Over the past few years, Sicily has experienced a rapid influx of tourists who have all arrived to witness its beauty. Sicily’s increased popularity comes as a result of its remarkable features, which have become more well-known in recent years. So what does Italy’s largest island have to offer, and what makes it so special? Sicily is known for landmarks like The Valley of Temples and Mount Etna, its heavenly sandy beaches, delicious wine, and mafia origins. Originally dominated by the Greeks, the island was passed on to the Romans and then the European powers during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This rich Sicilian history results in a fascinating blend of cultures that influences every aspect of this uniquely magical Southern Italian region.
Sicily is the vacation spot on everyone’s travel bucket lists and for good reason. With so much on offer, it’s a one-stop shop for the ultimate Italian experience. Want to hear more? Read on to discover what your Sicilian adventure has in store!
All Italian cities claim to host standout landmarks within their territory, but Sicily is in a league of its own. For starters, Sicily is home to Mount Etna – one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Standing at 3300 meters above sea level, it is the highest volcano in Europe. Nature lovers can explore this UNESCO World Heritage site up close by embarking on a hike or private drive to the top. Alternatively, with our Etna Food and Wine Tour, you can marvel at the wondrous Etna landscape whilst sipping on a glass of local wine. Mount Etna is possibly Sicily’s most famous landmark, and anyone considering a trip to Sicily would be amiss to leave it out of their itinerary.
Sicily is also known for its world-renowned archeological sites. The Valley of Temples is yet another impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sicily. It was constructed around 580 BC and has been extremely well-preserved ever since. Covering over 1300 hectares, it includes 20 noteworthy sites such as the Temple of Juno and the Temple of Heracles. The Greek poet Pindar described it as the ‘Most beautiful city of those inhabited by man’.
As a result of Sicily’s history with the Greek and Roman powers, there are many spectacular ancient theaters remaining. The Ancient Theater of Taormina overlooks the town’s beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek Theater of Syracuse dates back to the 5th century BC and is the largest of the ancient theaters. Our Syracuse Archaeological Park Private Tour takes visitors on a grand guided tour of the premises as well as the larger UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just like Sicily itself, Sicilian wine continues to rise in popularity and is becoming one of the island’s most iconic attractions. Although the city’s winemaking practices date back to the days of the Greeks, they have only recently been recognized for their high complexity. Sicilian wine stands out due to its indigenous grape varieties, rich winemaking history, and diverse terroir. The island’s unique climate and fertile soil have attracted winemakers for centuries, resulting in a deep-rooted tradition. Abundant sunlight allows for optimal grape ripening, enhancing fruit flavors and providing structure to the wines. The presence of volcanic soils, particularly around Mount Etna, adds a distinct mineral character to the wines.
Sicilian winemakers combine traditional practices with modern innovations, resulting in high-quality wines that showcase the region’s unique flavors and terroir. The most well-known Sicilian wine is Masala, a strong port wine made of 20% alcohol. If you’re staying in Taormina or Palermo or want to venture out to the magnificent Etna region, make sure to check out one of our Sicily wine-tasting tours and see what all the fuss is about!
The Island of Sicily is perhaps best known as Italy’s southernmost point. This prime location greatly benefits its coastline. The Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas surround Sicily, resulting in a luxurious and beautiful beach around every corner. To the northeast, near Taormina, is the small beautiful island of Isola Bella, also known as the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea.” Its crystal clear waters and pebbly sands, set against the mountainous backdrop make this beach a Sicily must-see. Near the capital city of Palermo, you can find beaches filled with white, soft sand. To see all of the nature that surrounds Palermo, we highly recommend signing up for our Mondello Beach Bike Tour.
Sicily is infamous for being the origin place of the Italian Mafia. Following Sicily’s official inclusion into Italy in the 19th century, the Sicilian Mafia developed as the government failed to maintain citizen control. The Mafia soon became notorious for its extreme violence and involvement in illicit activities, triggering an active anti-mafia movement in response. Insider experts leading our Insider Palermo Bike Tour and our All About Palermo History Tour will guide you through the town’s old streets and bring this fascinating tale to life. Most importantly, you’ll hear the inspiring story of the anti-mafia heroes Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Bonus Feature: Sicilian Cuisine
We’re also giving an honorable mention to Sicilian cuisine, which is yet another attractive feature of the island. The food in Sicily is a tantalizing fusion of Mediterranean flavors, combining fresh seafood, aromatic herbs, sun-ripened fruits, and a rich tapestry of cultural influences. Sicily food tours are a great way to taste a range of Sicilian delicacies and figure out your favorite. With so many different options available, it can be hard to know which food tour is best for you. Our curated list of the best food tours in Sicily is here to make the selection process a little easier.
As all these Sicilian attractions are dotted around the island, booking one of our Sicily multi-day package tours will help you maximize your Sicily visit, however long it may be. They’ve all been carefully designed to include the many things that Sicily Italy is known for and so much more. If you’re feeling spoilt for choice, browse our narrowed-down list of the 6 best guided tours of Sicily as well as our list of the best things to do in Sicily. All you need to do is take pictures and make memories!