Wildflowers, citrus trees, and wisteria perfume the air and engulf you as you drive the winding road, the rolling hills before you and the bright blue sea below. Sicily was such a surprise in the best possible way. I’ve mapped out a quick guide to Sicily, a place I will definitely visit again.
Before visiting Sicily, I pictured a somewhat rough island- strewn with crumbling cities and desolate places. What I found was a sprawling region that reminded me of the rolling hills of Tuscany, the epic landscapes and beaches of the Canary Islands, and delightful ancient stone places full of gorgeous architecture and ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Although some places do need a bit of cleaning up (particularly Palermo and Catania), most of the towns we visited were absolutely remarkable.
Not only is Sicily breathtakingly beautiful, you’ll find it relatively inexpensive. Once you get past driving in the tiny cities, it’s very easy to traverse the landscape and see the entire island’s top sights in about a week. There are multiple airports in Sicily, the largest being in Palermo and Catania. We flew into Catania. There are also a few options to fly into Trapani. Because tourism in Sicily is increasing, there are lots of well-kept roads and maintained airports.
If you want to experience all that the island has to offer you must rent a car. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and it takes approximately four hours to get across and there is a diverse landscape with much to see from coast to coast. In order to get the most out of your trip you need a car. The only time I felt a bit nervous to drive was in the tight alleyways of the bigger towns. Other than that the streets are very well maintained and easy to navigate.
As soon as we arrived in Syracuse I felt like I was on a movie set, ready to record at any moment. The open piazza with the huge Duomo seems like the perfect setting for an action movie or romantic love scene. Not only is it beautiful, and surprisingly pristine, there’s lots of history to boot. Both Greek and Roman ruins dot the small city with easy access to some small hill towns nearby. We walked the tiny, labyrinth-like streets of Ortigia, the island off the coast of the city, saw a puppet show and awed at the ruins.
Interwoven with ancient stone buildings are modern high-end shops and classic Italian restaurants. Duck away in a cute alleyway to discover a dreamy cafe. The tightly packed streets overflow with plants and intricate balconies hang above you. I could have definitely spent more time here.
At first, I guffawed at spending the night at this port city. We drove here to then head to Favignana, a small island off the coast. But when we decided to spend the night here instead of the island, we discovered a lovely, thriving town with great restaurants and pretty architecture. Staying in the heart of the city, we had an ideal stay at Secret B & B. It’s a bit hard to decipher the hotel ratings online, even if it says it’s 4 or 5-star. But we took a chance on this hotel and loved it. Nice, clean rooms, with a fabulous breakfast inside an coold stone building is the perfect secluded (or secret) oasis in Trapani. It's in the heart of the city center and making it easy to walk around.