THINGS TO DO on Holidays in Sicily

Practical tips and safety

Is Sicily safe? To get a yardstick on this, you are 27 times more likely to get murdered in the USA and 4 times more likely to get raped (that’s official data). On the other hand, I would say in Sicily you are approximately 100 times more likely to get a market trader fiddling your change (I just invented that statistic myself).

Sicily is one of the world’s safest places overall. This is based both on published crime statistics, and on the fact that I spent 13 years walking around semi-derelict side streets in central Palermo with a large map and my baby in a push-chair humming “God Save the Queen” to him, and the most dangerous thing that ever happened to us was when my spike heel got jammed between two cobblestones.

People regularly message me asking if Sicily has become “dangerous” since it is “overrun” by African refugees. Firstly, it is not overrun by African refugees. Secondly, the few refugees you will see in Sicily are not there to do anyone any harm; they went there to get out of harm’s way themselves.

Please relax, and enjoy a laid back family holiday.

Practical Tips for Trips to Sicily

A Dozen Safety Tips for a Holiday in Sicily

Single Woman in Italy? The Sicilian Housewife’s Guide to Italian Men

Food

If you want to know what you should be eating while in Sicily, visit my food page for lots of suggestions!

Food loving things to do on holidays in Sicily

Sightseeing ideas

Some of these are not links because I haven’t finished making the pages yet. I’m on it.

Scroll down for a few of my very favourite ideas…

Artistic things to do on holidays in Sicily

Ancient History things to do on holidays in Sicily

Medieval things to do on holidays in Sicily

Baroque things to do on holidays in Sicily

Things to do with children on holidays in Sicily

The best beaches in Sicily

Nature loving things to do on holidays in Sicily

Sporty things to do on holidays in Sicily

Religious things to do on holidays in Sicily

Some totally weird things to do on holidays in Sicily

Sicily is a place where you can taste the biblical food manna (in Castelbuono), or have a spleen sandwich (Palermo).

You can swim with turtles (Lampedusa) and walk into the crater of Europe’s largest volcano (Etna). You can see a cathedral which has a passage of the Koran carved into its wall (Palermo), or buy cactus fruits in a street market founded by North Africans over 1,000 years ago (Il Capo).

You can visit a church crypt (in Gangi) where they have mummified every priest since medieval times and propped him up against the wall. You can walk around a bank vault containing the most precious collection of coins in the world (Siracusa). You can even attend mass in an underground cathedral carved entirely out of salt (in Realmonte).

If you are lucky, you just might meet a real life knight in shining armour (Caccamo).

I don’t buy content

This is my personal blog. No, I don’t want to pay you to write “great content” for me. After living in Sicily with my Sicilian family for 13 years, I have enough insight into Sicilian culture, and enough experience of what there is to do in Sicily, to write this stuff all by myself.

And, of course, I am Dangerously Truthful about all of it.

Also, don’t offer to write me a “guest post” which is a thinly disguised advertisement. Particularly if your “guest post” is a candidate for Naff Headline of the Year called something like “This topless model tried a spleen sandwich in Palermo: You won’t believe what happened next!” or “Top Ten Hip Hotels the Sicilians DON’T want you to know about”, number seven of which will “blow my mind”.

A novel depicting the reality of life in Sicily. Kind of.

An English woman takes on parenthood, the Mafia and a Sicilian mother-in-law, all at once

AN ENGLISH WOMAN TAKES ON PARENTHOOD, THE MAFIA AND A SICILIAN MOTHER-IN-LAW, ALL AT ONCE

Available on all Amazon websites worldwide, in paperback and Kindle. Buy or find out more on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

When career-girl Veronica flies to Sicily for a friend’s wedding, she accidentally falls in love with one of the groom’s three-hundred cousins. A year later she has given up her job, house and friends, and is planning her own wedding with her Latin Lover in the shimmering heat of Sicily.

She suspects her seaside dream-villa is being built by the Mafia when the stubbly foreman visits, brandishing a large hammer and demanding more money. In shock, she learns her Sicilian spleen-sandwich and prickly-pear cravings are because she is pregnant. Still reeling, Veronica is challenged to a duel fought with wooden spoons over who is the better woman, when her rosary-flailing mother-in-law starts checking her son’s vests are ironed and inspecting the toilet bowl for subtle skidmarks.

Can resourceful Veronica solve her problems by pitching one adversary against the other?Join her on an unpredictable journey of hilarity, reckless driving and dangerously large portions of spaghetti in this almost true travel-novel, for people who need more belly-laughs.

Available on all Amazon websites worldwide, in paperback and Kindle. Buy or find out more on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

TIMES OF SICILY review:
“The diary is filled with biting wit, an astute knack for observation and a powerful sense of determination which makes it a joy to read. Di Grigoli’s strong personality comes out as she deftly sketches out the intricacies of life on the complex island of Sicily at the heart of the Mediterranean.”

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17 thoughts on “THINGS TO DO on Holidays in Sicily

  1. Great info Would Menfi be a good place to use as a vase to see and relax for four days before going to rest in Taormina, a p,ace we love?

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  2. We are 7 friends (3 couples+one) who come from across the USA and Australia. We plan to arrive Palermo 10/17 and depart from there 10/24 and 10/26. Enjoy seeing some “big” sights, but also eating local, staying out of real touristy places and experiencing the country. We plan to rent 2 cars at the airport and drive ourselves. Our initial plan was Cefalu 2-3 nights (explore environs) or CastelBuono (3 nights) w Funghi Fest (?), then see Piazza Amerina on our way to Mandranova (3-4 nights) see Agrigento, Selinunte, Marsala, Erice, Segesta, etc. For the last 2-3 nights, we want to be close to or in Palermo both for sightseeing and ease of departure. We are a group that likes to hang out with each other and not spend all our time in the car. Does this itinerary make sense, or are there adjustments that would improve it? Many thanks, Godmother, you may be the answer to our Prayers! Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the plan sounds great, so long as you are all well organised and will get up early and pack in the action so you can fit it all in! You have picked out some of the best places on the island so I think you will have a great time!

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  3. “Godmother,” which do you think is the better option for us, Cefalu or Castelbuono? We prefer to stay in only a few places and not change “hotels” more than 3 times. Thanks for reassurances on our itinerary, it really sets our mind at ease. Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cefalù is definitely the place to stay if you want lively nightlife on your doorstep and a lovely beach. It is really full of foreign tourists but they only enhance its great atmosphere. Castelbuono is a much more peaceful place in the mountains and a real hub for foodies. Foreigners are rare as it is more of a Sicilian food enthusiasts gathering place. Cefalù is better connected to other places by train and road, and it would be my personal preference as a base.

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  4. I am taking my first trip to Sicily this coming spring to see where both sets of my grandparents were born. Is there anything you can recommend to do in Sciacca? Thanks!

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      1. Thanks! I am REALLY looking forward to it! I have an aunt there I haven’t seen since I was 5, and cousins and uncles I have never met, I think reading your book helped to prep me for what to expect! Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for the information, its extremely helpful. I know you mentioned not to visit in August but this was our only opportunity. We leave this coming Sunday from Luxembourg. Should we be completely worried we will be there in August?

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    1. Don’t worry. The time when everything is truly closed is ferragosto, and that has passed now. More and more places do stay open in August so you should be fine, especially if you stick to the more touristy places to stay and eat.
      Have a lovely holiday!

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  6. An exceptional blog – really helpful in planning our holiday in Sicily (before tackling Naples en route onwards in Italy).
    The more I read the longer the holiday in Sicily becomes. I am retired so I do not need to rush back to work! I will not drive + therefore need to find other ways of getting around. I find that organised tours do not give me enough time to experience places, churches, architecture and works of art. What I have been thinking about is using private drivers – 1. for a number of day trips from Palermo + 2. to get me to Siracusa from Palermo. With your experience could you possibly point me in the right direction? I am in my 70’s + use a walking stick – is the train from Palermo to Siracusa ok for me? One last question: which is a safe area in which to find a self-catering apartment? I expect to stay in Palermo for 2 weeks. Sorry to burden you with all of this. Paula

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am very glad you’re enjoying my blog 😀

      I think a private driver would be expensive, and for the distance from Palermo to Siracusa, very much so. The coach is very good, and cheaper than the train. However, if you’re someone like me who wants to be able to move around and use the toilet whenever you wish, then you may prefer the slower train. Sicilians complain their trains are antiquated, but I am English and find them quite modern looking!!

      I would suggest asking your hotels to suggest private drivers whom they know. Always get an all-in price in writing up front.

      I recommend triptipp.com for self catering accommodation in the Palermo area. Lots of their apartments are located outside the town centre, near beaches and in more tranquil neighbourhoods. This site is run by German friends of mine and I know their apartments are clean and nice – if you have any issues just let me know.
      The website has brilliant information on all public transport and allows you to plan the trip to the minutest detail. It’s all very German!!!

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  7. Hi

    I only discovered this site recently, absolutely love it, very witty and very helpful.

    I was hoping you would be able to assist me please…..

    I very recently decided to give up my job and come to Sicilia, I had never been to Sicilia before and I don’t know anyone here…but I decided to seize the moment now my three children have flown the nest. So, mi sono in Marsala per tre mesi…. I am then hoping to relocate to a different part of the island. I love Marsala and it is the right place for me to be at the moment, as it affords me the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture, study the language, io parlo un po d’italiano (although I am studying hard as not many people here to speak English) In September I am thinking of moving somewhere perhaps a little more lively than Marsala, also where people speak a little more English.

    I was hoping you may be able to advise we where to go next. I have a back injury so walking long distances can prove very difficult, therefore I would ideally like to be within a 20-30 min walk to a nice sandy beach, the local supermarkets, cafes and restaurants – somewhere where it is safe to walk alone in the early evening. At present I am renting through Airbnb, but I’m thinking it may be cheaper to rent direct, rather than go through a third party. Could you please recommend a site where I could find reasonably priced properties

    I was also hoping you could advise me how to go about finding a local Italian language class, and also how much it is likely to cost?

    Sorry to bother you with all the above, but any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

    Grazie
    Ciao
    S

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you will have a great time!
      I recommend you go to either Taormina, Siracusa or Cefalù.
      These are lively places with plenty of language schools, movement of people and opportunities for you to build yourself a social life at any age.

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      1. Grazie mille for getting back to me so quickly. I will definitely look for an apartment in one of these locations. Do you know of any good property agencies I could use?

        Grazie tante,
        Ciao
        S 🙂

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