Sicily

We will be in Italy in May/June and would like to travel through Sicily for about 10+/- days. What is the best way to get there and what is the best way of traven (car rental, train, bus, etc.). Would like to settle in 2-3 places and take daily trips, is that OK? Any recommendations for cities to visit and/or settle in. Tank uou all,
Paul

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3319 posts

The best way to get there is with an airplane. The most important airport is Catania Fontanarossa airport (CTA). The second most important is Palermo Falcone & Borsellino airport (PMO). The Low cost airline Ryanair uses also Trapani Birgi (TPS) as a base. Flights with major airlines are limited mostly to Alitalia. However there are numerous low cost, including Ryanair, flying there (EasyJet, Blue Panorama, Meridiana etc.) You don't need a car to visit Palermo, but for everything else a car is recommended. So if you fly into Palermo, visit Palermo for a day or two, then rent a car from there to go around the island. On the west side I like to stay in Scopello, a very quaint village next to the Zingaro reserve (excellent rocky beaches). From there you can take day trips to Erice, the temples of Segesta, the temples of Selinunte, Riserva dello Zingaro, San Vito lo Capo, Marsala. In the southern shore Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples is a must. On the Eastern side, Syracuse (Ortigia island especially) and Taormina are the prettiest cities, IMO. The Etna volcano is another spot you might interested to do an excursion too.
Ragusa, Caltanissetta, Enna, Noto are also nice to visit. I would recommend to stay in Agriturismi (farmhouses), which in Southern Italy are also called Masserie. But staying in town is nice too if you prefer an urban environment. In that case any of the town I mentioned would work. BOth Syracuse's Ortigia and Taormina are jewels. On the northern shore, you shouldn't miss Cefalu', just east of Palermo. The Aelian islands are also nice, but in 10 days you may not have the time to include those as well.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
589 posts

Here is a site I used to do a lot of my planning to Sicily.
Good info on all kinds of things. Best of Sicily

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2466 posts

I agree with Roberto's recommendations, but if you have the time, add Monreale (near Palermo) and perhaps Villa Romana di Casale (near Piazza Armerina) to your list. My last visit to Sicily (last year) was with 2 friends and a car, and we stayed in Palermo, Taormina and Siracusa. When I travel solo, I use buses and trains, but a car can get you to places much more efficiently.

Posted by Anita
Philadelphia, PA, USA
331 posts

Paul, if you are doing other travel in Italy, it may be more convenient and cost effective to take a train to Sicily. Otherwise, I agree w/ Roberto about a car being an easy way to explore Sicily. The island is small enough that staying in 2-3 places will give you access to the major sites.

Posted by paul
dana point, ca, usa
19 posts

Thank you All very much. The only place in Sicily was for one day in Messina on a cruise. we loved it, but it is interesting that none of you mentioned Messina. Did anyhbody had any experience with it or the other places are just so much nicer? Thank you again
Paul

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3319 posts

I think if you ask 100 people who have visited all of Sicily (including Italians) to mention the 10 top places to visit in Sicily, none of them will mention Messina on those top 10. It might make the top 20, but you said you only have 10 days, therefore I wouldn't put Messina on the list.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
963 posts

Paul, will you have a car in Italy? Where were you planning to leave Italy for Sicily? If you have a car and you will be in southern Italy you can take a short (20 min) ferry from Villa San Giovanni Italy to Messina Sicily, that is the way we went. I don't remember Messina much because we didn't stay there when we landed but headed right to where we stayed in the beach town of Gardini Naxos, just below Taormina. We also stayed in Agrigento and Palermo. I loved Sicily and just about every place we went there. I agree with Zoe's recommendations for Monreale and Villa Romana di Casale. Don't miss the marketplace in Palermo, very interesting experience. I also enjoyed a visit to the puppet museum in Palermo. The temples and ruins are fantastic, the best outside of Greece, especially the valley of temples near Agrigento. Sicily is a fascinating place.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2466 posts

If you have a car and want another stunning temple to look at, Segesta is also near Palermo. There's an unfinished Greek temple in the middle of nowhere (now), and a beautiful theatre not far from it, near which ruins from settlements have been found.