A free online travel guide to Sicily, with sightseeing ideas and practical tips
Some inspiration for your Sicilian bucket list
Sicily is a place where you can walk around a bank vault containing the most precious collection of coins in the world (Siracusa) or meet a real life knight in shining armour (Caccamo).
You can taste the biblical food manna (in Castelbuono), feast on a spleen sandwich (Palermo) and other street foods, or buy cactus fruits in a street market founded by North Africans over 1,000 years ago (Il Capo).
If you don’t enjoy swimming with turtles (Lampedusa), you might prefer to walk into the crater of Europe’s largest volcano (Etna).
Is there anywhere else you can see a cathedral which has a passage of the Koran carved into its wall (Palermo)? If that’s not unusual enough, how about visiting a church crypt (in Gangi) where they have mummified every priest since medieval times and propped him up against the wall? Too creepy? Maybe you would prefer to attend mass in an underground cathedral carved entirely out of salt (in Realmonte)?
Practical tips and safety
We all want to feel prepared for a holiday to a new place, whether it’s knowing what to wear, how to get around or simply where to go.
Sicily is a really friendly and safe place, but when you visit a different culture, it’s best for everyone if you find out the rules that the locals live by.
Official highlights: Sicily’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites
UNESCO heritage sites are categorised as cultural heritage, or natural wonders. Italy has more world heritage sites than any other country in the world.
With seven sites of its own, Sicily dominates and dazzles in both categories. Some of the sites in Sicily are literally lists of whole cities lumped together. If you separated them out, Sicily would have more than the rest of Italy.
Sightseeing by region
Siracusa & Ragusa
Holiday themes and ideas
History and culture
Sicily has been the heart of thirteen empires and was always the focus of development and innovation. The amount of history around you in the buildings and the living culture can almost become overwhelming. You can make sense of it when you start noticing that there’s the ancient Sicily of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Roman; The medieval Sicily of the Arabs and Normans; the baroque Sicily of the Spanish conquistadors.
- Experiences of Ancient History on holidays in Sicily
- Medieval Sicily and where to see it
- Brilliant Baroque Sicily
- Art to see on holidays in Sicily
Nature and outdoors activities
Sicily is full of nature reserves, with stunning beaches, breathtaking mountains and exciting wild flowers wherever you look. The beaches are obviously most enjoyable in summer but you can plan a great winter walking holiday that includes exploring the countryside on foot and staying on ‘agriturismo’ farms.
- The best beaches in Sicily
- Nature loving and wild natural places to visit in Sicily
- Sporty things to do on holidays in Sicily
Travelling with children
Sicilians love to make a fuss of all children. They will ask permission to kiss your baby (on the top of their head for the sake of hygiene!), rearrange their restaurant to make space for your child’s high chair, and delight in making them laugh and showering them with compliments.
There are fun things to do with children scattered across the island and special events during the year.
The weather can be really mild in winter and rarely goes below 12 degrees. Sicily makes a great winter holiday destination, whether you want to sit people-watching at a pavement cafe in December, enjoy crowd-free sightseeing or enjoy some of the special winter festivals.
Cathedrals & religious festivals
Sicily has more than its fair share of cathedrals. Read about the history of why there are so many cathedrals in Sicily and find a list of links to features on each of them.
Cathedrals in Sicily:
- Palermo Cathedral
- Monreale Cathedral
- A festival at Noto Cathedral
- Marsala and its cathedral
- Siracusa and its cathedral
Religion is deeply important to Sicilians and religious festivals, as well as routine Sunday mass, are the most important ways that the community gathers together, stays in touch and reinforces social ties and connections.
The history of Sicily means that the churches are art galleries and the festivals are performance art.
Browse some articles on religious culture in Sicily.
Sicilian food & what to eat
Sicilians are absolutely all “foodies” and Sicily is truly a food-lovers’ paradise. The modern cuisine of Sicily is the original fusion cuisine, being a unique mix of ingredients and cooking techniques from the thirteen different cultures that established their plants, animals and tastes on the island.
Read about The history of Sicilian cuisine in 13 invasions, or take an overview of some of the most exciting ideas on What to eat and “foodie” things to do on holiday in Sicily.
Here’s my collection of foodie experiences and the best eating in Sicily:
Sicily taster photo gallery