My trip to Sicily! My personal roundtrip/ itinerary fro my gorgeous trip to Sicily (from July the 28th until August the 7th).
In this post I'll share with you everything I did there so that you can take a road trip around the island as well. These were my personal daytrips there but we had to skip some parts of the island because of the time. We already went there for a pretty long time but if you want to take it mroe slow and enjoy even more places, I think that you can easily go there for about three weeks. You can also split your trip in two seperate trips, one from Palermo and the other one from Catania.
So here's my trip!
On Thursday July, 28th we drove from Palermo airport to the region of Catania. Palermo is in the North and Catania in the South East. There are highways and main roads in Sicily but driving them takes a while. On most parts you can't drive faster than 80km/h... So it took us about 4 hours to drive to our first hotel. We stayed near the Etna in a higher part of the mountains behind Catania. We wanted to experience some tranquility because Italy can be pretty hectic.
On Friday the 29th we went tot the Etna volcano.
You can go there by foot, which is pretty challenging or by cable car. You can also take a jeep tour there. We took the cable car and booked the combi ticket with the jeep up in the mountain. The area is very beautiful and it is so cool to look at a still active volcano.
Eruptions are every once in a while so the chance is pretty small that you can see lava... but the volcano is still active so you can see the fog literally daily.
On Saturday we visited the beautiful city of Taormina with its Roman/Greek theatre. The theatre is a must visit, in my opinion. You have the most amazing views there. On one side you can see the Etna and Catania, on the other side you can see the mainland of Italy (since it's pretty close).
Entrance tickets are 10 euros.
After the visit, we went to the city itself. The narrow streets are cute and lovely. You can enjoy some shopping there as well.
After a stroll through the city, we went to the sea. The region of "Isola Bella" is gorgeous. A cristal clear, blue sea, combined with a dramatic rocky island and the jetset-life boats, is a must watch in my opinion.
On Sunday the 31th we visited Syracuse (the Neapolos archaeological park). And after that the Baroque city of Noto.
I think we wandered around the archaeological park for at least 4 hours. It's pretty large. When entering the area, we first went to the groves, who are pretty impressing. After that, we went to the area of the old theatre. This was a small disappointment since they still use it today for shows... which always means that there are plastic seatings and ugly renovation racks... After that, we went to the massive Greek altar and the Roman amphitheatre. This amphitheatre is actually one of the best preserved ones in the entire world. It's from the third century AD.
We didn't visit Syracuse itself because it seemed a bit too crowded for us. We went to Noto instead, ma hidden gem in Sicily. It's a relaxing city with a lot of baroque palaces and churches. We visited some churches there and took a combi ticket to visit the Palazzo Ducezio and the Nicolaci Palace. The combiticket was 7 euros I think, I'm not sure. Both places were beautiful to visit. In the Palazzo Ducezio, you can take the stairs up, for a gorgeous view over the city.
On Monday, august first we visited Scicli with the beautiful palazzo Bonelli Patané and the gorgeous churches there.
We actually didn't know about this palace, we just stumbled upon it and wanted to explore it. We booked a combi ticket to also explore an old pharmacy, right across the street.
I have no idea how many churches we explored and which ones, but I do remember that they were lovely.
It's my thing to just walk through streets, walking by churches and then having to enter them. You might get surprised!
On Tuesday, august 2nd we went to Ragusa Ibla, the city famous for having maaany churches. The nature there is gorgeous as well. The city is parted in to two. This because of an earthquake. They had to rebuild the old city and build a new city on the other side of the hill.
It was also very hot that day and the city is upon al steep hill, so it was a challenge to enjoy the city to the fullest, without melting.
I didn't know this but this city is actually surrounded by forests of cypress trees. I didn't even know that this existed but it was lovely to watch. There's a garden near the city center, where you can enjoy the environment and all the gorgeous views.
On Wednesday august 3rd, we finally went to Agrigento (old Akragas), the Valley of the temples, my by far personal highlight! After that we went to the sea ( at Scala dei Turchi).
So about Agrigento; it's a hill (not actually a valley) with about 8 temples on it. I always wanted to visit this place since it looked so magical. I can tell you this, it was about 40 degrees Celcius and there was literally no wind... but it was worth it! These temples are there for over a thousand years. Some of them are perfectly preserved!
We wandered around there for I think 4 hours? It is pretty large, to get from one side to the other, I think it's about 1.5 km or even more.. So when we walked there and went trough the temples, we got over 12000 steps!
The tickets are also pretty cheap. In Belgium, such place would easily be over 25 euros to visit.. For adults, tickets were 8 euros ony AND even free for teachers (like me). We also visited the museum a couple of kilometers further away.
Something else that was really great about the place, when you have reduced mobility you can rent an electrical wheelchair, FOR FREE! My mommy her knee was and still is currently healing for a major ski-trauma and she has to walk with crutches. Walking in the heat, with pain and all, not fun... so it was great that in Italy, people actually think about inclusion. In Belgium, inclusion still isn't "normal"... and since my job is working on inclusion, inclusion is super important to me.
After Agrigento, we went to the Scala Dei Turchi, here you can swim in the sea near big white cliffs. We drove to the viewpoint, where you can enjoy a gorgeous view over the sea and the white sandy rocks. It's not far away from each other so it's a perfect daytrip to do.
On Thursday we went to Erice, the lovely medieval city above Trapani. The city is called the city of love. Currently it's more famous as the city of science. There are always lectures and festivities about science there.
Why is this the city of love? I thought it was because of the dreamy medieval city center, right upon the hill with a lovely sea view... but it's origins are way older. It all started in the antiquity, because there used to be a temple for Aphrodite, the goddess of love... and the temple was for holy prostitution... the priestesses who lived and worked there, made love to clients and got a small fee for that. The entire event was sacred. Priestesses were treated kindly, but were mostly also slaves. Very young, virgin slaves.
On Friday we visited two archaeological places with temples; first Segesta and then Selinunte.
It was an overload on historical places that vacation; and that's exactly waht I love. I love love love history and I love exploring new places.
This shot was taken in the morning in Segesta. You can buy tickets for this temple and other historical buildings on the site such as an old theater and agora. You can start with this temple and then go uphills to the other places. You can walk to these places (1.5 km uphill) or you can take a shuttle bus. We took the bus since it was wayyyy too hot lol! I think that the shuttle was about 5 euros.
After Segesta, we drove to Selinunte. Another extremely large archaeological site. You have once again many temples to discover, but here combined with stunning turquoise sea views. After walking around there for a couple of hours, we went to the beach next to the site, to cool ourselves down.
Here too, you can explore the site by foot or you can book a shuttle bus. It was a pretty large site so a bus might be smart...
In my opinion, it's crazy that all these places are only about 8 euros to visit it. That's so cheap! Budgetwise, Sicily is actually a great island to go to! Restaurants too, are not super expensive. We had pastas for about 10 euros. The only thing that's not so easy is to find a good restaurant. There aren't many of them actually... because real Sicilians, like to cook at home and don't eat out much.
On Saturday the 6th of august we visited Palermo, again with a billion churches, whoops! To be honest, I don't even remember anymore which churches I explored...
The churches are all baroque style and beautiful. Just enter a church, and you might get surprised.
This shot was taken not in the city center and isn't baroque but Bizantine. This church is a bit further away but a MUST see! It's called: Duomo Di Monreale. The entire church is golden.
After this church, we went to the city itself. We explored the cathedral and then went to the museum of the Palazzo Dei Normanni. A must visit, in my opinion. You can explore the old appartments and another stunning golden church called Cappella Palatina.
Then, we went to a couple of churches to check them out. I think I did about 7? churches. These were all very gorgeous, a lot of art and a lot of marble. The churches were: Chiesa del Chesu, Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo, Chiesa di San Giuseppe dei Padri Teatini, Chiesa del Carmine Maggiore and some more... If you love churches and baroque art, you'll love Palermo!
Our last day, Sunday, before getting to the airport, we enjoyed the beach at San Vito Lo Capo!
This area is beautiful. You have there: cristal clear waters, white sandy beaches, mountains and some gorgeous sunsets to spot.
It's a great location to spend a couple of days.
We stayed there for 3 days and made daytrips from there.
And this was my entire trip. It was a summer of bucket lists, to remember!