What to do in Sicily: 50 places you absolutely cannot miss

Yes, ok, the sun, the beaches, the sea. But Sicily is not only this. The millions of tourists who choose Sicily as their holiday destination every year know this well.

We have selected for you, 50 places you absolutely cannot miss, whether you are a traveler or a Sicilian who wants to discover Sicily with different eyes, this link is right for you, by clicking it you will just need to follow the numerical progression to get inspired and organize an extraordinary and personalized holiday or weekend, which manages to be both adventurous and relaxing at the same time. To stay away from the stress of the usual routine and be lulled by the slow rhythms of island life.

1. Catania – A pleasure walk in via Etnea, with an arancino and a granita siciliana

Catania is the largest city in eastern Sicily, as well as the busiest. From Vincenzo Bellini airport, reach the city center with the Alibus (the direct bus), take a calm walk along Via Etnea, the Etna shopping street. Buy an arancino at the historic Bar Savia, in front of Villa Bellini public garden and then taste the granita at Bar Insigne. And don’t worry about your diet: in Sicily you really have to forget about it.

2. Catania – Via Crociferi and Fish market

cosa fare in sicilia: pescheria di Catania
(C) Sicilying

There is no more beautiful street in Catania than via Crociferi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the masterpiece of Catania late baroque. Continue along via Etnea until via di Sangiuliano, a steep and unexpected climb. Get halfway and walk along via Crociferi, you will have a church in front of you that is more beautiful than the other, reach via Garibaldi and let yourself be guided by the façade of the Duomo which you can glimpse, once you arrive in Piazza Duomo, reach the Amenano fountain and go down the steps along the sixteenth-century walls of Charles V of Spain, in front of you is the famous Catania Fish Market! And you can’t leave without seeing it.

3. The lava cave of the 1669 – MUST TO SEE with a glass of wine

In Catania, a few steps from the fish market, ther’s an Hostel which has a peculiarity that makes it unique: the lava cave from the eruption of 1669. It is necessary to book in time for a dinner or an aperitif and to discover the mysterious underground river which, according to legend…is the blood of the shepherd Aci?

4. Aci Castello – That terrace overlooking the sea…

cosa fare in Sicilia: Aci Castello
(C) Sicilying

There is no more beautiful place from which to admire the colors of the sun reflecting in the sea. Aci Castello owes its name to the Norman fortress built on a pre-existing ancient building, according to some testimonies, of Byzantine origin and even before that of Roman times. The black construction material is lava basalt, it is an ancient underwater lava flow (pillow lava) with a radiometric age of approximately 500,000 years. From its terrace, you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

5. Aci Trezza – Homer’s and Verga’s literature in one place

It is said that the Faraglioni are the result of the fury of Polyphemus, blinded by Ulysses. It is said that it was the giant who threw them into the sea, in an attempt to kill Nemo who had darkened his only eye. It is only the first of the stories told about Aci Trezza and its sea. Which is the same as Padron ‘Ntoni and the Providence that Giovanni Verga talks about in “I Malavoglia”, of the director Luchino Visconti in the famous 1948 film “La Terra trema”. The fact is that here, it is possible to visit the Casa del Nespolo, as well as the tourist port.

6. Etna – The highest active volcano in Europe

cosa fare in sicilia: Veduta dell'Etna innevata dal porto di Catania
(C) Sicilying

Going to Sicily and not climbing the Etna volcano would be a real shame! And this would force you to return to the island, at least one more time. Also because since 21 June 2013, in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, the Etna volcano has been proclaimed a “World Heritage Site” by the UNESCO.

The area is characterized by endemic flora and fauna, among lush forests and splendid panoramas. Arriving – guided – at the most easily accessible craters will allow you to discover almost lunar landscapes that seem to take you to another world. There are many excursions that Sicilying organises, just choose the one you like best one!

7. Mouth of the Simeto river – A naturalistic parenthesis

It’s a fixed stopover for an enormous quantity of migratory birds. The Simeto River Oasis is the place where the river joins the sea. A place where it is easy to see hawks and herons, and observe fresh water and salt water mixing in a pristine area.

8. Brucoli – An underwater meadow

Posidonia is a rather particular algae: it grows in threads, like grass, and creates a sort of underwater meadow. Its peculiarity is that it grows only where the water is very clean. In the creeks of Brucoli the sea is crystal clear and you can walk on posidonia meadows.

9. Caltagirone

Since 2002 the historic center of Caltagirone has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But Caltagirone is above all the place where two of the traditions that, more than any other, make Sicily take shape: Caltagirone pottery, a tradition that starts from Greece and arrives today, renewed; and the tradition of the Sicilian Puppets, who tell the epic in the songs of the storytellers.

10. Piazza Armerina

The most famous monuments in Piazza Armerina is certainly the Villa Romana del Casale. These are 3500 square meters of mosaics, dating back to between 320 and 370 AD. There are various hypotheses as to who was the owner of the Roman Villa, but nothing is certain. The news and historical testimonies let us learn how in ancient Imperial Rome, it was usual to build sumptuous villas like this one in Piazza Armerina. If you also want to visit it, every first Sunday of the month entry is free, on other days you pay a fee of €12/per person.

11. Ortigia – the old town of Syracuse

(C) Sicilying

Leave the black lava rocks of the Etna volcano on your back, and go torward the white stones of Syracuse, that reflects the light reigns of the supreme Ortigia, theold town, a walk through the late baroque streets and why not? Tasting an Avola almond granita – with the peel – in front of the Duomo.

12. Plemmirio marine protected area – The best beaches

Do you know that Sicily is full of marine protected areas? Like all places that need to be protected, however, getting there must cost some – wonderful – effort. In this case it is nothing more than a walk in the cool, along paths lined with trees, before reaching the rocks from which to dive.

The Cavagrande lakes are a natural place where the Cassibile river has dug and created a canyon in the rock. A large quarry, in fact, within which extraordinary lakes of very clean fresh water have been created, fed by river water.

Laghetti di Cavagrande
(C) Sicilying

14. Noto – The staircase, the flower show and the almonds

(C) Sicilying

Noto, UNESCO heritage site since 2002, and a Slow Food presidium since 2012 for its almonds, not to mention its DOC wines and DOP extra virgin olive oil. In Noto you have to feast your eyes, yes, and also your taste.

15. Vendicari Reserve – The most beautiful beaches between Noto and Marzamemi

The Tonnara, the Sveva Tower, the necropolis and the salt pans. And in the Vendicari Oriented Nature Reserve there are also some of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily. Eloro beach, Marianelli beach, Vendicari beach and San Lorenzo beach. Finally, Calamosche which, according to Legambiente, is the most beautiful beach in Italy.

16. Fornace Penna – Industrial archeology in Sicily

It has been defined as a secular cathedral on the sea. And the Fornace Penna actually looks like a basilica in Punta Pisciotto. It was a brick production plant until a fire completely destroyed it in 1924. Some attribute the fire to socialists, others to fascists. Recently, it was the set of an episode of Inspector Montalbano.

17. Ispica – Inside the caves

It seems that it was already inhabited in late Roman times. The Caves of Ispica confirm this, an evocative spectacle to be admired during the day, when the prehistoric necropolises and the early Christian catacombs can be visited. And at night, when the light show offers a breathtaking view. Very suggestive scenery also during the Living Nativity Scene between December and January.

18. Marzamemi – A tuna fishery that has become a film set

(C) Sicilying, Marzamemi

It is not Marzamemi‘s fault that being built entirely around the fishing port landing has made it a seaside village par excellence. There is a tuna fishery of Arab origin and there is no place to eat the freshest processed tuna. In oil or salt, it doesn’t matter. Every year at the end of July they host the Frontier Film Festival. One of the most important culturally relevant events of the Sicilian summer.

19. Portopalo

It is the southernmost village in Sicily. Just think that Tunis, as the crow flies, is a little further up. It has a tiny center entirely dedicated to the port, but there is no doubt: the real attraction of Portopalo is the sea. Forget your cell phone: it’s difficult to find reception here. Every now and then, however, roaming allows you to connect to Maltese operators.

20. Isola delle Correnti, where join up the Ionian and the Mediterranean Sea

You can get there from one of the busiest beaches in Portopalo, that of the Captain beach club, which for Sicilians is more than a habit: it is a state of mind. When choosing which side of the islet to swim on, you actually choose the sea: on one side the Ionian Sea, on the other the Mediterranean Sea, overlooking African continent.

21. Modica

(C) Sicilying, Modica

In Sicilian, Mùrika meant hard and uncultivable rock. This is perhaps the origin of the name of one of the Municipalities which made its particular conformation – Modica, a perched city – its strong point and after the earthquake in Val di Noto in 1693, the rebuilding was carried out according to the eighteenth-century style of the late Sicilian Baroque. Stop in the square, eat the “Impanatigghi“, a typical dessert made with Modica chocolate, almonds, walnuts and… minced meat! A must to taste because the recipe dates back to the time of Spanish domination with the County of Modica, a sort of “empanadillas“. Where can you buy these goodies? Also at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto.

22. Scicli, the heart of Vigata from Inspector Montalbano movie

Scicli or “Vigata”, the famous town invented by the famous Italian writer of Andrea Camilleri in which to move his Commissioner Montalbano within the police station which is the Town hall of Scicli. The historical testimonies of Scicli are varied a mix of Arab, Norman and Aragonese tradition. A gastronomic culture is that of growing tomatoes and then drying them in the sun, while a typical dessert is the one called “Testa di Turco“, a sort of choux pastry puff topped with custard or cow’s ricotta.

23. Sampieri

cosa fare in sicilia: Sampieri
(C) Sicilying, Sampieri

It is the seaside hamlet of Scicli and is a perfect natural inlet. It has the shape of a shell of very fine sand set between two arms of limestone rock. Among the neighboring towns, Sampieri is also the one with the liveliest nightlife. We always talk about a town of not even a thousand inhabitants, but in summer it’s a completely different story.

24. Marina di Modica

Marina di Modica it’s also a good alternatives to see villages on the beach: the rocks that slope gently into the water, allowing convenient and pleasant access to the sea; and the very yellow sand typical of these areas.

25. Donnalucata and Plaja Grande

Kilometers of sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Between Donnalucata and Plaja Grande, access to the sea is not what is missing. It has often been defined – rightly – as the most beautiful seafront in Sicily. The houses are separated by just a small road. And then, do yourself a favor: wait for the sunset by walking towards the mouth of the Irminio river.

26. Punta Secca

Punta Secca it is a tiny and well-kept seaside village, in the municipality of Santa Croce Camerina, where Inspector Montalbano (the Italian movie’s character) has his home. Summer days pass slowly between the sea and the square. Stop in the only bar you fin and taste a fig granita, with whole walnuts and melted dark chocolate.

27. Marina di Ragusa

Perhaps the most famous place on the entire coast. Marina di Ragusa has a tourist port that looks like a wedding favor and a long promenade along the seafront. It is full of clubs and is lively as mass tourist destinations can be. The sea is beautiful, the ice cream is good, the street markets are fun.

28. Ragusa

The history of Ragusa can be split into a before and an after. Before the Val di Noto earthquake of 1693, which devastated it, and after the earthquake, when all the strength of the people of Ragusa tried its hand at reconstruction. Style? Naturally the late Sicilian Baroque! Now the modern city is at the top, while the historic center is down below called Ragusa Ibla.

29. Ragusa Ibla

cosa fare in sicilia: Ragusa Ibla
(C) Sicilying, Ragusa Ibla

This is the reason of why the old city of Ragusa it was been called Ibla. It was rebuilt on the medieval ruins of the settlement that preceded it, but with all the knowledge and desire to amaze of the 18th century. Fourteen of its monuments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

30. Agrigento – Leaving without having seen the Valley of the Temples?

cosa fare in sicilia: valle dei templi
(C) Pixabay

With a guided tour or without, it doesn’t matter. The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento with all its majesty, is striking even without knowing all the details about the styles of the columns or the legends of the gods. Of course, those make her more charming. But try watching the sunset from the temple of Zeus and any thoughts will fade into the background.

31. Scala dei turchi

cosa fare in sicilia: Scala dei Turchi
(C) Sicilying, Scala dei Turchi

Realmonte and the Scala dei Turchi. Climbing up is easy, falling in love with it too. Legend has it that the invading Moors used it to dock their boats and reach the attacking local population. Today it is a spectacle of limestone at risk of erosion, go and see it while you still have time!

32. Eraclea Minoa – Mouth of the Platani river

Did you know that in Sicily there are also nudist beaches? The island naturists – and also those who come from outside – meet at the Mouth of the Platani river, in Eraclea Minoa, in the province of Agrigento. Ten minute walk to reach a sandy beach protected from prying eyes. But be careful: it was never authorized.

33. Mazara del Vallo and its Kasba

cosa fare in sicilia
(C) Sicilyng, Mazara del Vallo

The most important culinary guide in Italy, Gambero rosso, takes its name from the Shrimp of Mazara del Vallo. It is caught in large quantities and can be recognized by its intense and lively ruby ​​colour. After a day on the beach, taste it very fresh, raw, with a little lemon, in one of the many fish restaurants in the village.

34. Terme di Sciacca

On Mount Kronio, which overlooks the town of Sciacca, there are the Stufe di San Calogero. It is a unique place in the world, caves naturally full of steam, saunas offered by mother nature. The whole of Sciacca, then, is full of spa establishments: the hot, sulphurous waters that flow from the ground have allowed activities linked to wellbeing and health to flourish. Look for the outdoor swimming pools, from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the sea.

cosa fare in sicilia: saline di Marsala al tramonto
(C) Sicilying

Marsala is famous for two reasons but they are not enough: it is here that Garibaldi landed with his Thousand; gives its name to the wine produced here, whose color is also the Pantone of 2015. To understand why just two reasons are not enough, you need to visit it ready to be amazed.

36. Favignana

Looking at them from above, the coves of Favignana serve to define the fifty shades of blue. The turquoise of Cala Rossa, the intense blue of Bue Marino, the sky blue of Lido Burrone, the light blue of Cala Azzurra. Rent a bicycle at the port and reserve four days to go from one beach to another.

37. Salt pans of Trapani and Paceco

Between the territories of Trapani and Paceco, there are more than a thousand hectares of land managed by the WWF. This is the Oriented Nature Reserve, within which windmills and piles of collected salt accumulate with geometric precision. With a bit of luck, as you pass through it you will see pink flamingos flying.

38. San Vito Lo Capo and the Zingaro nature reserve

San Vito lo Capo
(C) Pixabay

In September there is the Cous Cous Festival, but to want to go all year round just think of the 3 km long beach that bathes San Vito Lo Capo. Or, if the beach is still short, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Zingaro Reserve, the only stretch of the Sicilian coast that does not have an asphalt road that passes in front of the sea. You enter on foot. And that’s the beauty of it.

39. Erice

Finding pictures of Erice without the fog is a feat for titans. It has just over 500 inhabitants, all perched on the top of Mount Erice. Perhaps due to its Alpine appearance it has been included among the most beautiful villages in Italy. When the sky is clear, if you look closely from Erice you can see Ustica, Pantelleria, and even Tunisia.

40. Mondello

Golfo di Mondello
(C) Pixabay

Ther’s no beach in Sicily as famous as Mondello beach. In the eternal derby between Catania and Palermo, the people of Catania have tried for a lifetime to beat Mondello in terms of suggestive beaches, but they have never succeeded. The Bourbons defined it as «A corner of paradise on earth».

41. Bagheria

With Giuseppe Tornatore’s film Baària, he started making those films again that he does so well: the universal stories of people and places. In Baària, Tornatore talks about Bagheria, the city of 18th century aroque villas. It is the place where the nobles of Palermo spend the summer period as nowadays.

42. Palermo


The beauty of Palermo is that of the cities that were the capitals of rich kingdoms and which have preserved the noble imprint of those who lived there. But it is also the beauty of contamination: the Normans on one side and the Arabs on the other. In the middle, the city. And it is precisely this mixed nature that led, in 2015, 7 monuments of Palermo to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

43. Cinisi

Between the house of the Sicilian journalist of the 70s, Peppino Impastato, and that of his mafia uncle Gaetano Badalamenti, there were only 100 steps, there in Cinisi. There are times when on holiday you can even take a busy tour and go, for example, to the house-museum of Peppino Impastato, to discover that if there is one thing that a certain Sicily has in its DNA it is anti-mafia.

44. Cefalù

A dream sea, a medieval city wall, the cathedral that brings with it the memories of past dominations, excellent services for citizens. Cefalù is the perfect city in which to spend a day discovering history and resting in front of the sea.

45. Tusa

Contemporary art is at home in Tusa. Because of the Fiumara d’Arte open-air museum – created by the patron Antonio Presti – which consists of a series of sculptures positioned along the banks of the river, which is now a delightful stream. Of its kind, it’s one of the largest cultural areas in Europe.

46. Milazzo

Milazzo is not just the port for swimming towards the Aeolian Islands. It is also a delightful town, probably among the most underrated in eastern Sicily. For sure, it is the place where you eat the best artisanal whipped cream in the world. Which on dark chocolate granita is a masterpiece. Seeing is believing.

47. Isole Eolie

Isole Eolie
(C) Sicilying

The Aeolian Islands each have a different vocation from the other. Vulcano and Panarea are the most party-going ones, Lipari is partly for young people and partly for gentlemen, Alicudi and Filicudi are made for the more “wild” and adventurers, Salina and Stromboli are for lovers of beauty in the strict sense. A democratic archipelago.

48. Taormina

cosa fare in sicilia: Taormina
(C) Pixabay

Buy a ticket for a concert, any one. Indeed, with the setting of the Ancient Theater of Taormina, even a concert in C minor for solo oboe would be a moving show. Taormina, for the rest, is the wedding favor of Sicily. Beautiful, precise, perfect. There are also shuttles to leave your car in one of the car parks and get to the center without clogging it up.

49. Gole dell’Alcantara

A lava canyon dug by the Alcantara river, with icy water that descends straight from Etna. The Gorges are an extraordinary landscape, made for lovers of nature and emotions. Be careful: entry is free. Next to the private park – for a fee – there is the public municipal staircase. Sure, the stairs are more uncomfortable than the elevator, but think about how many fewer calories.

50. Calatabiano castle

Continuing to talk about stairs and elevators, there is the Calatabiano Castle. Perched on the highest tip of a mountain, there are two ways to get up: the very steep foot path, which takes just over an hour to walk, and the paid panoramic lift. From up there, the view is enchanting and the architectural recovery does the rest.

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