Sicily Holidays

Steaming craters, scorching countryside, ancient ruins and clear blue waters – Sicily holidays are all about history, heat and hideaway hotels.

One moment you’ll be in the hot hills of a mountain village among dancing lizards and the sound of sheep bells, the next a mere speck on the horizon as you scale the slopes of iconic Mount Etna. Far from volcanic scenery, perfect bronze beaches lead out to the clearest blue waters and historic trails serpentine through ancient worlds of Greek and Roman ruins.

Sicily holidays are for those with a penchant for landscapes scattered with olive trees and vineyards, sun drenched beaches, medieval towns and a taste of some of the best food in the Med. This is no faraway deserted island and its sheer size can be overwhelming, but always in the most beautiful sense. There’s that thoroughly romantic drive through orange and lemon groves past velvety hills and farmsteads as the scent of rosemary and sage lingers. Then there’s the handsome beaches of Isola Bella and San Vito lo Capo, the ice cream parlours and independent shops that jam tiny Old Towns and the fanciful decorations in grand cathedrals and decadent restaurants.

Our experts are on hand to create your Sicilian island escape.

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Sicily Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Sicily

Excelsior Palace Hotel

The large clifftop pool is the perfect spot in Taormina on a warm summer’s day.

Hotel Villa Diodoro

Classically elegant, this traditional villa makes an ideal base to explore historic Taormina.

The Ashbee Hotel

A lavish British heritage villa with sublime sea views close to Taormina’s town centre.

Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel

A paradisiacal hideaway that is perfect for an active sport and spa break, as well as luxe family...

Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare

A classically elegant villa in a tranquil location – perfect for a beach-based break.

UNAHOTELS Hotel Capotaormina

Taking the classic clifftop hotel to new heights, this beautiful retreat is carved into the rock...

Villa Igiea, A Rocco Forte Hotel

Luxury and serenity in a fabulous location on the Bay of Palermo.

Mount Etna Soft Trek

Add a touch of adventure to your Sicily holiday with a scenic walk up part of towering Mount Etna. Etna is Europe’s highest volcano, standing 3350 metres high, and it has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. Your trek will begin at Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level. From here, you’ll head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 8.30am
• Departing Monday and Friday from Taormina
• Departs year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included – trekkers will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. We recommend bringing warm clothing and suitable shoes. This soft trek may be too challenging for younger children. This experience is on a request basis and is subject to itinerary and operating schedule changes that are outside of our control.

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Mount Etna & The Crater Zones

Explore Europe’s highest volcano on a trekking and train ride adventure through beautiful valleys up to the craters. Mount Etna stands 3350 metres high and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. We’ll trek to the stunning Alcantara Gorges, carved by the Alcantra River, stopping for a scenic short rest before boarding the ‘Circumetnea’: a traditional narrow-gauge train that runs around the foot of the volcano and up to Adrano. We’ll then head to Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level, to head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters. After time for lunch, you can take the cable car up to 2,500 meters and continue by Jeep to the authorized crater zones at 3,000 meters with the assistance of licensed Italian Alpine Club guides. You’ll be rewarded with views out over the summit craters.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 7am
• Departing on Wednesday & Saturday from Taormina
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Lunch and transfers are not included – trekkers will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. We recommend bringing warm clothing and suitable shoes. This soft trek may be too challenging for younger children. This experience is on a request basis and is subject to itinerary and operating schedule changes that are outside of our control.

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Syracuse in a Day

The city of Syracuse showcases Sicily’s timeless beauty – prepare to feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore some astounding historical sights. This ancient Greek colony was once the largest city of the ancient world and today it is thoroughly deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status. We’ll take you to archaeological areas dating back to the 5th Century BC, including the Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Altar of Hieron II and the Latomies of Paradise with the Ear of Dionysius. Then we’ll head to the historical centre: the small island of Ortigia, where sights such as the Temple of Apollo, the Cathedral and the Fountain of Arethusa with its famous papyrus plant await.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 8am
• Departing on Tuesday from Taormina
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Lunch and transfers are not included – guests will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. Entrance fees are at extra cost (free for EU citizens under 18 with proof of ID).

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Sicilian Cooking Class

Get a better understanding of authentic Sicilian cuisine and learn how to cook like a local. Your cooking experience will begin with a trip to a market in Taormina to buy the fresh ingredients that are staples of Sicilian cooking. You’ll then head to a local restaurant, where the chef will talk you through the recipes before you start to prepare your hand-made pasta and other traditional dishes. Once your meals are ready, you can tuck into your creations and toast your achievements with a wine tasting session.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 10am
• Departing Monday to Saturday from Port Messina Arch
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included – you will need to make their own way to the Port Messina Arch.

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Pizza Making Class

Sicily has a pizza style all of its own; even if you’ve made pizza before, you’ll be in for a treat at this pizza-making class. First, you’ll learn the secret of how to make a great pizza sauce before creating ideas for fun toppings and baking your pizzas to perfection. Enjoy your pizza with a Bruschetta mix, washed down with a glass of delicious local wine.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 10.30am • Departing daily from Port Messina Arch
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included – guests will make their own way to the Port Messina Arch.

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Private Mount Etna Soft Trek

Explore Europe’s highest volcano on this private guided trekking and train ride adventure up towering Mount Etna. Mount Etna stands 3350 metres high and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. Your trek will begin at Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level. From here, you’ll head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters. Alternatively, there's the option to ascend to the main craters at 2900 metres above sea level. A tasting and light lunch at a local winery is also included.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 9am
• Departing daily
• Operates April to October
• Private experience

Good to know
We strongly recommend warm clothing and suitable shoes.

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In the Footsteps of the Godfather

This is the ultimate Sicilian experience for movie buffs; follow in the footsteps of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino to the movie locations made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s epic movie The Godfather. Plus, a private car and driver means you’ll have the freedom to choose how long you spend in each traditional Sicilian town. In Savoca, you can drink coffee in Bar Vitelli: the same bar where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia to marry him, then wander through the narrow streets to the church of Santa Lucia, where their wedding scene was filmed. While you’re here, it’s worth also visiting the Monastero dei Cappuccini to see the crypt that houses mummified bodies of Savoca’s monks and nobles. In the village of Forza d’Agrò, visit the beautiful little Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul. Within the narrow alleyways of this medieval centre, all is quiet and time seems to stand still. This is precisely the atmosphere that inspired Francis Ford Coppola to shoot some of the scenes for his iconic movie here, as daily life continues behind closed doors.

• Duration: half day (morning or afternoon)
• Departing daily
• Operates April to October
• Private experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included. You’ll have a private car and driver for a maximum of eight hours.

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Get to know Sicily and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +1 hour

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Sicily: 3¼ hours

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Italian

Where is Sicily?
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, separated from the ‘toe’ of mainland Italy by a strait that’s just 1.9 miles wide.

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Getting around
Hiring a car is the best option for exploring the length and breadth of this beautiful island, giving you the option to discover beaches, countryside, ancient ruins and spectacular coastline on your own schedule. The train and bus networks on Sicily are not as easy to navigate as they are on mainland Italy, but it is still possible to travel from town to village with a little research. The major bus lines are SAIS, Interbus and AST, but bear in mind that on this laidback island they don’t always run to time. Blue buses run between cities and orange buses provide a local service.

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Food & drink
Expect arancini and timballini pasta street food style on-the-go, catch-of-the-day grilled on the barbecue at beachside cafés, aperitivo in elegant piazzas and decadent fine dining in lavish restaurants. There are Greek, Arab and Spanish influences everywhere you go from a fertile land of countryside produce and fresh from the sea delights. The seafood is stupendous – red shrimp, tuna, swordfish and anchovies – and pastas are seasoned with garlic, herbs, capers and seeds. Try granita e brioche for breakfast, pasta allo scoglio for lunch and cassata for dessert.

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Taormina
The elegant town of Taormina is perched high above the Ionian Sea and in sight of Mount Etna buzzes with intimate piazzas, chic boutiques, street cafés and restaurants. It historic centre has a beautiful open-air Greco-Roman amphitheatre with events taking place throughout the summer months. Sitting in its shadow is the charming water’s edge village of Taormina Mare home to picturesque pebble beaches, coves and rocky inlets. It’s a bit of a trek between the two but thankfully there’s a funicular to whisk you up or down the hillside.

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Syracuse
The city of Syracuse, on the southeast coast, is steeped in history dating back nearly 3,000 years. Admire the city's famous baroque architecture, visit the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis for remains of a 5th-Century Greek theatre and a Roman amphitheatre, and cross the bridge to the tiny island of Ortigia following a maze of alleys to ancient monuments and temples, a 13th-century castle and the 7th-Century Duomo di Ortigia – the oldest church in Europe.

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Cefalu
Experience seaside charm and mouth watering Sicilian food in Cefalù where an alluring combination of sandy beaches, fantastic shops, fine seafood restaurants and historic treasures await. The 12th-Century cathedral is dominated by two Norman towers and the city's winding medieval streets are a joy to explore. Climb La Rocca, a limestone cliff for spectacular sweeping views over Cefalù.

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Palermo
Travel west along the island's north coast and you will reach the capital, Palermo. This well-established settlement has been invaded, fought over and traded from throughout it thousands of years of history; today it is a lively and sun-kissed destination with plenty of culture to soak up, ancient architecture to see and lots of food to try and enjoy. As well as all the trappings of a busy, modern city, Palermo boasts a beautiful surrounding coastline – just 20 minutes away are the soft white sands of Mondello, a popular spot for locals at the weekend.

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Sicily Weather

Apr - Oct

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Sicily Weather by Month