For holiday seekers looking for a memorable Mediterranean holiday, the island of Sicily, located at the tip of Italy's boot, provides the whole package. With its mix of golden beaches, Roman ruins, and the majestic Mt. Etna looming over fruit-filled orchards, the largest island in the Mediterranean serves up a memorable trip that will keep everybody smiling. Explore the best of Sicilian culture, both ancient and modern, with a bit of sightseeing and magical days on the beach. From the classical mishmash of architecture in Palermo to the traditional Sicilian dishes served up in Catania and the stunning beaches that hug the coast, Sicily holidays satiate all palates.
Top hotels in Sicily
Hotel Dei Pini
Hotel Eden Riviera
Grand Hotel Villa Politi
Capo dei Greci Hotel
Taormina Mare, Sicily
Principe Di Fitalia Hotel
Resort Sole Mediterraneo
Dioscuri Bay Palace
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Italian
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 3h 25m
When to go
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For active holidays to Sicily with plenty of sightseeing, make sure to drop by Palermo, Sicily's lively capital city. After a long day, spend the evening sampling some of Italy's finest dishes, including the thin pizza-like sfincione and delicious seafood. Afterwards, burn those calories away with a night of dancing; Palermo and Catania are two of the best hotspots for an evening out in stunning Sicily.
Stunning Sicily serves up some of the most unique cultural experiences in the Mediterranean, effortlessly mixing the best of Italy with its neighbours of Malta, Greece and Tunisia to result in classic Sicilian life. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Sicily, from enjoying a Classical Greek drama performance in an ancient theatre to climbing the very live Mt. Etna and dining in luxury in Catania. Holidays here are best enjoyed by lovers of the outdoors, food, and all things Mediterranean - so really everyone. Don’t miss out on visiting this Italian island and exploring its rich culture and natural wonder yourself.
Sicily is nothing if not brimming with all sorts of culture. Step back in time with a visit to Siracusa and its spectacular Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, one of the most famous ancient sites in Italy. Explore the town’s important ancient Greek and Roman ruins, including the brilliant Teatro Greco where plays by famous Greek playwrights were once performed. Discover the Latomia del Paradiso quarry, from where all the stones used to create the monuments of the town came from.
Wine and Dine
Sicily, like all great regions of Italy, has its own unique cuisine that will have you salivating before walking into the restaurant or café that smells that delicious. Let’s start with dessert; we’ve all heard of cannoli and Sicily has been making this pastry for centuries, though its origins are said to be in Palermo. Moving backwards to dinner, arancini are delectable little risotto balls, usually filled to the brim with cheese or meat, then shaped and fried. Another famous name, Marsala is the town where the delectable sauce earned its name. You can’t help but eat by the sea in Sicily, and trying the mouth-watering frutti de mare - seafood pasta - should be at the top of your list of Sicily attractions, or any seafood dishes to be honest; sardines, mussels, and swordfish are all highly recommended. You can even take a Sicilian cooking class in Taormina!
The beaches are where it’s at for family friendly Sicily attractions. Head to Mazzaro near Taormina for the most incredible pebble beach on the island and clear waters that are perfect for snorkelling and boating. For beautiful spots for swimming in Salina, you’ll have to take the kids on a boat ride to some secluded beaches resulting in a two-in-one day by the sea. With so many archaeological sites, it’d be good to get a bit of culture in the young ones, and there are plenty of guided tours in Siracusa for all those questions the guidebooks can’t answer.
Action and Adventure
If you want to do more than just eat – although, that’s perfectly fine, too – this Mediterranean beauty has got you covered. There are plenty of active things to do in Sicily, including hiking Monte Fossa delle Felci in Salina and the Fossa di Vulcano trek in Vulcano. For true adventurers, trek to the top of Rifugio Sapienza, a mere 1923 metres to the top and explore the crater. There’s also a minibus and cable car system for those who understandably want the view without the hike. Come to Sicily in the winter and enjoy a myriad of snow activities including skiing down the volcano and cycling. There’s also a gorgeous natural lake called Lago di Pergusa that is home to plenty of water sports. If one Mediterranean Island break simply isn't enough, head to Pozzallo on the south side of the island, where you'll find regular ferries to Malta.
In addition to its beaches, active volcano and museums, there are plenty of other attractions to visit during holidays to Sicily. Whether you are looking to relax or explore, there are opportunities for both. The Teatro Massimo, Italy's largest opera house, is a must-see in Palermo; time it right and catch one of its magnificent performances. Also, don't miss the intriguing underground Catacombs of the Capuchins; over 6,000 corpses have been mummified here, making for an interesting day out. Situated in the town of Taormina you can find the beautiful ancient Greek theatre, Piazza Amerina. Dating back to seventh century BC, this site continues to stage dramatic productions and concerts. Another ancient architectural site that should not be missed is the Valley of Temples, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where there are several archaic and restored temples to be admired on holidays in Sicily.
Life's a Beach
At the top of the list for family-oriented holidays in Sicily is some fun in the sun, sea, and sand. There are several clean and safe Blue Flag beaches on the Italian island, including the Pozzalo, Ispica, Taormina and Porto Paolo beaches. With such an extensive coastline, there are plenty of pristine beaches and secluded spots to pick from.
Rest your head on soft pillows and fall asleep to the subtle sound of the sea in a beachside hotel in a small town minutes away from Taormina, or choose from a number of luxury hotels across the island in the large cities like Syracuse and Messina.
For some partying with excellent DJs and a lively crowd, head to Mercati Generali (the General Market) in Catania. The club is in a 19th Century winery and has a courtyard with palm trees where the dancing starts as the evening wears on. For the cool wannabies, head to Palermo and the Kursaal Kalhesa, a bar, bookshop and concert venue that also serves food and has a courtyard for eating and drinking outside. Downstairs is a wine bar where you can try delicious Sicilian wine and mix with the young and trendy.
Michelin award-winning La Giara is a hot spot for drinks and food that has a rooftop terrace with fantastic views as well as excellent food in a romantic setting. As evening draws in, La Giara hosts all kinds of entertainment with DJs and bands.
For beach parties through the night - think cocktails, sunsets, DJs all in the glorious warm Sicily - head to Meridien Lounge in Taormina or Lido di Naxos in Giardini-Naxos.
Sicily also provides a great educational experience. The active Mount Etna, close to the city of Messina, is Europe's tallest and certainly deserves a visit. For the ancient Greeks that colonised Sicily, this mountain was believed to be the home of Vulcan, the God of Fire, and the one-eyed Cyclops! With such a stunning landscape to enjoy on Sicily holidays, it’s easy to see where so many artists have received their inspiration; take a trip to a museum or art gallery to see the island’s highlights. Museo Archeologico di Taormina, built on the site of ancient Roman baths, offers an exciting day of discovery. Afterwards, enjoy a taste of Sicily's local gelato or head over to one of the many pizzerias for a bite.
Like the rest of Italy, Easter in Sicily is kind of a big deal. If you find yourself in Sicily for the Easter celebrations, make sure to visit Lipari for a traditional experience. The second most exciting festival is of course Carnevale, and one of the must-see Sicily attractions in February. Discover Piazza Armerina at its finest in August for the Palio dei Normanni, a medieval pageant ending in a joust on the 14th. Foodies plan on visiting Sicily during the Couscous Fest in September to see and taste couscous from all over the world, including Trapani and North Africa.
Taormina is also home to brilliant ancient culture, like the 7th century BC Greek theatre still used today for modern productions. Fast forward to the 6th century AD to Tempio della Concordia, a temple converted to a Christian basilica in Agrigento. Embrace the modern local culture of Sicily with a visit to Palermo, home of the country’s largest opera house, and Cefalu. Getting to know the rich history is one of the most rewarding things to do in Sicily, and Lipari and its Museo Archaeologico Regionale Eoliano is the place to start.