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9 Best Things to do in Sicily for Grown Ups

I have travelled to Italy quite a few times and it is in my top 5 of all countries in the world. I think Sicily maybe my favourite part of Italy. Possibly because of the amount of amazing food and wine there.

I do think Sicily Italy has been my favourite food destination ever – driven my being able to have ricotta at every meal and then finishing most meals with cannoli. There are lots of lists of the best things to do in Sicily that cover the typical Sicily attractions.

Here are my 9 unique things to do in Sicily.

things to do in sicily - explore the lovely golden coloured houses of taormina
Golden houses of Taormina

9 Unique Things to do in Sicily

1. Stay at Hotel Gutkowski in Syracuse

Hotel Gutkowski is a fantastic find. It is very reasonably priced at 110 pounds for a double it is beautifully minimalist. The location is fantastic – just on the edge of lovely Ortygia and across from the waterfront.

The restaurant at this hotel in Sicily has a great restaurant where you can get dinner and a fab breakfast. The Hotel Gutkowski breakfast was the highlight of the breakfasts on my Sicily trip.

Super fresh local ingredients – tomatoes to die for, freshly boiled eggs, amazing juice and great coffee.

the waterfront in syracuse sicily italy
The waterfront in Syracuse

The rooms at Hotel Gutkowski Sicily are lovely – minimalists and clean and as I was there in August I particularly appreciated the fantastic air conditioning.

This Syracuse hotel has a great terrace where they serve Granite in the afternoon. I would highly recommend heading to some of the foodie/deli shops nearby and grabbing some local wine and cheese and meat and having pre-dinner drinks on the terrace – it is lovely.

The staff at this hotel in Sicily are very friendly and were very helpful in organizing transfers, walking tour options, Sicily tours and trips. And lovely Syracuse is a UNESCO world heritage site as well.

Read more reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

2. Go shopping in Taormina

One of the top 10 things to do in Sicily is to go shopping. Taormina is definitely the place to go shopping in Sicily. It has a fantastic mix of classic Italian names you know like Furla and Coccinelle and super cute local stores filled with handmade shoes and handbags.

The Taormina main street is really one of the best places to visit in Sicily – I didn’t find as many good stores in the back streets. Handbags and purses are the things to buy in Taormina Sicily.

My favourite was Serapian where I got a stunning matching handbag and purse. The upside of visiting Taormina Italy in the heat of August was that there were quite a few sales on.

There are also many places to stock up on tasty Sicilian food products such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Find out more about Taormina in my post about Where to Stay in Sicily.

concrete steps with I love taormina tiles
Taormina is ridiculously photogenic

3. Take an Early Evening Stroll

One of my favourite things to see in Sicily is the nightly promenade. I love how the Italians frock up and look fantastic – immaculately groomed and tailored and with such attitude. They seem to treat the main streets like a catwalk – and it is all ages.

Plan your trip with my Sicily Itinerary

4. Eat Ricotta and Cannoli

plate with cannoli and pistachio
Ah cannoli

Oh my gosh the ricotta in Sicily. I made it a goal to have ricotta at every main meal and I did pretty well in delivering.

Hotel Gutkowski will help you get started with fresh ricotta on the breakfast buffet. Try it with some of the fresh honey and mix it up with some eggs.

Then at lunch try it on pizza with some Sicilian aubergine – fantastic combination.

Dinner means ricotta cannoli – one of the best things that I have ever eaten. The food is amazing in Sicily – it is one of the best food places I have ever been. But don’t limit yourself.

Make sure you have every possible flavour of cannoli – chocolate, vanilla, pistachio. It is a genuine tourist experience so don’t be shy. When it comes to things to do in Syracuse Sicily eating the local Cannoli should be high on your list.

For another off the beaten track great foodie destination in Europe check out my post on 9 Foodie Things to do in Latvia

5. Climb Mt Etna

Mt Etna is stunning and definitely, a Sicily must-see. I originally planned to climb Mt Etna Sicily – however, the August weather put me off. Having said that I had of course forgotten that you start the climb quite a bit above sea level where it was much cooler and this would have been fine.

Indeed I saw many people climbing from the cable car. However, it Mt Etna very steep and the scenery quite same same so not sure how interesting a trek it would have been.

⇒ Planning a trip to Gran Canaria? Read my posts on the Best Things to do in Maspalomas and the Gran Canaria Markets and Gran Canaria Excursions Not to Miss.

colourful table with honey for sale and sunflowers
stalls on the way to Mt Etna base camp

Anyway, whether you climb Mt Etna or not it is still one of the top sights in Sicily and one of the major Sicily tourist attractions. The bus took me up to the base of Mt Etna with a stop for Sicilian food products on the way.

Once there you take a cable car and then a small bus up to the summit. From here you can wander the summit on your own.

Another great area to visit in Southern Italy is Puglia. Check out my post on the 7 Best Places to Visit in Puglia

people in the distance climbing up a dark mount etna sicily
The top of Mt Etna

Mt Etna is quite stunning. The summit itself is an unusual and very photogenic landscape. There are also some fantastic views over Sicily.

The Mt Etna hike from the top is very light physically – just wear fairly sensible shoes. After checking out the summit you then head back down the same way. I was back at the main bus station in Taormina by mid-afternoon.

Montepulciano is one of Italy’s great wine districts – read all about it in my post on 12 Great Wineries in Montepulciano and my post on 7 gorgeous Tuscany Boutique Hotels

people walking on the top of Mount Etna sicily
Mt Etna

Book your Mount Etna Tour

6. Take a Boat trip to Stromboli

Boat Trips are number one Sicily points of interest when it comes to what to do on the Aeolian Islands. You can visit all the islands, you can hop on the main ferry, you can pretty much go anywhere – again spoilt for choice is the theme of the Aeolian Islands Sicily.

I had recently done a full-day boat trip in Corsica which was rather crowded so was in the mood for something that wasn’t a 9-5 commitment with 100 other people.

We wanted to go mid-afternoon, to just go to Stromboli, and of course to be able to have some wine. We headed down to the Malfa port and just asked around.

The boat trip prices for the Aeolian Islands weren’t cheap but we were in a group of 4 so we could split things (was about 280 euros). When it comes to the best beaches in Sicily I was keen to see the black beaches of Stromboli.

We headed out mid-afternoon. Going to Stromboli means you get to sail past some of the other islands. We stopped on the coast of Stromboli Sicily and jumped off the boat into some of the loveliest clearest water I have ever swum in.

The boat took us to Stromboli about one hour before sunset. We saw its startling black beaches, the home of Dolce and Gabbana was pointed out to us (very important) and we got to have a wander around stromboli which is lovely. And of course, we had a cocktail before returning to the boat.

⇒ Read all about Paxos Greece as well as the best Paxos restaurants and Paxos beaches. Or find out how to get from Santorini to Ios, the best things to do in Ios and a complete guide to Mylopotas Beach. And don’t miss 11 Famous Greek Landmarks, 13 Best Halkidiki Beaches, 27 Fantastic Things to do in Thessaloniki, 37 Fascinating Facts About Greece, 13 Most Beautiful Islands in Greece and my 10 Days in Greece Itinerary.

harbour on Malfa island aeolian islands sicily
Where to find a boat on Malfa

Once back on the boat dinner was served – very impressive to serve pasta on such a small boat. Oh, and of course we had some wine.

We then settled in to watch the volcano bubbling away. It was a bit difficult to see but we did see something.

As we visited the Aeolian Islands in August and it was very hot I had decided against climbing to the top of the volcano (there are many day trips that offer this from Salina). I was then quite jealous of the head torches I could see as we were in our boat.

If the weather was cooler I think this would be a great thing to do. When it comes to where to go in Sicily, Stromboli is one of the highlights.

an aeolian island seen from a boat with clouds on top
The stunning Aeolian Islands

We were back in port and a quick stroll to the hotel by about 10 pm – a lovely lovely experience.

Book your Aeolian Islands Boat Trip

7. Eat at Hotel Signum in Malfa

I ended up eating at Hotel Signum twice. First was a bit of a lunch recce visit to check out this Aeolian Islands hotel – and it looked amazing and did a mean simple lunch.

So we all headed back for a big 3-course dinner extravaganza at Hotel Signum and it was fantastic.

The atmosphere at this Aeolian Islands restaurant is wonderful – we sat outside and it is quite magical. The service as fantastic – we ended up Facebook friends with the manager!

The food at Hotel Signum was amazing – simple wonderful clean flavours. However, the highlight was the Malvasia wine. I had been dying to try this famous dessert wine since arriving on Salina. This was the place to do it.

There was almost a ceremony in the pouring of the Malvasia wine and it was absolutely delicious! Do not leave the Aeolian Islands without trying this wonderful dessert wine.

If you’re looking for another beautiful place to visit in Italy you’ll enjoy my post on 14 instagrammable things to do in Rimini and around Rimini

close up of desert wine in a glass
Malvasia wine at Hotel Signum

8. Have a Granite in Lingua 

Lingua is a tiny town on the island of Salina. There is a bus that goes around the island and leaves once an hour so we hopped on this for the scenic 30 minute trip to Lingua from Malfa.

I have to say there isn’t a lot in Lingua Sicily – a cute little waterfront that is worth a stroll. But we had heard all about the famous Granite so we, of course, had to go and it was fantastic.

There were SO many flavours. Again the first world problem of too many fantastic options in the Aeolian Islands reared its head.

⇒ Planning a trip to Turkey? Read my Istanbul 3 Day Itinerary, Gallipoli tours from Istanbul, 7 Day Turkey Itinerary and 3 Day Cappadocia Itinerary.

sign for different flavours of granite
The famous granite of Lingua

⇒ Lanzarote is in Spain’s Canary Islands. Read about the 14 Things to do on Lanzarote you must not miss and the Best Place to Stay in Lanzarote – and don’t miss my post on 12 Beautiful Spain Famous Landmarks.

9. Have a sunset drink at the Hotel Santa Isabel terrace bar 

orange sunset sky seen from salina aeolian island sicily
Stunning sunset on Salina

When it comes to what to see in Sicily a sunset is key – and this is THE bar to go to for a sunset drink. The view from the bar at Hotel Santa Isabel Malfa is absolutely stunning.

It is a lovely outdoor bar with cocktails and a nice wine list. And best of all they put on some very tasty snacks. It is usually quite busy at this Malfa bar but you should still score a seat – definitely the place to go and watch the sun come down in the Aeolian Islands. The perfect final activity of anyone’s Sicily holidays.

Click here for the latest prices and availability for Hotel Santa Isabel

More Boutique Hotels in Sicily

Sicily has quite a few gorgeous boutique hotels in addition to the two I have already mentioned: Another great option on the waterfront in Syracuse is Approdo Delle Sirene. 

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Stay in lovely nearby Noto at the Gagliardi Boutique Hotel.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

On Salina in the Aeolian Islands, you can stay in an old lighthouse set in a winery at Capofaro

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

In Taormina stay in a turn of the century villa carved into the cliffs at Villa Carlotta

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

For a more lavish experience in Taormina check out or the grand villa at The Ashbee Hotel

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

And don’t miss my complete blog post on 8 Charming Sicily Boutique Hotels.

The view from Hotel Villa Angela taormina
The view from Hotel Villa Angela

Getting to Sicily and Getting Around

To access all of the above cities the most convenient airport is CataniaPalermo is on the other side of the island but if you want to hire a car it is also an option. Check out cheap flights to both here:

Flights to Catania

Flights to Palermo

Organise an airport pick up

I highly recommend hiring a car whilst in Sicily to get around. And if you’re already in Italy did you know you can also get a train to Sicily?

Sicily Tourism & Tours

If you’re looking for some serious adrenaline check out these Activities to do in Sicily from Adrenaline Hunter.

If you’re travelling solo why not check out these organised tour options:

Just You Holidays Sicily

Exodus Holidays Sicily

Explore Holidays Sicily

G Adventures Sicily

⇒ If you like beautiful European towns check out my posts on Saint Antonin Noble Val and Tarn et Garonne in France, 30 Famous Landmarks in France, 25 Famous Paris Monuments, 37 Fascinating Facts About Paris, 32 Most Beautiful Cities in France, What is France Famous For? 33 French Icons, Best Hotels in Paris with a View, 10 Beautiful Bridges in France, 35 Things to do in Bordeaux, 15 Highlights of the South West of France, 10 Beautiful Lakes in France and the 6 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Paris

Who Paid for What in this Post

I covered all of the costs associated with this post. This things to do in Sicily post does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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Ray Clifford

Thursday 20th of February 2020

Completely loved the blog! Those who think that Sicily is all about Mafia and its guns must clear their cobwebs. You can climb mountains, enjoy boat ride, shop till you drop and just explore the city walking!

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 21st of February 2020

thank you! Yes the mafia cliches are rather out of date now! It is a wonderful place - I am heading back there next month!


Saturday 3rd of June 2017

Next time try ti visit Cefalù: a mediterranean Pearl.!

Lesley Dunn

Friday 19th of May 2017

Thanks for the hotel recommendations in Sicily. Planning a trip there next year and will definitely take them up!

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