Situated on the eastern coast of Sicily and sat at the foot of Mount Etna, this town offers something for everyone. Due to a huge volcanic eruption in 1669, which lasted for four months, most of the old town was destroyed. After this calamity, it took a long time to rebuild everything, but thanks to the stamina and determination of the locals, Catania is in bloom once more.
The capital of Sicily, this majestic town boasts many grand sites that are well worth a visit. Have a look at the cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni and the Palazzo Abatellis for starters. The Museo Archeologico Regionale, botanical gardens and Catacombs are also worth exploring. And don’t ignore the great restaurants and the amazing street-food culture for which Palermo is rightly famed.
As with pretty much everywhere in Sicily, you’ll find relics of the past round every corner in Syracuse. Founded by the Greeks, this town nurtured many of the famous Greek poets, mathematicians and politicians. The Syracuse Greek Theater was one of the biggest the Greeks ever constructed, but the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Fountain of Arethusa, the more modern cathedral of Castello Maniace and the many palazzos deserve a visit too.
This picturesque town lies on a rocky hillside and is accessible by car or bus; the road leads up on a steep and narrow serpentine hill, which can sometimes be quite tricky to navigate. It is well worth a visit if you long for a small town offering a little peace and quiet yet also wish to catch a glimpse of the rich historical heritage which Sicily has to offer. History buffs will love the town’s spectacular ancient amphitheater.
Agrigento is well known for Greek ruins such as the temples of Juno, Heracles, and Asclepius. Some of them were sadly damaged and destroyed over the years, but most of them are still in very good condition. Agrigento was once a wealthy town due its trade agreements with Greece and is now thriving as a major tourist center.
If you arrive from the Italian mainland, the ferry will drop you off in Messina, and you’ll be impressed from the minute you step off the boat. Huge trees surround the roads, and orange, lemon and olive groves cover the sloping hills as far as the eye can see. Stop for a look at the cathedral or The Church of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani, the botanical gardens and the lovely Porta Grazia.
This city is among the most popular places in Sicily. There is a wonderful family-friendly seaside area where you can relax surrounded by locals’ houses and terraces. You can also visit the Roman baths or the ancient cathedral, where there is a world-famous fresco of Christ, the Christus Pantokrator. If you don’t like crowds but would like to visit Cefalù, try to go around October and November or in the spring; the weather is lovely and still warm, but there are hardly any tourists.
Planning a trip to Sicily? Check out the top 10 things to around the island.