Last updated on March 30th, 2020
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily offers an endless amount of options for tourists. Whether it’s relaxing on one of the spectacular shorelines, or visiting the highest volcano in Europe, Sicily’s 9 diverse provinces have something for everyone.
What’s the best region to stay in Sicily ?
Palermo, the 2,700 year old city, is the capital of the island. It is located in the northwest of Sicily and is surrounded by mountainous terrain and crystal clear water. Beautiful arabesque architecture can be seen throughout most districts, along with famous opera houses, various museums and traditional street markets.
East of Palermo is the province of Messina. The region is the closet to mainland Italy, only 3 km at its shortest point. The Province is also home to one of the largest and most important ports for Mediterranean cruises. While Messina is mainly mountainous, the Milazzo plain hosts two populous towns. The beautiful Aeolian Islands also belong to the province.
South of Messina are the provinces of Enna and Catania. Enna, which is the highest provincial capital in Sicily, boasts a variety of sights. It hosts well preserved roman mosaics, historic towns, many castles and a forest with a wildlife reserve. Catania, however, is famous for having the largest, most active volcano in Europe.
On the south coast of the Island lies the Provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta and Ragusa, all of which have pale, sandy beaches, stunning water, ancient temples and archaeological sites.
In the most western province of Trapani, there are giant salt fields which lie just in front of the city’s gates. Like other provinces, it also has a fine selection of museums, castles and amazing architecture. Not far from the coast lies the mountainous Aegadian Islands.
On the other side of the island, on the east coast, is the province of Syracuse (Siracusa). The city of Syracuse is well known for its mix of Greek and Roman history, culture and architecture.
What’s the best area to experience the island for the first time, tourists, what’s the best area for upscale holiday or honeymoon, the Etna volcano, or where to stay with a family or for swimming and the beach ? Read on below to find out more best places to stay in Sicily Italy.
Quick Overview – Contents
- What is the Best Area to Stay in Sicily
- Best for Romantic Trip
- Best Area for Swimming & Beaches
- Best Place to Stay for Upscale Holiday
- Best Area for Visiting Etna
- Where to Stay in Sicily for Families
- Best Place for Valley of the Temples
- Where to Stay in Sicily on Honeymoon (couples)
- 9 Best Towns & Cities to Stay for Tourists
What is the Best Area to Stay in Sicily ?
Recommended Places to Stay in Sicily
- Best Luxury Hotels in Sicily
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo • Sikelia Luxury Hotel
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel • Resort Borgo San Rocco
- Best Cheap Hotels in Sicily
Trigrana Vacanze Hotel (Beachfront) • Hotel Victoria
- Best Bed & Breakfast
Family Affair Palermo • Villa Le Terrazze Charming Rooms
- Best Budget Hostels
Ostello della Gioventù – Il Castello • Via Zara
Best Areas to Stay in Sicily
Where to stay in Sicily for the best beaches ? San Vito lo Capo, Giardini Naxos, Cefalu, Letojanni
To take advantage of the bright, blue sea and the pale, sand beaches, the best places to visit include: San Vito Lo Capo, Giardini Naxos, Cefalu and Letojanni. These beaches are perfect for everyone.
Best place to stay in Sicily for Upscale Holiday ? Taormina
Sat on the side of a mountain, Taormina offers endless luxury hotels and refined restaurants, perfect for those in the search of something a little more majestic.
If you plan on visiting the famous volcano, Taormina and Catania will allow you to stay close to the national park, but also enjoy the city life too.
Best area to stay in Sicily when with a family ? San Vito lo Capo, Giardini Naxos, Cefalu, Letojanni or Taormina
When traveling abroad with a family, you most likely want to stay where there is something for the whole family. Taormina, San Vito Lo Capo, Giardini Naxos, Cefalu and Letojanni are the perfect places to visit.
Best Sicilian city to stay for Valley of the Temples ? Agrigento
Without a doubt, the city of Agrigento is the best place to stay if you want to visit the numerous historic temples that lie in the province.
Where to stay in Sicily for honeymoon (couples) ? Taormina or 5 star hotel
For the newlyweds looking to escape to paradise to enjoy some time alone, Taormina is a luxurious option. Furthermore, there are endless romantic 5-star hotels that cater perfectly for a wonderful honeymoon.
The 9 Best Cities & Towns in Sicily for Tourists (Holiday)
The capital city of the Island is a must-visit place for tourists. Due to its long list of influencers, such as the Romans, Arabs and Spaniards, many cultures have left their mark in Palermo, meaning that there is a huge variety of architecture, culture, and food. The city won the ‘Italian Capital of Culture Award’ in 2018, thanks to all its sightseeing opportunities; one of the most popular being the famous Teatro Massimo.
After a day of visiting the likes of the Palermo Cathedral, take a stroll through one of Palermo’s open air markets and sample the local life of a Sicilian, or if you fancy putting on your disco shoes there are plenty of bars and clubs. The Sicilian way would be to start at around 8pm by having a bite to eat and then hitting the bars for some drinks. After 12am they have the choice to continue their night at a club until the early morning, or head home. Luckily for tourists, you can safely stroll back to your beautiful accommodation.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): Grand Hotel Wagner • Palco Rooms&Suites (Guest House)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: B&B Hotel Palermo Quattro Canti • Ariston Hotel & BB
The scenic city is one of the tourist capitals of Sicily. Almost everything you decide to do in Taormina is complimented with the most picturesque views; a perfect example would be the Ancient Theatre. While you try to imagine what it would have been like watching gladiators in the arena, you can experience a wonderful view (on a clear day) of Calabria, mainland Italy. Tourists staying in Taormina also have the chance to visit Mount Etna, which once again, provides amazing views of the island.
For the wine lovers, there are plenty of wine tasting tours; perhaps you would like to take a boat ride to the Aeolian Islands while sipping a glass of wine. Another island that you must visit is Isola Bella. The best thing about this island is that you can reach it by foot, and it will take you approximately 30 minutes from the top of the city.
In the heart if the city, packed with luxury boutiques, cafes and souvenir shops, the Corso Umberto (the main street) has everything. When the day is over, you can take a walk though one of the public gardens en route to your hotel where once again, you will be met with stunning scenery. It’s the best place to stay in Sicily for couples looking for luxury and upscale holiday.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): VOI Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace (Beachfront) • Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea (Private Beach)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Hotel Casa Adele • Hotel Villa Nettuno
Mount Etna may be the stand-out attraction in Catania as it’s the largest volcano in Europe. However, not only enthusiastic hikers will be able to fill their boots in this province.
Like Palermo, Catania has been a prize for many different empires, allowing you to see the wonderful architecture from each era. One of the most visited buildings is the Palazzo Biscari. The palace is regarded as the most important building in the city. Despite the previous empires, the Palazzo Biscari represents Catanese architecture, and is also one of the most beautiful examples of it.
The Roman theatre (Teatro Romano) is another fine example of an ancient theatre. The historic site was created in the 2nd century BC, and parts of it are made from Mount Etna’s lava.
Catania is the perfect place for seafood lovers to take a look around the fish market just behind the cathedral. As for the beach lovers, you won’t be left out. Just next to Catania you will find the Lizo Azzurro, one of the main stretches of beach where you can soak up the sun and take a dip in the sapphire blue sea. There are plenty of beach front shops and bars and even the kids can enjoy the play area located on the golden sand.
- Best Places to Stay (Great Value): Airone City Hotel • Duomo Suites & Spa
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Habitat • Art & Jazz Hotel
An ancient, coastal town. Most of Siracusa’s sights are historical and archaeological. The large town is home to one of the most impressive and biggest Greek theatres in the world. Completely carved out of rock, the ancient theatre is still putting on plays to give tourists a walk through history.
Another attraction you cannot miss is the Ear of Dionysius. One walk through the the ear-shaped cave and you will understand why it is the most famous cave in Siracusa.
The ancient city still has plenty of beautiful beaches for you to make the most of, most of which have shops, bars and restaurants. The historic area of Ortiga is the place to be when the sun goes down. For a chilled night, there are plenty of charming terraces where you can enjoy a bottle of Sicilian wine, and if you want to stay out until early hours in the morning, there are several nightclubs that open after midnight. After partying all night, make sure you get out early and try one of the many water sports in the area, the warm Mediterranean Sea will make a sore head feel much better.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): Wellness Spa Hotel Principe Fitalia (Private Beach) • Hotel Ortigia Royal Suite
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Domus Mariae Albergo • Hotel Teocrito
Like most other places in Sicily, Trapani also offers a range of Castles and historic sites, Segesta Temple being one of the most important in the region; it is located out in the countryside and is well preserved. The medieval town of Erice has plenty of must see buildings which offer the most spectacular views.
If you choose to walk along one of the many coastal paths, you will be gifted with views that are a mix of turquoise water and small cliffs. One of the most interesting places that Trapani has to offer are the salt marshes. The perfect blend of sun, sea and wind make the perfect home for many birds, even flamingos.
There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Trapani which are child friendly and perfect for the whole family. Several small beaches fill the coastline, with the majority of them located on the northern side of the province. Actually, Trapani is one of the most popular and best places for scuba diving and there are plenty of diving schools scattered around. If exploring the sea floor isn’t for you then there are some brilliant boat trips, especially to the Aegadian Islands.
- Best Accommodation: Room Of Andrea • Residence La Gancia (Aparthotel)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Places to Stay: Hotel San Michele • Arbaria Hotel
One of the fastest growing spots for tourists, San Vito Lo Capo really has so much to offer. Once again, you can experience the different cultures which have been left from various empires; enjoy the local cuisine and even sample some couscous during the town’s annual festival.
For the water sports fanatics, there are plenty of different activities to do near the stunning beaches. In fact, San Vito Lo Capo is famous for its clear water and white sand. Many locals claim that it is the best beach in Sicily and well, once you walk on it, it’s difficult to argue against it.
Very much a beach town resort, the place is packed with hotels and extraordinary villas perfect for everyone. It won’t be a struggle to find a place to eat either as this area is filled with bars and restaurants. If you want a day away from the beach, take the family to the Zingaro Nature Reserve and absorb the beautiful landscapes. When you are suddenly missing the crystal clear waters, it is definitely worth taking a boat trip and island hopping around the Egadi Islands.
- Best Beachfront Accommodation: Hotel Capo San Vito • Il Torrazzo (Bed and Breakfast)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Hermes Hotel • Hotel Soffio D’Estate
For those who want to see the stunning architecture in the day, and go back to their rural escape to relax at night, Noto is the perfect place. The world heritage site is home to of the most stunning palaces the island has to offer. Although Noto is not the typical touristic place (which might be a good thing) you can really experience the life as a Sicilian by enjoying the local cuisine.
If you have seen enough breath-taking architecture for the day then you still have the option to relax by the stunning shoreline. Staying in a hotel in Noto, will not only give you the feeling of being in a rustic hotel, but will also make you feel a part of the Sicilian community. Even though Noto is not the most bustling area of Sicily, there is still a fine selection of restaurants, cafés, and bars, one of the favourite being Anche Gli Angeli. So, to feel like you are a part of the neighbourhood and experience Sicily in a more relaxed style, Noto is the perfect place.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): Hotel Porta Reale • HOTEL SIMON BOLIVAR
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Villa Felicia • Hotel Flora
Just 20 minutes down the coast from Taormina, is the lively seaside resort Giardini Naxos. This town is extremely popular with young tourists who are looking to soak up the sun on the soft, sandy beaches, and then enjoy the various clubs and bars that there is on offer. There is no shortage of restaurants for people looking to fine dine, try traditional food, or even international food.
During the night, the promenade is a tourist hotspot. The younger ones, and also families, head to beach side bars to enjoy some drinks, or ice-creams for the kids. As it approaches midnight many people head off to enter one of the many clubs or bars in the town.
The list of sights to see in Giardini Naxos may not be as long as other places, but it is in a great location to head to a neighbouring city to see find a wider range of activities. After a perfect balance of sun, sea and beach, you can return to your rustic guest house or luxury, modern hotel.
- Best Hotels (Luxury): Nautilus Hotel (Beachfront) • Villa Daphne
- Best Cheap Places to Stay: Hotel Palladio (Beachfront) • Hotel Orpheus (Beach)
The gem of the Sicilian coast, this beautiful medieval city is one of the most visited places in Sicily. A variety of golden, sand beaches fill up the shoreline where tourists can enjoy boat excursions and water sports/activities.
A selection of medieval buildings constantly intrigue the visitors; the Duomo di Cefalú cathedral is the most visited attraction in the city and is also regarded as one of the most interesting buildings in Sicily. Despite being a very small city, Cefalu has a huge amount of restaurants to choose from, whether its seafood or sea view (or a combination of the two), the perfect restaurant is easy to find for everyone.
You can’t visit Cefalu and not see the most spectacular view that there is to see. A steep ascent to the top of a massive crag called La Rocca you will be find yourself near the ruins of an ancient temple and a wonderful view looking over the city.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): Calanica Resort (Private Beach) • Victoria Palace Cefalù (Seafront)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Turismo Rurale Cefalù • Ossuna Bay Hotel Boutique
Best Places to Stay in Sicily
Best Luxury Hotel in Sicily: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
High up in the rocky hills, the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo has always been considered one of the most luxurious hotels in Sicily. Some of the world’s most famous stars call the hotel their favourite destination. Built in 1873, just next to the ancient theatre, the hotel boasts 70 Sicilian style rooms, a charming restaurant with a view of Mount Etna, a wellness centre and a panoramic pool within its 6 acre park and gardens.
A complimentary shuttle to a private beach will have guests living the dream. Family friendly with entertainment for younger guests, this hotel is the perfect stay.
Best Mid Range Hotel in Sicily: Nautilus Hotel
The Mediterranean inspired Nautilus Hotel, offers a peaceful retreat while being a stone throw away from the main attractions. A stay in this hotel will give guests a beautiful view of the beach, ocean, and even the eastern slope of Mount Etna. Its modern style gives off a cosy vibe while maintaining a luxurious feel. The panoramic terrace is the best place to sit and have a cocktail and admire the wonderful views of the Mediterranean.
Best Cheap Hostel in Sicily: The Yard Hostel
Travelling to many different countries is becoming more and more popular each day. For backpackers, or even people who want to keep their budget low, The Yard Hostel in Catania is the perfect stay. The hostel is located in what tourists describe as their favourite neighbourhood, and it has everything you need during your stay in Sicily.
With a shared kitchen, a bar and a terrace, many solo travellers enjoy the atmosphere while they see all the beautiful sights of Sicily. The hostel also offers family rooms making it the perfect accommodation.