BEST DESTINATIONS IN SICILY – The Ultimate List

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Sicily is a sweet escape and at the same time an artistic poem of natural and historical wonders. The island’s beauty attracted many settlers for thousands of years. From the Sicani to Greek, Arab, Normans and Romans. And it is just waiting to enchant you. There are plenty of attractions to see here; we arrange below the ultimate list of the best destinations in Sicily. Choose your next home now and enjoy your Sicily short stay! Or maybe join us and decide to stay longer.

The Ultimate List of Best Destinations in Sicily

Small Islands of SicilyNorth SicilySouth Sicily
West SicilyEast SicilyCentral Sicily

Small Islands of Sicily

Aeolian Islands
Vulcano of the Aeolian islands, photo courtesy of Jos Dielis

The Aeolian Islands are the impressive small islands on the north of the region. Look carefully on the Sicily map and don’t forget to add these seven jewels on your best destinations list in Sicily. These little gems of Sicily scatter on the serene blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. They are a group of volcanic islands that are now a UNESCO site and also slowly becoming a traveller’s favourite. Lipari and Salina are the larger islands and much busier. Whereas, Vulcano and Stromboli are for the adventure seekers. Head to Panarea if you fancy a little bit of luxury. On the other hand, go to Filicudi or Alicudi if you want to relax more and connect to nature.

Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands best destinations in sicily
Favignana of the Aegadian Islands, photo courtesy of Tommie Hansen

You can reach the Aegadian Islands from Trapani by boat. These include five small islands such as Favignana, Levanzo, Marettimo, Formica and Maraone. The pristine water as well as the lovely sceneries will invite you to uncover these western treasures of Sicily. It is without a doubt a magical experience.

Pantelleria
Pantelleria Island, photo courtesy of Odd Wellies

The Pantelleria island is a great escape if you want to unwind or love a quiet holiday. It is also part of the Trapani province. However, it is a bit farther than the other small islands, much nearer to Tunisia than in Sicily. The ancient Arabs influenced the history and culture of the island. Its tranquil scenery equally matches the delectable foods and the warmth of the people here.

Pelagie Islands
Lampedusa best destinations in sicily
Lampedusa Island photo courtesy of Luca Siragusa

The Pelagie Islands of Lampedusa, Linosa, and Lampione are the distant islands on the south of Sicily. You can effortlessly compare Lampedusa to a paradise. Its Isola dei Conigli or Rabbit beach is undeniably one of the best beaches in the world. Linosa is a vibrant island with friendly locals while Lampione is a natural reserve and uninhabited. The waters around the islands are also a haven for scuba divers.

Mozzia
motya best destinations in sicily
ancient city of Motya photo courtesy of Verity Cridland

Travel back in time on the preserved Punic town of Motya, now called Mozzia. You can reach the island by a ferry boat or walk when the seawater dropped. It is in between Trapani and Marsala and also an excavation site that was the home to the ancient city of Motia. The Mozia Museum displays the remains of the city and is open to the public.

North of Sicily

Palermo
palermo best destination in sicily
historic centre of Palermo photo courtesy of Jorge Franganillo

The city of Palermo is the capital of the region and also one of the best destinations in Sicily. In antiquity, it was the ‘all port’ that welcomed both migrants and conquerors. To understand the fascinating diversity of Palermo, strolling along its historic centre is a must. It is more than 200 hectares of land that tells the stories and struggles of the city through its monuments and buildings. Palermo has a UNESCO series of Arab-Norman churches as well as historical palaces. After a long day, you can enjoy its lively nightlife and unique street food scene, truly one of a kind.

Cefalù
cefalu best destinations in sicily
Cefalù beach on a Winter

We live nearby, so this one is very close to our heart. Cefalù is near to Palermo which you can reach by car or train. It is a small beach town that you can easily tour for less than a day. However, the memories you spend here will surely remain forever. The town is very nostalgic, the views are unreal, like a majestic setting in an old film. Furthermore, its narrow streets from the beach will take you to its maze of medieval buildings and churches including the Cefalù Cathedral. The church is also part of the Palermo Arab-Norman series.

Messina
messina best desstinations in sicily
Messina photo courtesy of Enzo Abramo

The city of Messina is sometimes only seen as a seaport. However, there are many sights to see here too. These include the five old churches that are about less than 10 minutes walking to each other; the Norman-Gothic style of the Messina Cathedral, the Rococo Carmine church and the Greek temple turned into Norman Catalani church. There are plenty of museums as well as fountains nearby.

Milazzo
milazzo best destinations in sicily
Pool of Venus photo courtesy of Luca Volpi

Milazzo is more or less one hour drive from the Messina city. It is a seaport area. You can take the ferry here either if you want to visit the Aeolian Islands or travel from Sicily to Naples. The town also offers a wonderful view of the islands. One can either wander on the beach or explore the Castle of Milazzo, its main sight.

South of Sicily

Agrigento
agrigento best destinations in sicily
View of Agrigento from the Valley of the temples

Agrigento is one of those attractions you should never miss exploring in Sicily. Because it depicts the ancient history of the island as the location of many ancient Greek colonies. The ancient city of Akragas was one of them, the previous name of Agrigento. Today, the original land features ruins of the city, as well as the Doric-style temples, built thousands of years ago. You may now call the site the Valley of the Temples.

Gela
gela sicily travel
photo of Gela courtesy of Giovanbattista Brancato

Gela is a lively seaside city with so much history. It was an ancient Greek colony and now holds ancient remains of Greek Acropolis and other sites. Hence, during the Arab rule in Sicily, it was known as the city of columns. A few note it now as the place where the Allied troops first landed during World War II.

Ragusa
ragusa best destinations in sicily
The town of Ragusa photo courtesy of Andrea Schaffer

Below the Hyblaean mountain range is the magnificent city of Ragusa. Ragusa, together with four other cities in southern Sicily, was part of the reformation project after the 1693 earthquake. Sicily’s previous Spanish rulers then as well as the church and nobles led the restoration. It was into a new architectural style exclusive to Sicily. The elaborative and grand Sicilian Baroque. This design is very evident on the buildings, churches and monuments here. You can admire them on both the two areas of the town, Ragusa Superiore and Ragusa Ibla.

East of Sicily

Catania
catania historic centre
Catania centre photo courtesy of Jesus Cabrera

The city of Catania is a large city which spotlights the old, the new and the eternity of Sicily. It is one of the best destinations in Sicily and boasts many old buildings such as the Sant Agatha cathedral and the city university. The school generally produces talented young Sicilians. Catania is the economic centre of the region. It also has the largest airport in Sicily so you can imagine how many people visit the city to have a glimpse of its glory. And to especially see in person, the splendid Mount Etna.

Mount Etna
mount etna best destinations in sicily
panorama of Mount Etna photo courtesy of Andrea

The Etna volcano saw it all. Probably the best of the best destinations in Sicily. She is the landscape queen of the island. Mount Etna has been the symbol of Sicily for a long long time. It is the subject of arts and literature for centuries. The volcano witnessed growth and wars as well as caused dangers and remained incredibly stunning. You can appreciate her from afar or hike it with a guide.

Taormina
taormina best destinations in sicily
View from Taormina photo courtesy of Vicuna R

This town is where every corner is postcard perfect, Taormina is more than just a hillside city, it’s evocative, quaint and breathtaking. No wonder the Romans decided to build their ancient theatre here. From the Teatro Greco, you can admire the view with Mount Etna on the backdrop. You can also enjoy lovely sceneries even from your balcony.

Syracuse

syracuse best destinations in sicily
Syracuse photo courtesy of zero,the.hero

When an entire city and its nearby sights are assigned as a UNESCO site, you know you need to visit it. Syracuse is that city, one of the best destinations in Sicily. It was one of the wealthiest Greek colony during the Greek era and the previous capital of Sicily when the island was under the Eastern Roman rule. There are many places to explore in Syracuse from the natural reserve to Necropolis, Greek and Roman theatres, Baroque churches and the old city of Ortygia.

West of Sicily

Trapani
trapani beaches
photo courtesy of Sicilia

We mentioned Trapani multiple times when discussing the islands and similarly, Trapani also offers beautiful sandy beaches. You can also visit the many Baroque churches in the town or from the city, you can ride the cable car going up to its nearby mountain town of Erice. Erice provides an amazing view of Trapani and also a historic town and a delight to explore.

Marsala
marsala windmill
Windmill photo courtesy of Neville Borg

Marsala is a charming town which takes pride in their traditions and local products. Aside from its sweet Marsala wine, the city also has a rich history. It was dating back from the origins of Motya up to the Garibaldi’s expedition. The latter was before the unification of Italy. Marsala has beautiful coastlines that were once called Lilybaeum or the Town that Looks on Libya.

Central Sicily

Enna
enna panorama
photo courtesy of Pasquale Paolo Cardo

Find peace in the very heart of Sicily, Enna. Enna is far from the sea but that makes its organic appeal stand out more. There are two sections of Enna, the mostly residential lower area of Enna Bassa and the elevated old town of Enna Alta. Alta is where most of the magic happens, it is as if the town is almost touching the clouds with the spectacular view of the valley and Sicily’s natural wonders. The town also has interesting sights such as the eminent Etna Cathedral, a true masterpiece and the Lombardia Castle, an ancient fortress with an origin dating back from the early inhabitants of Sicily, the Sicani. About an hour drive from Enna is the Piazza Armerina where you can visit the marvellous Villa Romana del Casale.

Caltanisetta
caltanissetta things to do
photo courtesy of Salvatore

The town of Caltanissetta is still an off the beaten path and we have no idea why. It is very underrated and often overshadowed by its fellow provincial capitals. Caltanissetta is a large city with a great history and a fair share of significant buildings and monuments from beautiful frescoes of Caltanissetta Cathedral to the Baroque style churches and monasteries. It is the perfect place if you love pilgrimage or joining religious events. The town is also famous for its intense Holy week traditions.

The Cefalu featured photo is courtesy of Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

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