Welcome to Sicily !!
Welcome to Myoxybubble Sicily ! Sicily is a beautiful and large island located off the coast of the Italian boot. It is full of charms with its cities such as Taormina, Catania, Syracuse, Agrigento and its valley of temples or Palermo its capital. It also seduces with its breathtaking landscapes offered by Mount Etna, the Alcantara gorges, not to mention the magnificent Aeolian islands that surround it. Sicily is a Mediterranean country, You will appreciate its climate but also its gastronomic specialties! Everything is gathered in Sicily to live the dolce vita!
- Welcome to Sicily !!
- 10 days in Sicily!
- Day 1: Arrival in Catania and 1st discoveries
- Day 2: The ascent of Mount Etna!
- Day 3: Alcantara Gorge and Taormina
- Day 4: An Aeolian Island: Stromboli!
- Day 5: Direction Syracuse!
- Day 6: The beauty of Cavagrande del Cassibile
- Day 7: On the way to the Agrigento region!
- Day 8: Welcome to African Sicily!
- Day 9: Palermo the capital!
- Day 10: End of the trip
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
10 days in Sicily!
Day 1: Arrival in Catania and 1st discoveries
After landing in Catania, it is imperative to rent a car in order to move freely on the island. Pay attention to the agency you will choose because there are many scams with credit cards, additional insurance costs, not to mention the findings when returning the vehicle. In France, we mostly use a debit card and not a credit card. I strongly advise you to go through the agency rentalcars.com which is certainly more expensive but also safer and without unpleasant surprises to the restitution! Once your vehicle is in hand, drive 45min and go to the Etna Dream accommodation which is ideally located at the foot of Mount Etna !
Completely new and design accommodation, very clean and benefiting from a terraced garden very appreciable.
Hearty breakfast is included. 500m from the accommodation, in the city center, you will come across a square that is very lively in the evening. We recommend the restaurant Donna Peppina, institution since 1924.
Try sicilian pizze and arancini! A real delight!
Day 2: The ascent of Mount Etna!
In the early morning, go to the refuge of Sapienza (1910m alt.) for the ascent of Mount Etna, the most majestic active volcano in Europe (3330m) overlooking Sicily. Attention the parking on arrival is paying! It takes 25 minutes by car from the accommodation. Possibility to climb to 2500m with the funicular.
The climb will last 15min. It will cost you 30 € round trip funicular (24 € just for the outward and 21 € just for the return).
It is quite possible to climb on foot without taking the funicular but this portion does not have too much interest and I wish you courage! On the other hand, arrived at the top of the funicular at 2500m, I strongly advise you to walk up to 2920m and not by 4×4 bus to tourists and overpriced! (Except of course, for people with disabilities or reduced mobility).
You will enjoy an exceptional panorama (if the weather is clear) with the beauty of a majestic Etna! composed of its craters and dry lava flows.
Stretch out your ears! Possibility to hear Etna rumbling! You will perceive its activity through the smoke and the projections of pebbles in the center of the main crater.
Do not hesitate to climb and walk along the crest of the adjoining craters! Allow at least 5 hours of round trip. Be careful, there is a huge temperature difference between the sea and the top of Mount Etna.
It can be 30 degrees at sea level and 5 degrees at the top. Bring warm clothes and a windbreaker, not to mention good hiking shoes! Also bring water and food for your hike.
Your ascent of the majestic volcano finished, I suggest you take the road to reach the accommodation of your next stop. I advise you to rent accommodation either on the side of Taormina, or towards the gorges of Alcantara. We had chosen to take our accommodation on the side of the gorges in Motta Camastra because much cheaper than in Taormina. We were ideally located 5 min drive from the gorges! Small accommodation very simple and rustic that will be perfect for an overnight stay or two. It is located in a medieval village perched on the mountain. Be careful, the road climbs damn well to get there!
Day 3: Alcantara Gorge and Taormina
# The wonderful gorges of Alcantara
The Gorges of Alcantara are worth a visit! The rock formations have formed over the centuries with lava flows cooled by the cold water of the river flowing through the gorges. The cliffs can reach about ten meters in height. Morning arrival recommended (around 9am) if you want to enjoy the site without too many tourists!
I advise you on arrival to park at the communal car park and not at the botanical garden car park because it is much cheaper. It will cost you 1€ per hour or 3€ per half day. Entrance tickets (1.5 € / pers and the payment of the car park are to be made at the ticket office located just in front of the municipal entrance.
Then take the communal staircase. Bring water shoes, a bath towel, a swimsuit and sunscreen. I warn you: the water is freezing but do not hesitate to sink into the gorge to enjoy the show! Small Instagram cliché obligatory 😉!
Some will take the opportunity to do canyoning on reservation.
# Taormina, the Sicilian pearl!
Allow a 30-minute drive from alcantara Gorge to Taormina. Taormina is a charming city perched on the cliffs.
Parking is subject to a fee because the whole city is pedestrianized. There are 4 car parks on the outskirts of the city including 3 paid near the city center and 1 free at the bottom of the city. Take the free parking by indicating “via Bongiovani” in your GPS.
The view of Isola Bella from the parking lot is magnificent! Take the 300-step staircase from the car park and reach the upper town in just 10 minutes! You will not regret your efforts because the views are magnificent!
I then invite you to escape to the public garden of Césario. Admission is free. It is a beautiful lush English garden, where you will love to stroll for a cool break during hot weather!
Here you will find century-old trees and many varieties of flowers and cacti. The garden overlooks the coast and gives stunning views of the sea and Mount Etna. Formerly it was private but today it is a property of the city of Taormina.
Once you have visited the garden, I suggest you go to the Duomo through the 9th of April Square and admire the old church of St Giuseppe.
Absolutely stop to taste Arancini with pistachio or ragu at the rosticceria Da Cristina institution since 1980!
You will not be disappointed! Be careful, there will be queue and seating is expensive. A little dessert? In the duomo square I invite you to succumb to a delicious ice cream from Stecci Taormina 😋.
Now it’s time to burn calories! Direction the castle of Saraceno and the Chesia Madonna della Roca. I advise you to drink a lot during your excursions. To get there, cross the place of 19/04 again, continue straight and look for this alley!
It will be on your left. It will take you to the castle. Let’s go for 25 minutes of ascent! An incredible view of the city of Taormina, the coastline, the sea and Mount Etna awaits you.
Take your time and admire this breathtaking view in addition to the castle which itself is worth seeing. Unfortunately, the castle is locked and cannot be visited. Go back down, walk the charming village of Taormina. Tired? How about landing on the pretty beach of Isola Bella? Return to the car park and walk down to Isola Bella. It will take you 15 min on foot to get off.
Isola Bella means “the beautiful island”. Indeed, this island is heavenly but crowded with people! Possibility to rent a deckchair for more tranquility so as not to be glued on top of each other.
To access Isola Bella, you will have to cross your feet in the water. The visit of the island is paying. It will cost you 2€ for 18-25 year olds and 4€ / adult. It is a very busy pebble beach. Do not hesitate to bring a mask and snorkel because the surroundings are conducive to snorkelling.
End your day with a sunset overlooking Taormina Bay and Mount Etna on your way to the charming little hilltop village of Castelmola. The visit of the remains of the castle is very pleasant.
Stroll through the small typical Sicilian streets and stop for dinner or a drink at the atypical Turrisi bar located on the forecourt of the church.
This bar has a decoration on 4 floors only based on the sex of the man! There is nothing unhealthy about this connotation. It is based on the symbol of fertility! You will find this symbol everywhere! Ranging from menu menu, seat backs, toilet or floor lamp etc. The staff is very welcoming and their pizza is very good. I recommend!
Day 4: An Aeolian Island: Stromboli!
# Idleness on the island of stromboli
Today departure for the Aeolian island Stromboli and its famous volcano! You will have to take a ferry from the port of Milazzo.
Starting from the Alcantara Gorge, it takes 1h30 drive to reach the pier of Milazzo. I advise you to park in a street (43 via tukory) where parking is not charged. From there, it will take you 10 minutes to reach the pier. The place is fearless and facing the sea. Possibility to buy your return ticket Milazzo – Stromboli directly on site. I still advise you to take your ticket a week in advance to be sure to have space. We chose the company libertylines. We paid 26€/pers on the way out and 21€/pers on the way back. It takes 3 hours to make the crossing to Stromboli. Check out on time! The number of departures each day is quite limited hence the advice to book in advance!
Possibility to stay at casa Frank! It is a small hut typical of the island and very basic. Your host Sigrid will welcome you at the port.
Its rental is very well located 3 min walk from the beach, the city center and the port. The apartment is very clean. Her husband Frank organizes boat trips. During the day, you will enjoy idleness on the black sand beach.
Do not hesitate to stroll through the small streets of the island to the church and stop in a restaurant to enjoy a canolli cheese!
# The ascent of the stromboli
At the end of the day around 6pm, on the way to stromboli ! Can I do the excursion without a guide? Is this allowed? A large number of people ask themselves this question but little information circulates about it. Fortunately, Myoxybubble is here to answer you!
Possibility to take a guide at the Fire trekking agency (no website, call +39 090 986354) ) at the price of 20 € / person. For your safety, the guide is connected by VHF with the teams that monitor the seismic activity of the volcano. On July 3, 2019, there were 2 deaths during an eruption. The advantage of having a guide is also to have explanations about the volcanic chains hidden under the sea. You can see in the distance the strombolicchio, the tip of an ancient volcanic chimney that appeared by differential erosion.
Its vertical walls are impressive. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Possibility to go around it by boat during an excursion. The constraint of a guide is mainly related to the pace of walking and the imposed return schedule. Arrival at the authorized limit point of 400m (the volcano at an altitude of 900m but it is no longer allowed to climb to its summit), you will stay only 1 hour to admire the sunset, the lava flow and then the volcanic eruptions of the stromboli which take place about every quarter of an hour.
After marveling at the extraordinary spectacle of lava eruptions, it will already be time to return and you will have to follow it.
Possibility also to make the excursion without a guide! You just have to know the starting point: take the alley to the left of the pharmacy in the city center and follow the path.
Hop! Let’s go for 400m of ascent following the trail. Take your time and admire the view! Personally, the path is very easy to climb. No difficulties encountered. During your hike, you will discover the cemetery of the people who died during the eruption of 1930.
There were 4000 inhabitants on the island at that time and most left following the eruption that killed 10 people. Only 400 inhabitants remain today. On the other hand, if you decide to venture alone, it is essential to have with you a headlamp per person and hiking equipment (shoes, long pants depending on the season and k-way). Be careful, the return at night is not done by the same path as on the way. It is much safer and easier, but longer.
When you decide to return, you will have to turn left. Follow the people and the flashlights! This way back is a very flat path that can also be taken to get more easily to the 400m allowed. This new starting point is from the church by the street that goes down just to the level of the cabin of the Fire Trekking agency. Walk along the coast, accommodations and restaurants and then climb up to the restaurant l’osservatorio. Keep going up. You can’t get lost. There is only one way!
On the way back from our hike, thanks to our host, we were able to do a private night excursion of 1h30 from 22h to 23h30. We were alone in the middle of the sea and in complete darkness. The only lights were the blazing stromboli with its eruptions, the moon and the stars.
The boat was stopped in front of the giant and we enjoyed this magical moment with a beer in hand, chips and music. What happiness!
Day 5: Direction Syracuse!
Departure at 10:20 am at the pier of the port of Stromboli and arrival at 1 pm in Milazzo. Pick up your vehicle and drive for 2h30 drive to the island of Ortigia of Syracuse. Ortigia is a small island on which the historic center of Syracuse is located. I propose you to stay 10 minutes away, in Canicattini Bagni. We preferred to rent accommodation outside Syracuse because car parks are expensive. Free places are rare.
Our apartment was beautiful and refurbished with great taste.
There is a patio and a terrace. Very large and design. Our hostess Claudia welcomed us with great enthusiasm and gave us good advice for restaurants in Syracuse and Ortigia, as well as for activities in the area (Noto, Cavagrande de Cassibile). Very good address, I recommend!
Arrival in Ortigia, I advise you to park a little before via Tripoli in an alley facing a large paid car park.
Be careful because there is a limited traffic area, so paying. From here it will take you 5 min on foot to reach the Umbertino Bridge and access Ortigia.
Do not hesitate to stroll through the alleys of the pearl of Syracuse because it is an open-air archaeological museum.
Then join the splendidArethusa Fountain. it is a source of fresh water located just 3m from the sea. This curiosity is worth the detour. You can notice in the papyrus basin that reminds us of our trip to Egypt.
Syracuse is a small town whose center has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005. You can not miss on your arrival the Greek temple of Apollo or the fountain of Diana on the square of Archimedes.
This island deserves a discovery over two or three days.
For your dinner, we tested the Restaurant Archè. We loved a delicious, hearty and inexpensive dish: 25 € the soup of the sea for 3 people and 8 € a starter to share octopus salad. On the other hand, the service was very long.
The boss and her daughter are stressed and stressful and not welcoming! On the other hand, the waiter Tony was very pleasant and helpful.
Day 6: The beauty of Cavagrande del Cassibile
# Cavagrande del Cassibile
Cavagrande del Cassibile is a nature reserve located 30 minutes by car from the accommodation. Park in the parking lot of the bar and climb the crates along the wall! Here is the starting point of the excursion.
Several natural pools and steep waterfalls follow one another in the canyon. Small corner of paradise where you will enjoy swimming in this cool, clear and invigorating water. Nature is truly sublime.
Find a shady spot and settle peacefully enjoying this haven of peace. This hike takes 45 minutes to go down to the pools, at a careful pace. Be careful not to twist your ankles. Count 1h10 for the return because the climb under the sun is exhausting. This duration includes photo breaks and hydration. A tip, go early in the morning. There will be much less people and you will ensure one of the few places in a shady corner. Especially since in the afternoon the heat is overwhelming.
Bring good shoes, a cap, sunscreen, a bath towel (and the swimsuit of course!) and plenty of water, at least 2 liters per person. Don’t forget your snack for a picnic in this magical place! The site is worth a visit despite the difficulty of the descent and ascent. The place is soothing and exotic. It’s a real privilege to swim there!
# Noto the baroque city!
Noto is a charming city with a very romantic baroque style! UNESCO has not hesitated to inscribe it as a World Heritage Site. It is located in the province of Syracuse. Do not hesitate to visit the cathedral, an emblematic building of the city. It was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. It is majestic from the top of its steps descending on the esplanade, facing the municipal palace.
The baroque historic center is magnificent. Stroll through the alleys! This is the Dolce Vita!
In the evening, you will love the magical and romantic lighting of this city with its cozy atmosphere. Enjoy the show on the terrace of a restaurant.
Day 7: On the way to the Agrigento region!
Head to the old town of Naro ! Count 2h30 drive. Naro is a small village very welcoming, with atypical alleys, very narrow and very steep. Traffic is extremely difficult with its tiny alleys. One car at a time passes! Big car and novice driver abstain. We were happy to have a little twingo! There is a lot of one-way street. We opted for this village as there was no longer any rental available and reasonably priced close to Agrigento. The village is lovely but we didn’t take the time to visit it. We recommend the sweet home accommodation, very clean, with Scandinavian decoration. We were very well received there. There is everything you need to cook. Guiseppe and his wife had prepared a cake and homemade jam for us. The fridge was stocked with water, fruit juices, yogurt etc. We would definitely recommend this host.
# La Scala dei Turchi
The Scala dei turchi is an immaculate white chalk cliff. The site illuminated by the sun is heavenly. The pearly white of the cliff under the action of the sun’s rays contrasts with the azure blue of the sky and the turquoise blue of the sea.
As soon as you arrive at the belvedere, located at the top of the road, you will admire the panoramic view of the cliffs and the beach below. Once downstairs, the beach is less dreamy because it is often crowded with people. In addition there is very little water, you have to go far enough from the shore to be able to swim. The site is no less magnificent!
To access the cliff, you will have to cross on foot a portion of the sea. Be careful with your crossing because there are large smooth stones lined with very slippery algae. Falls are frequent! You will have water up to your calves.
The Scala dei Turchi means the staircase of the Turks. This form of staircase has been carved over time by saline erosion and wind. Many people rush to the rock to take pictures but normally the site is protected. Regularly, lifeguards whistle and evacuate everyone. This geological formation is definitely worth a look. It is a must if you are going to the province of Agrigento. Upon arrival, the parking will be paid 5 €. Be careful, many cars park all along the road but we saw on the windshields tickets! At your own risk.
# Torre de Salsa Beach
Are you looking for idleness, sun and beach? I propose you a long and beautiful beach of fine sand called the Torre de Salsa!
You will appreciate the pine forest that runs along it and the sound of cicadas singing. A little Mediterranean air par excellence! It is part of a nature reserve. On site, possibility to eat or have a drink. Absolutely take the direction “Bovo marina” to get there and exit at the exit “Torre Salsa” ! Parking will be free. Do not enter the Torre de Salsa direction in your GPS! Otherwise, you will get lost on an impassable road.
Day 8: Welcome to African Sicily!
# The old town of Agrigento
The old town of Agrigento is located 30 minutes from the accommodation (gps viale de la vittoria to park for free). It has a historic center with some alleys, stairs and monuments such as the church or the theater that are full of charm. On the other hand, the rest of the city around is of no interest because there are many buildings.
The rest of the city is not well maintained. It has a viewpoint giving a magnificent panoramic view of the remains of the valley of the Greek temples and the sea.
I strongly advise you to settle down at Café Concordia to drink a local almond milk! Powerful in taste and sweet at the same time. A real delight!
# The Valley of the Temples!
The Valley of the Temples is a magnificent World Heritage Site. The Greek archaeological site overlooks the Agrigento Valley.
All the temples were built on the same ridge. The Greek ruins date back to 500 BC. The Doric style Temple of Concord is beautifully preserved. Just in front of the latter, a splendid bronze statue of Icarus is washed up. It was made by a world-renowned sculptor Igor Mitoraj, who died in 2014. The limbs of Icarus (legs and wings) are mutilated by his fall. On the other hand, his sex has been perfectly preserved! During your visit, you will be totally immersed in antiquity.
You will enjoy strolling and admiring the beauty of the temples in the middle of almond and centenary olive trees. The site is well laid out.
On your way, you will come across some interesting explanatory panels, translated into English and sometimes into French. Enough to transport you for a moment to the Greek era. The entrance will cost you 12 € / adult, 1/2 price for students and retirees. Under 18s benefit from free admission. An audio guide is available with a supplement of 5€. Plan 2h30 of visit. Possibility for people with reduced mobility to take a small bus for 3 € more.
Be careful, the site is not much shaded. Bring water, a cap and sunscreen as the heat can be overwhelming. Once your visit is over, do not hesitate to return to refresh yourself again at the beach of the Torre de salsa.
Day 9: Palermo the capital!
# The discovery of the old town
The end of your journey is approaching, so head to the capital! Count 2 hours from Naro to Palermo. I had read quite a few negative reviews about Palermo saying to go your way because of no interest. I disagree! Palermo is a typical Italian city, rich in history and magnificent architecture. Part of the city center is pedestrian. The city can be visited on foot without difficulty.
We started our discovery with the famous “porta nueva” gate overlooking the Royal Palace of the Normans and the cathedral. This gate gives direct access to the old town. Our accommodation was conveniently located 2 minutes walk from it. This gate makes the transition between the old and the new city.
The apartment of Dario our host is very beautiful, very design with a terrace at the top! Dario speaks very good English and gives all the necessary information to visit the historic center as well as the addresses to eat. We really enjoyed our stay. I highly recommend this accommodation but also the visit of palermo cathedral! The latter is incredibly rich!
The visit will cost you 10€. The view from the dome offers an exceptional view of the rooftops of Palermo, the Cathedral Square and the city. The architecture is reminiscent of Seville !. The place is emblematic and unmissable! At the entrance, there will be a mandatory control of your temperature by scan for health reasons related to Covid 19 and wearing a mask will be mandatory. Once your visit is over, I invite you to head to the “Quattro Canti” square. The square is located at the crossroads of 4 streets. It is worth a look because it is adorned with beautiful statues and fountains.
The buildings are with concave facades which makes all the charm of this place. The statues all have meaning and represent the four seasons. On your left (as you walk down the main street) you will find many bars and restaurants. This place is very lively in the evening. On your right, arriving at Quattro Canti Square, you will be amazed by the magnificent Pretoria Fountain dating from the sixteenth century in Piazza Pretoria. Idyllic little corner to cool off!
It is given the name of “fountain of shame” with its statues of shame. Indeed, the fountain reveals a large number of beautiful white marble statues displaying their nudity. The place is very peaceful by the beauty of the sculptures, the immaculate white of the marble under the sun and the relaxing sound of the water flowing from the fountains.
A little peckish? I invite you to explore an atypical neighborhood! Go immediately to the Vucciria market ! Small place that does not look good, quite poor, very lively and with the smell of fish. The atmosphere is warm and pleasant! All the locals meet here to eat a plate of grilled fish, octopus or fried vegetables.