Sicily Tourist Information and Tourism

(Sicily, Italy)

Image of the Palermo coastlineSat out on an Italian limb and reaching for North Africa is the Mediterranean's largest island, Sicily. This triangular-shaped island is known for its fiery volcano, Mount Etna, and more so for its (now waning) mafioso link. It is a land of extremes, with incredible beaches, sprawling cities and ancient hilltop villages.

Sicily also has more spectacular monuments than you could poke a stick at and a fun-loving populace who are fiercely Sicilian, as is their tasty food. Tourism has taken off in a big way of late and much development has led to the creation of more hotels, shops, restaurants and tourist information offices, particularly around the capital of Palermo. Further tourism outlets can be found within Agrigento, Cefalu, Enna, Marsala, Milazzo, Noto, Ragusa, Syracuse and Trapani, as well as along the Ionian Coast (Catania, Messina and Taormina).

Further photo of sunbathers on Cefalu Beach

Sicily Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Capping off the Etna Regional Park is Sicily's main attraction, Mount Etna. This active volcano has spewed lava on and off for centuries and affords the very best views on the Mediterranean's largest island, lying off the eastern side of the island and not far from Catania, the number two city. Of course, the beaches are another major draw for Sicily and holiday makers arrive at the main beach resorts in their droves during the summer months. Favourites include Giardini Naxos (with views of Mount Etna), Marina di Ragusa (south), San Vito lo Capo (north-west) and Vendicari (south), as well as countless inviting beaches dotted along the Tyrrhenian Coast.

Picture of summer holiday makers on Cefalu Beach, SicilyMost holiday makers will pay a visit or choose to base themselves at Palermo, since the tourist attractions here come thick and fast. Many historical sights reside within Old Palermo and the Four Corners (Quattro Canti). A little unusual is Palermo's Capuchin Catacombs attraction on the Piazza Cappuccini, where ancient inhabitants have been mummified and preserved for centuries. The medieval town of Erice is another leading tourist destination on Sicily and lies on the western side, coming with old fortifications and winding streets. On the northern coast is the fishing village of Cefalu, while on the Tyrrhenian Coast is the simply enormous Madonie Regional Park (Parco Naturale Regionale delle Madonie), where hiking trails abound. More information about Sicily Tourist Attractions.

Aerial view of Cefalu, SicilyIf you are searching for specific archaeological sites and ancient landmarks on Sicily, then a few places certainly stand out. First on your list should be a visit to the Syracuse Archaeological Park (Parco Archeologico), which is situated on the south-eastern side of the island and boasts both Greek and Roman amphitheatres. Located at Casale in the centre of the island, close to Caltagirone, is the famous World Heritage Site of the Imperial Roman Villa (Villa Romana Imperiale). Also not to be missed is an afternoon exploring the ancient Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi), on the south of Sicily, near the town of Agrigento. In Palermo, the Monreale Cathedral (Cattedrale Monreale), the Mirto Palace (Palazzo Mirto) and the Palace of the Normans (Palazzo dei Normanni) all stand out. More information about Sicily Landmarks and Monuments.

Picture showing the historic city of SyracusePalermo is home to some of the island's most celebrated museums, the most important of which is the Regional Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Regionale), which contains artefacts and information related to Phoenician, Roman and Saracen times. It is also in Palermo where you will find the Sicily Regional Gallery (Galleria Regionale di Sicilia) and the Modern Art Gallery (Galleria d'Arte Moderna), with both being packed with important Sicilian masterpieces. In Syracuse is the Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi), where many valuable Greek and Roman treasures are displayed in spacious exhibition halls. More information about Sicily Museums and Sicily Art Galleries.

Coastal view of Sicily, showing Mount Etna in the distanceSicily is a large island and so wherever you are staying, a hire car will allow you to reach outlying beach resorts and more remote attractions with relative ease. Alternatively, various boat trips are available, connecting neighbouring destinations, such as the Aeolian Islands, which are best reached by catching a ferry from Milazzo, on the north-eastern coast of Sicily. Just a short distance from Palermo is the island of Ustica, where a national marine reserve is something of a magnet for keen scuba divers. Other islands close by include Lampedusa to the south, and Isola Bella, directly to the east of Taormina. More information about Sicily Attractions Nearby.

Photograph of Catania Cathedral (Cattedrale di Sant' Agata)

More Sicily Information / Fast Facts and Orientation