The Perfect 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary (2024)

Last Updated on 4 May, 2024

Surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas, Sicily is a mesmerisingly beautiful destination with seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, picture-perfect towns, amazing landscapes, and food to die for! As the largest Mediterranean island, there’s so much to explore in Sicily, and deciding which places to visit can be challenging. To make the most of your time in Sicily, this 10 days in Sicily itinerary will be your best friend when planning an unforgettable trip.

The Perfect 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary (1)

10 Days in Sicily Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1-4: Palermo (3 nights)
    • Day 4-6: Syracuse (2 nights)
      • Day 6-8: Taormina (2 nights)
        • Day 8-10: Catania (2 nights)
          • How to Get to Sicily
            • Read More: How to Spend One Day in Portofino, Italy
          • When Is The Best Time to Go to Sicily

            Day 1-4: Palermo

            Palermo is the capital of Sicily, so it makes sense to start your Sicily itinerary there. Situated at the edge of Europe, Palermo has everything you could want in a city – delicious food, amazing architecture, and a buzzing nightlife. The locals are friendly and always up for a good time.

            You’ll definitely want to check out the street markets – they’re a feast for the senses! And if you’re into history, this 2,700-year-old city has you covered with ancient ruins and beautiful churches. But let’s be honest – you’ll probably spend most of your time eating gelato and sipping on aperitivos.

            3 nights in Palermo will also give you enough time to explore beyond the city and include an enriching day trip in your Sicily itinerary. You can take a day trip to the beach for some relaxation, visit a nearby historic town to delve into Sicily’s rich heritage or discover a breathtaking viewpoint for panoramic views of the island’s beauty.

            When you arrive, I highly recommend that you hire a car. Travelling in Sicily by public transportation is possible but can be really slow, depending on where you want to go. Some trains go between the cities listed in this Sicily itinerary, but rarely are they direct, which would not only take longer but also prevent you from visiting places outside the main cities.

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            What to Do in Palermo

            Teatro Massimo is a beautiful opera house in Palermo, known for its Italian Renaissance architecture and magnificent marble columns. It’s the largest theatre in Italy and offers guided tours for those interested in exploring the inside. You can also attend a play to experience the renowned acoustics of the theatre.

            The Cathedral of Palermo is a significant monument in Sicily. It was built in 1184 by Normans on the site of a Muslim Mosque. It has an impressive exterior and diverse art inside. Entry to the church is free, and to other parts, it is paid.

            The Norman Palace, or the Royal Palace of Palermo, has a stunning Medieval exterior and opulent interior. Highlights include the Palatine Chapel and Royal Apartments, with impressive gold-covered mosaics. The Royal Rooms are only open to visitors on certain days due to parliamentary use.

            Ballaro Street Market in Palermo is a lively outdoor market with colourful displays of fresh produce, local food and drink vendors, souvenirs, clothing, and other unique items. It’s a must on anyone’s Sicily itinerary. While there, try Sicilian street foodpanelle (savoury fritters made with chickpea flour) and cazzilli, also known as crocché (pan-fried potato croquettes) in a bun.

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            Relax on Mondello Beach, which is perfect for swimming, eating ice cream, or renting a pedal boat with a slide. San Vito Lo Capo Beach is a 3km long sandy beach with crystal clear waters and beautiful mountains in the background.

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            VisitCastellammare del Golfo, a stunning seaside town an hour’s drive from Palermo, for a great viewpoint and a restaurant, Ristorante Quetzal, where you can sit, relax, and soak in more of the breathtaking views!

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            The Perfect 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary (8)

            Take a day trip to Monreale, a picturesque town located just 20 minutes away from Palermo. The Monreale Cathedral, an impressive example of Norman architecture dating back to the 12th century, is a must-see UNESCO World Heritage site. The town also has numerous excellent dining and drinking options, making it a great destination for a day trip.

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            Where to Eat in Palermo

            Palermitan cuisine is renowned for using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, focusing on seafood. It’s characterised by bold and rich flavours, often balancing sweet and sour tastes. The most popular dishes include Caponata, Arancini, and Pasta con le Sarde. Palermo is famous for its desserts, notably Cannoli and Cassata Siciliana. Wine, particularly Marsala, is an essential part of Palermitan meals.

            My Recommendations:

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            Where to Go Out in Palermo

            While Palermo does not have iconic club venues, it’s full of bars and streets filled withcheery Sicilians.The 3 top areas to check out:

            • Old Town – Palermo’s Historical City Center, also known as Old Town, is one of the largest in Europe. It’s a hub for nightlife with options to drink and dance or explore the small alleys and ancient squares. The most popular spots for locals and tourists areChampagneria,Piazza Sant’anna, andPiazza Rivoluzione.Via Vittorio EmanueleandVia dei Chiavettierialso offer affordable co*cktails, live music, and entertainment.
            • Politeama / Libertà Area (Downtown) – the new city centre is a great spot to find bars and restaurants with a posh feel and various cuisines. Prices are slightly higher than in Old Town, but you won’t break the bank. Locals mainly visit the area that is not known for hosting wild parties. However,Borgo Vecchio Squareis an exception, with cheap drinks and loud people until 4am.
            • La Cala (Porto Palermo) – a few trendy bars in the marina area where you can enjoy delicious wine or Aperol Spritz while watching the sun set and the fishermen return from the sea.
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            Where to Stay in Palermo

            The historical centre, also known as the Centro Storico, is the best place to stay in Palermo, especially if you only have a limited time to explore Palermo or if it’s your first visit.

            Centro Storico is divided into 4 districts: Albergheria/Ballarò, Il Capo, La Kalsa, and Castellammare.

            Day 4-6: Syracuse

            A 3-hour drive from Palermo, Syracuse is a historic city on the southeastern coast of Sicily, making it a perfect addition to your Sicily itinerary. It was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and played an essential role in ancient times as a significant centre of trade and culture.

            Syracuse is known for its archaeological sites, including the ancient Greek Theatre, the Ear of Dionysius, and the Temple of Apollo. It also has a stunning waterfront area with picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea and charming cafés and restaurants. It’s a dreamy place to wander around, relax, and enjoy the slow Italian life, making it a must-visit destination on your Sicily itinerary.

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            What to Do in Syracuse

            Explore Ortigia Island, a labyrinth of charming ancient and medieval streets. Here, you’ll find Apollo Temple, an ancient Greek temple dating back to the 6th century BC and one of Sicily’s most significant historical landmarks, and the Arethusa Fountain, a natural spring surrounded by beautiful vegetation and the home of the nymph Arethusa, according to Greek mythology.

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            It’s also almost inevitable to approach the Cathedral of Syracuse that stands in Piazza del Duomo.Its structure was originally a Greek Doric temple, so it’s become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

            Check out Maniace Castle, built by Frederick II in the 13th century as a royal residence and later turned into a prison. It features a military-style design with a tower at each corner. Today, it’s open to the public and showcases beautiful 13th-century architecture.

            Go to Ortigia Market to admire all the fresh produce (I always felt that food markets in foreign countries are an attraction and a fun thing to do) and shop for some refreshing and delicious fruit.

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            Visit the archaeological site Parco Archeologico Neapolis, where the Greek theatre of Syracuse lies. Built inthe 5th century BC and later rebuilt in the 3rd century BC, the theatre is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Greek ruins site offers some nice views of the city.

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            And don’t forget to take some time to watch the sunset.

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            Where to Eat in Syracuse

            One of the best lunch spots in Syracuse is Caseificio Borderi, where they make massive sandwiches and charcuterie boards with such passion and enthusiasm that it immediately feels inviting. If there’s a long queue, don’t get discouraged – the food is delicious, and the staff are super friendly!

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            For dinner, there are many restaurants with outdoor seating in Ortigia. You can enjoy fresh fish, seafood, or pizza while watching the sunset.

            Head to Meditè for the best pizzas in town. It’s located in Porto Piccolo harbour and has a terrace offering beautiful sea views. The menu isn’t extensive, but it’s delicious.

            For the best seafood and wine, go to DiVino Mare. They serve a daily catch and have an extensive menu of different dishes.

            For a unique experience, go to Latteria Mamma Iabica, a vintage-designed restaurant offering a unique dining experience. It focuses on wellness cooking and select ingredients. It has a “2-in-1” concept: a boutique restaurant and a café bar that serves Sicilian products.

            Sicilia in Tavola is a cosy little restaurant with freshly made rustic pasta and grilled fish.

            Where to Go Out in Syracuse

            Syracuse is different from Palermo. It’s quieter and more chic, filled more with families and couples than youngsters ready to party until dawn, offering a distinct experience on your Sicily itinerary. But there are bars that are open until late, so you can enjoy a drink or two if you like.

            Go to Maniace Bistrò, a bistro and bar open until 1am, a stone’s throw from the castle. It’s a great place to enjoy Aperol Spritz and watch a sunset.

            Mikatú, located on Via Castello Maniace, serves chilled wines, aperitifs, generous snacks, and stunning sea views. It’s open until 12am.

            A hidden gem, Vecchio Pub is a charming pub with a cosy atmosphere and a courtyard, perfect for beers, wine, and co*cktails. It’s open until 1am.

            For co*cktails, go to Barcollo, Verga Courtyard, or BOATS – they are all great, serve delicious co*cktails and are open until late.

            Where to Stay in Syracuse

            For the most pleasant experience, I recommend you stay in Ortigia. Hotel Posta is a mid-range charming hotel with a Mediterranean vibe. It overlooks a small port with panoramic views over the sea. Breakfast is included.

            Day 6-8: Taormina

            "Were a man to spend only one day in Sicily and ask, "What must one see?" I would answer him without hesitation, "Taormina." It is only a landscape, but a landscape where you find everything on earth that seems made to seduce the eyes, the mind and the imagination." - Guy De Maupassant

            Taormina is a picturesque hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, with Mount Etna as a backdrop, offering another beautiful stop on your Sicily itinerary. A 1.5-hour drive from Syracuse, the town is home to several ancient Greek and Roman ruins. One is the Teatro Antico di Taormina, a well-preserved ancient amphitheatre dating back to the 3rd century BC. Taormina also has a charming pedestrian-only historic centre with narrow streets, quaint shops, and restaurants.

            2 nights in Taormina is a great amount of time to enjoy breathtaking views of the Italian coastline, relax on the beach, and visit the city’s most iconic landmarks, making it a memorable addition to your Sicily itinerary.

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            What to Do in Taormina

            Visit the symbol of Taormina – the ancient Greek theatre of Taormina, which is now used for theatrical performances and concerts. From there, you can see Mount Etna, at 3329m high, it’s the highest active volcano in Europe.

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            Isola Bella, meaning ‘beautiful island,’ is a breathtaking nature reserve on a peninsula. It is considered one of the most iconic attractions in Taormina. The peninsula is connected to the main beach by a narrow strip of sand, making it a perfect place to spend an afternoon by the water.

            Villa Comunale di Taormina is a beautiful public garden with Victorian follies, initially inhabited by Lady Florence Trevelyan, a Scottish noblewoman. The garden passed into the municipality’s hands in 1922. The paths wind through immaculately maintained magnolias, hibiscus, and bougainvillaea shrubs.

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            Palazzo Corvaja is a medieval palace built initially as a tower in the 10th century to defend against Arab invaders. It was expanded in the 13th and 14th centuries and owned by the Corvaja family for over three centuries. Today, it houses the tourist office and a museum after being restored in 1948.

            Check out Piazza IX Aprile, a famous square in the heart of Corso Umberto. It offers a stunning view of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna, especially at sunset. The square has a lively atmosphere filled with nice cafés, street musicians, and caricature artists.

            Madonna della Rocca is a church built on a mountain overlooking Taormina. It was founded around 1640 by Abbot Francesco Raineri with the help of Archbishop of Messina Geronimo Venero. Legend has it that the church was named after a rock where a shepherd boy saw a beautiful lady in blue during a storm. Due to its location, it offers panoramic views over the coastline and beyond.

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            Taormina’s pedestrian street, Corso Umberto, is a lively tourist spot with high-end shops and restaurants. Piazza IX Aprile, the main square, lies between the town’s two gates, with the Clock Tower (Porta di Mezzo) connecting the Greek-Roman and Medieval parts of the town.

            The Duomo di Taormina is a 12th-century cathedral and one of the top attractions in Taormina. Its unique military-like appearance earned it the nickname ‘fortress cathedral’. The church was formerly used for the town’s defence and is located in Piazza del Duomo, just off the main street.

            Where to Eat in Taormina

            Taormina has many incredible and scenic places to eat and drink, adding delicious culinary experiences to your Sicily itinerary. Try a traditional Sicilian summer breakfast of granita and brioche, eat fresh seafood by the beach, and slow down with an aperitivo at sunset, embracing Italian culture.

            Bam Bar is where you can find the delicious granita and brioche breakfast combination.

            Head toLa Locanda Dei Mori, a lovely café away from the main street that serves colourful plates of salads, bruschetta, and pasta.

            Try Ristorante Aranciara for a relaxed atmosphere, fresh seafood, and a wonderful wine selection.

            For the best pizzas in town, head to La Napoletana.

            At Osteria Da Rita Dal 1991, you’ll find delicious local food such as pasta, seafood, fish, cold meat and cheese platters.

            Book ahead for lunch and dinner as places fill up quickly, even in the off-season.

            Where to Go Out in Taormina

            Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), you won’t find huge nightclubs in Taormina, especially outside the peak season. But you will be able to enjoy a bar for some co*cktails or wine.

            For tasty co*cktails, go to Sky Rooftop Bar Taormina, Morgana Lounge Bar, Daiquiri Taormina, or Chapeau!. Ten House Taormina co*cktails Bar also has live music!

            For craft beers, check out Re di Bastoni.

            Where to Stay in Taormina

            Staying inthe historic centreis the best way to enjoy Taormina’s elegant and lively resort atmosphere. B&B Joan’s Heritage is located right in the city centre, on the main street, allowing you to easily reach restaurants, shops, and some attractions such as the Greek Theatre.

            Day 8-10: Catania

            Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and just an hour’s drive from Taormina. While other seaside places in Sicily might have a more romantic feel, Catania is a unique blend of ancient and modern, making for a harmonious atmosphere that’s well worth including in your Sicily itinerary. Besides, it’s an excellent base for a hiking tour to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Despite being a port city, Catania has its own charm that is hard to resist.

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            What to Do in Catania

            Visit Mount Etna on a day trip, an essential stop on your Sicily itinerary. The volcano, standing at a height of 3,350 metres, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Despite its frequent eruptions, Mount Etna is also a popular tourist destination. You can hike up the mountain and witness its stunning views and unique geological features. You can visit it independently, but it’s recommended that you go as part of a tour.

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            Check out Piazza del Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a blend of lava and limestone. It’s surrounded by baroque-style buildings, with the grand Cattedrale di Sant’Agata at the centre. The Fontana dell’Elefante, a black-lava elephant from Roman times with an Egyptian obelisk on top, stands in the square’s centre. The Amenano fountain at the southwest corner commemorates the river where the Greeks founded the city of Katáne.

            Go inside Cattedrale di Sant’Agata to see relics of the city’s patron saint and composer Vincenzo Bellini. Check out the Roman baths below at Museo Diocesano, and learn about the courageous Agata tormented by Quintian in AD 250 at Chiesa di Sant’Agata al Carcere. Celebrate the saint during Sicily’s grand festival on 5th February.

            Visit the Castello Ursino, built in the 13th century to protect the city on a seafront cliff. After the eruption of Mt Etna in 1669, lava cut the castle off from the sea. Today, it serves as the Museo Civico, showcasing the archaeological collection of the Biscaris family, including classical sculptures, Greek vases, and mosaics.

            Check out Catania’s impressive Roman Theatre and Odeon, located west of Piazza del Duomo, surrounding a crumbling residential neighbourhood. You can also visit the beautifully restored 19th-century apartment, Casa Liberti, next to the main theatre, which houses artefacts discovered during the site’s excavation spanning over two thousand years. Note that Casa Liberti is closed on Sundays.

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            Via Etnea is the main shopping street in Catania, with a view of Mt Etna at its end. It’s a busy street with shops, cafés, and bars. On Saturdays, shoppers come from the suburbs to socialize and shop. Piazza dell’Università is at the southern end, where you can enjoy coffee and cake. For a peaceful escape, you can visit Giardino Bellini and enjoy the gardens with a view of the volcano.

            Visit the Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with two beautiful cloisters and one of Sicily’s most significant libraries. You can take guided tours or explore the cloisters on your own. Two ticket options are available: one provides access to the Monastero delle Benedettine, while the other includes entry to the Museo Diocesano and its Roman baths.

            Go to Aci Castello, a village located 10 km north of Catania. It is famous for its Norman castle, built on a lava stone outcrop in 1076. The town was rebuilt in 1530 after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1170. The castle houses a museum with three sections: mineralogy, palaeontology, and archaeology. The parish church has notable frescoes by Pietro Vasta. Aci Castello is a popular seaside resort, and many well-known restaurants in Aci Castello and Aci Trezza serve delicious meals.

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            VisitPalazzo Biscari, a grand Baroque palace in Catania. It was built on the site of the city’s former Spanish fortifications and isadorned with gildings, frescoes, painted ceilings, music rooms, and scrolled staircase railings. The palace combines elements uniquely and always impresses visitors, including the renowned writer Goethe. Book your visit in advance.

            See the monumental Gates of Porta Garibaldi, built in 1768 to honour King Ferdinand IV and his wife, Maria Carolina. It is located at the end of Via Garibaldi and was constructed using white limestone and black lava rock. The gate features a large clock and an eagle on the top. Its unique Latin inscription reads ‘Melior de cinere surgo,’ meaning ‘I rise more beautiful from the ashes‘.

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            Head to the open-air marketMercato del CarmineatPiazza Carlo Alberto di Savoiafor some shopping. It’s a place where locals go to stock up on daily supplies. You’ll find everything there: from clothing and shoes to electronics, fruit, cheese, and meats.

            Where to Eat in Catania

            The city’s diverse culinary scene reflects its cultural richness, offering a flavourful addition to your Sicily itinerary. Featuring influences from the Greeks, Arabs, and Normans, Catania’s restaurants showcase a variety of cuisines. Whether it’s seafood, traditional street food, or fine dining, Catania’s culinary offerings are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, no matter what kind of food you are in the mood for.

            Eat and drink on Via Gemmellaro. It’s a beautiful street located in the heart of Catania. This street is famous for its stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere.

            Head to Trattoria da Nuccio for its friendly service and traditional Sicilian cuisine. The menu changes daily based on what is fresh and available. You can always expect classic dishes such as pasta alla Norma, seasonal caponata, and the catch of the day, grilled and served whole.

            Acqualavic serves traditional Sicilian cuisine near the port and Piazza del Duomo. It has a Bib Gourmand for its value cooking. It offers dishes highlighting the Etna region’s flavours, including bucatini with grated bottarga and seafood options. Pizzas are served in the evenings.

            For the best pizzas in town, check out Eat Pizzeria. It serves pizzas with light and fluffy dough thanks to a 48-hour fermentation process. The Pistacchio e Mortadella pizza, with a pistachio cream base, is the most popular.

            Head to Vermouth if you want a quick bite. The place is friendly and very well priced, serving tapas style small plates and local wine for under €2. Students and young crowd love this place.

            Where to Go Out in Catania

            Catania is a great place for nightlife, with many bars in the old town centre. The Enoteca Sud Est and Razmataz are wine bars, while the Mosaik Beer House & Tea Room is a pub with various beers. The Monk Jazz Club is a perfect venue for some live jazz. Mercati Generali is a renowned club located 20 minutes drive from Catania. It has three rooms and hosts many summer concerts and events featuring famous artists and DJs. The entrance is free before midnight, and later, the fee includes a tasty complimentary co*cktail or a glass of Prosecco.

            Where to Stay in Catania

            I recommend staying at the historical centre of Catania where most of the city’s major attractions are located. Hotel Manganelli Palace is a great option for its excellent location, beautiful traditional decor, and fabulous breakfast that’s included.

            How to Get to Sicily

            There are 4 international airports in Sicily:

            • Catania, located on the east side, is the busiest airport in Sicily.
            • Palermo, located on the north-west side, is the second-largest airport of Sicily.
            • Trapani, located on the west side, is the third-busiest airport in Sicily.
            • Comiso, located in the south-east, is the least busy airport and only offer seasonal flights.

            Getting around in Sicily is possible by bus and train, but for a more flexible exploration of your Sicily itinerary, a car is the best option, especially for visiting beaches, small towns, and archaeological sites. With a car, you can easily navigate the island’s scenic routes and discover hidden gems at your own pace.

            Read More: How to Spend One Day in Portofino, Italy

            When Is The Best Time to Go to Sicily

            April to early June and late September to October are the best times to visit Sicily. The temperatures are not as sweltering as they are in the summer, making these periods ideal for exploring your Sicily itinerary comfortably. July and August are also good options, but it will be boiling during these months, so be prepared for intense heat if you choose to visit then.

            What experiences are you most excited to include in your Sicily itinerary?
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            The Perfect 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary (2024)


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