Cover off the Sicily’s highlights on a self-drive itinerary and discover the best corners of this Mediterranean island.
Sicily sits just 12 miles from Italy’s mainland but can feel like a different country all together. A jumbled mix of cultures and architecture from the many nations that have invaded over the years means Sicily has some of the most interesting and beautiful sights of Italy, as well as some of the best food and wine. A car is the best way to get around and allows you to explore at your own pace.
Start in Taormina that boasts sweeping sea views with the backdrop of Mount Etna. The ancient Greek Theatre still hosts some of the world’s best artists when the film festival is in town and a cable car will take you to the beaches of Taormina Mare where you’ll find some fantastic seafood dining. South of Taormina is home to the most beautiful baroque towns of the island. Noto, Modica and Ragusa have some of the prettiest buildings and quaint streets as well as grand cathedrals. Syracuse’s historical centre, Ortygia, is a pedestrianised island with an authentic feel. Spend a couple of days here enjoying sights like Duomo di Siracusa and the daily market that showcases some of Sicily’s best produce. If you’re there over lunch be sure to pull up a chair at one of the pop up restaurants amongst the stalls.
Carry on around the island towards Agrigento where you can see some of the best-preserved Greek Temples in the world before heading up to Palermo, a chaotic mix of ancient churches, crumbling villas and buzzing markets. Finally, stop at the ancient Greek city of Cefalu where you’ll find Doric architecture, a Norman cathedral and a wide sandy beach where you can take some time out to relax.
Add On : Just north of Sicily, the UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands offer dramatic scenery, clear waters and a relaxed pace that will make you feel a million miles away from Sicily. Base yourself on Lipari, the largest island and explore the other six by ferry. Vulcano boasts thermal springs, Salina is full of greenery and Stromboli has an active Volcano that you’ll admire from afar in the evenings when the lava flows down the side. And there’s Panarea, where large yachts pull up and cosy seafood restaurants and trendy bars are filled with patrons.