How much time do you recommend spending in Sicily? Is a week long enough or do you need a good 8-10 days? This will be last week of month tour in Italy.
The more days the better. If you have a particular area in mind and want to limit yourself to that, you can do that in a week. But Sicily is huge, and the most interesting sites are literally in every corner (and some in the middle). I suggest you look at some places you might want to visit and spend most of your time there. I've spent a month in Sicily and still haven't covered all the places of interest to me, but I'm interested in very specific things - and Sicily has a lot of them.
Even 8-10 days are hardly enough to see all of Sicily, but at least better than a week. Sicily has a lot historical sites to visit and is a huge island. And I'm not even including the beautiful offshore islands (Aeolian or Favignana or Lampedusa) in the equation.
What time of year? Sicily gets really hot starting in June, so plan on a lot of beach time. 8-10 days will just scratch the surface.
Going next July 2014 so it will be hot..I love the amalfi coast so I want to spend time there and then we are thinking about going to Sicily. Are there less tourists there than other parts of Italy? I studied abroad in college in Florence in the spring and it was great because it was not "tourists" season. How did you get there from amalfi coast?
To get to Sicily from the Amalfi coast you can take the overnight ferry from Naples...or return to Rome and fly over to Palermo. You also have the option of a very long train ride...about 10 hours I think. We did the ferry. it's like paying for a hotel room, but getting to your destination. Leaves about 6PM and arrives about 6AM..dinner is available on the ship. If you choose just one side of the island, IMO, you can enjoy Sicily in 8-10 days. We toured the western side of Sicily from Palermo down the coast, then back up in the middle of the island. next trip we plan to explore the Eastern side of the island. If you try to see it all in the time allotted, you might feel a bit rushed!
We also have spent a month in Sicily without seeing it all. You might also consider Puglia. There are fewer tourists there as well. The major attractions and most beautiful towns in Sicily (think Taormina) definitely attract a lot of tourists.
The best and fastest way to get to Sicily from Amalfi Coast is by flying from Naples (NAP) to either Palermo (PMO) or Catania (CTA). Alitalia flies from NAP to both PMO and CTA. Additionally Volotea, a low cost airline, flies from NAP to PMO. In 10 days you can cover a lot of Sicily, but you need a rental car to do so successfully, since by public transport it would be harder to do so in a short time. If you arrive in PMO, don't rent a car right away, since Palermo is best visited on foot (traffic is congested). In two full days you can cover Palermo and Monreale (at least the basics). After Palermo you can rent a car and head out to the smaller places. On the Western side, I recommend the Zingaro Reserve (beautiful sea), San Vito lo Capo, Erice, Segesta, Selinunte. I like to stay in Scopello since it's close to Zingaro. On the southern side, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is very popular, however Agrigento is not very fast to get to, since you are dealing with a two lane highway rather than a freeway. On the Ionian Sea shore, in the East, Taormina, Mt. Etna, Syracuse, Noto are the most visited spots. On the Northern shore, besides Palermo, Cefalu is a popular destination. The famous destinations in the interior (Ragusa, Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, ecc.) will likely be scorching hot in July. I'd stick with the areas closer to the sea. At least you'll get some relief from the sea breeze. I think in 10 days you can cover all of the above, with the exception of the interior sites. It's a little rushed, but doable. There will be no time for the offshore islands in such a small time, as I mentioned earlier. Sicily is very busy in all of the seaside resort towns in Summer. Mondello, near Palermo, will be packed with Palermitans.
Here is a link to a site I used to plan my trip to Sicily. It has lots of links to all the venues, activities, locations, transportation etc.
I love Sicily and would go back again and again....... Sicily Info
As Roberto pointed out, fly from Naples, no need to backtrack to Rome. Erice, Segesta, Monreale and even Cefalu can be done as daytrips from Palermo. Buses are usually more convenient than trains.
Wonderful! Thank you all for your replies! Question-how is the driving in Sicily? Not too bad? Also-do you recommend doing Sicily for 10 days or amalfi coast for 10 days? Or would you try to do both? I have been to the amalfi coast and I really enjoyed it but I want my husband to see it also. I'm just thinking it might be hard to go down there and then backtrack to Naples to catch the ferry or train..thoughts? Thanks!
Outside the city is'nt bad at all. I would avoid driving in Palermo and maybe Catania if possible. Palermo is one of the worst places in all of Italy to drive in. Alot of the autostrada is toll free also in Sicily.
As elsewhere in Italy, Sicilian drivers are very impatient. They'll honk and tailgate if you aren't going fast enough to suit them. Ignore it, or pull over and let them pass. They really aren't suffering road rage; it's just the Italian way. Of course, you don't want to drive in Palermo. The roads are okay, though not well-signed. A gps is very useful. You might want to do a search on this site for all the postings about driving in Italy.
As to time allotment, I'm with those who say don't try to do anything else in 10 days. Even flying from Naples, you would eat up most of a day; and Sicily has tons of wonderful places to see.
Maggie, it is just a short trip from Sorrento to the airport in Naples; in fact the Curreri (http://www.curreriviaggi.it/inglese/E_index.html)bus runs many times a day, and drops you off (or picks you up) right outside the airport. Driving in Sicily is just like driving in any other part of Italy. Bring your GPS and a Michelin map of the island. We usualy use Autoeurope to rent our cars there. A fun lodging option is the many Agritourisimos. We used the Lonely Planet guidebook to give us a basic grasp of Sicily, and help plan our trip. Bring beach shoes, or burn the bottom off your feet.
Amalfi Coast is a small stretch of coast. Even adding Capri, Pompeii and Naples, I don't think you would need 10 days for that area. Three or four days could be enough. Sicily needs 9-10 days just to scratch the surface.
In 10 days it would be hard to do both, unless you limit Sicily's visit to a small area (like either Palermo/Trapani provinces in the NorthWest or Syracuse/Catania provinces on the East).
Awesome! Thank you all for your posts! I think we'll end up doing the amalfi coast for 3-4 days and then head over to Sicily. Has anyone ventured down to Matera? It looks amazing but I'm not sure I'd have time to go all the way down there and then go over to Sicily. One more thing-any good guide books/websites that are good for all things Sicily? I've spent 4 months in Italy while studying abroad but never ventured there because it was in the winter.
Magie, Matera is amazing. Best with a car, there is no longer a train station and although two bus companies serve Matera, schedules may not be con enient for a daytrip. If you are going further south than Amalfi, you could also visit Paestum (best with a car if you want to also visit Matera).