Morning: waking up in Sweden. Afternoon: licking a Cornetto in front of Sicily’s volcanic beast Etna. The wonder of air travel never fails to amaze me.
We had two weeks to discover Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. At first we had felt seduced to cross the entire island, limiting our journey to its highlights. It quickly became clear this Italian gem has too much to offer to squeeze in one holiday. Flight and car rental were priced lower in Catania than in Palermo, easing the decision to focus on East-Sicily instead.
Climbing Etna was our top priority, so that’s where our road trip took off. The first couple of nights we stayed in Fiumefreddo which served as a basecamp for climbing Etna and visiting its neighbouring villages. Next we drove Southwards to Syracuse and the baroque triplets Noto, Modica and Ragusa. We crossed Sicily’s interior via Piazza Armerina to Parco Naturale Regionale Delle Madonie and Cefalù. Lastly we sailed off to the Aeolian Islands; the cherry on Sicily’s cake.
2-week itinerary East-Sicily:
Day 1: Arrival in Catania
Day 2: Climbing Etna
Day 3: Randazzo and Bronte
Day 4: Syracuse: Ortigia
Day 5: Scicli and Noto
Day 6: Modica
Day 7: Ragusa
Day 8: Piazza Armerina: Villa Romana
Day 9: Hiking in Parco Naturale Regionale Delle Madonie
Day 10: Cefalù and Castelbuono
Day 11: Aeolian Islands: Lipari
Day 12: Aeolian Islands: Stromboli
Day 13: Aeolian Islands: Salina
Day 14: Aeolian Islands: Volcano
Day 15: Taormina
Day 16: Departure in Catania
The itinerary worked really well for us. It offered a nice balance between charming villages and spectacular nature. We spent little time on the beach, apart from on Salina where the snorkeling was magical. Syracuse, Cefalù and Taormina were a bit too touristy to our taste – worth a visit, not worth an overnight stay. To the contrary: the four days on the Aeolian Islands were not a minute too long.