Planning a trip to Sicily is fantastic, but you might need some help figuring out your itinerary. There’s so much to see and do in Sicily, so where to start!? We made this complete itinerary for a 10 day trip in Sicily, but also give alternatives for shorter and longer stays.
10-day Itinerary Sicily Roundtrip:
- Day 1: Arrive in Palermo
- Day 2: Palermo
- Day 3: San Vito La Capo, Marsala
- Day 4: Agrigento, Valley of Temples, Ragusa
- Day 5: Noto, Syracuse
- Day 6: Syracuse, Catania
- Day 7: Mount Etna, Catania
- Day 8: Taormina
- Day 9: Cefalù
- Day 10: Departure from Palermo
Let’s get more in detail and find out the best places to visit in this itinerary. But also how to add some days and things to do. Or how to shorten this roundtrip when you’ve less time. In this article, I’ll cover several itineraries, and also how to get around the island using public transport.
Sicily 10 day Itinerary – a day to day guide
10 days for a trip to Sicily is the perfect amount of time to explore the beauty of this island. Of course, you can visit the island in fewer days, or stay longer if you like. But on average, 10 days is perfect to have a great trip, where you have enough time to explore the island and relax in Sicily.
The 10-day itinerary is the basis, but later you’ll find itineraries for 4 and 7 days. And also when you want to stay longer than days. At each city we recommend the best places to stay, these links are affiliate links and all link to the Booking.com hotel page. We use Booking.com ourselves a lot. I feel they’re the most trustworthy when it comes to hotel bookings. I’ll explain more about our booking resources on our recommendations page.
Palermo (2 days)
Your itinerary start in Palermo. It is easy to plan an arrival in this city. Many flights are arriving daily at the city’s airport. Also, different ferry connections are coming from the Italian mainland to Palermo Port. However, flying into Palermo is the fastest way to enter the island.
We always allow ourselves some time to relax after we traveled to a new city, and recommend you to do the same. Walk around the city, check-in in your hotel, and just feel the vibe. Give yourself some to get used to the new environment.
We recommend you to rent a car (link to our recommendations) during this roundtrip in Sicily. During the first days, you don’t need a car while you are in the city of Palermo. So don’t worry about it for the first two days. Make sure to pick it up at the start of your third day.
The next day, the second day of your trip, it is time to explore the city of Palermo. There’s a lot to see in the city that’s known as a cultural melting-pot, its food markets, and the city with Italians biggest opera house.
Some highlights in Palermo city are;
- The Norman Palace
A great example of the Norman Architecture in Palermo
- Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas
Biggest collection of Greek art in Italy
- Teatro Massimo
The biggest opera house in Italy (the third-largest in Europe)
- The Capuchin Catacombs
Not for the faint-hearted, a museum with over 8000 mummies. Also known as ‘The place where the living meets the dead.’
- Quattro Canti (Piazza Viglenia)
The most significant square in the heart of the city center. All the city’s streets are somehow directed to this square.
- Palermo Cathedral
Most significant building in the city. Built-in, the 12th century, renovated by many different civilizations and thus building styles. A great example of different architecture over time.
The cathedral is a Unesco World Heritage site.
- Palermo food markets
There are four different food markets in Palermo. La Vucciria, Capo, Ballaro, Borgo Vecchio. In every quarter of the city, you’ll find a different market. You can visit all the markets when you have enough time, but on this itinerary we recommend you to choose one market to visit. You’ll get a good enough impression. The markets are a great place to try some traditional Sicilian food.
After a day exploring the city, it is time for some excellent Italian dinner and relaxing in your hotel. When you want to have more detailed information about the city of Palermo, you probably want to read this article which I wrote. It contains all the practical information about Palermo.
Best places to stay in Palermo
We selected two Bed and Breakfasts in Palermo. Both are getting excellent reviews on Booking.com, and are in the middle of the city center. They both score a 9+ on the review list of Booking.com
Day 3: San Vito La Capo, Marsala
This day starts with pick up your rental car. If you like, you can also pick up your rental car at the end of day 2. But you don’t need it while staying in Palermo city. The city is well connected with public transport, and the city highlights are easily accessible while walking. We recommend using rentalcars.com as your supplier (link to check the latest offers and prices).
Your road trip to Marsala for this day is about 4 hours drive, including stopovers. You’ll drive around 111 miles (180 kilometers).
Monreale will be your first stop, which is only 5.5 miles (9 kilometers) of Palermo, a small town where you want to visit the Monreale Cathedral, a cathedral with an interesting story.
After the Arabs occupied Palermo (during the 9th century), the bishop was forced to move out of the city. He built a small church in Monreale. When the Normans became leading in Sicily, around the 12th century, the reinstated Palermo as a capital. King William II ordered the construction of the Monreal Cathedral in 1174. To remember the old Bishop of Palermo and in dedication to the Virgin Mary.
After you visited Monreale, it is time to start the actual road trip. The second stop of the day is San Vito Lo Capo, a small beach town northwest from Palermo. It is the most northern point of Sicily, great to explore the beautiful beach and to have some traditional Sicilian lunch.
When lunch is finished, you’re ready to go to the south-west coast. The last destination for today is Marsala. A small coastal town at the west coast of Sicily. Known for its famous fortified Masala wines and ancient ruins. A few fun things to do in Masala are:
- Visiting Saline Della Laguna the big salt lakes
- Walk to Porta Garibaldi, the old city gate.
- Wine tasting and tour at Cantina Florio, one of the biggest Marsala wine producers in Sicily
Best places to stay in Marsala
- B&B Mansarda sulle Egadi
Close at the beach, with fantastic sunset views. Review score 9.5
- Hotel Carmine
Great hotel in the middle of the Center. The hotel is in a historical building but got modern facilities. They get a review score of 9.1
Day 4 Agrigento (Valley of Temples) – Ragusa
We recommend leaving Massala in the morning. Taking the SS115, a beautiful route along the coast and for a part inland, heading east to Agrigento.
It is the first drive of the day and will take around 2 hours. Massala to Agrigento is 85 miles (137 kilometers).
The city of Agrigento is not very special. However, you’re not going to visit the city itself. Agrigento is known for its ancient ruins of the city of Akragas, just outside the center.
Akragas is better known as The Valley of Temples. This ancient site has over 20 historical sites, all listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. You’ll find the best-preserved Greek temples. Some will say they’re even more beautiful than the Acropolis in Athens. Visiting the Valley of Temples will take up some time, you’ll need to plan a half-day to see most of the historical sites.
In our article ‘What is Sicily Known For?’ we cover extensive information about the Valley of Temples.
After visiting The Valley of Temples, it is time to get back in the car and drive to Ragusa. It is a small hilltop town, with ancient buildings, baroque style architecture and beautiful churches. The old town Ragusa is a Unesco World Heritage site, and great to walk around and enjoy some local wines and cheese in one of the small restaurants.
You can stay in the old city of Ragusa, but if you prefer a refreshing swim in the sea Pozallo is a great place to spend the night. Next to the beach and close to Ragusa.
Best Places to Stay in Ragusa (Old Town)
When you decide to stay in the old town of Ragusa, you’re best options are:
- B&B CARRUBBELLE
Great views over the old town from the terrace at this B&B. They get a review score of 9.7!
- Intervallo Guest House
You’ll find many great places to stay, but Intervallo Guest House gets even better reviews than Carrubelle. Travelers who are staying here saying they have the best views from the terrace and their rooms.
Best Places to Stay in Pozallo
When you want to stay at the beach, we recommend staying in Pozallo. The best accommodations in Pozallo are:
This is actually an apartment which you can rent. Next to the beach, with a big garden. Perfect for relaxing!
- Sikania Suite
A relatively new Bed & Breakfast, in a historical building. Close to the beach and in the center of Pazolla. They get a review score of 9.1
Day 5: Noto, Syracuse
This day is a short drive. Stopover in Noto and staying in Syracuse. A total of 56 miles (90 kilometers), will take in you in around 2 hours to the final destination of this day. So you can relax in the morning, and maybe head to Pozallo for a refreshing dive when you stayed in the old center of Ragusa. Go easy on the breakfast though, the first stop of the day includes some of the best ice creams in Italy.
First stop today is Noto, about halfway on the route. A small old city is known for its baroque-style cathedral. It’s worth a visit while you’re in Noto. But before or after your sightseeing, make sure to go to Café Sicilia. A small café, with some of the best gelato in Italy. Café Sicilia is a family business since 1892, many Italians (even when they’re not from Sicily) recommending this place.
After you enjoyed some of the best Italian ice creams, you’ll drive to Syracuse. This ancient coastal city is known for its Archaeological park with an ancient Roman amphitheater. It is a beautiful city to spend a half-day or more sightseeing. And you can find great spots on the beach to relax.
Some of the best things to see in Syracuse are:
- Ear of Dionysius
Limestone cave, shaped in the form of a human ear
- Fountain of Arethusa
Natural fountain in the middle of the historical center
- Cathedral of Syracuse
Built on the place where the original Greek Temple of Athena was, this place dates back 5th century BC
You’ll also find Fontane Beach in Syracuse, known as one of the best beaches in Sicily. Fontane beach is a long white sandy beach with turquoise water. Perfect for relaxing, swimming, and snorkeling.
Best places to stay in Syracuse
There are a lot of fantastic accommodations to find in Syracuse. We recommend these two, simply because they’re walking distance to the beach and getting the best customer reviews.
- Hotel Parco Delle Fontane
A 4-star hotel, every booking is including breakfast. They also have a big swimming pool, which is a nice extra. Their review score is 9.1
Prometeo gets a 9.7 overall customer rating. They even score a 10 when it comes to hygiëne! Perfect place to stay, in the middle of the center of Syracuse, and walking distance to the beach.
Day 6: Syracuse, Catania
Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and renowned for its beautiful cathedra land squares. It is an ancient port city. Since the Greeks discovered the island around the 8th century BC, it was an important city for trade.
Nowadays it is great to walk around the city and explore the old buildings, cathedrals and food markets. The city is only an hour drive from Syracuse, so quickly to reach. Catania is also known for its beaches, a few kilometers south of the city. There are many beaches to find where you can relax, and each has its own style in terms of bars and restaurants. Every beach is excellent for swimming and spending some time in the sun. Lido Azzuro is probably the best known sandy beach near Catania.
A few of the landmarks in Catania are:
- Piazza Duomo
- Basilica Cathedral Sant’Agata
- Benedictine Monastery
- Castello Ursino
We recommend spending more time on the beach this day. At least not walking all day long through the city. The next day in this itinerary is a tour to Mount Etna, which contains a lot of walking.
Best Places to Stay in Catania
You’ll stay 2 nights at this accommodation because the next day a guided tour to Mount Etna is on the itinerary.
- B&B Oblò
It is probably the best place to stay in Catania. Their review score is 10! Small but splendid clean rooms. Around 1200 meters from the Piazza Duomo.
- B&B Sciara Larmisi
Second best you can choose in Catania. And that’s only because they score a 9.8, which is still amazing!
I actually prefer Sciara Larmisi over Oblò, because their rooms are bigger and the location is more central.
Day 7: Mount Etna
Mount Etna, the biggest and most active volcano of Europe, it is a must-visit when you’re at Sicily. There are several ways to visit this volcano. You can drive with your own car to Rifugio Sapienza, the highest point where you can go using your own car. From there you need to take a cable car to go further up. Or you can go hiking of course, but it is a long hike starting at Rifugio Sapienza.
We recommend leaving your car in Catania at the place you’re staying and book a complete tour to Mount Etna. It is maybe a bit more expensive, but it is much more comfortable. Many companies are organizing guided tours to Mount Etna. They pick you up from your hotel and at the end of the day, bring you back.
Depending on your fitness level and interests, you can choose a guided tour (check the latest offers at GetYourGuide). We always use GetYourGuide when booking a tour in advance. Our experience with them is excellent, they have a lot of different options where you can choose from which we like.
A tour to Mount Etna will probably take up the whole day. Most guided tours pick you up in the morning. Late afternoon or the beginning of the evening you’ll be back at your hotel.
Day 8: Taormina
About one hour drive from Catania, going north, you’ll reach Taormina. A small hilltop town overlooking the Ionian Sea on one side, and Mount Etna from the other side.
Taormina is best known for Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greek theater built in the 3rd century BC.
The theater is still in use today, you can watch several opera’s and plays at the theater during the summer months. So if there’s a play while you’re visiting, we would recommend going! Even if you don’t like the music, or when the theater is not really your thing. It is worth it! The vibe in these theaters is impressive!
You can check for tickets and the latest information on the theater’s website.
There’s much more to do in Taormina. It is beautiful to walk around the old town and explore all the ancient buildings. At night it feels like walking in a fairytale.
Make sure to visit Isola Bella, a small island in the bay of Taormina. Also known as ‘the pearl of the Ionian Sea.’
Some other important landmarks in Taormina are:
- Piazza IX Aprile
The main square in Taormina, with a great atmosphere and beautiful buildings.
- Porta Messina
Ancient leftovers of the fortification wall
- Villa Communale Di Taormina
Traditional gardens with a beautiful sea view
When you somehow didn’t try traditional Sicilian food, Taormina is a great place to have a traditional dinner.
- La Bottega del Formaggio is a small restaurant in the center of Taormina. It looks like a little cheese shop, but you can have lunch or dinner here as well. We recommend to go here for lunch, you’ll have a fantastic local experience. The restaurant scores #1 at Tripadvisor!
- Villa Carlotta Restaurant is also an excellent place for dinner. When you’re looking for a romantic place to have dinner, with a great sea view. This is the place I can recommend! I’m not a fish lover myself, but according to the reviews at TripAdvisor, their traditional swordfish dish is some of the best you’ll find in Sicily
I wrote this article about the famous Sicilian cuisine. It also contains a lot of recommended restaurants. Make sure to check it out before traveling to Sicily.
Best places to stay in Taormina
- B&B Elegance
This Bed and Breakfast is located in the middle of Taormina center. It is recommended on Booking.com for both couples and families. They get a review score of 9.8! The accommodation is in a historical building but completely renovated on the inside.
- Hotel Villa Belvedere
When you’re looking for a beautiful hotel with rooms overlooking the Ionian Sea, you must book a room at the 4-star Hotel Villa Belvedere. They get a review score of 9.4, so you can’t go wrong here.
Day 9: Cefalù
The drive to Cefalù is about 2,5 hours. There are actually two roads you can take while leaving from Taormina. When you want to stay on the coast, you’ll take the SS114 to Messina. From there you turn up to the SS113 to Cefalù.
However, we recommend going more inland this time. During the last days, you drove alongside many coastal roads. The inland of Sicily is also beautiful to explore. From Taormina take the SS185 in northern direction. When you reach Tonnarella, turn up west to the SS113 to Cefalù.
Both routes will take up around 2 hours without any stops.
Cefalù is known for its Norman cathedral, which looks like a fortress. Two towers on each side of the entrance give the cathedral a unique and robust look. The Norman Fortress was built in the 12th century. Cefalù is a beautiful town to explore, with its many historical buildings, small streets, and squares.
Cefalu has some fantastic beaches with crystal clear water. And on this side of the island, you’ll enjoy beautiful sunsets at the beach. We recommend going to Spiaggia di Mazzaforno.
Best places to stay in Cefalù
- Madonie Holidays
This is an apartment building in the middle of the center, where you can book an apartment for yourself. They get a 9.4 review score. The best choice if you’re looking for a central location in Cefalù.
- Royal Sea House
Located 50 meters from the beach, a great place to spend your last day in Sicily. They get a review score of 9.5. Deluxe apartments with beautiful views over the sea.
Day 10: Palermo (return flight or ferry)
Depending on what you planned to leave the island, you either need to go directly to the airport or ferry, or you can enjoy your last hours in Sicily a little longer.
The drive from Cefalù to Palermo is about 1 hour. So when you leave early in the morning, we recommend staying in Palermo the day before. You can drive after the sunset in Cefalù to Palermo, for example.
When you have some more time, you can hop in Palermo for a second time and enjoy the biggest city of Sicily for a few extra hours. Maybe buy some local souvenirs at one the renowned Palermo markets.
How to Get around using Public Transport?
When you don’t want to rent a car for traveling around Sicily, your other option is using public transport. Which in Sicily is straightforward to do.
The main public transport in Sicily is the train network and local buses. The train network covers the northern and eastern part of the island. Buses driving in the cities, and also to most villages inland.
Getting around by Train
The Trains are running from Palermo to Syracuse, via Messina and Catania. Almost every city along this coastline has a train station.
There is no train service on the western, southern, and inland part of the island. This part is served via buses.
The Italian train company is Tren Italia, their website is also in English, with all the latest departure information. The information changes daily. When you are using their site to plan a trip, the name of the stations is still in Italian. So sometimes that can be a bit confusing.
Fun Fact:You can also take a train from the mainland of Italy to Sicily. The train just goes on the ferry and follow its route after entering the island!
Getting around by Bus
There are many bus connections in Sicily. Basically, there are three different types of buses. City-bus, Airport bus, and none-city Bus.
The bus company in Sicily is AST Azienda Sicilia Transporti (The Sicilian Transport Company). Their website is in Italian, so not easy to use. But you can find some information about different routes, lines, and timetables. However, these can change very often, so we would recommend figuring it out when you’re in Sicily. This way, you’ll always have the latest information.
Airport buses are running several times an hour from airports to cities and Visa Versa. It is straightforward to use these. You don’t need to plan ahead and just follow the signs at the airport after your arrival when you want to take a bus.
Taxi’s and other public transport
You’ll find a lot of taxi’s in Sicily, especially within the cities. Of course, you can take a taxi if you like, but we recommend to skip them if you can. The most highlights in a city are within walking distance. And it is straightforward to take a bus when you’re done walking. Saves you a lot of money as well 😉
You’ll also find a lot of Tuk-Tuk’s (those little Asian taxi’s) driving around the cities. It is fun to jump in a Tuk-Tuk and let the driver bring you to your destination, however, they’re expensive. The Tuk-Tuk drivers charge way more than a bus ticket.
For comparison, a regular bus ticket in the city is maximum € 2,-. A Tuk Tuk driver can quickly charge you € 25,- for the same distance.
How to shorten this Itinerary
When you’re visiting Sicily, but have less time than 10 days you can’t visit everything we put in the Itinerary above. So we made these two variations for this Itinerary, where we left out some things to do or combined some activities.
We still used the basic idea of a roundtrip at the island.
Sicily Itinerary 1 week (7 days)
- Day 1: Palermo
- Day 2: Marsala, Agrigento, Valley of Temples
- Day 3: Ragusa, Noto, Syracuse
- Day 4: Catania, Mount Etna, Catania
- Day 5: Taormina
- Day 6: Cefalù / Palermo
- Day 7: Departure from Palermo
Sicily Itinerary 4 days
Four days to visit the island is short, but it is the minimum amount of days we recommend. You still can explore a lot of the island, but need to make some choices. We recommend planning your departure as late as possible on the fourth day, or even early morning on the fifth day. This way, you can get the most out of your time in Sicily.
So we made an option where you take a guided tour to Mount Etna, which will take up one whole day. And an option where you visit Mount Etna with your own car, which will save you a lot of time. We recommend this when you only have four days on the island.
Sicily Itinerary 4 days – with guided Mount Etna Tour
- Day 1: Palermo
- Day 2: Agrigento; Valley of Temples, Syracuse
- Day 3: Guided Mount Etna Tour from Catania or Taormina
- Day 4: Palermo (Departure at night)
Sicily Itinerary 4 days – without guided Mount Etna Tour
- Day 1: Palermo
- Day 2: Agrigento; Valley of Temples, Syracuse
- Day 3: Catania, Mount Etna visit (drive to Rifugio Sapienza, and enjoy the views from there), Taormina
- Day 4: Palermo (Departure at night)
Another tip is to plan your departure from another city in Sicily. Catania also has an international airport, or when you go back to the mainland, you can take the ferry from Messina, which might be easier and quicker when you have lesser time.
Extending the Itinerary
When you’re staying longer in Sicily, you’ve several options to extend this itinerary.
We recommend you to stay longer in several places. Palermo, Agrigento (Valley of Temples), Syracuse, and Taormina are places where you can easily spend more time then just 1 day.
You can also add some more activities to your itinerary. There are several small islands around Sicily which are great to visit. I wrote this article about the Italian islands, which also contains information about the neighboring island of Sicily.
Closeby Sicily there’s also another active volcano which you can visit, Stromboli is a small island which you can reach in a few hours with a ferry. When you love to go hiking, visiting Stromboli is a great thing to do. Also, there are many hikes you can do in Sicily. A lot of them are around Mount Etna. You can read about the different opportunities in our article about Mount Etna.
When you still need to book your trip to Sicily, make sure to use our helpful recommendations.