Earlier this month, Italy announced that it’s offering to subsidise travel to Sicily in an effort to boost tourism in the post-Coronavirus world. This is great news for eager globetrotters, and it seems like a perfect time to pull together some travel inspiration.
Sunny Sicily has been a popular tourist destination for hundreds, if not thousands of years. To this day, the picturesque island lures travellers to its shores with its stunning landscapes, crystal blue waters and famously delicious cuisine.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit the island a couple of times in the last few years. Ever since, I’ve been raring to go back, and not just because of how much I’ve been missing my daily cannolo.
From historic towns nestled in the mountains to truly unique seaside hotspots, there’s so much to see and do in Sicily. The spots listed below are my absolute favourites.
Here’s 6 stunning places you need to visit in Sicily.
The first place on my list is a beautiful ancient city that encapsulates much of Sicily’s charm.
Situated on the south-eastern coast of the island, Syracuse was once the largest city in the ancient world. Its history dates back over 2,800 years, and the city is scattered with impressive ancient Greek and Roman sites. Syracuse is so historically significant that it’s now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Any history buff would be in their element here, and there’s also lots more to see. The city has plenty of stunning examples of baroque architecture, winding medieval streets, idyllic traditional cafes and restaurants serving fresh, local cuisine to satisfy its visitors. Syracuse is definitely one of the essential places to visit in Sicily.
Marzamemi is one of Sicily’s most picturesque seaside villages. Situated close to the island’s southernmost point, the hamlet has been inhabited since the 10th century, when it became famed for its unique tuna fishing techniques.
Today, Marzamemi is famous for its quaint harbour, charming buildings and airy coastal restaurants serving up unique seafood dishes. Dining al fresco in the piazza, surrounded by crystal blue waters and listening to live, local musicians is a perfect way to spend a summer’s evening in Sicily.
Stair of the Turks (Scala dei Turchi)
Of all the places I’ve visited in Sicily, this unique seaside spot is one of the most outstanding. The Stair of the Turks is an impressive, chalky white cliff made of soft limestone and marl in the south-west of Sicily. Over the years, the ocean and sea air have moulded the cliff face, softening every corner and creating the ascending terraces that allow visitors to clamber across it today.
Visit this unique ‘staircase’ to experience the stunning views for yourself, or relax on one of the sandy beaches on either side of it. The views at sunset are just divine.
Noto was the first city I ever visited in Sicily, and it still holds a special place in my heart. Around 25,000 people live in this small, south-eastern city, which has existed, at least in part, for over 2000 years.
Many of the stunning buildings that remain today were built after the devastating 1693 Sicily Earthquake. The city is now widely famed for its beautifully preserved examples of Sicilian baroque architecture.
Strolling around the old streets and marvelling at the awesome and unique structures around you is a fantastic way to spend a day in Sicily. Along your way, you’ll come across countless traditional cafes, restaurants, and shops. Be sure to try some of Noto’s famous granita, a sweet, semi-frozen dessert. My favourite’s pistachio.
Noto is a truly impressive historical centre. It’s certainly one of the most stunning places to visit in Sicily.
Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi)
You’ve probably gathered by now that Sicily has a lot of history. What might still surprise you is that the building above is not actually in Greece.
The Valley of the Temples is located just outside of the western city of Agrigento. The archaeological site is home to some of the best preserved examples of ancient Greek temples in Sicily. There are 7 temples in all, some of which are over 2,500 years old.
The Valley has been a popular tourist destination for many years, and you can see why. Tickets cost 12,00€ and the site is accessible by car, public transport or on foot.
It’s a good idea to visit the Valley of the Temples in the evening if possible, as I did. It can get extremely hot up there and a thorough exploration of the site involves walking several, unsheltered kilometres.
The last stunning spot on my list is another historic city with its own unique export. Located in south-eastern Sicily, the awe-inspiring, steeply stacked city of Modica is set amongst the dramatic Hyblaean Mountains. For many years, it has welcomed holiday-goers and food lovers with its stunning landscapes and fabulous cuisine.
In particular, the city is famous for its unique chocolate-making tradition that was introduced by the Spanish in the medieval times. The chocolate of Modica is made with an ancient Aztec recipe that produces a uniquely textured and aromatic chocolate unlike anything you might have tried before.
A trip to Modica isn’t complete without tasting some. Luckily, the modern city is filled with chocolate shops that allow you to try out a variety of different tasty flavours.
And there you have it, 6 stunning places you need to visit in Sicily.
The island is full of wonderful, historic charm, as well as all the pizza and pasta you could ever wish for. A trip to Sicily, without doubt, will be one you will never forget.