The Ultimate 7 to 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary

Last Updated on

by Maggie Turansky


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.


A region and destination all of its own, planning the perfect Sicily itinerary can seem a bit overwhelming at first glance. With so much to offer, figuring out how to spend 7 to 10 days in Sicily is a bit of a daunting task when you’re trying to fit in everything there is to see. With electric cities, beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and charming towns, Sicily is one of the most dynamic places to visit in all of Italy.

Whether you’re visiting Sicily as a stand-alone destination or it’s part of a longer trip to Italy, there is so much to see and do on the Mediterranean’s largest island that it certainly deserves its own itinerary. So if you’re wondering what to see and do in this Southern Italian region, follow this itinerary to plan out your ideal route across this inimitable island.

How Many Days in Sicily?

If you want to see the highlights of the island, have time to explore the two largest cities and see some surrounding places, then plan to spend at least 7 days in Sicily.

With a week in Sicily, you’ll be able to spend a proper amount of time in the two main cities (which means you don’t need to choose between Catania vs Palermo) along with exploring some smaller towns (like Taormina and Cefalu) and seeing some incredible sites like the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento.

If you want to get quite a holistic view of the island, then spending 10 days is going to be your best bet. You’ll have more time to explore some lessor visited parts of Western Sicily.

Even if you plan 10 days, you’re still not going to be able to get to all of the top spots the island has to offer, so if you have 2 weeks or more, this could be ideal — especially if you want to circumnavigate the island.

Mt Etna View from Catania
Mt Etna view from Catania

Getting To & Around Sicily

Though it is an island, Sicily is well-connected to the rest of Italy and to the majority of Europe. It is home to three international airports and has extensive train and ferry connections depending on where you’re coming from.

If you’re planning a stand-alone Sicily trip, it’s likely that you’re going to be flying into the island. There are three international airports on the island that vary in the level of traffic.

The busiest and highest-traffic airport (and where you will most likely be flying into) is Catania Airport located just outside of Sicily’s second-largest city. This airport has countless connections to many different destinations across Europe and beyond.

The Sicilian capital of Palermo also has its own airport with quite a few connections across Europe, so that is another viable option when it comes to arriving in Sicily.

There is also a small airport outside of Trapani, as well, that mostly serves destinations in Italy along with a handful of other European destinations.

Palermo Cathedral
Palermo Cathedral

Sicily is also accessible via train, which is a great option if you’re tacking on a trip here to an extended time in Italy. It can be a great idea to visit Sicily after, say enjoying some time exploring Puglia or wandering around the Amalfi Coast. There are direct trains to Sicily from cities like Rome and Naples to most major hubs on the island. You can view schedules here.

The island is also accessible via ferry from several neighbouring ports. For instance, if you want to visit Sicily before or after exploring the lovely nation of Malta, you can enjoy direct ferry connections (you can view schedules here).

Once in Sicily, you have a few options when it comes to getting around. You can easily get around here on foot when you’re exploring the major cities. In fact, even if you want to – for instance – go on a day trip to Taormina from Catania, it is easy to do this via bus or train.

Train connections between the major cities and towns are extensive and affordable, so this can be a good option if you’re happy to stick to city centres/ However, in order to do this particular route, it’s highly recommended to hire a car and plan a Sicily road trip!

With your own car in Sicily, you will have the flexibility to make stops along the way between destinations and the ability to explore more of the island with far more ease.

Driving in Sicily definitely has a negative reputation, however, I didn’t find it as bad as I had built it up in my head (particularly on the highways, where driving was easy) so long as you keep aware and drive defensively.

If you want to rent a car for a Sicily road trip, we suggest browsing Rentalcars.com to find deals across a range of major rental car companies.

Driving in Sicily
Driving in Sicily

7 to 10 Day Sicily Itinerary

If you only have 7 days in Sicily, make sure to read the entry under day 7 carefully in order to properly plan out your Sicily trip.

This route is done easiest with a car, however, it isn’t entirely necessary to rent a car for the first couple of days in Catania, especially as most of the day trip options are easily accessible via public transport.

Day 1 – Catania

The easiest place to start any trip to Sicily is in the island’s second-largest city of Catania. Home to the highest-traffic airport in the region, this city is a logical jumping-off point to exploring the splendours of this beautiful island.

Catania can often be overlooked in lieu of Palermo or more picturesque Sicilian destinations, however, it is absolutely worth visiting this lively metropolis.

Spend your first day in Catania exploring the highlights of the city centre including the Piazza Duomo, the epic fish market and taking in the views of the city and Mount Etna from the Chiesa Badia di Sant’Agata. You can book a walking tour here.

End your day with a leisurely aperitivo in one of Catania’s lively bars and get some delicious street food (or dine in one of the city’s top restaurants!) for dinner.

Exploring Catania
Exploring Catania

Where to Stay in Catania

Hotel Centrum – For those travelling on a mid-range budget, this hotel is a great choice. Centrally located behind the Teatro Bellini, it is within easy reach of the top sites in Catania. They have great rooms available and offer breakfast each morning.

Liberty Hotel – This luxury hotel is a great high-end choice in Catania. They have plush rooms on offer, a buffet breakfast each morning, an airport shuttle available and a perfect location for exploring the highlights of the city.

La Dimora del Barbiere – If you’d like to have your own flat during your time in Catania, then this is a great place to choose. There are a range of flats to choose from (varying in size) and an excellent location for exploring Sicily’s second-largest city.

The Yard Hostel – For budget and solo travellers, this hostel is a perfect choice. They have a great, central location, offer both dorm and private rooms and have several great common areas that make socialising easy.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Catania!

Day 2 – Taormina, Mt Etna or Siracusa

Day two of your Sicily itinerary should be dedicated to taking a day trip from Catania and exploring more of Eastern Sicily. One of the most popular places is the town of Taormina, which is known for its ancient Greek theatre and beautiful coastline surrounding it.

It’s also a popular option to take a trip to Mount Etna, whether it be to take the cable car and hike around the craters or to sip wines grown in the foothills. If you want to combine both Taormina and Mount Etna and don’t have a car, then you can take this full-day tour or this day tour.

Finally, another great option is to head south to the city of Siracusa (Syracuse). This city boasts some more incredible ancient ruins, stunning Baroque artitecture and it is a unique and beautiful place to explore. If you don’t have a car, you can go by train or an organised tour such as this day tour.

Duomo di Taormina
Duomo di Taormina

Day 3 – Catania

On day 3, you have a choice. You can either take this day to dig deeper and explore more of Catania (this is what I would recommend) or, if you’ve had your fill of the city, you can opt to go on a day trip to somewhere nearby.

The latter is a good option if you feel you can’t choose just one of the many day trip options from Catania.

If you choose to remain in the city, spend your day wandering through the Mercato di Piazza Carlo Alberto, enjoying the tranquillity of the Villa Bellini and visiting some of the other top sites of the city that you may have missed on your previous day.

Villa Bellini
Villa Bellini

Day 4 – Cefalu

Day 4 is a travel day with your eventual destination being the capital city of Palermo, where you’ll spend the night.

The drive from Catania to Palermo is only about 3 hours and it is mostly along a well-maintained and paved highway. However, keep in mind that driving into Palermo can be a bit hectic and stressful, so make sure you are prepared.

While en route to Palermo, plan to make a stop in the beautiful town of Cefalu. Located on the north coast of Sicily, you can enjoy a lovely beach here, take in views of the Aeolian islands and get lost in the charming old town.

There are gorgeous views of the surrounding cliffside and a great, laid-back vibe here that makes it very much worth exploring.

Cefalu is located about an hour from Palermo and you can reach the town in about 2-2.5 hours from Catania, so it makes for the perfect stop along the way without adding much to your journey time.

Cefalu
Cefalu

Where to Stay in Palermo

Alma Hotel – This 3-star hotel makes for a great option for mid-range travellers in Palermo. It is centrally located, they have a range of clean and comfortable rooms available and they offer a buffet breakfast each morning.

Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel – This boutique hotel is an excellent luxury option in Palermo. It is centrally located for exploring the highlights of the Sicilian capital, they have countless plush rooms available and a number of other amenities to ensure you have a great stay.

Appartamento Piazza Pretoria – This 2-bedroom flat is a great option for those looking for a self-catering option in Palermo. It has an excellent location near the Pretoria Fountain and Quattro Canti and comes fully equipped with everything you may need.

A Casa di Amici Boutique Hostel – For those travelling on a budget or solo, this hostel is a great choice for you. They have a good, social atmosphere, offer both dorms and private rooms and it is well-located to explore all Palermo has to offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Palermo hotels!

Day 5 – Palermo

Plan to spend the fifth day of your Sicily road trip itinerary exploring the lively, electric city of Palermo! As Sicily’s capital city, planning to spend at least 2 days in Palermo is absolutely essential if you’re going to be spending any amount of time in this region.

Spend your first day in the city taking in some of the top sites in the city centre along with some of the city’s intoxicating markets.

Wander around the Quattro Canti, the Pretoria Fountain, beautiful churches, the Palermo Cathedral and the Mercato di Ballaro among many other things. You can even organise a guided walking tour or a street food tour!

End your day with an aperitivo before heading to La Vucciria to really take in the energy of this lively city at its famed night market.

Quattro Canti
Quattro Canti

Day 6 – Palermo

The sixth day of your trip should also be devoted to exploring Palermo because there are likely several places that you haven’t seen just yet.

Spend your morning taking the Massimo Theatre, the Archaeological Museum and gorging yourself on arancini and caponata at the Mercato di Capo.

In the afternoon, head out to Mondello Beach, a lovely stretch of sand located to the north of the city.

After spending a few hours lounging on the beach, head to Monte Pellegrino to enjoy some spectacular views over Palermo, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the surrounding area.

Monte Pellegrino
Monte Pellegrino

Day 7 – Monreale, Segesta & Erice

If you only have one week in Sicily, this will be the final day of your Sicily itinerary and you should, instead of making your way to Trapani, plan to do a day trip to Agrigento from Palermo.

However, if you are planning a 10-day Sicily itinerary, then use this day to make some pit stops while en route to the coastal city of Trapani.

The first stop on your drive to Trapani should be in the town of Monreale, which is only located about 10 kilometres outside of Palermo. This town is well-known for its beautiful cathedral and gorgeous mosaics.

After exploring a bit of Monreale, drive to the archaeological site of Segesta. Located about an hour outside of Palermo, this is home to an excellently preserved ancient Greek temple and a beautiful amphitheatre.

The two sites are located a bit away from each other (and the theatre is up quite a steep hill), so it’s recommended to take the shuttle bus up the hill to see the amphitheatre. Plan to spend about 1.5 to 2 hours here.

Make your final stop for the day be the lovely hilltop town of Erice. Located on a hill overlooking Trapani, Erice is absolutely beautiful and boasts incredible views (especially on the drive up — you can also take a cable car from Trapani, however) and picturesque cobble lanes and alleyways.

End your day in Trapani, enjoying the lovely location on the confluence of the Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian seas.

Streets of Erice
Streets of Erice

Where to Stay in Trapani

Hotel San Michele – Located in the centre of Trapani, this hotel is an excellent choice for mid-range travellers to this western Sicilian city. They have clean, cool and comfortable rooms available and offer breakfast each morning.

Room Of Andrea Hotel – This 4-star hotel is the perfect choice for those looking for a luxe stay in Trapani. It has an excellent location for exploring the city and its surrounding area, plush rooms available and plenty of other wonderful amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.

Residence La Gancia – If you’d like your own space in Trapani, then this aparthotel is an excellent choice. It is centrally located close to the highlights of the city and they also have fully-furnished apartments available. There is also a bar and fitness centre on site.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Trapani hotels!

Day 8 – Trapani

Day 8 should be devoted to exploring lovely Trapani in Western Sicily. Though this is a major metropolitan area, the historical centre of Trapani is quite compact and you can easily explore the top sites within the span of a morning.

In the afternoon, you have a few options. You could opt to head to the beach (there are several lovely beaches within a stone’s throw of Trapani’s centre) and soak up the sun for the rest of the day. Or you could hop on a ferry and spend a half-day exploring the nearby island of Favignana.

As the sun begins to set, make sure to hop in the car and head to the salt pans located just south of the city centre. Sometimes, you can even see flamingos enjoying the salinated waters here.

Trapani Salt Pans
Trapani Salt Pans

Day 9 – Marsala & Selinunte

On the penultimate day of your Sicilian adventure, it’s time to leave Trapani and make your way along the south coast of Sicily en route to Agrigento – but, of course, there are plenty of stops to make along the way!

The first is in the coastal city of Marsala. This town is famous for its eponymous fortified wine, but it also boasts a charming historical centre and some salt pans that are very similar to those in Trapani.

Afterwards, make your way to Selinunte, a lovely archaeological park located on the south coast of Sicily. This park includes the ruins of countless temples and other ancient sites and it is absolutely fascinating to wander around. Its location on the coast also boasts incredible views of the Mediterranean, as well.

If you’re looking for a great meal, we highly recommend heading to Trattoria Casa Mia in the town just a few hundred metres from the park entrance. It is a bit unassuming, but this ended up being one of our favourite meals during our time in Sicily.

From Selinunte, it’s about a 1.5-hour drive before you reach Agrigento.

Ruins in Selinunte
Ruins in Selinunte

Where to Stay in Agrigento

Hotel Exclusive – Located in the centre of Agrigento, this hotel is a great base for exploring all this area has to offer. They have clean and comfortable rooms available and they also have a great breakfast available each morning.

Doric Boutique Hotel – This luxury hotel is a great place to stay when exploring the area near Agrigento if you’re after a plush stay. They are expertly poised for exploring the Valley of the Temples, they have lovely rooms to choose from and there is a restaurant, bar and spa/wellness centre on site.

A Cantunera LittleHouse – For those looking for their own space while visiting Agrigento are sure to love this two-bedroom house. It is well located to explore the area and it comes fully furnished and well-equipped with everything you may need for a great stay in Sicily.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Agrigento hotels!

Day 10 – Agrigento

Spend the final day of your 10 days in Sicily exploring the highlights surrounding the town of Agrigento. This area is most famous for being home to the Valley of the Temples, which is an incredible UNESCO World Heritage site that houses seven ruined Greek temples – including some of the best-preserved temples in the world.

Plan to spend the morning exploring the Valley of the Temples – you need at least a couple of hours in order to do the park justice. Stop for lunch in Agrigento proper before making your way to the beautiful Scala dei Turchi.

These are beautiful white cliffs that cascade into the sea and very much resemble a staircase. If you want to fight the crowds and try and find a place to park, you can even climb over the cliffs and enjoy the views of the Mediterranean.

From the Scala dei Turchi, head to Lido Rosello. This is a beautiful beach located right next to the cliffs and it provides incredible views of the Scala dei Turchi with a fraction of the crowds. End your Sicily itinerary by lounging on the beach and enjoying the incredible scenery that surrounds you.

Temple of Concordia
Temple of Concordia

Have More Time?

If you have more than 10 days in Sicily, then there are countless ways to extend your trip. The first thing that springs to mind is to plan to spend a day or two in southeast Sicily around Siracusa.

You can spend a day or two exploring the city itself and another couple of days heading to the hill towns in the nearby Val di Noto such as Ragusa and Modica.

If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, then you could also head to the Aeolian islands and spend a bit of time hopping around this gorgeous and historic archipelago.

Planning a Sicily itinerary is one of the most fun trips to map out in all of Italy. An island with so much to offer, there is no wrong way to visit this incredible place.

Are you planning to visit Sicily? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

Like It? Pin It!
Avatar photo

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Comments

  1. Hi Maggie and really enjoyed the info you have provided.
    We are 2 older fit lades (from Australia) planning to tour Sicily in early November.
    Many of the small group Tours don’t really cover what we want and the private Tours for 2 are expensive. At this point I am thinking I could possibly plan our own private itinerary for the 2 weeks. I have been doing this for 45 years and have never had problems. But the one big hitch is we need a driver to take us from place to place – say Palermo to our next port of call. We would spend say 2 to 3 nights doing some day excursions which I would organise when we arrived or pre-plan. Can you let me know how we would go about finding the 4 or 5 private drivers we would need? no point in engaging the 1 person when we may be spending several nights in one spot. Would appreciate any help
    many thanks
    Leigh Enever

    Reply

Leave a Comment