What is the first city that comes to your mind when you think of Sicily? Is it Taormina, Palermo or maybe Catania? Any other that you might have heard of?
These are indeed the most touristic and well known places on the Italian island, but Sicily has much more to offer. In case you are looking for something more authentic, my Sicilian trip might inspire you.
Very hot in the summer, but the perfect destination for spring & autumn, Sicily is the place you want to remain forever. It has everything that you could want from your vacation: sandy beaches, lovely cities with beautiful architecture & things to visit, delicious Sicilian specialties, the best wine & coffee like everywhere in Italy. Did I miss anything?
I’ve been only on the East coast on the island, in both North & South. Landing in Catania (there are low cost companies operating there), renting a car and traveling along the coast is my recommendation. Allocate more to the Southern part as it has much more to offer and it’s less crowded. What I loved the most? The small cities and the Baroque architecture. And of course the food 🙂
I’ve started my trip with 3 days the Northern part. If you have a car, you can basically lodge anywhere, not necessarily in the big cities (Catania or Taormina), the only thing you should consider is that it is easily accessible. I’ve stayed at Villa Neri, which is a nice hotel close to Mount Etna, with a pool which I enjoyed a lot during the hot summer days.
Things to do around: go up on mount Etna (even it’s summer, take some winter clothes with you, up there can be quite cold) and visit Taormina with its Greek Ancient Theatre, take a walk on Corso Umberto & see the 2 famous squares: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele & Piazza del Duomo. Another city I have discovered is Castelmola, with the best pizzeria (I think:) ) on the island, an authentic place which gave me the impression that I’m in a movie. Pizzeria Ciccinos.
Having seen this part, I’ve continued my Sicilian experience in the South. Here I went for Airbnb & was by far the best experience I had so far with Airbnb; and believe me I had some, as I think is a much cheaper version of lodging, better in most of the cases with the advantage of meeting some new people.
This Airbnb was truly special, our hosts, Elisa & Emilio are both amazing & kind people. They have a lovely house, with a small interior yard with 2 separated buildings, each of them with one room & private bathroom they are renting out on Airbnb. The highlight of their house is the big and full of light kitchen where Elisa is serving every morning the breakfast. She is an amazing cook & food blogger and I loved her home made muffins. Emilio is also around, ready to help with tips on what to do and see in the region. And they have a lovely friendly dog as well.
Where to go around:
For the beach – Marina di Ragusa is the closest and it’s definitely a good option; sandy beaches, both private & public, depending on your taste and your willingness to spend some money on the sunbeds and umbrella. There are also some restaurants on the beach, to make things for your easy.
Cities which worth a visit:
Noto – small city, one of the Sicily’s most beautiful historic centre. It’s beautiful at any moment of the day, but particularly in the evening when the buildings are shining in the sunset’s orange colour. Don’t miss here Cafe Sicilia, take a table outside and enjoy a coffee, something sweet and the people passing by – it’s definitely an unforgettable experience. A good restaurant here which you may want to try is Crocifisso (book a table as they are quite popular).
Caltagirone – the city of ceramic, famous for the colourful ceramic decorated stairs. I’ve found a good fish restaurant here, hidden on a small street, popular among the locals – Il locandiere.
Scicli – small authentic city, with beautiful architecture. A place I enjoyed here is restaurant Baqqala and of course all the beautiful buildings and a local Boulangerie for delicious pastries.
Other cities in the area:
Siracusa – a must on the visiting list are the Greek theatre, the city center and Ortygia; Ragusa Ibla (the old part of Ragusa), Modica & Marzamemi (a beautiful fishing village).
You can book accommodation anywhere in the cities I have mentioned, ideally somewhere in the middle so that it doesn’t take more than 1 hour to travel from one to another. I think Noto would be the best in the area, close to everything and also to the sea.
For the airbnb, check this link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/948644