Sicily is the largest region in Italy, the island is located near the ‘tip of the boot’ and has beautiful scenery with both 1500km of coastline with stunning islands and beaches, including Rabbit Beach in Lampedusa, known as one of the best beaches in the world. This along with the surrounding mountainous landscape makes it an idyllic place to relax and unwind.
Among these views is Etna, Europe's highest active volcano. Visitors can go up and visit on a tour to see the lava at the top. But Sicily is not only popular for its scenery, it is also full of culture and history. Some of the most popular sites within the region include the impressive Siracusa Duomo, the intricate ceramics of Caltagirone, and the Baroque of Ragusa.
Sicily has typical mediterranean weather with mild and wet winters, and hot, dry summers.During the summer months temperatures can climb to 44 °C.
The official language of Sicily is Italian.
|Plane||The quickest way to get to Sicily is by air. The region has four main airports located at different areas of the island. Punta Raisi Falcone - Borsellinois 32km from Palermo, Fantanarossa in the east is just 7km from Catania, while Vincenzo Florio Birgi Airport is around 15km from both Trapani and Marsala in the west, and Comiso is located 27km from Ragusa. All airports have shuttle services to take visitors to the main cities or towns.|
|Train||There are lines that connect sicily to Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples to Messina. From there visitors can continue their journey to Palermo, Catania, and other smaller Sicilian towns.|
|Bus||Interbus run most of the bus services from either Rome or Naples on a regular basis. The journey in some cases can be quite long.|
The most convenient way of getting around Sicily is to hire a car or a motorbike, although travelling by public transport is also an option to get to popular cities and towns in the region.
Trains run mostly between the popular towns on the island, but not between smaller towns. Although services are limited, they are low cost are reliable.
Generally using the bus services in this region are more preferable than trains as they are usually quicker, especially when travelling to the smaller towns. Bus companies that serve the region of Sicily are AST, SAIS Autolines, and SAIS Transporti.
There is an efficient system of ferries during the summer that connect the islands off the coast with the mainland. During the winter months services are reduced considerably when numbers of visitors to the islands drop.
With idyllic crystal clear water and soft sandy shorelines it’s not surprising that tourists come from all over the world to see the beaches of Sicily which have become top summer holiday locations. Most accommodate visitors with camping sites, hotels and private apartments, with beach beds umbrellas, and beach bars, while others are more untouched, quiet and tranquil.
The region of Sicily is full of history including many archeological sites. The Valley of the Temples near Agrigento has a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several Roman ruins and temples. Sicily is also home to the world's best preserved Greek amphitheatre outside of Greece. Located in Segesta atop Mount Barbaro means not only is the site impressive, but also the views.
Palermo is known as the vibrant capital of Sicily and includes attractions like Roman, Medieval and Norman ancient religious sites and buildings. For a more modern experience local food festivals also take place in the city and the traditional food and drink is popular with both visitors and locals. Bagheria is another popular city known as the ‘City of Villas’ for the many impressive buildings that noble families built during the 17th and 18th century.
Trapani, Catania, Palermo, and Ragusa are all perfect places for both the beginner to try out a new sport, or the experienced visitor to have some fun out in the water. These locations are especially great for sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. Sailors can travel along the coastline or go to the Egadi and Aeolian islands. Its also possible to take a boat tour around the coast.
Visitors can relax in the warm waters of the hot springs, sourced from Volcano Etna. One in particular that many tourists visit is the hot springs of Segesta, a free site where visitors can enjoy thermal waters heated by the underground magma.
Hiking up to he Alcantara Gorge is one of the most popular activities, located 20km from Taormina, the gorges provide stunning views of canyons made from the black lava of Etna. The site is almost completely naturally preserved and was only discovered in the 1950’s. The black canyons teamed with the blue water, warm enough to swim in during the summer, gives some of the most beautiful views in the area.
Taormina Jazz Festival takes places over two weeks during the end of July and the beginning of August. One of the most popular festivals in the region the festival includes acts from international, Sicilian and Italian Jazz bands.
Ypsigrock Festival in Castelbuono has been voted one of the best music festivals in Italy. It takes place during the month of August and hosts ten international indie rock bands over four days. The festival takes place in a scenic Norman castle.
Wanting travellers to experience Sicily in its true glory, Omio teamed up with travel bloggers from across the globe to share their insider tips on the island. Read on for their exclusively shared recommendations on tasty cuisine and activities that can’t be missed when visiting the island of Sicily.
“One of the most unique things about Sicily is the Greek history that was left on the island. Sicily has the best Greek temples in the world; some must sees are Agrigento, Selinunte, and Segesta. Also, make sure to visit places like Monreale to get a taste of the Arab infusion of culture and art on the island as well. Noto and Siracusa have excellent architecture as well.” – Marcello, The Wandering Trader
“Sicily is the wild and adventurous part of Italy. Of course, your first stop should be the vibrant city of Palermo. Besides the must-see sights in the regional capital, Mount Pellegrino offers a stunning view of the city. Cefalu is another interesting place to discover, with a great beach to visit and lovely paved streets.” – Maria, Travellingbuzz
“Ragusa Ibla; Panoramic views and a maze of alleyways steeped in history and culture. Near Modica and Noto, other towns with exuberant examples of Baroque architecture. Cefalù; Picturesque, a seaside town on a rocky headland with mementos of Sicily’s varied settlers including an outstanding Norman Cathedral. Palermo; a city of contrasts – crumbling glamour beside splendid examples from Arabic and Norman settlement to fine Baroque and Art Nouveau.” – Marisa, All Things Sicilian and More
“The standouts of our visit to Sicily surprisingly came at the beginning and the end. Our first stop was Taormina, a charming village built high on the side of a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea and the mainland “toe” of Italy’s boot. The town is small enough to walk the enchanting cobblestone streets and alleys from one end to the other, but filled with history and incredible views of Mount Etna.” – David and Veronica, Gypsy Nester
“Catania; One more city I suggest to visit, alongside the charming capital Palermo known with the moniker of “Italy’s most Arab city”, is Catania, located on Sicily’s eastern coast, a seductive cluster of majestic historical palaces and finely decorated churches, on the foot of famous Mt. Etna volcano that often pleases locals and tourists with some natural fireworks.” – Angela, Chasing the Unexpected
“Even though Sicily is an island, you can never have enough islands, that’s why we’d recommend heading over to the Aeolian Islands. Only an hour and a half from the main island, we visited Lipari and Salina, and both places are like mini-Sicily’s within Sicily. The pace of life is certainly a lot slower, and the views are simply astounding.” –Macca, An Adventurous World
“The South East corner of Sicily is an area I would not miss especially Siracusa’s old town Ortygia, the wonderful old fishing village of Marzamemi and the baroque towns of Modica, Ragusa and Noto I also wouldn’t miss the stunning golden mosaics of the Monreale Cathedral just outside Palermo.” – Jenny, A Taste of Travel
“When you have had enough of wandering around the ancient sites of the island Sicily still has plenty more to offer. Water sports are popular with a variety to choose from. You can surf, canoe and even go rafting in the rivers. There is, of course, the famous Mt. Etna to climb and even ski down in winter!” – Nic and Paul, The Roaming Renegades
“We were on a bike tour with VBT, cycling was our main activity, and we encountered dozens of fellow riders along the roads and paths. It is very popular, and a fantastic way to see the island. Enjoying the beautiful blue water is another fantastic pastime. Basking on the beach, swimming, sailing, diving, and fishing can all be done nearly year-round in the sunny climate.” – David and Veronica, Gypsy Nester
“Without a doubt Mount Etna attracts most of the people travelling to Sicily. And rightly so. But my advice is to explore local activities when you arrive and do not book mass tourist packages in advance. That way you will support the local businesses and will get more authentic experiences. A wine tour or tasting in a local winery is a great start.” – Maria, Travellingbuzz
“Witness the religious Easter celebrations and Enna’s ‘Albis’ Sunday for the all-male, confraternity procession and the ancient ritual of the Blessing of the Fields and walk in the wilderness of regional parks and protected natural areas.” – Marisa, All Things Sicilian and More
“If you’re into adventure, you’ve got to climb Mount Etna. We did a 4am sunrise hike through the national park and then took the cable car near to the summit, and it was without a doubt one of our best days in Sicily. Oh, and if you can play bocce with some locals then give that a go, but we have to say you’re going to lose!” – Macca and Brianna, A Brit and A Broad