A week in Sicily: Ultimate 6, 7 or 8 days Itinerary + My Best Tips

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A 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 Rentalcars.com 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 Rentalcars.com 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 and see in Catania (link at the bottom of the article).

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!

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.

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 Siracusa). 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.

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 Siracusa 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.

Airbnb: The cheapest apartment on Ortigia island can be found on Airbnb. Benefit from a 25 euros rebate on your first booking with Voyage Tips! (Booking of more than 69 euros)

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

Isola-Bella
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 speciality 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!

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!

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!

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.

Alcantara Gorges
The Alcantara Gorges

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.

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 Tours

On Voyagetips.com, 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:

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.

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Itinerary 1 week in Sicily
Itinerary 1 week in Sicily
A week in Sicily: Ultimate 6, 7 or 8 days Itinerary + My Best Tips
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Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover.

Discussion12 Comments

  1. Vincent,

    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,

    Bryan

    • 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!

      • 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.

  2. 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 Rentalcars.com. 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. 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!

      Vincent

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