Want to vacation on the delightful island of Sicily or only wish to stop there for a day or two? Here are our top seven tips for planning a trip to Sicily.
Do you know about the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the biggest region in Italy? It’s Sicily, an island well-known for its natural beauty, rich history, and colorful culture, attracting tourists for centuries.
Sicily is a 9,653-square-mile (25,000 square-kilometer) island off the coast of Italy. Many tourists only stop here for a few days on their way to or from mainland Italy.
Some travelers want to make Sicily the highlight of their trip to Italy. It is renowned for Mount Etna, many ancient Greek and Roman ruins, as well as for its Baroque buildings, lively towns, wild Mediterranean beaches, rich cultural diversity, and delicious food.
Whether you want to visit Sicily only or stop here for a day or two, here are our top seven tips for planning a trip to Sicily.
Tips for planning a trip to Sicily
1. Choose The Best Time To Visit Sicily
The whole experience of going on a trip can be jeopardized if you choose the wrong time of the year to have the journey. May through early June and September through early October are ideal times to explore Sicily.
The seaside, cities, and mountains enjoy perfect weather during these shoulder seasons. During these times, visitors are few or have already left. September is preferable to May if you like the beach since the ocean is still warm at that time of year.
Sicily offers a lovely island environment all year round, making it an ideal destination for every season of the year if you value cultural activities above sunbathing and swimming.
If you go in the fall or winter, be prepared for some rain and fog. On the plus side, it may provide some intriguing picture opportunities and a more mysterious vibe.
2. Book Your Accommodation
There is a wide range of hotels to choose from when you stay in Sicily, from opulent five-star establishments to simple three-star coastal hotels that do not have to work too hard to fill their rooms. You may choose from various camping and glamping spots near the water or rent a quaint home.
Choose the places you want to visit, then consider booking your hotel or lodge. That way, your accommodation will not be far from the places you visit. And you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the places comfortably.
There are vacation towns in Sicily, Large complexes with lodging, dining, swimming, and entertainment options, often located near a well-known beach. If you wish to stay in one of the many hotels that offer all-inclusive services this summer, you should do it as soon as possible.
3. Make a List of Historical Places You Want to Visit
Sicily is a Mediterranean island known for its warm climate, clean air, and stunning beaches. It is one of the hidden gems of Italy, with cultural and historical diversity. While visiting Sicily, make a list of the places you want to visit and things you want to do to prepare your itinerary that way.
- Places Of Natural Beauty
The Sicilian landscape is well-known for its spectacular vistas and beautiful shoreline. You may go to the beautiful black or white beaches of Sicily, or you can hike the lunar landscape of Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna. It’s quite simple to waste a lot of time taking pictures of nothing.
Scala dei Turchi beach, often known as Stairs of the Turks in Agrigento, is a place you will fall in love with. Another one of Sicily’s most notable features is Mount Etna’s active volcano. A whole day of climbing is required to reach the summit of Etna, so be prepared if you want to make that climb!
Pro Tips: Don’t go to the beach on the weekend. Weekends (especially Sundays) are often the busiest days at the beach throughout the summer since this is when the residents, many of whom work during weekdays, get time off. There may be a rise in prices at certain lidos and a greater likelihood of crowding on beaches.
- Places With Cultural and Architectural Importance
Culturally, Sicily is very diverse and old. Its architecture is a clear example of the fusion of Greek, Spanish, French, and Arab styles. Get ready to be astounded by the seamless incorporation of styles ranging from Byzantine and Roman to Baroque. There is nothing Sicily lacks.
There are several magnificent Arab and Medieval castle ruins scattered around the island of Sicily. Aci Castello, near Catania and among the most popular resorts in all of Sicily, is home to the Normanno Castle is one you shouldn’t miss.
Taormina, known as the “Pearl of Sicily,” Noto, known as the “Baroque City,” Syracuse, known as “ancient Siracusa,” Catania, located in the shadow of the volcano Etna; and Palermo, known as “probably the most famous Arab city in Europe,” are all must-sees if you are a fan of Sicilian architecture.
Sicily is a very religious place, so you should plan on visiting a few churches while you’re there. It is considered rude not to cover one’s shoulders and knees before entering a church or the Duomo.
Some churches stay open till 4 o’clock in the evening, while others are only open between 8 and 12 in the morning. The cloisters, domes, or museums inside certain cathedrals may also require a fee for entry.
4. Learn About the Local Language and Currency
Knowing about the local culture of a place can definitely add a new level to your experience when you are visiting a region.
When you know about a culture or the local language, you will feel more included and can have the optimum experience of visiting the place.
The Sicilian people, like the rest of Italy, put a premium on getting to know others and hosting guests.
Sicilians mostly speak Italian. However, the language has been shaped by local dialects. Many terms and pronunciations are borrowed from Sicilian, the original language of the island, into the Italian used here.
When traveling to tourist hotspots, you may expect to hear English spoken often at hotels, restaurants, and shops, but you could hear it less frequently in more remote locations.
We are not telling you to be fluent in Italian, but knowing some words in Italian and exchanging greetings in the local tongue can feel great.
Sicily utilizes the euro, the same currency used across the rest of Italy.
Carrying about significant quantities of cash should be done with caution. To avoid drawing attention to yourself, just keep the amount of cash you expect to use in your possession at any one time.
Keep your money out of sight in public places like cafés, restaurants, and grocery stores, and never put your purse in your back pocket.
The convenience of ATMs allows for hassle-free cash withdrawals on demand, but avoid using those not affiliated with banks since their owners may impose hefty fees.
Pro Tips: Don’t forget to keep an eye out for unfair treatment. This is common among market vendors; always check your change before leaving.
5. Consider The Local Transport System
The transport system in Sicily might seem confusing to you. Many bus stations are available, but no information about schedules or routes is provided. Buses will only stop if their passengers signal for them to do so.
Apparently, driving around Sicily by privet vehicle is the best way to get moving. You can rent a bike or a car for your trip while you’re in Sicily. Familiarizing yourself with traffic rules and local regulations is a smart thing to do. Even though there are several speed restrictions in place in Sicily, the vast majority of motorists choose to ignore them.
Locals in Sicily often break the rules of the road, including coming from subordinate streets inches in front of you, speeding on the red light, and passing on blind corners.
Pro Tips: Walking along a small street might be dangerous. The lack of sidewalks in many places might make it necessary to go dangerously near moving vehicles at times. So, be very careful while walking along the streets.
6. Try Local Cuisine
Some of the best cuisine in the world is said to originate from Sicily. It’s been called the greatest in Italy by some. Traditional Sicilian cuisine is also distinctive from the rest of Italy.
- Local Food
The food options in Sicily can overwhelm you! If you’re hungry but can’t decide, look for food trucks serving traditional Sicilian cuisine or other local street food stalls.
Arancino (rice balls coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried), cannoli (pastry dessert with a sweet, creamy filling, and granita (a semi-frozen dessert made of sugar, water, and various flavors) are some of the best things to eat in Sicily.
- Sea Food
Some of the best seafood in the world can be found in Sicily. Shopping in any of Sicily’s fish markets, but especially the one in Catania, is an adventure in and of itself. Anything fresh and a wide variety of seafood befitting the islanders’ lifestyle.
Sicilian cuisine naturally features seafood, such as Swordfish, Bluefin Tuna, Squid, Octopus, and many more varieties. The only fly in the butter is that the kitchen and the rest of the establishment left a lot to be desired regarding cleanliness and sanitation.
Pro Tips: Some hotels in Sicily may provide a typical Italian breakfast consisting of pastries and slices of bread if you book a room with breakfast included. The typical Sicilian mealtime is much later than the norm. Your best bet for eating like a native in Sicily is to wait until after 7 p.m. for supper and lunch after 1 p.m.
7. Be Alert
Traveling throughout Sicily. Sicilians are warm and kind; if you keep to the typical tourist spots, you won’t need to know any Italian to get by.
Even if you stray off the main drag for a while, you’ll still encounter friendly locals—they may speak less English.
If you’re traveling alone, it’s best to stick to major cities and not use public transportation. This is particularly true for women. If you’re not used to driving in Italy, Sicily is not a good place to learn if you’re going to be out there on your own.
While traveling across Sicily, the standard safety worry was leaving the bags in the vehicle. Other travel sites warn about leaving baggage in the vehicle. Obviously, you shouldn’t carelessly leave your laptop, camera, or wallet on the seat, where they may attract potential thieves.
Things to know before you go to Sicily
From natural beauty to historical gems, Sicily has various attractions. Balancing meticulous planning and a sense of adventure while organizing a vacation to Sicily is vital.
We hope our top seven tips for planning a trip to Sicily will make your next visit to Sicily more enjoyable. Follow these tips to make the best of your trip and enjoy it to the fullest!