There are many popular cities in Sicily, but we believe that each town and fractions on the island are also worth visiting. They are as stunning with plenty of things to do and sites to offer, from historical treasures to food delights and friendly locals.
Sicily is larger than some countries and smaller than some states. However, its beauty is equal to a paradise. With nine provinces, quaint towns and heritage areas, exploring it for a lifetime is not enough. To keep you started, we listed below the most popular cities in Sicily. They are locations to the region’s loveliest places as well as our favourite getaway escapes.
Popular Cities in Sicily
Sounded so Greek but these charming islands are actually in Sicily! They are part of the small islands that also formed Sicily and lie on the cobalt blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can access them from the mainland by boat or plane. It is a surreal adventure to tour the islands during mid Spring and Summer so if you have extra time; we suggest adding them on your bucket list. Or better, come back again and focus your next trip in discovering these hidden gems.
If you love history and myths, you will have a great time learning about Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples and the ruins of old Greek colonies. You can see Doric temples built thousands of years ago. The site features the ancient city of Akragas and its remains. From the old city walls to Greek temples of gods and goddesses that protected and served the town, catacombs as well as walls.
When we talk about Catania, Mount Etna comes to mind. It is thrilling to visit the landscape queen of Sicily but there are amusing things to do here too other than hiking Etna. It is a bustling city with its modern and cultural sides combined. Touring is best done by foot as sites are next to each other or you can pass by off the beaten paths. It has its fair share of impressive baroque and liberty style building. There are bars and restaurants too so nightlife is never dull.
The seaside town of Cefalu is 70 km from Palermo and a must-visit if you are staying coming nearby. Either hop on the train or have a joy ride to witness this scenic village. Enjoy a lovely walk from the beach, admiring the panorama of the Old town and the Norman Cathedral. A poetic sight while you slowly approach the entrance to the historic centre. You can come across old houses turned into stores, gelato and souvenir shops. Nightlife is very lively here too, during Summer is when most of the bars and dining spots open up.
When reaching the top of Mount Etna, you may pass by some splendid villages and experience local life. There is Aci Sant’Antonio with its main square covering various old buildings like the Saint Anthony Abbott church. Also nearby is the village of Viagrande, where you can check out the Butterfly House garden, perfect for family trips. Etna is surrounded by small towns that you can explore before or after hiking the volcano.
The city of Messina is more known for its strait where ferry and hydrofoil services operate. Although it is often overlooked as a tourist destination, there are also interesting places to see here. From the Duomo and its clock tower to other magnificent churches such as Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata and Saint Anthony church. If you have more time, you can also go for a day trip at the Madonie mountains or head to some of its beaches.
A baroque city, Noto holds some of the most majestic edifices on the island. The Noto Cathedral does not only stand on the top of a gorgeous staircase but also as one of the symbols of Sicily’s glorious past. Wander around the narrow streets and adore real-life masterpieces. The heritage site boasts fabulous breathtaking churches such as Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso, Chiesa di San Domenico, Chiesa di Santa Chiara and the list goes on.
The capital of Sicily, Palermo. It is the home to grand Arab-Norman attractions including the Norman Palace, Palatine Chapel, La Zisa, Admiral’s Bridge and churches of Saint John of the Hermits, the Martorana, and Saint Cataldo. Begin your journey from the central station and historic centre up to its four districts which display these marvellous structures. Palermo also offers excellent culinary options from its authentic Sicilian cuisines to its traditional street foods.
The city of Ragusa will capture your heart, stop by here to admire great examples of Sicilian Baroque. Ragusa has two areas, the lower Old town Ragusa Ibla which keeps spectacular divine buildings such as the Duomo di San Giorgio, churches of Saint Mary and many other palaces. While Upper Town of the city is called Ragusa Superiore. The most notable architecture here is the Church of Saint John the Baptist with its rich and enchanting interiors.
During the Magna Graecia in Sicily, Syracuse was one of the most powerful city-states in the Mediterranean. You can still visit ruins of the Neapolis on its archaeological area. There are remains of ancient fortresses, Roman and Greek theatre as well as stone quarries. Today, Syracuse is one of the most popular cities in Sicily On its southern part is the island of Ortigia, the Old town where most of its remarkable architectures are concentrated. Walk into its labyrinth of the streets and spend hours getting lost with its beauty.
Make sure not to miss Taormina and fall in love in this mesmerizing hillside town. When walking its small streets, you can find many endearing corners here. From traditional shops of ceramics to colourful narrow stairs and flowery balconies. Hidden behind is the well-preserved ancient Teatro Greco. From the site, it overlooks the dramatic panorama of Etna and the sea, It is like an atmosphere when history meets romance. You can also enjoy these views in most hotels in the town, like a morning present as soon as you wake up.
Everywhere you look in Sicily, you will see pristine beaches with crystal clear waters. Trapani province is no different. You will find some of the region’s most charming beaches here. From the coasts of Castellamare del Golfo to the beautiful Egadi islands off the shores of Marsala. Not to mention the all-time favourite San Vito Lo Capo beach. You can also reach the medieval town of Erice from Trapani city by cable car and stroll its cobblestone roads.