Italian Culture

The Absolute Best Things to Do in Sicily

A hub of Italian culture, Sicily should absolutely be included in your next trip to Italy!

The largest Mediterranean island, it is rich in ancient art and history, and is fun for the whole family. If you’re thinking about planning a trip, here are our favorite things to do in Sicily!

Sites to See

Sicily, home to an array of sights to see from natural wonders to ancient history, include these places to check out:

  • Mount Etna

As Italy’s tallest and most active volcano, Mount Etna is a must-see when in Sicily. Whether you choose to ski the slopes, hike the trails or watch the exciting eruption currently happening, this excursion will be an adventure of a lifetime.

  • Ancient Ruins

For how small Sicily is, it is packed with a rich cultural history. Make sure to explore the best-kept Roman, Greek and Byzantine ruins in all of Europe when you visit. Not sure where to start? Check out this list for inspiration.

  • Siracusa (Syracuse)

On the Ionian coasts rests one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns, Siracusa. Home to Archimedes and a once-bustling metropolis in the ancient world, this scenic UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of our favorite things to do in Sicily!

Beaches to Visit

Once you’ve spent some time exploring Sicily’s history, you deserve a break. And what better way to relax than by lounging on one of Sicily’s idyllic beaches? Choosing the perfect beach depends on how you’d like to spend your day:

  • Active

If lounging in the sand isn’t your ideal day at the beach, and you’d prefer a day filled with climbing and snorkeling, check out Sicily’s San Vito lo Capo beach. The beach is located near Monte Monaco, one of Sicily’s top climbing spots, and was named the “Top Sicilian Beach” by Italy Magazine in 2015. For the active beach-goer, you can even hike down to see Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Sicily’s first natural reserve.

  • Calm and Relaxed

A 20-minute drive from Palermo will take you to sunny Mondello beach. While most of the beach is public, some parts are privately owned, where you can pay around €10 to rent an umbrella and lounge chair. As one of the most popular sunbathing spots for both locals and tourists, Mondello offers a mile and a half of white sand beaches with a background filled with green vegetation, making for the picture-perfect day soaking up the Sicilian sun.

Places to Stay

Finding a place to stay on vacation isn’t always easy, but luckily, Sicily offers several accommodations for all types of travelers, including:

  • Hotels and Rentals

There are hundreds of hotels at which to stay in Sicily. One of the most popular, Hotel Gutkowski, is located in the heart of Siracusa. It is a charming seafront hotel that is perfect for exploring Sicily. It is located within walking distance of Ortygia’s most popular sights, and the the hotel offers terraces overlooking the Ionian Sea. Experts suggest reserving your stay early, as this destination is a great value and books up fast! Sicily also offers villas and Airbnb rentals for groups traveling together as well.

  • Agriturismo

For travelers wanting to dive into Italian culture and experience life as a Sicilian, they may try out an agriturismo vacation, which are similar to U.S. bed and breakfasts. Agriturismo offers visitors the chance to stay with  Sicilian farmers in small villages, participate in several everyday farming activities including harvesting vegetable, caring for livestock and even learning to prepare traditional Italian cuisine.

Food to Eat

Italy is known for its delicious cuisine filled with pasta, cannolis and seafood. When visiting Sicily, try out these local favorites:

  • Arancini

This traditional snack is the ultimate Sicilian street food. Arancini is made with risotto rice, which is rolled into balls with a cone-shaped tip, stuffed with ham, cheese, peas, boiled eggs and tomato meat sauce (ragu) and fried until golden brown.

Recipe here

  • Caponata

Made with a wide array of vegetables, Caponata is an Sicilian stew that highlights aubergine, or eggplant, as the star of the dish. The eggplant is fried and simmered in a sweet and sour sauce before being combined with the other vegetables. The dish can be served cold as an appetizer or hot alongside meat or pasta.

Recipe here

  • Granita e Brioche

For the Sicilian sweet tooth, the Granita e Brioche is a great choice. This semi-frozen sugar ice dessert originated in Sicily and is typically flavored with seasonal fruits and nuts. The dish can also be served for breakfast alongside a freshly baked brioche bun for dunking.

  • Castelvetrano Olives

Olives are an extremely popular food in Italy. Castelvetrano is a small town in Sicily and are known for their world famous olives. These bright green olives offer a mild and fruity flavor and are eaten alongside cheese, as well as being included in several traditional Sicilian dishes. These olives are widely available in local U.S. supermarkets!

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