Sicily road trip podcast episode

Sicily Road Trip: An Adventure For The Senses

S2 E5: Sicily Road Trip

Today, we’re talking about Sicily. This Italian island doesn’t get as much attention from visitors as it should, and we’re here to tell you why you should plan a Sicilian road trip on your next trip to Italy.

Sicily is an island that beckons adventurers with the scent of citrus groves, the taste of sumptuous seafood, and the echo of ancient stories in every crumbling and sea-sprayed temple. If you’re looking for a trip that stimulates every sense, Sicily is your answer.

In this episode, we’re taking you on an adventure through the largest island in the Mediterranean, focusing on the experiences that make a Sicilian road trip truly unforgettable.

Why road trip in Sicily?

Sicily has an incredible history, stunning natural landscapes and fantastic food. It is a testament to the rich tapestry of human history, a crossroads of civilizations where Greek temples coexist with Norman cathedrals and Arabesque palaces.

Sicily has fantastic beaches, breathtaking hills, mountains, and valleys, and many flowering trees. It’s a perfect destination for outdoor lovers, history buffs and culture enthusiasts. The island also promises an unprecedented culinary journey, with dishes that tell stories of conquest and fusion, seasoned with locally sourced ingredients like olives, lemons, and pistachios.

Sicily will captivate you with its beauty and flavours but also with the warmth of its people, whose stories and traditions breathe life into its historical ruins and bustling markets. For those seeking an immersive cultural experience, a voyage of culinary delights, or simply the pleasure of pristine natural settings, Sicily should undeniably be at the top of your travel bucket list.

Common misconceptions about Sicily

Sicily is an amazing destination that’s often overlooked by visitors to Italy. The media loves to portray it as a hotbed for Mafia activities and an underdeveloped destination filled with danger.

However, today’s Sicily paints a different picture. While history remains, the island has undergone significant revitalization and is now a safe and welcoming destination for travellers. We’ve been to Sicily several times and have never felt unsafe or in danger. As with any touristy destination, you gotta keep an eye out for pickpocketers who are praying on those who leave their belongings unattended. Being diligent about not flashing your wealth (real or perceived) is something you should do anywhere you travel.

Food and local specialties

Sicily is a paradise for food lovers, where every meal is a celebration of local produce and time-honoured recipes. Some of the ingredients commonly in Sicilian cuisine are eggplant, citrus, pistachios, and seafood. Here are some of our favourite dishes we discuss in our episode:

  • Arancini: Fried rice balls filled with meat, cheese and vegetables.
  • Cannoli: Crispy pastry tubes filled with sweet ricotta cream and often topped with candied fruit.
  • Pasta alla Norma: A classic Sicilian pasta dish made with eggplant, tomato sauce and grated salted ricotta.
  • Granita: A refreshing frozen dessert made from ice chips, fruit juice, and sugar.
  • Marsala: A fortified wine produced in the region of Marsala in western Sicily.
  • Caponata: A traditional sweet and sour eggplant dish served as a side or spread on bread.
  • Eggplant Parmigiana: Breaded and fried eggplant slices layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
  • Pasta alla Sarde: Pasta made with a mixture of finely chopped sardines, anchovies, fennel, saffron, pine nuts, raisins and topped with breadcrumbs.
Food in sicily

How to get to Sicily

Reaching Sicily is pretty straightforward. If you prefer to fly, there are two main airports: Falcone-Borsellino in Palermo and Fontanarossa in Catania. These airports directly connect with major European cities and offer convenient access to the island’s numerous attractions.

PRO TIP: Book your rental car ahead of time so you don’t miss out on an epic road trip

If you prefer ground transportation, there is an extensive train network that links Sicily with the Italian mainland. The trains, operated by Trenitalia, run frequently and include an interesting ferry crossing, where the train itself is transported across the Strait of Messina on a ferry to reach Sicily. This unique experience combines the comfort of rail travel with the excitement of a sea crossing.

Driving to Sicily is another viable option, with well-maintained roads and highways stretching across the Italian peninsula. The final leg of the journey involves a ferry ride from the mainland to the island, with departures from several ports, such as Villa San Giovanni and Reggio Calabria. You can also rent a car once you get to the island. A Sicily road trip is a great way to see the island at your own pace. The flexibility of having a car lets you explore places off the beaten track without relying on public transport.

Our Sicily road trip itinerary

Our Sicily road trip started when we left our home in Campania and drove all the way down to the toe of the Italian boot. We boarded a ferry in Villa San Giovani and took the 20-minute ride to Messina. There are signs that direct you to the ferries and you can by your ticket when you get there. We didn’t book ahead of time as we didn’t know when we’d be arriving. The ferries travel frequently during the day, so you have many options when to cross. 

Sicily Road Trip: An Adventure For The Senses


Cefaly is a charming coastal town known for its beautiful sandy beaches, historic sites, and medieval streets. There are plenty of bars and restaurants along the waterfront and many great spots to enjoy the water. Beaches come in the paid (you pay for an umbrella and a lounge chair) and fee variety (bring your own umbrella and towel). Remember, keep an eye out for the ZTL zone to avoid getting a ticket.

  • Things to see and do: Visit the impressive Norman Cathedral, explore the picturesque old town, relax on Cefalù Beach, hike up La Rocca for panoramic views, and try some local seafood dishes. Here, we tried the lemon and pistachio pasta and pasta alla sarde. You can also book a boat tour of the harbour to get a better view of this picturesque town.
  • Recommended stay: 2 days


We drove through the heart of Sicily to the island’s south end. Agrigento is home to the Valley of the Temples, one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the ancient Greek ruins at the Valley of the Temples, visit the Archaeological Museum, stroll through the historic center of Agrigento, and indulge in Sicilian cuisine in the modern town nearby.
  • Recommended stay: You can visit the site in 2-3 hours. We recommend staying in the area for a total of 2 days to check out other things (see next stop).

Scala dei Turchi

A unique natural rock formation on the coast of Realmonte, characterized by its white limestone cliffs. We had an amazing dinner at the Osteria Al Timone by Enzo Sacco, a great seafood place with even better prices that we mentioned in the Sicily Road Trip episode!

  • Things to see and do: Walk along the beach to check out the cliffs, enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters, watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea, and take stunning photographs of the landscape.
  • Recommended stay: Stay in the area to combine this stop with Agrigento.


A charming fishing village renowned for its fresh seafood and relaxed atmosphere. Here, you’ll find beaches with clear water and a fun vibe.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the harbour and watch the fishing boats come in, dine at local seafood restaurants, relax on the sandy beaches, and experience authentic Sicilian coastal life.
  • Recommended stay: If you’re looking for some beach time, stay 2-3 days and take a day trip to Vittoria.


Vittoria, founded in 1607, is famous for its grid-like layout and notable architecture, particularly the Madre and Santa Maria delle Grazie churches and the Neoclassical Teatro Comunale (Communal Theatre). The area is also known for its wine production, particularly Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the only DOCG wine in Sicily.

  • Things to see and do: Visit local wineries for wine-tasting tours, explore the countryside dotted with vineyards, and sample traditional Sicilian dishes paired with regional wines.
  • Recommended stay: We recommend 2-3 days for Vittoria and Scoglitti. 


Ragusa is A UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Baroque architecture and rich culinary traditions. It’s a beautiful town on a hill. There is a large parking lot at the bottom of the hill where you can park your car and explore on foot.

  • Things to see and do: Wander through the historic center of Ragusa Ibla, visit the Cathedral of San Giorgio, indulge in Sicilian pastries at local cafes, and explore the charming streets lined with Baroque buildings.
  • Recommended stay: It depends. We stayed for a few hours on our way to Avola. You can stay here for a few days and explore Modica and Noto nearby. 


Avola is a quaint town with a relaxed vibe and interesting architecture. It is also known for its almond production and Nero d’Avola wine. We made Avolo our base for exploring nearby towns, including Noto and Marzamemmi.

  • Things to see and do: Relax on the sandy beaches of Lido di Avola, explore the city and taste local almond-based sweets.
  • Recommended stay: It depends on whether you make Avola your base for exploring other places. We stayed for 4 days.


Like Ragusa and Noto, Modica is famous for its Baroque architecture, chocolate, and scenic views. Chocolate is made from cocoa and sugar using a cold mixing process. The Spaniards introduced both chocolate and the process of making it in the 16th century, learning it from the Aztecs.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the historic center, visit the Church of San Giorgio, indulge in Modica’s famous chocolate, and hike or drive up to viewpoints for panoramic vista.
  • Recommended stay: A day trip.
Powered by GetYourGuide


Noto is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its Baroque architecture, particularly its stunning churches and palaces. It’s a gorgeous town with a very lively vibe.

  • Things to see and do: Wander through the streets of Noto to admire the elegant architecture, visit the Cathedral of San Nicolò, explore the Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, and enjoy gelato in the main square.
  • Recommended stay: It depends. We came here for a day from Avola during our Sicily road trip. You can stay here overnight before moving to the next town. 


Marzamemi wasn’t originally on our itinerary while planning our Sicily road trip, but we decided to stop here after our friend recommended it. It’s a charming fishing village with a picturesque harbour and historic buildings. The town is relatively small and touristy in the summer.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the historic center, stroll along the waterfront promenade, dine at seafood restaurants, and shop for souvenirs and Sicilian delicacies.
  • Recommended stay: A day trip.


Syracuse is an ancient city with a rich history dating back to Greek and Roman times. It features impressive archaeological sites and a charming old town. It’s an excellent spot for learning about the area’s ancient past while relaxing by the Ionian Sea.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the Archaeological Park of Neapolis and Catacombs, visit the Greek Theatre and the Ear of Dionysius, wander through the historic island of Ortigia, and sample local delicacies at the market or a take a walking tour with tastings.
  • Recommended stay: We opted not to stay in Syracuse, but you can stay here for 2-3 days if you make this your base for exploring the area. 


We stayed in the area of Calatabiano near the beach. This area didn’t have many things to explore, but it was a good spot to relax and unwind. We stayed here for a couple of days and went to see Taormina. We recommend this stop if you’re looking to relax. Otherwise, you can stay in a bigger city.


Taormina is a famous resort town known for its stunning views of Mount Etna, the Ionian Sea, and its ancient Greek theatre. We felt it was a nice place but very touristy and the theatre was closed for an event so we couldn’t see it.

  • Things to see and do: Visit the ancient theatre of Taormina, stroll along Corso Umberto, explore the botanical gardens of Villa Comunale, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea.
  • Recommended stay: It depends. We opted to make a day trip to Taormina instead of staying here, but if you prefer to stay in a historic, touristy town, then we recommend 2 days.

Other places to add to your Sicily road trip


Palermo is the capital city of Sicily, and it has a vibrant cultural hub with a mix of architectural styles and bustling markets. We’ve stayed in Palermo in the past and opted to skip it during our Sicily road trip. If you’re flying in, you can start your Sicilian adventure in Palermo.

  • Things to see and do: Discover the art and architecture of Palermo, visit the Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel, explore the historic markets such as Ballarò and Vucciria, admire the mosaics at Monreale Cathedral, and indulge in a street food walking tour and sample the flavours of arancini and panelle.
  • Recommended stay: We recommend 2-3 days to enjoy the vibe and flavour of Palermo.  

San Vito Lo Capo

This picturesque coastal town is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and annual Cous Cous Fest.

  • Things to see and do: Relax on the beautiful beach of San Vito Lo Capo, hike in the nearby Zingaro Nature Reserve, indulge in fresh seafood dishes, and visit the Sanctuary of San Vito.
  • Recommended stay: You can come to San Vito Lo Capo as a day trip from Palermo or spend 2 days relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. 


Trapani is a historic port city with a rich cultural heritage and a gateway to the Egadi Islands.

  • Things to see and do: Explore the historic center of Trapani, visit the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata, take a boat tour to the Egadi Islands, and sample local seafood specialties like couscous alla Trapanese.
  • Recommended stay: We recommend 2-3 days.


Famous for producing Marsala wine, this coastal town offers historic sites, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine. It’s also close to the ancient salt flats Sicily is famous for.

  • Things to see and do: Visit the archaeological site of Lilybaeum, explore the historic center, indulge in wine-tasting tours at local wineries, and relax on the sandy beaches of Lido Signorino.
  • Recommended stay: We recommend 2-3 days.
Powered by GetYourGuide


Catania is a bustling city near Mount Etna, known for its Baroque architecture, lively fish markets, and vibrant nightlife. It has an international airport and a train station, so you can start or end your Sicily road trip here.

  • Things to see and do: Visit the Cathedral of Saint Agatha, explore the historic center and its Baroque buildings, stroll through the lively fish market of La Pescheria, and hike or take a tour of Mount Etna.
  • Recommended stay: We recommend 2-3 days.

Tips for a great road trip in Sicily

Navigating a road trip in Sicily can be an adventure and it’s a great way to see the island. Here are a few tips we learned along the way:

Pay attention to ZTL zones: In Italy, especially in historical towns, you’ll find the ZTL zones, or “Zona Traffico Limitato,” which restrict car traffic. Sometimes, they are restricted during certain hours and sometimes all the time. Locals living in these zones are often exempt from the closure, so just because you see a car driving through an activated ZTL zone doesn’t mean you can follow. We made that mistake in Cefalu and it cost us 80 Euro!

Check the events schedule for ancient theatres. Sicily is renowned for its ancient sites, which often become venues for concerts and cultural events, especially during summer. While these events can be a unique experience for visitors, they can also be disappointing if you show up at a venue only to find it closed for an event. That’s what happened to us in Taormina and we weren’t able to return on another day.

Find central bases for exploring: To make the most of your Sicily road trip, we recommend finding spots on your route that let you explore several other nearby locations and activities. That way, you can stay in one location for several days instead of staying in a different place each night.

Final thoughts on our Sicily road trip

Sicily is a place we enjoy visiting, and it’s a place that has so much to offer visitors. Yet, not that many people to Sicily to take in its beauty. If you’re looking for something more from your Italian vacation, add a road trip to Sicily to your list. We think you’re gonna love it!

Optimized by Optimole
Scroll to Top