Sicily is of course a part of Italy and is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a host of attractions that make it famous. This stunning island is one of the twenty regions of Italy and is famous for such things as Mount Etna, The Roman Theatre of Taormina, as well as the bustling city of Palermo—which is an attraction in its own right and should definitely be included on your Sicily itinerary.
Sicily is an island that has the perfect combination of beautiful landscapes, fantastic beaches, incredible cuisine as well as one of Europe’s best climates, so it’s no wonder that this island is a favorite among travelers and holidaymakers.
So, let us show you what an 8 day Sicily itinerary could look like.
Here’s how to plan an eight day Sicily itinerary
Let’s start off your Sicily trip in Palermo.
Day 1-3: Palermo
You will begin your dream trip to Sicily, by starting in the capital city of Palermo which is famous for its beautiful fountains and glorious piazzas. But mostly for its incredible food culture—which is one of the main reasons you’re in Italy right?
Sicilian cuisine is out of this world and attracts many people for this reason alone, and one of the major attractions you cannot overlook is the ancient La Vucciria food market. This market holds social significance within the city as well as playing a central role here. This iconic food market is where you can indulge in all kinds of delicious and local street food, experience locals enjoying the dolce vita as well as embrace the lively atmosphere, which makes this a standout spot.
To get here, make your way to Piazza Caracciolo, Palermo anytime between 7 am and 7 pm Monday – Saturday. Palermo is an ideal spot to try some famous street food such as arancini (Italian rice balls) and sfincione (Sicilian pizza), as well as take a cooking class to learn the secrets behind these mouthwatering recipes. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to try the famous beef spleen sandwich known as pani ca meusa.
With full bellies, you are ready to take on some of Palermo’s best attractions over these few days.
- Cattedrale di Palermo: This impressive Roman Catholic church dates back to 1185, and is a fantastic building of great significance within the city. It’s open Mon-Sat from 7am-7pm and Sun from 8am-7pm.
- Palazzo Dei Normanni: This is by far one of the best-preserved examples of Arabic-Norman-Byzantine architecture and can be visited Mon-Sat from 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Sun from 8:30 am-12:30 pm.
- Teatro Massimo: The largest opera house in Italy and the third-largest in the world.
If you find yourself with time on your hands and are looking for more things to do, then make sure to add these optional attractions to your list.
- St John of the Hermits: A medieval Norman church with impressive Arab-Norman architecture. You can visit Mon-Sat from 9:30am-6:30am and Sun from 9:30am-1:30pm.
- The Ballaro market: Another market to experience more delicious Sicilian food as well as clothing. You can find some mouthwatering fruit, cheeses, fresh fish, and local vegetables. Mon-Sat 7:30 am-8:30pm/Sun 7:30am-2pm.
Day 3-5: Taormina
Today, you will leave Palermo and follow the north coast towards Taormina, stopping off at Cefalu—a stunning hamlet by the sea—before continuing to the east coast of the island. Taormina is a fantastic resort town, which is definitely worth a visit. On your first evening, make sure to take a stroll down the bustling main street of Corso Umberto and pick a bar or restaurant to spend at for the evening.
After dinner, why not take in an open-air performance at the Greek Theatre which dates back to the 3rd Century—guaranteed to be a great experience, as well as provide insatiable views of the famous Mt Etna in the distance.
The next day, there are a host of activities you can enjoy in this beautiful coastal town, including:
- Relaxing on one of the beaches such as Isola Bella.
- Enjoying the panoramic view from Piazza IX Aprile, which has the best view of the city and Mt Etna and is, of course, open 24 hours a day to enjoy.
- Chiesa Madonna Della Rocco for more incredible city and sea views, a peaceful haven to relax and the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of local wine. Mon-Sun 8:30am-7pm.
- Alcantara Gorge, which is a 50-minute drive from Taormina and is a geological marvel, as well as the perfect place to visit to see glorious waterfalls and take a refreshing dip in the Alcantara River.
Spend your second evening in Palermo listening to live music and enjoying some delicious Italian cuisine in town.
Tip: The Godfather fans can visit a few of the movie’s film locations in the town of Savoca, just outside Taormina, which was used as the fictional town of Corleone.
Day 5-6: Catania
After breakfast, you will leave Taormina and head to Catania. However, you will of course be stopping at one of the most famous attractions on the island along the way–Mount Etna. This active stratovolcano is the tallest volcano in Europe and attracts many visitors to marvel at the sheer sight of this natural attraction. You can either take on the Mt Etna trail, which is around a 1-hour return and is of medium grade, or you can simply spend some time enjoying the views and the endless photo opportunities before continuing to Catania.
Related read: The World’s Most Famous Volcanoes
Note: While Italy is generally not an unsafe place to visit, you should be aware of pickpockets and petty theft, especially in touristy areas, so be vigilant and take care of your valuables in places such as this.
Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and is a place that you just cannot overlook on your Sicily itinerary planning. When arriving, expect to be greeted by a fantastic view of Mount Etna, which forms the iconic backdrop of this stunning city. Here you will spend the evening absorbing the atmosphere of the city in all its glory, which is apparent at the Piazza Duomo.
The following day you will have the whole day to explore the city’s sights, including:
- Palazzo Biscari: Visit this marvelous palace for its incredible Catanese Baroque architecture, complete with stunning frescos. Given that this historic location is now being used for concerts, check their website for upcoming unmissable events. Mon-Sun 10am-1pm.
- The Cathedral of Catania: This beautiful and historic cathedral is centrally located, so there is no reason to miss out on seeing the wonderful baroque architecture which makes this so popular. Be on the lookout for the domed roof, the columned facade, and the numerous frescoes that can be admired for hours. Dedicated to the patron saint of Catania, St Agatha, whose festival is held from February 3rd – 5th. Mon-Sat 10:30am-12pm/4pm-5:30pm, closed Sundays.
During your time sightseeing in Catania, make sure to refresh yourself with a cold and fruity beverage from one of the historic Catania kiosks which date back to the 1800s and are found in many of the piazzas, especially Piazza Umberto. Enjoy another beautiful evening in Catania, with a delicious local dinner of Pasta Alla Norma (pasta and eggplant) and a stunning sunset over Mount Etna, as you take in all you have encountered today, as part of your 8 day Sicily itinerary.
Day 6-8: Siracusa
Today, after a fresh and tasty Italian breakfast, alongside some world-famous coffee, you will set yourself up for the day and make your way to Siracusa, which is an ideal spot to discover its attractions as well as being close to some major stop-off points too. On your way here, you can stop at the archeological site of Agrigento, which is one of the most significant historical sites on the whole island. After marveling at the various mesmerizing ruins, you will continue to Siracuse, where more adventure awaits.
On your first day in Siracusa, you will get the chance to discover many things, including:
- The Fontana Diana at the Piazza Archimed: Dating back to 1907, this is a major feature in the city of Siracusa, which is dedicated to the Goddess, Diana.
- Ortigia, which is accessed via a bridge and is famous for its incredible Baroque style Piazza del Duomo–one of the best in Italy.
On your second day in Siracusa, you will visit Modica, which is a haven for the sweet tooth, given that it is famous for the Modica chocolates—which you can taste and, of course, take home. This town is famed for its beautiful array of historic buildings, its chocolate museum, and its tiny narrow, picturesque streets.
You will spend the rest of the day as you please, wandering this beautiful hilly town, before making your way back to Catania for your last evening in Sicily, closing off your fantastic 8 day Sicily itinerary.