I’m Sicilian and the more the years I spend away from home, the more I feel a strong sense of belonging to my island. Each time I make my return to it, I find more beautiful than ever, just like those women who remain beautiful no matter their age. Sicily is beautiful, and the reasons, trivial as they may seem, are simple.
It’s sublime but rural, historically important and majestic, continues to be savage and common. In only a few hours you can arrive from the sea up to the peak of 2900 meters of the Etna craters. You eat well, of course! The climate is temperate all year round and, although perhaps not a destination to consider in February, it is also true that Sicily is not just the sea, indeed, it offers a lot more, ideal, therefore, in winter for those who want to discover the Arab, the Norman and the Greek angles.
The Sicilian hospitality is well known and finally, it seems to have come back in fashion in these recent years.
Finally Sicily is experiencing a time of great revival and appreciation. And the thing, as a Sicilian, cannot but give me a reason to rejoice.
The size of the island and the multitude of things to see and to do leads to having to choose a route over another, but perhaps the interesting thing about this selection of destinations is that Sicily offers the possibility to satisfy one’s whims to follow any eventual theme.
Whether cinema, Greek or Byzantine history, or just beaches, Sicily offers itself as a game board in which we can move the pieces as best we believe.
September or August ?
The season begins in effect in May and it is not uncommon that you can swim in the sea until November, so the season is long and it is not necessary to come in August, in that case it is recommended to book in great advance, and as the title of the post says, September is a very special month.
No crowds of the previous month, the water in the sea is warm, the beaches are not crowded and the long queues along the roads are avoided. My choice, therefore, is clear, that it falls on September, the month when I, in first person, always return willingly and that I feel to recommend.
How to reach Sicily
From the time Ryanair has established routes to Sicily it is easy to find flights starting from € 25 one way in the high season, from Rome. Alternatively, for those who prefer to bring their own car but do not want to drive along the legendary Salerno – Reggio Calabria, an excellent and convenient option is the ferry that departs from Naples and reach the ports of Catania, Palermo, Trapani.
How to travel in Sicily
To follow this itinerary I highly recommend to arrive in Sicily by car or to rent one. So as to be free and independent, but above all that will allow you to follow the itinerary mentioned below, that would be much more difficult to follow if you have to do with public transport, an enterprise a little more complex or that will, in any case, take up more time.
Generally, when hiring a car, I rely on Rentalcars, a site that compares car hire prices from leading operators in the world, which guarantees the lowest prices ever, total coverage ( at extra cost but still lower than the official ones ) and assistance in Italian.
Car rental for seven days starting from € 140.
Alternatively, you can travel by bus or train although I must admit that the services in this sector are not exactly agile and especially take a long time. Not suitable for those with limited time and want to enjoy the most remote corners, especially when outside of the cities or to combine several cities in one day.
For rail transport the reference site is Trenitalia.
As regards the bus the companies are the following:
Where to stay in Taormina
I consider Taormina as the base, because I had thought up this itinerary starting from here and seeing that we are touching the east coast, it is without a doubt an excellent choice. There is also to say, let’s not make a mystery of it, that the costs in Taormina are significantly more than the sea areas that are just about 15 minutes by car away, Giardini Naxos or Letojanni,, but if you book in advance you can find good accommodation solutions in Taormina even inside the town without having to give up this opportunity, Taormina is wonderful during the day but also at night!
I have carefully selected hotels and B&Bs in Taormina ensuring myself of the quality of service in relation to price.
Remember that Taormina is probably the most famous destination on the island, as well as the most expensive, the sooner you book your reservation the better it is, especially in July and August which are already fully booked in the winter months.
As for the hotels, the rule for which to sleep in Taormina costs at least twice as much as to stay in nearby areas, counts, just 15 minutes by car and by the sea, and above all it is recommended to book well in advance. The Taormina tourist season usually begins in May and lasts until October. You know that often you bathe in the sea even in November, don’t you?
Where to stay in center Taormina – Book now and save money
Dorms from€25It is the only hostel in Taormina, it offers dorms and private rooms. Near the center of Taormina, simple but functional rooms. Dormitory beds separately at € 25. Double rooms from € 80. Book now
Double room starting from €120This guest house tastefully decorated is located about 5 minutes walk from the center, Corso Umberto, and offers a marvelous view of Spisone and Calabria. Book now
B&B Joan’s Heritage
Double room from €90B&B super central right at the beginning of the main street. Well furnished in tupical Sicilian style. Remember that houses in the center can be small, make sure you get a bigger room. Book now
Seven days in Sicily – Suggested Travel Itinerary
To choose where to go and what to give up in Sicily is very difficult. The sites worth a visit are many and 7 days are not much.
Yet a beautiful vision of Sicily can be grasped even if quickly in a short time.
The base I like to think in Taormina or nearby, that in the day and at night is always beautiful and, from an elegant woman of the sea in the day, will transform into a shimmering seductress at night.
The crowd begins to wane, roads clearer, the bars are not crowded like anthills. At last, greet the bygone day to turn one’s gaze to the sea from the mountain peak is one of the most pleasant sensations that Sicily can offer.
My idea of a 7 days itinerary includes the volcano as much as the islands, the history as much as the worldliness, the scaling of Etna as much as the beaches.
A smattering of an emblematic, beautiful and sunny island.
Day 1 – Arrival in Catania and transfer to Taormina
The day of arrival after having landed happily in Taormina is to go immediately to the symbol of the town perhaps best known in the world: the Greek-Roman Theater.
After the visit it is time to try the Sicilian granita, the bar which is, at the discretion of many and the expert, is BamBar just a short distance from the ancient Theater.
A walk along the Corso Umberto and an aperitive in one of the bars “radical chic” of Taormina where you can sip a cocktail sitting on the steps of the nice bar and the sun goes down .
A dinner of fish and the evening in the bar for definition of Taormina: the Morgana.
Day 2 – Etna and wine tasting
Etna is the largest active volcano in the world that rises up to 3300 meters dominating the entire province of Catania.
The access routes to the crater are two: Etna North and Etna South.
The South Path includes the departure from Gravina di Catania to arrive up to the former Rifugio Sapienza going through Mascalucia and Nicolosi.
From the Rifugio continue by cable car up to 2600 meters. The journey continues with the Star jeeps. Up to reach the central crater.
The Path North instead departs from Linguaglossa to arrive at Provenzana Plain (1810 meters) and from there by jeep to reach 2900 meters and the craters of the volcano.
After the excursion to Mount Etna to stop for lunch at the vintage estates given to wine production where you can have wine testing and lunch.
Return to Taormina with a stop for swimming and a fresh seafood based dinner when the sun sets down on Isola Bella.
If without a car it is best to take part in a tour that starts or Catania or Taormina, follow some travel ideas and tips on tours
Day 3 – Aeolian Islands. Lipari and Vulcano or Panarea and Stromboli
This day is long but splendid, let’s go to the Aeolian Islands! There are 2 tours options, one departing from Milazzo, you have to get there by train and it can be a bit tricky if you don’t have a car, or the other one is departing from Taormin, with free pick up.
Option A – Minicruise from Milazzo
Take the train at Giardini Naxos very early in the morning, a taxi from Taormina to the train station should cost about €20 one way.
get off at Milazzo train station and go to the port to embark. You can get to Milazzo from Taormina by train (leaving Taormina at 6:25 arriving to Milazzo at 8:30 am.) , change in Messina, but it takes long time, or by car (85km, about 1 hour driving).
For train schedule click here: Trenitalia.com
From Milazzo you can buy excursions to: Lipari and Vulcano or Panarea and Stromboli .
For schedules and prices of the mini cruises to the Aeolian click here.
- Lipari and Vulcano – Everyday departure at 9am – Departure at 9:00 – Starting from €40.50 p/p
- Panarea and Stromboli by night – Tues/Thurs/Sund – Departure at 12:00 – Starting from €61,50 p/p
- Vulcano tour – Sunday cruise – Departure at 9am – Starting from €35.50 p/p
- Salina and Lipari – Monday cruise – Departure at 8.30 am – starting from €55 p/p
- 4 Islands tour – Saturday – Departure at 9:00 – Starting from €69 p/p
- Filicudi and Alicudi – Tuesday – Departure at 8:30 – Starting from €59 p/p
OPTION B – The Aeolian Islands from Taormina mini cruise
This is the best option and doesn’t cost that more than getting to Milazzo on your own. The departure is scheduled from Taormina, pick up at your hotel and drive to Milazzo where you will embark on your cruise. Return to Taormina in the evening. Here is a special selection for you (the company operating the tours is based in Taormina and is specialized in mini tours in the islands since 20 years):
Day 4 – On the tracks of the Godfather: Savoca , Forza d’ Agro and Castle of Slaves
An authentic Sicily with references to the film the Godfather will lead, without a doubt, to Savoca, just 26km from Taormina.
After eating a granita at Bar Vitelli in Savoca, the tour continues to the discovery of the mummies in the Capuchin Crypt.
The day continues in Forza d’Agro where to visit the cathedral (the very same of the “wedding scene” in The Godfather) and especially the cemetery of the town a little in the style of Dylan Dog.
Afternoon by the sea on the way back in Mazzarò or in Mazzeo for the sunset where to have an aperitif and maybe make a stop to eat excellent fish with view of the sea.
Day 5 – Syracuse and Noto
Syracuse is bound to characters of the caliber of Archimedes, Epicarmo, Theocritus, a glorious city that still retains the charm of yesteryears.
A safe and protected port that preserves an enviable archeological park that tells the story of the city, is adorned by the island of Ortigia, the oldest urban core.
After the sightseeing of the city, continue for the visit of the Greek Theatre.
Then on to Ortigia and a little relaxation in the Vendicari sea. Dinner instead in Noto, only an hour and a half by car from Taormina.
Day 6 – Taormina relax
Time to rest and to enjoy Taormina without having any plan. Go to the beach, to Isolabella or to Mazzarò Bay, easily accessible by cable car, eat one last granita at bamBar, enjoy a drink on the beach, a seafood dinner and deep into the night in the bars of the city. Let’s conclude the week like this.
I know … it’s hard to move around so much when you only have a week of vacation especially after a hot summer. But often the appetite comes with eating. Take this idea as the starter.
Obviously there would be the day 7 …. the departure. But this I prefer not to mention at all!
Have you been to Sicily? Where? I’d love to hear from you!
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Galapagos, Argentina, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Namibia.