher and the environment is much more pleasant.

  • II Duomo:Located on the Piazza del Duomo, you can’t dream better as a location. A large room with a classic decoration. View on the garden or the square. Free Wifi and possibility of paid parking. Double room from 80€, breakfast included.
  • TRE Archi B&B: Located 50 meters from the piazza del duomo, very quiet. Colorful and authentic room. Free Wifi. Double room from 50€, breakfast included.
  • Alla Giudecca: Located at 5 minutes on foot from the Piazza del Duomo. Large and bright double room starting at 120€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: The beautiful view from the terrace, the location, the good breakfast.
  • Caportigia Boutique Hotel: Located at 1km from Neapolis archaeological Park (not on Ortigia Island). Beautiful modern double room starting at 200€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: The amazing breakfast, the staff, the jacuzzi on the terrace. If you want something modern, it’s the place you need to book! It’s the best for a luxury stay in Syracuse.

3) Taormina (3 days)

Visit Taormina, the Sicilian Saint Tropez for the last leg of this one week tour in Sicily. Located about an hour’s drive from Catania, Taormina, perched on a cliff, deserves to linger for a few days!

A quick tip: you should find an accommodation close to Taormina, at the top of the cliff, so you can enjoy the magnificent morning view. As a pedestrian city, you don’t have to worry about traffic or noise.

Start this first day by discovering Corso Umberto, the city’s main street.

You will not be able to miss the place where all handicraft shops, clothing shops, groceries and restaurants are concentrated. Along your way, you can also see and visit churches like the Chiesa di San Giuseppe or St Nicholas’ Cathedral.

It will also be an opportunity to discover views over the valley, the sea and of course the Etna. Piazza IX Aprile is a must for sunset photos, thanks to its huge panoramic terrace.

Piazza IX Aprile
Piazza IX Aprile, in Taormina. One of the best viewpoint!

You can also visit the only ancient monument in Taormina, its remarkably well-preserved Greek theatre.

To finish the morning and do some exercise before lunch go to via Circumvallazione, and climb the 300 steps stairs that will lead you to the heights of Taormina.

It will take you about twenty minutes to reach the top. From there, you can enjoy  a bird eye view of the city and its Greek theatre.  In addition, you have the privilege of admiring a magnificent little chapel partially carved in the rock: the Chiesa Madonna della Rocca.

Then go back down to Corso Umberto and take the time to choose a restaurant from the multitude of possibilities.

A little tip: if you want a bit of calm, shade and to escape from the crowd, buy a sandwich or a slice of pizza without forgetting the dessert (cannoli, ice cream, biscuits the choice is also impressive). Then go have your lunch at  the Villa Comunale public garden.

In the afternoon, after admiring it from Taormina, go down to Isola Bella and it’s beautiful pebble beach.

Many activities are available on site (click on the links to book):

  • 2-hour kayak tour with an instructor who will show you the marine reserve around Isola Bella.
  • 4-hour kayak tour, to explore a good part of the Taormina’s coast.
  • Boat tour + Snorkeling: Get on the boat and enjoy several stops to observe the underwater fauna and flora around Isola Bella!

You can enjoy a half day of idleness and swimming, dive in its crystal clear waters or go for a boat trip.

Voyage Tips Advice

You can book the best boat trip in Isola Bella bay, with Graziella and her husband, the very friendly boat owners, by clicking the button below:

Isola Bella, Taormina’s jewel

This 6, 7 or 8 days road trip in Sicily wouldn’t be complete without the island’s must-see visit: the Etna volcano!

You have been able to admire its imposing silhouette and threatening shade from many cities, but nothing beats the privilege of climbing its volcanic slopes and enjoying a unique atmosphere.

From Taormina there are 2 options to go to Etna.

If you have opted for a road trip in Sicily, you can choose to go by car yourself, it will take you about an hour to reach the refuge. Then, you will be free to spend as much time as you want there and to go to the top of the crater with the cable car or a four wheel drive vehicle.

The second option, which, in my opinion, is the most interesting, is to book an excursion from Taormina.

You won’t have to worry about anything: transportation, guide, cable car, 4-wheel drive vehicle and the equipment, everything will be organized and provided. You will be able to enjoy this exceptional place in complete safety.

If you want to do go to Etna during your stay in Sicily, I highly recommend you to book your trip with Getyourguide. It’s simple, they have the best English speaking guides! And the price is very good too.

Click on the following button for more info about the trip to Etna volcano:

Etna Sicily
Etna eruption – Sicily

On your third and last day in the region, I highly recommend you to take your car and visit the little village of Castelmola

Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it’s located at only 5km from Taormina. It’s worth a look for its ruined medieval castle and its small alleys.

In the village and from the castle, there are numerous beautiful viewpoint, where you can admire the valley below and the Etna. And from the belvedere, top-notch view guaranteed! I also recommend you to taste local almond wine (drink with moderation 😋), a specialty of the village.

You can then continue your program by going to the famous Alcantara Gorges.

Located 50 minutes’ drive from Taormina, this site is a geological curiosity. The gorges have walls of more than 25 meters high and only 2 to 4 meters wide.

The peculiarity of this narrow canyon lies in the formation of its walls born from various lava flows coming from the northern slope of Etna.

This volcanic material cooled down in contact with the waters of the river and drew original shapes. Before going, keep in mind that this place is not necessarily made for swimming, because the water is very cold!

The Alcantara Gorge, on the other hand, is the ideal place to try canyoning. As you will be well equipped, you will not feel the cold and the descent of the river by canyoning in the middle of the gorges is really great!

This activity includes pick up at your accommodation (at all hotels located between Taormina and Catania).

Book your canyoning tour in the Alcantara Gorge by clicking on the button below

If you don’t need the included transport because you have rented a car for your roadtrip to Sicily, you can drive to the meeting point for your canyoning tour by yourself.

You should thus click here to book the Canyoning tour without transport (it’s obviously a bit cheaper!).

Alcantara Gorges
The Alcantara Gorges

After this full day, return to Taormina for the last evening of your one-week tour in Sicily. Perhaps for a last swim at Isola Bella or a drink on a terrace, followed with a good meal.

Voyage Tips - Advice

There are several ways to reach the Gorges.

The first one is for a fee and is signposted by an entrance and a large parking lot that will allow you to park your car easily. You will then go down to the gorges by elevator and will be entitled to a guided tour. It costs a minimum of 15€ per person.

The 2nd possibility (which I advise you) is to continue a little bit further along the road, you will find a small hut on the right side of the road.

You can buy Alcantara Gorges access ticket there for only 2€ per person. At this price you will use the municipal staircase to go down the gorges, but you can enjoy the place the same way for a much lower price!

Where to stay in Taormina

  • Hostel Taormina: Youth hostel located in the heart of Taormina. Dorm bed from 22.5€. Free Wifi. Breakfast excluded. Extra: a large panoramic terrace.
  • Casa La via del Mare: Located halfway between the beach and Taormina historic city centre. Modern and bright room from 80€ per night. Breakfast included. Free Wifi. Extra: Free parking.
  • Medea Residence : Located 2 steps from the main street of Taormina. Apartment with kitchen, modern and bright. Calm down. Outdoor swimming pool. Free Wifi. Private paid parking: 10€ per day. Minimum of 3 nights’ rental for 210€ summing up to 70€ per night.
  • Hôtel Villa Diodoro: Located at 5 minutes on foot from the historical center. Large and bright double room starting at 190€ per night, breakfast included. What we loved: the free private parking, the location, the swimming pool, the outstanding view, the very helpful staff. It’s the best choice for a luxury stay in Taormina!

This is it for your 1 week itinerary in Sicily! You have been able to visit archaeological sites, take beautiful walks, discover baroque towns, see Mount Etna and even relax at the beach.

There is no doubt that Sicily is an ideal destination to spend a week of holidays at a low cost.

And if you’re disappointed that the holidays are over so quickly, think about making another trip to Sicily to visit the West coast!

You can check our Sicilian West coast itinerary here: How to visit the west coast of Sicily in 10 days.

Other activities for 1 week in Sicily

If you feel like doing other activities during your one week trip to Sicily, you will have plenty of choice! Here is the list of the best activities you can do on the island:

Don’t hesitate to click on the following links to get more information and book!

1) Best activities around Catania

2) Activities in Syracuse / Ortigia

3) Near Taormina

Renting a boat in Sicily

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day at sea during your itinerary in Sicily, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental.

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Sicily? 😊

Do not hesitate to give your opinion and suggestions on our one-week itinerary in Sicily!

Trip to Sicily: Flight prices

Flight prices to Sicily vary widely, so it is a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner. With it, you will be sure of getting the best price!

On the results page, do not hesitate to compare several sites to ensure that no fees are added to the final rates.

Sicily 1 week Tours

On, I give you all my best tips and itineraries to plan your trip to Sicily by yourself. (All Sicily articles are here)

However, if you prefer to book a Sicily tour with a travel agency, I recommend you to check the 10 best Sicily tours by clicking the button below:

Book your trip now and save money!

Sicily travel Guides

You’re traveling in Sicily? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Sicily: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Sicily are listed there.

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

Itinerary 1 week in Sicily
Itinerary 1 week in Sicily

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

Discussion49 Comments

  1. Bryan


    I have read your 1 week eastern Sicily itinerary and would love your insight into a 1 week staring in Catania and ending in Palermo. We are from Toronto… I hope you will still answer me:-) We will rent a car and want a leisurely tour. Culture, sites, maybe a beach… wine and food.

    Merci in advance,


    • Vincent

      Hello Bryan,

      I am currently traveling in China and I am from my tablet, so I will try to answer you the best i can!

      For this trip, I would recommend you to spend 1 day in Catania to visit the city (half a day is enough if your plane arrives in the morning)

      Day 2, you can go to the Etna Volcano

      Day 3, Taormina (morning visit the city + go to madonna della rocca, afternoon at Isola bella beach). You should go to castelmola at the end of the day and maybe have diner there. The view from there is fantastic!

      Day 4 a day trip to aeolian islands (from Milazzo)

      Day 5 you can go to cefalu. You can spend the rest of the day there! And then go sleep in Palermo.

      Day 6 and 7: Visit the city of Palermo during the day, and maybe go to the opera in the evening, if you like it. Go to Monreale cathedral on your 7th day in Sicily in the morning and going back home!

      You should have a look at my article about Palermo, you can find it here

      I cannot help much more for now, but I hope it gives you some ideas!

      • Ashley

        Which islands would you recommend if only doing a day trip out of Milazzo? And would you say its best to just hop on the first ferry out and last ferry back?

        • Vincent

          Hello Ashley,

          If you have only 1 day, there are 2 islands that aren’t too far: Vulcano and Lipari. You can choose to focus on one, or take a 1 day cruise that will give you a glimpse of both, like this one.

          The other islands are, in my opinion, too far for a day trip unfortunately.


    Looking to do west Sicily in 7 or 8 days. I like the list of things to do you wrote about. I’m just worried about renting a car in Sicily. What are your thoughts on that? Do I have any other choice? I don’t want to be stuck on a tour company. I want to go and stay as long as I want. I want to eat where I want. Thank you

    • Vincent

      Hello Phil,

      As you said, if you want to do as you please, renting a car is the only solution. It’s really the best way to enjoy Sicily!

      However, as I say in the article, the problem of car rentals in Sicily is the large amount of scams. It’s just crazy how car rental companies are dishonest there!
      I have even written an article in French about this, but it’s not translated yet.

      The most important point is really to take the insurance when renting the car at Cars. It’s really the easiest way to avoid fraud and travel with peace of mind.

      About driving itself, they are a bit rough, but nothing too bad. They are just not very careful when parking, so bumper scratches can appear quickly (another good reason to always take the insurance!).
      As in many places in south of Italy, they also use the horn a lot for nothing, so don’t freak out! Even as a pedestrian it can be surprising at first.

      I have a detailed article about car Rental in Sicily, but it’s in French, as I haven’t translated it yet :/ However, if you have any question, I will gladly answer them!

    • Vincent

      Unfortunately, I don’t have much info about group tours in Sicily for the english speaking market, so I prefer not recommending you something I am not 100% confident about!

  3. Keum Kyeung Moo

    Dear Vincent!
    We are planning to stay in Sicily about 10 days and will get to there from Rome.Can you advice how to enter into Sicily, a plane or train?

    And how to allocate my time to this beautiful island? Pls help me out of this issue!
    And for the transportation, should I rent a car or use a public transportation??

    Thanks much
    B. Rgds
    Frank Keum

    • Vincent

      Dear Frank,

      To go from Rome to Sicily, the best way is to take the plane and land in Palermo or Catania. There are many cheap flights to Sicily from Rome.

      Alternatively, you can take the ferry boat in Civitavecchia, a port near Rome. They are night ferries, and it takes 14h of boat to go from Rome to Palermo.

      In 10 day in Sicily, it’s a good idea to focus on either the east or the west of the island (you will not have the time to see the whole Sicily, it takes at least 14 days for this).

      As you have already read this article about the east coast of Sicily, you should also have a look at my 10 days itinerary in Sicily on the west coast.
      You can also read my TOP 20 best places to visit in Sicily, to get an idea of all the things you can see on the island.

      For the transportation, you should definitely rent a car, you would waste too much time with the public transport.

      And if you have any question about your trip organisation, don’t hesitate!


  4. Jane

    Hi Vincent,

    I have no questions yet but would just like to say what a great post!!! It’s everything I needed and more, and thank you so much for being such a saint with the details. My husband and I are going on our very belated honeymoon and have decided to spend 8 day in Sicily, flying in from London. And I LOVE that I found this. Thank you and I hope I catch you in this globe one day!

    Love from Singapore,

    • Vincent

      Hi Jane,

      I am glad my 7-8 days itinerary in Sicily is helping you to plan your honeymoon trip!
      If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

      Also, for more information, feel free to read all my articles about Sicily, they will give you a good grasp of what the island have to offer! You can find them by clicking here.

      PS: I was in Singapore last week, it’s really a great city to visit! I will write a travel guide about it soon 🙂

  5. Alysha

    Hello Vincent,

    Are there any locations where I could stay at the same hotel the entire time but still do many activities? I am looking at an 8 day trip for my honey moon next March.

    Thank you,

    • Vincent

      Hello Alysha,

      For your 8 days honeymoon in Sicily, you have 3 choices, depending on what you would like to do:

      – Staying in Catania is the most central place for sure, it’s easy to go to Taormina and Syracuse as day trips from there, as they are both about 1h driving away. However, Catania isn’t the most beautiful place to stay.

      – Staying in Syracuse (ortigia island) is a great choice if you also want to go to Noto/Modica and Ragusa as a day trip. You would then visit Taormina + Castelmola village as a day trip too (doable, it’s small). It’s in my opinion the best choice if you really just want 1 hotel.

      – Staying in Taormina: There are some very nice hotels there, but it’s a bit less convenient for the visits. Syracuse is a bit far, and there is quite much to do there (would require going 2-3 times as a day trip, including the Noto/Ragusa and Modica day trip). A good choice too, depending of what you prefer between amazing hotel/ease of planning the visits.

      If you want to avoid driving too much, the best is still to take at least 2 hotels: 1 in Syracuse and 1 in Taormina.

      Enjoy your honeymoon trip to Sicily, and if you have any other question, don’t hesitate to ask me 🙂

  6. Helen

    Hello! Thank you for such a fab and informative page! I am visiting Sicily with a friend in June, and staying in Syracuse for the full week. Some of the West coast beaches look great, are they do-able as a day trip from Syracuse? We have hired a rental car. Thanks!

    • Vincent

      Hello Helen,

      Thank you! I am glad my itinerary is helping you to plan your trip to Sicily.

      Are you thinking about going to a particular beach in Western Sicily?

      For exemple, if you want do go to the Scala dei Turchi (near Agrigente) which is one of the most famous, it would 2h30 by car from Syracuse.

      However, there are also really nice beaches on the East coast. Most of them are located near Avola, south of Syracuse. The great thing is that they are a lot closer 🙂

    • Vincent

      Hello Rosie,

      Yes after your stay in Taormina, you will return to Catania Airport (1 hour away by car).

      Don’t hesite to ask if you have other questions.

      Enjoy your trip to Sicily!

  7. Tatiana

    Hi Vincent,

    I will be going to Sicily for 6/7 days with family and friends middle of August.

    What would be the best itinerary for mainly beaches and food? We really want relax and enjoy the landscape and not much of sightseeing. From what I google and being being watching mostly of the places I would like to go would be from Catania do Trapani (coast way).

    Many of it is islands, I will write my list down here, I know it’s too big and I won’t be able to fit everything in, that’s why I would love your advice to where and what should we do with the time we have. We will have kids with us between 10 and 15 years of age. Also if you could advise regarding the ferries to those islands like time and costs would be wonderful! Based on the places you will suggest from my list below what would be your recommendation for places to stay?

    – Lido Burrone (from Trapani)
    – Favignana
    – Lampedusa
    – Eolie Island
    – Stromboni Island
    – Vulcano Island
    – Spiaggia de Mondello (Palermo)
    – San Vito to Capo
    – Cala Azurra
    – Sciacca beaches
    – Cala Rossa
    – Spiaggia Fontane Bianche
    – Spiaggia Guidaloca
    – Blue Marino
    – Ortigia
    – Valley di Temples
    – Ragisa Iblia
    – Teather of Taormina
    – Cefalu
    – Catania
    – Agrigento
    – And off course Mount Etna

    • Vincent

      Hi Tatiana,

      If you want to land in Catania and end your trip in Palermo (the biggest airport on the west coast), you can do the following itinerary:

      – Day 1: Arrival in Catania – Go directly to Taormina (50 min) – Visit Taormina (Roman theatre + isola bella) – Night in Taormina

      – Day 2: Etna – Night in Taormina

      – Day 3: Going from Taormina to Castellammare del Golfo. During the day, you will stop in Cefalu and Mondello Beach. Night in Castellammarre

      – Day 4: San Vito Lo Capo / Bue Marino Beach (it’s not in your list, but you can also go to Zingaro Nature reserve, the easy trail is very nice and there are great coves along the way). Night in Castellammarre

      – Day 5: Full day in Favignana (Take the boat in Trapani / 30 mins to arrive there with Liberty Lines ferries). Night in Castellammarre

      – Day 6: You can visit Valley of the temples, but it’s quite far (about 2 hours) + Sciacca Beach. If you want to visit nice temples, but closer, You can head to Selinonte instead (+ Sciacca Beach) Night in Castellammarre

      – Day 7: Head to Palermo to take your return flight.

      If you have other questions, don’t hesitate!

  8. Wendy Gurtman

    Your information is really great !! We are planning a big family trip to Italy (15 of us) and are planning on spending two nights in Rome and visiting Rome and Florence (i day each) and then flying to Sicily for a week.

    We think we want to do Palermo, Syracuse and Taormina in that week. Is this feasible?

    We are also thinking that we want to maybe rent a villa for the week in Sicily or stay at an aguritismo for the week and drive somewhere each day?

    Would you recommend this?

    If yes, where would be a central place that we could get a really nice villa or aguritismo.

    If you don’t think this is a good idea, what would you recommend ?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.

    Look forward to hearing back from you.


    • Vincent

      Hi Wendy,

      This sounds like a great trip!

      Yes, it’s totally feasible to do Palermo, Syracuse and Taormina in one week in Sicily.

      However, I would recommend to rent at least at 2 different places. 1 close to Palermo and the other one between Syracuse and Taormina.

      With only 1 accommodation, you will be far from everything, that would mean at least 3h driving each day. You would really waste your time going back and forth!

      So 2 accommodations is really the minimum, and personally I would do 3 accommodations, one in/close to each city.

      The thing is, you will probably need to go 2 times in/around Syracuse to visit everything. Baroque towns such as Noto, Modica and Ragusa are also far easier to reach if you are staying around Syracuse.

      So by staying relatively close (for example in the countryside between Syracuse and Noto), you will save a lot of driving time.

      You can then book another place in/close to Taormina, which would be very convenient to visit the town and its surroundings.

      So to sum it up:

      – Minimum: 2 different places, 1 close to Palermo + 1 between Syracuse and Taormina

      – Best (in my opinion): 3 different places, 1 close to Palermo + 1 between Syracuse and Noto/Ragusa/Modica (Sicily’s most beautiful baroque towns) + 1 around Taormina.

      By the way, I believe you will rent cars in Sicily? If it’s the case, be careful, there are lots of scams there, like the “fake damage scam”. I have written an article about it, but it’s only in French at the moment.

      You can find it here: How to avoid car rentals scams in Sicily (french) or find the automatically translated version here. (I have checked, and it’s readable, even if not perfect!)

      If you have questions, of course, don’t hesitate to ask me.

      For Palermo, you can read my article about the city here: The 15 best things to do in Palermo

      and Here are my detailed articles for Syracuse and Taormina:

      The 15 best things to do in Syracuse + Itineraries
      The 10 best things to do in Taormina + itineraries

      As you are also going to Rome, you can read my articles about the city here.

      You will find the list of the best things to do, an itinerary to visit the city in 1 day, the best accommodations in town as well as the skip the line tickets if you want to visit the Colosseum for example.

      Simply click on the links to read the articles:

      Rome: The 25 best things to do and see

      Where to stay in Rome? – The definitive guide of the best areas!

      Colosseum: The 7 best skip the line tickets explained

      If you need help to find good accommodations, please send me your exact travel dates, the number of adults/kids, as well as your total budget (+ the number of stops you want to do in Sicily, 2 or 3).

      I can search for Rome and Florence too, no problem. Just let me know if you want to stay inside the city, in a central location or if you don’t mind. Also, will you always have a car?

      Enjoy your trip to Italy, and of course, if you have any question, don’t hesitate!

  9. Lina

    Thank you so much for this excellent guide Vincent. Really helpful and detailed.

    My husband and I are going to Scily in September for two week. Is it possible to do a circular trip around the in the East side e.g. Starting at Catania, drive to Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Agrigento, Enna, Taormina and back to Catania?

    We will probably have about three basis over the two weeks.

    Many thanks

    • Vincent

      Hello Lina,

      I’m glad my blog helps you to organize your trip in Sicily!

      Yes, you can do a circular trip around the East side of Sicily in 2 weeks.

      In 2 weeks you even visit the whole Sicily: East and West. You can have a look my article here: the perfect 2 weeks itinerary in Sicily.

      If you prefer to stay on the East in only 3 cities, I will recommend you to stay:

      – In Syracuse: visit Ortigia, Syracuse, Catania, Noto, Ragusa, Modica
      – In Agrigento: visit the valley of the temples, Agrigento old town, Scala dei Turchi, Sciacca, Torre Salsa and maybe Enna as a day trip.
      – In Taormina: visit Taormina old town, Castelmola, The Etna volcano. From Taormina, you also can do a day trip to the Aeolian Island or discover the best wineries around.

      There isn’t much to do in Enna, so I wouldn’t recommend you to stay there.

      You can find all my articles about Syracuse, Agrigento and Taormina here: Destination Sicily. It will give you a good idea of the best things to do in these cities and around!

      And if you have any question or need help to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to ask me.

  10. Priscilla

    Hello Vincent,

    Blog and comments are so appreciated. Love it!

    We are travelling 7 days in Sicily with a 14 months old. We were thinking visiting East and some parts of the West especially around San Vito Lo Capo for little beach treks. Our arrival and departure are in PMO.

    After reading your advices, I found that it is too optimistic to travel East and West in 7 days especially with a little one.

    I was thinking going to Taormina, staying there for local trips and Etna. How long would you suggest?
    Then stay in Cefalu for x days and finally, ending our trip around San Vito Lo Capo for x days.

    What is the best road trip itinerary? We won’t count on museums or long day trip in the sun with our baby.

    Much thanks!

    • Vincent

      Hello Priscilla,

      Thanks, I’m glad my travel blog is helping you to plan your trip!

      For your week in Sicily:

      – You can stay 3 days in Taormina and do all the things I mention in this article: visit Taormina, Isola Bella, Mount Etna, Castelmola and Alcantara Gorges. But just to let you know: Taormina is about 3 hours drive from Palermo
      – Stay one night in Cefalù: there isn’t many things to do and it’s very small. But it’s a good stop to split the journey between Taormina and San Vito Lo Capo.
      – Stay 3 days around San Vito or Castellammare del Golfo. But this time again, it will take you around 3 hours by car to go from Cefalu to San Vito.

      So if you really want to do these 3 places, it’s doable but keep in mind you will have to drive quite much.

      That’s why in my itineraries, I suggest to do the East or the West for 7 days in Sicily. As you will arrive at Palermo airport, it would of course be more optimized to focus on the West part of the island.

      If you have any other question to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to ask me!

  11. Frank Hanks

    Ciao Vincent
    Your guides were a great help in planning my 6 days on the east side. As we will be arriving on 28 Dec and departing on 3 Jan I’m interested in any advice you have for which towns to stay in during this winter holiday period. Would you still recommend Taormina and Ortygia?
    Grazie mille

    • Vincent

      Hello Frank,

      I am glad my itinerary article is helping you to plan your one week trip to Sicily!

      About the towns, yes, Taormina and Ortygia are the best places to stay in winter, as it’s where most tourist attractions are located. You will be lucky to visit Taormina without the summer crowds!

      Enjoy your trip to Sicily, and if you have any other question, don’t hesitate to ask me.

  12. Mark

    Hi Vincent, hope you are well and really enjoyed reading this article!

    My future wife and I are going on an Italian honeymoon in August this year, 7 nights on the amalfi coast, 4 nights in Rome and we were going to stay 7 nights on Ortygia as well.

    Do you think 7 nights here would be too much? We are looking for a decent mixture or chilled and excursions. Is it easy enough to get day trips to Etna and Taormina? Also, is it possible to visit the Aeolian Islands from Ortygia or would you say it’s too far?

    We will be looking to do everything by other methods of transport, ive never driven abroad before and Sicily doesn’t sound like the easiest place to drive!

    I would absolutely love to hear any recommendations and advice on any of the above And also any suggestions if you had any, it would be massively appreciated 🙂

    Thank you very much

    • Vincent

      Hi Mark,

      Congrats, that sounds like a really nice honeymoon trip!

      I think 7 nights in Syracuse is too long, yes, as it will be a bit hard to go to other places, especially if you don’t have a car.

      In my opinion, you should split your stay in Sicily: 3 nights in Syracuse and 4 nights in Taormina.

      Taormina is a better starting point for day trips to the Etna and the Aeolian islands, as they are not really doable from Syracuse.

      This would really allow you the make the most of your stay and discover a good chunk of the east coast of Sicily during your 7 days trip!

      If you haven’t read it yet, you should have a look at my article about Taormina: It will give you a good idea of the best places to visit in town + the day trips you can do. You can find it here: The best things to do in Taormina.

      If you want, you can also have a look at my article about Rome: The best things to do in Rome. It includes a list of the best places to visit as well as itineraries to plan your visit.

      Enjoy your honeymoon, and don’t hesitate if you have other questions!

  13. Mark

    Thanks you very much for your response Vincent and for the suggestions and info, greatly appreciated.

    Yeah we had thought initially about staying in Taormina, but saw a lovely hotel on Ortigia and changed our minds a bit. We were kinda looking for somewhere for the whole 7 nights as it will be the last leg of our honeymoon but Sicily is so big with so many great places its very hard deciding!

    Do you have any recommendations for Western Sicily? Really liked a look at a couple of the islands of the west coast for day trips and also Palermo had been in our mind as well.

    Thanks very much

    • Vincent

      Hello Mark,

      My pleasure! I am glad to help you plan your trip 🙂

      For Western Sicily, I am not sure, do you mean:
      1) Instead of staying in Ortigia?
      2) As another leg of your itinerary?
      3) As day trips? (unfortunately not doable, Syracuse to Trapani is a 4-hour drive one way! – Syracuse to Palermo is more than 3 hours one way, with a car. Both take even longer with public transports.)

      Let me know!

  14. Mark Valentine

    Hi Vincent,

    Very much appreciated

    Yeah I was meaning potentially instead of Ortigia? Quite a few thoughts going on in my mind now!

    Too many nice places to see 🙂

    Just wanted to here about any recommendations on the West side of the island and Palermo and then weigh them up with the East side and see what we think.

    Where is your favourite part of Sicily?


    • Vincent

      Hi Mark,

      The east and west are very different, and I personally love both!

      To sum it up, you should:

      – Choose the east coast of Sicily if you want: to discover typical Sicilian towns and visit the Etna.
      – Opt for the west coast if you would rather enjoy: nice beaches and islands, hiking next to the sea and world-class archaeological sites. Please note however that the west coast is less convenient than the east if you don’t rent a car (that’s even more true if you just want 1 accommodation.)

      This is really up to you and your future wife!

      If you haven’t read it yet, you should have a look at my “10 days on the west coast of Sicily” article. I can help you to adapt it for 7 days if you choose to go there.

      You can also find all my articles about Sicily here: Sicily travel guides. They will help you to get a good grasp of what the island has to offer!

  15. Diane Hofknecht

    Hello. I enjoyed reading all your articles. I plan to visit Sicily late August early September of 2021. Hopefully travel will be okay by then. We plan to visit Panarea, Syracuse and Taormina. Flying into Catania. Do you think this is all doable in 10 days. We like to visit the sights but also love the beaches and just chilling out. Any help you can suggest will be appreciated. Thank you Diane

    • Vincent

      Hi Diane,

      For your 10-day trip to Sicily, you will have the time to discover Panarea, Syracuse and Taormina, no problem! And you will also have some time to enjoy the beaches.

      If you arrive in Catania, you should first visit Syracuse/Ortigia and then head to Panarea. It’s more convenient to end you trip in Taormina, as you will be close to Catania airport to catch your return flight.

      Enjoy your stay in Sicily!

    • Vincent

      Hi Kathryn,

      If the weather is good enough, you can do everything I mentioned in this one week itinerary in Sicily in February (Except swimming of course!)

      Enjoy your trip!


  16. Assumpta Shannon

    Hi Vincent,
    My adult son and I are flying into Palermo about 2150 on 8th July. We are staying a week and provisionally booked a hotel in Cefalu. We can cancel up to 2nd May with no holding deposit given. We are hoping to rent a car, but after a day or 2, so we can familiarise ourselves with the environment and their roads. It appears that it is very costly to get a shuttle bus or taxi from airport. We do not want to train it so late. Should we rebook a night in Palermo and travel in am by train. We like the idea of not moving from accommodation every few nights but also want to get to see and experience the best of Sicily but in a safe way. Your itinerary is brilliant, but realise we will not have time for all. What are your favourite places and accommodation Thank you A.

    • Vincent


      Yes, it must be quite expensive to take a taxi to Cefalu as it’s more than an hour’s drive from Palermo. And if you arrive at 10pm, the taxis switch to night time fares.
      So it would be best to spend the first night in Palermo.

      On the other hand I advise you to rent the car directly on arrival because it’s more convenient and cheaper to rent the car at the airport.
      Especially if you rent the car in Cefalu and want to return it in Palermo, the rental company will surely charge you extra fees.

      Another thing: is there any special reason to stay in Cefalu? Because there is not much to see around there, except Cefalu itself.

      Regarding this itinerary, when you arrive in Palermo and if you have a week in Sicily, it’s better to visit the west of Sicily (Palermo, Scopello, Zingaro, Trapani, Erice, the Egadi islands, Segeste).
      Taormina, Catania and Syracuse are to the east.
      So, if you don’t want to change accommodation all the time, the best thing to do is to take 2 accommodations: 1 towards Palermo and 1 towards Trapani.
      You can find out more about the visits you can do here:
      What to do in Palermo?
      What to do in Trapani?
      10 days in Sicily (west coast).

      Enjoy your stay in Sicily!

  17. Suzanne Venesile

    Hi, my husband is getting Italian citizenship and we would like to explore Sicily as a possible place to buy a vacation apartment. We are looking to go scope things out for 8 days, what would be your suggested itinerary to see Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Taormina in that time? We don’t need to see every attraction, we just want to get a feel of the lifestyle in each area. Is it possible to do this by train or is renting a car a better option? Thank you for your consideration!

    • Vincent

      Hello Suzanne,

      I really recommend that you hire a car to get around easily during these 8 days in Sicily.

      You’ll have no trouble getting a good overview of Catania, Syracuse and Taormina in that time, as these 3 places are quite close together.
      Palermo, on the other hand, is more than 2h30 by car from Catania, so it’s up to you to decide whether you think you’ll have enough time to get there (or perhaps you could look into landing in Catania and departing from Palermo).

      Enjoy your stay in Sicily!

  18. Mehdi Khajenouri

    Hi Vincent

    Thanks for very informative site. Don’t like to haul luggage much so please advise on picking one place to stay for a week in Sicily and the places to visit on daily excursions for end of March 2024

    • Vincent

      Hi Mehdi,

      Thanks! I’m glad my one week itinerary in Sicily helps you to plan your trip.

      Catania will be the most convenient but it’s not the nicest place to stay.
      Ortigia and Taormina are more beautiful and traditional.
      In terms of the things to do, you can visit all the places I mention in this itinerary. The journey time for each one will just be longer, but it’s doable.

      Enjoy your week in Sicily!

  19. Bree Wilson

    Hi!!! I just came across your site and it’s been so helpful!!!
    My husband and I are planning to spend 10 days in sicily after my daughter graduates. I am finding it so hard to narrow down where to stay. We’d only like to have to switch hotels 4 times at the most.
    Areas of interest are Taormina, Cefalu, Scopello, Favignana, Ragusa, and Ortigia
    We don’t have interest in mount etna but love beaches, walking through old villages and food!!!
    Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Vincent

      Hello Bree,

      Thanks a lot!
      I’m glad my blog is helping you plan your itinerary in Sicily.

      Based on the areas of interest you’ve listed, I’d recommend getting accommodation in:
      – Trapani to visit Favignana and Scopello.
      In this area, you can also visit the beach at San Vito Lo Capo, the Zingaro reserve and the village of Erice.
      You can find my selection of hotels here: What to do and where to stay in Trapani?

      – In Ortigia. From here you can go to Ragusa. You can also get to Taormina from Ortigia, but it takes around 1:30 hours by car.
      You already have my hotel recommendations for Ortigia in this article.

      – In Cefalu.

      Enjoy your 10-day road trip in Sicily!

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