Italy is one of the most popular destinations in the world but also one of the most expensive places, hence this guide to Sicily on a budget!
The country boasts a combination of luxurious, quaint and historic sites that have visitors dreaming up their next visit. The islands of Italy, Sicily in particular, can be completely what you make of it. It is generally less expensive to visit than a vacation in Rome, Venice or Florence, but it is by no means a cheap European destination to visit. Thankfully, it is also very possible to organize a nice vacation to Sicily without spending a fortune.
Here are some of the many ways you can lower costs and save money for your trip to Sicily:
Save money in Sicily
Save on Accommodation in Sicily
Where you stay can very easily end up being your highest cost. Many of the Sicily holiday rentals available on sites like Wishsicily can fit more people comfortably and are a great option instead of having to book multiple hotel rooms. Moreover, cooking some meals at home with local products helps save money but not miss out on the local food experience.
Prices naturally skyrocket during high season (especially during July-August). If you can visit during low season you can save money on just about everything (accommodation, flights, rentals, activities, etc..). The weather is still good during the low season, so you can enjoy the sites without all crowds and high prices.
This is a must! Instead of constantly purchasing water bottles or paying for water while you eat out, just fill your water bottle up! If you are out and do not have a water bottle, swing by a grocery store to purchase a 1L bottle. (That 1L bottle is generally less expensive than one of the tiny ones that you can buy at bars and smaller shops.)
Eating out in Sicily
The markets have wonderful food that you can pick up for snacks or a full meal to enjoy with a view of your choosing. You can always swing by a bakery (panificio) for slices of pizza, too! Eating out should be under 25 euros per person (wine included), but with gelato and snacks between, a full meal and table service just isn’t always necessary.
Eating in Tourist Areas
As with many European holiday destinations, avoid eating in the tourist areas. When planning your meals, look for local restaurants that aren’t near the biggest tourist attractions.
Whilst in Palermo, check out unique neighbourhoods such as Il Capo and New City but avoid eating here. Instead, head to the markets and restaurants in the Old Town of Vecchio Centro or enjoy one of the many restaurants and cafes in Albergheria.
Catania has some awesome neighbourhoods to choose from, with many food options too. Via Etnea offers plenty of incredible cafes alongside boutique shops whilst Teatro Massimo Bellini is a good place to base yourself if you are looking for some fun nightlife on your trip.
Nightlife in Sicily
If you run in for a quick coffee or drink, consider standing up instead of sitting down. It costs money to sit!
Best places for nightlife in Sicily
- Catania – For a lively, fun city with lots of clubs, head to Catania. Afrobar is a beachfront bar with dance floor whilst Zò is home to music events throughout the year. Nievski is an artsy crowd , Etnea is a gorgeous rooftop bar and Le Capannie is a beach club during the day and a party club by night.
- Taormina – Taormina is another top destination for those young travellers looking for good nightlife. Morgana Lounge Bar is a unique, upscale bar whilst the Time Out Pub is a local bar. Listen to jazz musicians at Re Di Bastoni then dance the night away at Tropicana Disco Naxos.
- Cefalù – This is a beautiful area of Sicily with some bars and beach parties during the evening. For a gorgeous wine bar, head to Enoteca Rossorubino, for affordable food and drink, head to the St. George pub or Claddagh Irish Pub. Relax by the beach at Jureka Wine Bar or try some craft beer at Kalapinta Craft Beer.
- Marina di Ragusa – This coastal town is perfect your young people looking to relax and unwind on the beach then party in the clubs. Affordable drinks can be in the SODO Sempre Nuovo square or enjoy desserts in the Caffe Delle Rose. Unwind in La Ola Beach, a gorgeous lounge bar on the beach or soak in the fun atmosphere and great views from Bar Stella Marina.
Free things to do in Sicily
Sicily is home to many free attractions, so you can take advantage of sightseeing on the cheap.
- The beaches – Of course, there are plenty of beaches to choose from in Sicily and these are all free.
- A festival – There are various local festivals that run throughout the year which have spectacular celebrations in Palermo and Catani, which are free. Head to the flower-carpeted street in May or visit during August for the onion festival.
- Churches and Cathedrals – Many of these are free to enter (or just a few euros). There are some stunning baroque churches on the island so make sure to include at least one on your trip.
- Take in the views – Whether its from a bar, beach or viewpoint around the island, you can get some gorgeous views around the island. For arguably the best view, head up the staircase to the Santuario della Madonna for stunning views of Aeolian Islands and Tyrrhenian coast.
- Window Shopping – Taormina has some excellent stores and shopping districts that are perfect for some window shopping. Alternatively, head to Palermo and Catania for cheap markets.
Cheap Travel to Sicily
Most people arrive in Sicily via flight, but getting a decently priced flight can be a challenge. Compare travel dates using Momondo, as you will be surprised how some days are much cheaper than others. But then check the individual airline websites and compare prices on Skyscanner once you have chosen your date. You can sign up to travel alerts on Tripadvisor or Google Flights.
Easyjet offer affordable flights into Palermo from the UK whilst TUI offers flights to Catania.
Yes, that may sound a bit strange but there are some stunning locations outside of Sicily that can be reached within a day. Take a day trip from Sicily and enjoy!
Best day trips from Sicily
- Mount Etna Day trip
- Agrigento Valley of the Temples
- Aeolian Islands
- Lipari and Vulcano
To help you find a budget-friendly flight to Sicily, there are many apps that can help you find good deals. Do keep in mind that you can keep costs extra low for budget airlines if your luggage is minimal and fitting for the carry-on size! If you love the look of Sicily, why not use Language Trainers to learn Italian and pick up a job in the city.