5 min read

My experience visiting Sicily

My experience visiting Sicily

I recently went away for a week in sunny Sicily. I didn't know much about the island before I visited. In hindsight I'd say a week is the minimum amount of time you should visit for as there is loads to see! I didn't do any work, it was simply a great holiday with my girlfriend.


Palermo is the capital and biggest city on Sicily. We spent four nights there and it was a great place to hang out. We found the locals to be friendly and we got a great deal on some €5 pizzas at a restaurant, Voglio Pizza. At night this side street is transformed into an alley way of restaurants, with large canopies over each side of the road. This leaves a tiny gap to walk through (although we also saw an intrepid moped drive through the gap as well.)

Walking across the street does feel like taking your life into your hands here. Drivers effectively always have right of way and in a lot of places there is either no pavement or no traffic lights - you just have to confidently walk across the street and hope the cars stop. We did have a couple of close shaves!

The cathedral is worth a visit and you can walk along the rooftop. It's not clear from the ground but this walkway is narrow so it's not great if you don't like heights. There is also the famous Monreale cathedral outside of Palermo which has a lot of gold illustrations inside.

In Palermo we also tried arancini for the first time (big balls of risotto rice and meat coated with breadcrumbs). We also had a lot of brioche with granita ice-cream. Although it's not the 'done thing' in Italy, we had a lot of cappuccino in the afternoons. It's pretty much the default drink here, rather than lattes. A few places also served espressos with a tiny but of nutella and this tasted delicious as well!

Me eating in Sicily


We took two trains and a bus to get from Palermo to Syracusa. Everything worked fine with the transport and although it takes longer than by car, it's perfectly fine if you are used to public transport. The narrow lanes of the Ortegia island on Syracusa were beautiful and we found amazing restaurants there. It was great to be able to eat out on the street with temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees celsius.

There wasn't a huge amount to do here but it was a nice town to walk around and the sea was a beautiful bluey-green colour. We had our first bad eating experience of the holiday at a restaurant which served us about 20 pieces of whole fried fish with no sauce or anything else on the side. It's hard to convey how bad the food was. But hey, these things happen.

It was also beautiful to walk around at night.


Taormina is a city that has become famous partly due to being the setting for the second series of White Lotus. It definitely felt like the most tourist-trappy part of the holiday. We were quoted €20 for a 10 minute taxi ride which seemed excessive. At one restaurant we were just straight up ignored by the waiter so we left.

Despite that, we had a good time there. The Roman amphitheatre is incredible and gives a view over to Mount Etna and over the city and the coastline. It's the perfect setting for a crowd to gather and the theatre blends in amazingly well with the rest of the hillside.

We stayed in The Splendid Hotel and enjoyed an excellent view from our room. The staff were also very friendly and helpful. We had a great, albeit quite pricey, meal at night in the old town. I had some excellent pasta in a truffle sauce, the kind of meal I wouldn't get at home.

A bit like Syracusa, there were some beautiful old streets like Corso Umberto. We noticed some designer clothes shops so it felt like we were somewhere more upmarket than the capital Palermo. Everything was a bit more expensive here than the rest of the island - no €5 pizzas to be had here!

Me in Taormina


This is a cute little town an hour away from Palermo by train. I believe it has also been featured in White Lotus so it was very touristy as well. The cathedral here has a golden-yellow hue and was built in the 12th century. It's set below a massive rock formation.

We had some excellent and indulgent treats in the town square (chocolate icecream in a brioche bun anyone?) and then walked down to the pier, which offers excellent views of the houses on the coast.

There is only one train per hour so it was a bit of a squash getting on board when we had to return to Palermo. I can imagine in the summer this place will be mobbed with people.

Agrigento and Villa Romana del Casale

We decided that visiting these two sights in one day was beyond even our enthusiasm for public transport. These places were very far apart and if there was one late train we'd be in trouble. So we booked a group tour, which was excellent. It started at 6:30am but the guide was very informative and it was the easiest way to see the Ancient Greek ruins of Agrigento and the Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale. Both were definitely worth the early wake up call.


Sicily is definitely worth a visit! It's a really big island but we still managed to get around on public transport. We missed one connection on the trains but apart from that, everything went fine.

The food was excellent and it was great to try some local delicacies. I'd definitely recommend getting some cheap street pizzas in Palermo. Oh and don't worry about the mafia. I didn't see or hear any violence and I don't think it's an issue for tourists. If you want a holiday with good food, history, pretty medieval towns and beaches, Sicily has it all!

Get my bootstrapper updates