I have traveled to Italy quite a few times, and it is in my top 5 of all countries in the world. I think Sicily may be my favorite part of Italy. Possibly because of the amount of amazing food and wine there.
I have visited both the eastern and western sides of the island and would be hard-pressed to choose between them. From the many delicious food experiences to Mt Etna to boat trips with spectacular scenery to the local wine, there are so many fantastic things to do in Sicily.
Here are my 31 unique things to do in Sicily.
31 Unique Things to do in Sicily
Table of Contents
- 31 Unique Things to do in Sicily
- Western Sicily
- 1. Walk the streets of the Trapani Old Town and port
- 2. Visit the Cathedral of San Lorenzo
- 3. Eat Fish Couscous in Trapani
- 4. Watch the sunset in Trapani
- 5. Visit Trapani Salt Pans
- 6. See UNESCO-listed Coral Art
- 7. Eat Lobster Sicilian style
- 8. Take the cable car up to Erice
- 9. Visit the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture
- 10. See Erice Castle and Turret
- 11. Attend a Sicilian Wine Tasting
- 12. Experience Sicilian life from the early 20th century at Mangiapane Caves in Custonaci
- 13. Marvel at the Views from Custonaci Marble Quarry
- 14. Take a Cooking Class with a Local
- 15. Have an olive oil tour and tasting
- 16. Have dinner at a Baglio
- 17. Experience all things tuna on Favignana
- 18. Have a beach day on Favignana
- 19. Take a boat trip around the Zingaro Reserve
- 20. Hit the beach or stay at Tonnara di Scopello
- 21. Learn how art saved Gibellina at the MAC contemporary museum
- 22. Admire Montagna di Sale
- 23. Be Moved at Grande Cretto
- 24. Visit the birthplace of Italy
- 25. See where North Africa intersects with Italy in Mazara Del Vallo
- 26. Eat Red prawns in Mazara del Vallo at L’Antica Sicilia
- Eastern Sicily
- 27. Go shopping in Taormina
- 28. Climb Mt Etna
- 29. Take a Boat trip to Stromboli
- 30. Have a sunset drink at the Hotel Santa Isabel terrace bar on Malfa
- 31. Take a day trip to Noto
- Boutique Hotels in Sicily
- 1. Hotel Gutkowski in Syracuse
- 2. Hotel Villa Angela in Taormina
- 3. Five Place Hotel in Trapani
- 4. I Pretti Resort on Favignana
- Getting to Sicily and Getting Around
- Who Paid for What in this Post
1. Walk the streets of the Trapani Old Town and port
The lovely town of Trapani has the Mediterranean sea on one side and the Tyrrhenian sea on the other. It is known as the city of wind and sailors departed all over the world from Trapani. It has the second biggest port in Sicily after Palermo.
It is possible to walk along the walls of Trapani and explore the entire port area and get some great views. Ligny Tower is at the tip. This coastal watchtower was built between 1671 and 1672 and is an archeological museum today.
The old town is pedestrianized and full of beautiful old buildings, arches, churches, wonderful restaurants, and food stores.
2. Visit the Cathedral of San Lorenzo
Trapani’s main cathedral is located on one of the main streets of the old town. It’s an attractive baroque building in pale colors but the real wow is the inside. The high ceiling is ornately decorated and in excellent condition.
3. Eat Fish Couscous in Trapani
Trapani’s most famous dish is fish couscous. North Africa meets Sicilian seafood in this delicious dish. And the place to eat fish couscous is Cantina Siciliana which has won many awards and is best known for its fish couscous.
We were looking enough to experience a fish couscous cooking demonstration with Pino Maggiore, the owner of Cantina Siciliana since 1980. The fish couscous was as delicious as promised and even better washed down with a glass of Fondo Antico Sicilian Chardonnay.
4. Watch the sunset in Trapani
Trapani’s coastal location in Western Sicily gives it some fantastic sunset views. Head down Via Carolina in the direction of Torre di Ligny. Across the road from Caffe Ligny is one of the best-known places in Trapani to watch the sunset over the Egadi islands.
Or head back up Via Carolina (which becomes Corso Vittorio Emanuele) and take a left out of Porta Delle Botteghelle and head for the water and some great photos. And next up in this list is another great spot to watch the Trapani sunset.
5. Visit Trapani Salt Pans
Back in 1863, two years before Italian Unification, all of the town of Trapani was a salt pan. Today 1000 hectares of salt pans, a 15-minute drive from the heart of the city of Trapani, are now a nature reserve and home to 230 different bird species and 1100 flamingoes that appear in the afternoon.
Trapani still exports salt to 34 countries and it is collected by hand. They stopped using the beautiful windmills after World War Two as new technologies became available. However, they are still in place today to add to the unique landscape.
It is possible to drive and walk around the salt pans. The heart of the salt pans is the salt museum with a windmill on its roof – and some great views over the salt pans. The downstairs museum tells the history of salt in Trapani and also covers its famous red garlic production (red garlic is 3 times stronger than normal garlic).
Of course, you will find several people ready and willing to sell you some salt products from the region.
Do try to visit the Trapani salt pans around sunset. The salt museum offers fantastic views of the setting sun and the light that appears around, and on the salt pans are like some amazing Instagram filter.
6. See UNESCO-listed Coral Art
Did you know that in addition to buildings and nature UNESCO also has world heritage designations for unique craft styles? From the front Rosso Corallo looks like a normal jewelry shop featuring coral. But when you enter and head down the back of the store, you’ll find a small almost museum that contains extraordinary works of art created with coral by Platimiro Fiorenza.
Platimiro Fiorenza. has created scenes from different times in West Sicilian history out of coral. There are also nativity scenes in coral, talismans crafted out of coral, the famous red prawns of the area, an amazing collaboration with Fendi for a coral handbag and even a coral crown worth 80,000 euros that I nearly dropped.
The store has been in Fiorenza’s family since 1921. It also sells some lovely jewelry at a range of prices. I bought some coral flower earrings and have been loving them.
7. Eat Lobster Sicilian style
Tentazioni di Gusto is a seafood restaurant a stone’s throw from the Five Place hotel in Trapani. Lobster Sicilian style means the lobster meat has been covered in bread crumb and fresh lemon and it is delicious. It isn’t cheap but justify it as a uniquely Sicilian experience.
8. Take the cable car up to Erice
Erice is a beautiful mountaintop town seven kilometers from Trapani. Hop on the cable car to get up there and experience some fantastic views on the short ride. However, don’t get your hopes up that there will be outstanding visibility, as Trapani is almost always partially covered in some type of fog. I found the fog to be very photogenic.
There are three entrances to Erice, each with its own gate, and all of them will take visitors to its charming old town. This is a town that is made for wandering with its medieval meandering paved streets, many churches, religious figurines and cute shops and restaurants. The town is also known for its many secret terraces that can be viewed through the wrought iron gates of some of the houses.
If you’re looking to head home with Sicilian food and/or handicrafts, Erice is the place to go. There are loads of quaint stores filled with all things Sicilian. I was particularly impressed by Erice’s outstanding patisserie-style shops with what seemed like thousands of colorful sweet treats.
Check out Pasticceria de Michele and its photogenic ceramic tables and chairs. Many stores also sell handmade crafts, particularly ceramics and colorful woven rugs. Head to Ledacrea for hand made ceramics by locals.
9. Visit the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture
In addition to its amazing sweets, Erice is also well known for science. Virtually every Nobel Prize scientific winner has spent some time at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture. It was visited by the pope and was where Russian and US scientists were brought together in 1985.
The center also offers an outstanding view of the Ricci Valley and down to Trapani, which is not to be missed.
10. See Erice Castle and Turret
Erice has both a castle, Castello di Venere (Castle of Venus) and a turret, Torretta Pepoli. The Castle of Venus is the “main” castle that sits at the very top of Erice and dates back to Norman times. Torretta Pepoli is a tower that sits below the Castle of Venus.
Torretta Pepoli was built between 1872 and 1880 and is very beautiful. The Castle of Venus offers many fantastic views over the region but one of the most attractive views is the one that includes the Torretta Pepoli.
11. Attend a Sicilian Wine Tasting
I love my wine and was keen to try the wine of Sicily. A great place to taste Sicilian wine is Strada del Vino Erice. This tasting store/bar is located on the walk down the mountain from Erice (take the cable car up and then walked down). Erice has its own DCO that covers 3000 hectares of vineyards. Five major vineyards are authorized to produce wine, according to the DOC.
At Strada del Vino Erice, we could try five Sicilian wines and enjoy some delicious snacks from just 15 euros. The meats and cheeses served are all local and quite delicious. Plus, there was amazing olive oil and endless amounts of bread.
As you would expect in a warm climate, both the white and red wines in Sicily tend to be quite light, particularly the whites. I particularly enjoyed the late harvest Grillo sweet wine served with a Genovese pastry filled with cream made from a top-secret recipe guarded by monks.
12. Experience Sicilian life from the early 20th century at Mangiapane Caves in Custonaci
The Mangiapane caves in Custonaci offer the chance to see how Sicilian families lived and worked in another time. It has been created as a sort of folk museum but is also a working farm. Four core families lived in and around the caves before World War Two but the last full-time resident left in 1959.
In the early 1980s, a local church had the idea to hold its nativity play in the caves. As they had been overrun by nature and animals for 20 years, quite a lot of work needed to be done. The church still holds the nativity play every year at the caves, even though it is now a museum.
There are lots of cute animals around the cave, including donkeys, ducks, peacocks, roosters and goats. Visitors can see the old mills used to press olives for olive oil. Few things went to waste, and left over olive leaves were used to make things like brooms and seats.
Near the mouth of the cave are several old buildings which recreate the stores which would have been in that location at the time.
13. Marvel at the Views from Custonaci Marble Quarry
I don’t think I have ever visited a quarry as a tourist attraction before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The quarry in Custonaci is the second biggest in Europe for marble. The quarry itself is 700 million years old.
Custonaci’s marble is exported worldwide and used for everything from buildings to sculptures. The quarry will celebrate 100 years in 2023, and it was started by the current owner’s great great grandfather.
Tours of the quarry can be organized through this local tour company. I recommend visiting the quarry in the late afternoon as the light is stunning on the rocks and it is a perfect time of day to capture the amazing views over the area.
14. Take a Cooking Class with a Local
One of the highlights of my trip to Western Sicily was meeting the wonderful Maria. Maria runs a business that sends the amazing foods of Western Sicily worldwide. She and her family also host dinner parties as well as cooking classes. Maria’s passion for Sicily and expertise are evident, and she is a delight to be around.
I attended a cooking class that Maria’s brother led. While he did most of the hard work, we did have a quick turn at making pasta filled with ricotta and spring onions. We were then able to enjoy the fruits of our labor in a delicious beef broth.
When you visit Western Sicily, I highly recommend checking out Maria’s website likeitaliansdo.com and having a cooking class with the family or attending one of their dinner parties.
15. Have an olive oil tour and tasting
Olive oil has been made in Sicily for centuries, so where better to take a tour and learn how it is made? I visited Oleificio Mazzara in Buseto Palizzolo. We began by “picking” the olives, which is basically just shaking a branch gently so that the olives fall off.
We then saw the olives be transported to the factory where they were sorted, pressed and then turned into an olive juice which tastes absolutely dreadful. We were given the juice to taste in a shot glass, and I didn’t finish mine.
The olive oil tasting that followed was far more pleasant.
Oleificio Mazzara also makes some great Sicilian wine under the Quasale brand.
16. Have dinner at a Baglio
A Baglio is an old building in the countryside that often has a Morrocan-style open courtyard. We visited the lovely Baglio Fontana in Buseto Palizzolo. They are well known for their fantastic restaurant and the pasta they make in-house. Before dinner, there is an opportunity to join some local experts in learning how to make their signature pasta.
My dinner at Baglio Fontana was one of the best meals I had while in Sicily, and that is a very high bar. The restaurant itself feels like eating in someone’s farmhouse kitchen with a high wooden ceiling and visible beams and a tiled floor.
And oh my the caponata! I am mad about caponata; this was one of the tastiest I have ever enjoyed. Nearly as good were the grilled courgettes and toasted bread with tomatoes.
Next up was the signature pasta. It was served with aubergines and breadcrumbs and was outstanding.
It is also possible to stay at Fontana Baglio. It has a beautiful pool.
Find out more about staying at Fontana Baglio plus some other great places to stay in my post on 12 Charming Boutique Hotels in Sicily.
17. Experience all things tuna on Favignana
Western Sicily’s Egadi islands are very popular with Italians for holidays. Favignana is the largest of the islands. The island is a protected area and the town centre is mostly car free in the summer.
Favignana is most famous for tuna. When the Liberty Lines ferry pulls into Favignana, you will first see local fishermen selling the day’s catch upon exit. And the most famous catch around Favignana is tuna.
The tinned tuna industry around Western Sicily was developed by the Florio family. They built Villa Florio, meaning a small villa, on Favignana in 1878 and used it as their countryside home.
It is possible to take a tour of Villa Florio. There are some terrific black and white photos inside featuring a who’s who of 1920s society enjoying themselves on the island. And don’t miss the beautiful sea-themed stained glass windows and the harbor views from the upstairs terrace.
The Florio family also built a tuna factory in Favignana. I would never have thought of a tuna factory as an interesting place to visit, nor could I have imagined calling one beautiful, but Ex Stabilimento Florio Favignana is both fascinating and beautiful.
This is a factory made by Italians, and it is understandable why they sometimes hold weddings here. The first “room” to be visited on the tour stores the long, old tuna boats and has wrought iron gates made in Palermo, where it meets the sea.
The high ceilinged beautiful rooms exhibit boats, photography exhibitions, netting, and all things tuna. The nets for tuna fishing spread over a distance of 8 kilometers and there are many on display. If there were a church for tuna, this would be it.
My personal highlight of the tuna museum was all the displays of the old stylish packaging on tables. When the factory was operational, these are the tables where workers packed the tuna into tins and drizzled olive oil on top.
It is also possible to see the “wells” where the tuna was cooked outside the packing area, and the factory is also home to a small tortoise conservation project.
Ex Stabilimento Florio Favignana is open most days between 930 and 1330 and 1600 and 2000. Eight guided tours run each day.
By this point, you will most likely be craving tuna. It is a short walk back to the heart of Favignana’s old town, where Antonio Tammaro runs tuna tastings. Make sure you try the local specialty tuna rosso.
But don’t eat too much; you cannot miss having a tuna kebab from Tuna Fish City in the main square. The tasty bread roll overflows with seared tuna, tomatoes, onions, peppers and lettuce and is absolutely fantastic.
It only takes 30 minutes on Liberty Lines to get from Trapani to Favignana. Ferries run regularly between the two ports.
18. Have a beach day on Favignana
Spend the night in Favignana at Hotel Pretti and visit its beautiful beaches the next day. Favignana is a protected area, so its beaches are pristine and oh so clean. The best way to explore the island is to hire an e-bike. There are few cars on the island, so bicycles are the main form of transport.
It would be hard to go wrong when choosing a beach on Favignana, but we visited Cala Azzurra. There is a café on the main road to look after all your snacking needs. I highly recommend the granites. If you have time, Favignana is one of the loveliest places to stay in Sicily.
19. Take a boat trip around the Zingaro Reserve
Out of all the beautiful places to visit in Sicily, and there are many, the coastline from San Vito Le Capo east to Castellammare del Golfo may be the most beautiful and is best experienced from a boat.
Start your boat trip in San Vito Le Capo and head past the Bay of Venus. I recommend taking your cruise with Hippocampus. The cruise will then continue along the Zingaro Reserve. This seven-mile strip became a protected area in the early 1980s. Visitors can only enter the reserve on foot.
The views become even more stunning as the boat heads east toward the Tonnaro di Scopello Resort. The stacks of Scopello emerge from the water and make for stunning photographs. They are similar to the rocks of Capri, but uniquely these rocks have prickly pears growing on them. The stacks of Scopello have been used in many Italian movies and tv shows.
20. Hit the beach or stay at Tonnara di Scopello
Tonnara di Scopello looks more like a little town than a hotel with its cute colorful houses on the beach. This Sicily boutique hotel has two small beaches. One is for guests only, and non-guests can access the second for 15 euros per day (this includes a chair). Get there early as the queues for the non-guest beach get very long in the summer.
21. Learn how art saved Gibellina at the MAC contemporary museum
The MAC contemporary art museum is located in Gibellina. The old town of Gibellina was destroyed in 1968 by an earthquake, and much of the surrounding area was also damaged. The area’s people waited for funds from the Italian government to rebuild. Alas, they didn’t come.
The frustrated mayor of Gibellina, Ludovico Corrao, decided to do something about it. He invited 500 artists to the area and asked them to help recreate the New Gibellina through art. As the historic natural beauty had disappeared, he wanted to create a new type of beauty.
The Open-Air Museum section within the MAC contemporary art museum tells this story and has several small models of some of the sculptures that can be seen in the area. It is also home to permanent and temporary exhibitions.
22. Admire Montagna di Sale
The Baglio di Stefana in Gibellina or Fondazione Orestiadi is home to the Montagna di Sale.
The Montagna di Sale was designed in 1990 by Mimmo Paladin. It is a salt mountain made from cement, plastic, fiberglass and crushed stone and is a background to thirty horses made of wood. The work covers an area of 35 meters and is 10 meters high. It is quite spectacular.
The foundation is also home to many other interesting modern art pieces, including horses lying down in the courtyard and a Museum of Theatre. When I visited, the centerpiece of the Museum of Theatre was a Moroccan style sitting area with hundreds and hundreds of thin pipes and strings above it, and it was quite stunning.
23. Be Moved at Grande Cretto
The Grande Cretto is a work of land art. Completed in 2015, this piece of land art covers the area that was the old town of Gibellina. It measures 300 x 400 meters and comprises 122 blocks of concrete 1.6 meters high.
Gibellina’s old town was the epicenter of the earthquake and it was completely destroyed. The “slots” between the concrete blocks follow the streets of old Gibellina. Bodies are still buried under the concrete. This creates a unique environment that, in many ways, feels like visiting a cemetery and an art gallery.
Grande Cretto extends for 86,000 square meters and covers 12 hectares.
24. Visit the birthplace of Italy
On the 14th of May 1860, Garibaldi hung the three-color flag of Italy for the first time from the tower at the top of Salemi Castle. This represented Italy‘s unification, and Salemi’s hilltop town was the new country’s capital for all of one day.
Today it is possible to see some ruins in one of Salemi’s squares, many of which became that way after the Gibellina earthquake. Salemi Castle is quite beautiful and provides some excellent views over the town.
Salemi is considered the site of the ancient Greek city of Halicyae. Archeological excavations are still underway today.
25. See where North Africa intersects with Italy in Mazara Del Vallo
The small town of Mazara Del Vallo is only 200 miles from Africa, and it really feels like a place where the East meets the West. You’ll hear the call to prayer and see African-influenced street art, all while eating fantastic pasta and seeing the remains of a Jesuit College.
Start your visit to Mazara del Vallo with a visit to the Museum of the Dancing Satyr. It is said that this sculpture is more than 2500 years old. The left leg of the sculpture was found in the sea in 1997, and the torso in 1998. The sculpture was then painstakingly restored.
Visit the Jesuit College and see the beautiful cloisters that date back to 1672. Explore the ruins at Resti Della Chiesa Di San Ignazio.
Then experience the highlight of Mazara Del Vallo – wander the streets of the kasbah and experience the street art. You’ll see Renaissance-style paintings on garage doors, ceramics of cactus, modern art, art-topped benches, and even a street filled with blue and yellow lampshades (Garibaldi street). It is so pretty.
The most famous Instagram place in Mazara Del Vallo is the blue door on via Kalasa. It is one heck of a door as there are actually two blue doors (one on the first floor with a blue terrace) as well as ceramic tiles. It is very beautiful. It is also an actual house and people do live there. We were lucky enough to have a look inside, and the interior is just as ornate and beautiful.
In Mazara Dell Vallo, head to the town’s main square and Strada Del Vino to sample some fantastic Sicilian wines. They also have some wonderful olive oils and vinegars.
26. Eat Red prawns in Mazara del Vallo at L’Antica Sicilia
Western Sicily is known for its seafood, and each area has its specialties. In Mazara Del Vallo, their signature dish is red prawns. And I can’t imagine a better place to enjoy red prawns than L’Antica Sicilia. This delightful restaurant has the most wonderful courtyard in a small square lit up at night. It was a very special place to have dinner.
Onto the food – The red prawns are served raw with just fresh lemon and wow the flavors. We also tried white prawns served the same way. They were good but had nothing on the red prawns.
Next up was more pasta with, of course, more prawns and then local fish cooked in breadcrumbs. This was an amazing meal in a memorable location.
27. Go shopping in Taormina
Taormina is one of the best places 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 favorite 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.
There are also many places to stock up on tasty Sicilian food products such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
28. 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, Mt Etna is very steep and the scenery is quite same same, so I am not sure how interesting a trek it would have been.
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.
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 – 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.
29. Take a Boat trip to Stromboli
Boat Trips are one of the best ways to see the beautiful 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 go to Stromboli, and of course 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 (about 280 euros). Regarding 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 wander around Stromboli, which is lovely. And, of course, we had a cocktail before returning to the boat.
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 decided against climbing to the top of the volcano (many day trips 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. Regarding where to go in Sicily, Stromboli is one of the highlights.
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
30. Have a sunset drink at the Hotel Santa Isabel terrace bar on Malfa
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 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
31. Take a day trip to Noto
The beautiful little town of Noto is only 40km from Syracuse and is full of beautiful pale-colored buildings. The best thing to do in Noto Sicily is to wander its lovely streets. Use the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, as your kick-off point, and then wander the side streets.
There are many restaurants and bars in Noto; don’t miss the main cathedral. And make sure you pop into Caffe Sicilia for either ice cream or a Granite – for which they are justifiably famous.
Boutique Hotels in Sicily
1. 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 boutique 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.
The breakfast at Hotel Gutkowski Syracuse featured fresh local ingredients – tomatoes to die for, freshly boiled eggs, amazing juice, and great coffee.
The rooms at Hotel Gutkowski Sicily are lovely – minimalist and clean and as I was there in August I particularly appreciated the fantastic air conditioning.
This Syracuse boutique hotel has a great terrace serving 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.
⇒ Read more reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now
2. Hotel Villa Angela in Taormina
Hotel Villa Angela is located up the hill from the old town of Taormina. It is a gorgeous Taormina hotel with the most amazing views. Every room at this Sicily boutique hotel has a stunning view.
This hotel in Taormina, Sicily, makes the most of its location with a lovely terrace near reception where you can have a sundowner and a lovely pool. The staff at Hotel Villa Angela Taormina is lovely – very friendly and helpful. They even organized my day trip to Mt Etna.
The rooms at this hotel in Sicily aren’t massive but are a good size and beautifully decorated. And each has a lovely balcony.
The hotel has a shuttle bus that goes down to the city gates once an hour and does a regular pickup. This was fantastically convenient. You do need to book the Hotel Villa Angela shuttle during peak times.
And a final fun fact – one of the owners of Hotel Villa Angela Sicily is the lead singer of the Simple Minds Jim Kerr. Apparently, he occasionally visits, so watch out for him when you stay!
⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now
3. Five Place Hotel in Trapani
If you want to feel like a local in Western Sicily, I highly recommend the Five Place Design Suite and Apartments. Located in the heart of Trapani, these modern apartments have a full kitchenette, separate bedroom, and separate bathroom. The living area is generous, with a large couch and a table for four. I loved my balcony, which faced the main street – a perfect place to watch life go by in Trapani.
The bedroom is huge, and it has a second balcony and a tv. The design aesthetic is very modern, with steel grey with splashes of yellow and blue. The kitchenette has a hot plate, crockery, and cutlery. The bathroom is also a good size and has a walk-in shower.
The staff is very friendly and keen to help. They also offer great suggestions at reception or through a list in the room of restaurants and local sites.
Breakfast is not provided, so guests can visit one of the many cute cafes in Trapani or do some grocery shopping and live like a local.
⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now
4. I Pretti Resort on Favignana
Favignana is the largest of the Egadi Islands off the Western Coast of Sicily. The Pretti hotel near the harbor is the perfect place to stay in Favignana. The hotel opened with 16 suites in 2010 in a building that was part of the Florio family’s tuna empire on Favignana.
Most rooms at The Pretti are 48 square meters and have entrances from the hotel’s garden. They are decorated in a simple seaside style in fresh and neutral colors. Each suite has a unique design. The hotel also has two larger suites.
The hotel also has a 2000 square meter Mediterranean garden courtyard, the Florio Lounge, and offers a wide range of massages.
⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now
And don’t miss my complete blog post on 12 Charming Sicily Boutique Hotels.
Getting to Sicily and Getting Around
Catania is the main airport on the eastern side of the island and Palermo is the gateway to the western side of the island.
Check out cheap flights to both here:
I highly recommend hiring a car while in Sicily to get around. And if you’re already in Italy, did you know you can also get a train to Sicily?
Need a hand planning your trip to Sicily? Don’t miss my article on Sicily Itinerary 7 Days, which covers the island’s east and west.
Who Paid for What in this Post
I covered the costs of my flights to and from Sicily. I covered all of the costs involved in visiting the eastern side of the island. West of Sicily tourism covered all of my on-the-ground costs when I visited their side of the island – thanks Daniela!
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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Wednesday 14th of December 2022
Love the post!
Agreed that Cefalu is a gem. While you are on the west side of Sicilian, stop by to see the Greek temples at Agrigento. These are some of the best preserved Greek temples in the Mediterranean.
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.!
Friday 19th of May 2017
Thanks for the hotel recommendations in Sicily. Planning a trip there next year and will definitely take them up!