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Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and located in southern Italy. Given its size, the best way to see the area is to rent a car in Sicily. With a good road system, driving through the region is easy making the most of your holiday on the island. are the experts when it comes to vehicles for hire on the island.

It's your choice: Where to go in Sicily

Palermo is brimming with palaces, churches, and castles featuring Byzantine, Norman, and Renaissance architectural styles. For a marvellous beach holiday, head to Cefalu, lodged between a spectacular mountain and stretches of sand. It has also a lovely historic centre with a splendid cathedral and quaint buildings. Not to be missed are the stunning Aeolian Islands with its cobalt sea, splendid coastline, awesome volcanic landscape and fantastic hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. The medieval town of Taormina on the Ionian Coast used to be the capital of Byzantine Sicily. Sun, shopping, and food are plenty and if you have time to spare, wander along its medieval avenue and explore ancient quarters and a 12th-century clock tower. In southern Sicily, Syracuse is highly recommended with its baroque and Greek influences while Catania is an example of a city built on lava that engulfed the area during the volcanic eruption in 1669.

Things to do in Sicily

Owing to its rich history, Sicily is a paradise for temples, palaces, and archaeological remnants. Visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Study the complex of temples especially the well-preserved Temple of Concordia. The Museo Archeologico has also a huge collection of artefacts excavated from the ruins. The Capella di Palatina in Palermo is an exceptional chapel drawing hordes of visitors attracted to its shimmering gold mosaics, inlaid marble floors, and muqarnas ceilings. Apart from sightseeing, guests frequent the beautiful beaches on the island such as the Isola Bella in Taormina and the San Vito Lo Capo in Trapani. Lungomare di Cefalu has golden sands and offers picturesque views of the fishing village and nearby mountains whilst Fontane Bianche in Syracuse lures visitors with its white sands, wild coast, and intense blue waters.

Important info about Sicily

When you look on the map, Sicily is separated from mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina. Its topography consists of rugged mountains, volcanoes, fertile plains, and coastlines. Europe’s highest active volcano, Mt. Etna, is in Sicily standing at 3,220 metres. The island enjoys a Mediterranean type of climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. Forests occupy only 4% of its surface. The island has a thriving agriculture sectors thanks to investments in modern irrigation systems and its rich soil. Wheat, olives, olive oil, nuts, tomatoes, grapes, and oranges are the main produce. Its industrial sector is also booming with the establishment of chemical and textile factories. The hospitality industry is a significant revenue earner as well for the island with visitors drawn to its natural and historical attractions.

Weather in Palermo
Country Italy
Language Italian
Currency Euro
Time-Zones CET
Country Code +39

Good to know

Catania and Palermo are the main entry points to Sicily if you’re planning to take an airplane to the island. Many airlines operate direct flights to Sicily from major European cities. Smaller airports in Sicily include the ones in Trapani, Comiso, Lampedusa, and Pantelleria. Upon arrival, you can pick-up your rental car if you made reservations beforehand or go to a car hire company desk to arrange for one. Driving in Sicily is not that difficult and like any other place, you need to be vigilant for heavy human and car traffic in bigger cities such as Palermo and Catania. People on the island drive on the right and overtake using the left lane. The speed limit on motorways is 130km/h, 90km/h on secondary roads, and 50km/h on built-up areas. The BAC limit in Italy is 0.5mg whilst the minimum age to drive is 18 years. Drivers under 25 years may have to pay a surcharge when renting a car in Sicily.

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Our tour suggestion for Sicily

You’re spoiled for choices when on a trip to the island. However, if you don’t have a lot of time during your holidays in Sicily, start by driving along the coast of Celafu with its amazing beaches and historic landmarks. Another alternative is to go to Le Madonie, a range of untouched mountains in southwestern Italy. Enjoy the Parco delle Madonie, a natural reserve covering 35,000 hectares and explore the charmings towns and villages in the area. For those who love history, Sicily is teeming with historic towns such as Noto, which is considered the finest baroque town in the island. Modica, another World Heritage site, is accessible from Syracuse. This ancient medieval building is embedded in a deep gorge. You’ll also want to see the country’s most stunning hill town, Erice, renowned for its medieval streets and local sweets. From Palermo, you can drive or catch the bus to Trapani.

What to taste in Sicily

Sicily is not only an outstanding place for nature, culture, and arts. It is also a food lover’s paradise. Sicilian cuisine is a fusion of French, Arabic, and Spanish influences. Try arancini which is a breaded and fried ball of creamy risotto rice. Caponata is a famous Sicilian dish that is made up of aubergines, raisins, pine nuts, and vinegar. It is served as an antipasto. Seafood is also a predominant ingredient in Sicilian food with the gambero ross (red prawns), a delicious treat. It is sprinkled with lemon juice and olive oil and served raw. Pasta al Genovese is busiate pasta similar to fusilli served with a pesto-like sauce made of almonds, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and Pecorini cheese. If you’re in Catania, don’t miss their delicious pasta alla Norma. Sicily has no shortage of heavenly desserts either with canolli (deep fried pastry filled with ricotta) and granita con brioche (bun), local favourites.