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Sicily is one of the most heavily touristed places in the world, and for good reason. There’s history around every corner, gorgeous scenery, a delicious food culture, and warm hospitality.
However, all of those tourists in the biggest city on the island, Palermo, can sometimes make getting around a little challenging and lead to inflated prices. So what do you do if you want to get out of Palermo for a day?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this list of day trips from Palermo that are both easy and affordable.
Plus, you’ll get to see some amazing parts of Sicily that many tourists miss!
Monreale and Cefalù
Monreale is a small town located in the hills of Sicily, just a short drive from the city of Palermo. The town is home to a 12th-century Norman cathedral, which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and is built in Norman, Byzantine, Italian, and Saracen styles. The interior of the cathedral is covered in glittering mosaics, and the exterior features detailed relief patterns.
In addition, the town has a Benedictine Cloister, several museums, and art galleries. Monreale is located on Monte Caputo and overlooks a very fertile valley where people grow orange, olive, and almond trees. With so much to see and do, Monreale makes for an ideal part of a day trip from Palermo.
Cefalù is a small city located on the northern coast of Sicily. Although it is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors on the island, such as Taormina, Cefalù is well worth a visit. The city is home to a beautiful Byzantine cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century. Together with the Cathedral of Monreale, it’s included in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral’s design is unique, and its mosaics are particularly stunning.
In addition, Cefalù has a lovely sandy beach, which is perfect for relaxing or swimming. There are also several restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy Sicilian specialties such as pasta alla norma or arancini (deep-fried rice balls). With its charming streets and picturesque location, Cefalù is the perfect place to spend a day exploring.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Monreale and Cefalù!
Segesta, Erice and Salt Pans
Segesta Archaeological site is one of the most well-preserved ancient sites in Sicily. The ruined Greek temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason – it’s an absolutely stunning piece of architecture. The theater is also worth a visit, as it offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
Erice is a small town perched atop a mountain on the island of Sicily. It is known for its Norman architecture and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors can explore the winding streets of the old town, visit the 12th-century castle, or take a cable car up to the top of the mountain. There are also several gardens and churches to visit, as well as a number of restaurants serving traditional Sicilian food. With so much to see and do, Erice is the perfect place to spend a few hours exploring.
If you find yourself in Sicily, be sure to set aside a few hours to explore the magnificent salt pans. The vast expanse of white is both eerie and beautiful, and it’s well worth the drive out from Palermo. Trust me, you’ve never seen anything quite like it. Even if you’re not a fan of salty things, the experience of being in such an otherworldly place is sure to be unforgettable. And who knows? After a day spent marveling at the salt pans, you might just find yourself with a new appreciation for all things salty.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Segesta, Erice, and Salt Pans!
Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples
Agrigento is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily. The city is home to a number of impressive archaeological sites, including the Valley of the Temples, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Agrigento is also a great place to enjoy the Sicilian lifestyle, with a number of cafes, restaurants, and bars dotting the city center. If you’re looking for something to do on a day trip from Agrigento, here are some of the best things to see and do.
The Valley of the Temples is one of the most popular archaeological sites in Agrigento. The site includes a number of well-preserved Greek temples, including the Temple of Concordia, which is considered one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. The Valley of the Temples is also home to a number of other ancient ruins, making it a great place to explore Sicilian history.
If you’re looking for a more traditional Sicilian experience, be sure to check out Agrigento’s old town. The city’s center is surrounded by a number of historic buildings and monuments. It is also home to a number of cafes and restaurants, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a coffee.
Agrigento is also popular for its weekly markets where you can find local products, souvenirs, food commodities, and clothes.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples!
Etna Volcano and Taormina
No trip to Sicily is complete without a visit to Mt. Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. Despite its dangerous reputation and frequent eruptions, Etna is a popular tourist destination.
If you are planning to visit Etna, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. The temperature at the summit is often below freezing, even in summer. Secondly, be prepared for a long hike. The trails around Etna are steep and rocky, and it can take several hours to reach the summit. Finally, remember to bring plenty of water and food. There are no restaurants or shops at the top of the volcano, so you will need to be self-sufficient. With a little preparation, visiting Etna can be a safe and enjoyable experience.
If you find yourself in eastern Sicily, be sure to add Taormina to your list of must-see destinations. This picturesque town is located on the east coast of the island, and it offers stunning views of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea. Taormina is also home to a well-preserved Greek theatre, which is still used for performances and events.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that Taormina can be quite crowded during the summer months. If you want to avoid the crowds, plan to visit in early spring or autumn.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Etna Volcano & Taormina!
Villa Romana and Catania
When most people think of Sicily, they conjure up images of Mt. Etna, the Mediterranean Sea, and ancient Greek ruins. However, there is much more to this beautiful island than meets the eye. Villa Romana is a must-see for anyone visiting Sicily. This Roman villa dates back to the 4th century AD, and it is one of the most elaborate Roman villas in the world. The villa includes a number of well-preserved mosaics. Visitors can also see the remains of a Roman bathhouse and a courtyard, dining room, and much more. In addition, there is a museum onsite that contains a number of artifacts that were found during the excavation of the villa. Villa Romana is a great place to learn about Roman history and culture, and it’s also a great place to take some beautiful photos.
Catania is a city in Sicily that is teeming with history and culture. From the ancient Roman ruins to the baroque churches, there is no shortage of things to see. And of course, no visit to Catania would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisines. The city is also home to a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained into the early hours. So if you’re looking for a place to explore and have some fun, Catania should definitely be on your list.
Noto, Ortigia, and Siracusa
Noto is a town in Sicily that is well worth a visit. The town is known for its Baroque architecture. Noto is also home to some excellent restaurants, serving up traditional Sicilian cuisine. And of course, no trip to Noto would be complete without sampling some of the local wine. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Noto on a day trip.
Start your day by exploring the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The cathedral was damaged by an earthquake in 1693, but it has been restored. Next, stroll through the streets of Noto and admire the pastel-colored buildings. Be sure to stop at Palazzo Nicolaci. Nearby you can find cute cafes to people-watch and grab a coffee or gelato.
Ortigia is a small island off the southeastern coast of Sicily that is rich in history and culture. Although it is only a short distance from the city of Syracuse, Ortigia feels a little bit different. The island is pedestrian-friendly, and the narrow streets are lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. There are also plenty of historic sights to see, including the Temple of Apollo and the Cathedral of Syracuse. Ortigia is the perfect place to spend a few hours exploring Sicilian culture and history.
In Siracusa, you can see the remains of a Greek theatre, The Roman Amphitheatre, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Delle Colonne. For those who prefer their history a little less ancient, the city’s medieval center is full of atmospheric alleyways and piazzas.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Noto, Ortigia, and Siracusa!
San Vito and Zingaro nature reserve
San Vito is a small town located on the Island of Sicily. Although it is not as well-known as some of the larger cities on the island, San Vito offers visitors a chance to experience the authentic Sicilian culture. The town is home to a number of historical landmarks, including the San Vito Sanctuary and Tonnara del Secco. Visitors can also enjoy the town’s scenic views, including its world-famous coastline. But what is truly spectacular here is the beach. Spend a few hours in San Vito Beach and you’ll see why.
Zingaro nature reserve is one of the best places to see in Sicily on a day trip. The reserve is located northwest of the island and covers an area of 1600 hectares. It is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including several rare and endangered species. Visitors can explore the reserve on foot, by bike, or on horseback. With its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, Zingaro nature reserve is an ideal destination for a day trip from Sicily.
Mafia Tour of Corleone
Corleone is a small town in Sicily that is best known for its Mafia history. If you are looking for a Mafia-themed day trip, Corleone is the place to go!
The town has a number of Mafia-related sights, including the Mafia and anti-Mafia Museum or you can also visit the grave of Mafia boss Salvatore Riina.
If you are not interested in Mafia history, there are still plenty of things to see and do in Corleone. The town has a beautiful cathedral, Due Rocche Waterfall, and charming narrow streets. Whether you are interested in history or just want to enjoy some Sicilian sun, Corleone is definitely worth a visit!
Travel tips and tricks:
- If you are looking for cheap flights, I recommend this tool. There you can get an overview of different companies flying to the destination and the best combinations of direct flights or flights that are connected with a top in the middle. What I love most about this tool is the “Show all month” option which displays flight prices for the whole month. So if you are flexible with the flying dates, this is a great way how to find the cheapest flights.
- Find accommodation on Booking.com – I use the map view to filter hotels according to my available price range and then choose the ones that are centrally located.
- This is my favorite travel bag. Not only does it look good in travel photos, but it can be used as a carry-on bag for a few days worth of travel.
- I can’t just sit by the pool in a foreign place. Here I book tours and day trips to explore the surroundings in a hassle-free way.