Fly & drive Sicily: mapped route + itinerary and tips
On a road trip in Sicily? Use our mapped route with itinerary + tips!
Sicily is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa. Although Sicily is technically part of Italy, the atmosphere there is completely different from the mainland.
During a 10 day tour, we will lead you around the island and show you the most interesting highlights. With all the things to see and do here, you can easily extend your stay by two weeks.
Map with the 10 to 14-day route Sicily
Day 1: City walk Palermo
Palermo, the biggest city of Sicily, is the first place on the island where you will start your Sicilian adventure. On this day you will discover the most important highlights of Palermo, such as the beautiful Orto Botanico di Palermo, and many historical buildings including the Cattedrale di Palermo. More information about the most important highlights in Palermo can be found on our blog.
Day 2: Palermo to Milazzo
Distance traveled: 350 km
On day two you leave Palermo and get to know the most important highlights on the north coast of Sicily. These include the Pizzo Cane and Pizzo Trigna Nature Reserve. The area is known for its beautiful landscape with lots of forest and wildlife. Relax on Lago Rosamarina, one of Sicily's largest lakes, ideal for a swim or a walk. Along the way you can also make a stop in one of the most beautiful places in Sicily, Cefalù. Finish the day in Milazzo, the ideal place to explore the Aeolian Islands.
Day 3: Aeolian Islands
The UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands rise like jewels from the sea in front of the northeast coast of Sicily. This island group consists of seven islands: Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. You can enjoy activities in- and outside the water, both relaxing or more challenging, that's up to you. At the end of the day you can enjoy the delicious gastronomy in one of the restaurant on the island.
Visiting the Aeolian Islands can easily be split up over several days. Discover everything there is to do on these Sicilian islands.
Day 4: Milazzo to Toarmina
Distance traveled: 100 km
After visiting the Aeolian Islands we continue the round trip through Sicily in Milazzo. From here you will depart in the direction of Taormina, one of the most popular destinations in Sicily. The picturesque city is located on a mountain from where you have a beautiful view over the Mediterranean Sea. Discover all the highlights Taormina in our blog post. You can easily spend several days here.
Day 5: Climbing mountain Etna
This active volcano on the east side of the island, with its 3329 meters high top, is a real eye-catcher on Sicily. The Etna volcano is one of the top highlights on the island and is therefore definitely worth a visit or a climb! Explore this lunar landscape and smell the typical scent of sulphur!
Day 6: Catania to Syracuse
Distance traveled: 72 km
On day 6 of the round trip, before continuing along the east coast to the old town of Syracuse, we will visit Catania. The day starts with a city walk where you will see all the main highlights of Catania. After the city walk you drive further in the direction of Syracuse to continue the journey the next day.
Be sure to check out our selection of unique hotels in Catania, all unique places!
Day 7: City walk Syracuse
Today you will explore the best highlights of Syracuse with a city walk. Syracuse has a long and fascinating history which you can find back in the many monuments and architectural gems. The city is best known for its Greek history, culture, buildings and as the birthplace of the mathematician and engineer Archimedes.
Day 8: Syracuse to Caltagirone
Distance traveled: 200 km
On this day you will explore the south-western corner of Sicily and will visit many different towns. Many of these beautiful towns are listed on the UNESCO list. As an example, you will come across the beautiful baroque city of Noto. This city makes you feel like you are walking on a film set. If you want a change from all the cities, take a stop at Riserva Naturale Orientata Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari. This beautiful nature reserve is ideal for relaxing and snorkeling, bird watching or swimming. Be sure to visit the beach of Calamosche, which has been declared the most beautiful beach in Italy.
Day 9: Caltagirone to Marsala
Distance traveled: 320 km
The second to last day of the tour is a combination of cosy towns and the most important archaeological sites of Sicily.
Visit the Valle dei Templi. This site is listed on the UNESCO world heritage list and consists of the remains of seven large temples, which were all built in Doric style and thus go back to Greek Antiquity. For lovers of Greek Antiquity there is also Eraclea or Heraclea Mino. This is an ancient Greek city that was founded in the 6th century BC. Excavations have revealed several parts of the city, such as a necropolis and a theater which you are able to visit today. Also make sure to pass by the white chalk cliffs of Scala dei Turchi and the Riserva Naturale Orientata Foce del Fiume Platani.
Day 10: Marsala to Palermo
Distance traveled: 100 km
On the last day of the round trip you will return to the capital of Sicily to complete your round trip. However, if you still have some time on your hands, we recommend to take a few more days to discover Palermo.
You start your trip back to Palermo from Marsala. On the way back we recommend to stop in the city Trapani for a short city walk. Trapani was once the heart of a powerful trading network that stretched across the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays, this city is particularly attractive for its historic centre and because it is the base from which to visit the Egadi Islands and Pantelleria. The ideal place to end your vacation.
Best time to visit Sicily
The best period to visit Sicily is from April to June or from September to October. During these months temperatures are mild - usually neither too hot nor too cold - and there is much less tourism than during the high season in the summer months.
The Sicilian summers can be very hot and dry. The winters, in contrast, are more chilly but more stores and bars are closed. The month of August is definitely to be avoided, unless you can't do otherwise.
Where to spend the night in Sicily? (with discount)
Looking for a place to stay during your round trip in Sicily? Discover our favorite hotels in Palermo and the best stays in Catania. Prefer something a little more rural? Have a look at our 5 most beautiful agriturismo in Sicily.
Traveling to Sicily by plane
There are four main airport cities in Sicily: Palermo, Catania, Trapani and Ragusa/Comiso. Catania Airport is the largest airport on the island, with many domestic and also a number of international flights. Palermo Airport is the second largest airport and welcomes mainly international budget flights.
From Palermo Airport you can take a taxi, a shuttle bus or a city bus that will bring you to the city center. You can also rent a car at the airport. There you can choose from a large variety of rental companies.
Traveling to Sicily by train
Sicily is connected to the Italian rail network in Messina. Long-distance trains connected to the European network via Rome, Naples or Milan cross the Strait of Messina via a rail ferry and then continue to Palermo and Catania.
The journey from Rome takes about 10 hours; from Naples you are there after 8 hours. Sleeper trains are also possible, but please note - these trains can be quite hot and crowded in summer. If you want to drive around Sicily with your own car, instead of driving all the way, you can put your car on a train in Rome or Venice and pick it up in Palermo or Catania.
The train network in Sicily is quite good and very affordable. Faster trains run on the main lines between Messina, Palermo and Catania. On the other lines there are fewer and slower trains. Validate your ticket in the yellow machines in the station before boarding the train.
Traveling to Sicily by car or bus
Long-distance buses connect Rome and Naples with Catania and Palermo. This is an affordable option, but the journey can be long, hot and uncomfortable. If you want to drive to Sicily by car you have to drive to one of the following cities: Naples, Genoa, Civitavecchia or Salerno. From here you can take the ferry to Sicily.
Traveling around Sicily by bus
The bus network in Sicily is not that expensive and it is well developed. It is very easy to travel between or from the main bus hubs in Palermo and Catania, but this is much more difficult for the other, smaller locations. The routes connect most major cities but sometimes only reach the smallest cities once a day. Planning in advance is therefore absolutely necessary.
Traveling around Sicily by car
If you want to see as much of the island as possible, a car is probably the best option. Besides a basic car, you can rent an electric or hybrid car if you prefer those better. You can also explore Sicily by bike. The roads are pretty good, and although some roads can be busy, the traffic is usually quite good, especially outside the high season.
Do you still doubt which car to rent for your trip?
- Go for a comfortable car, which isn't too small
- Book an all-inclusive insurance so you can drive around in peace.
- Reliable car rental companies are Sunnycars (always all-inclusive), TUI cars car rental and Rentalcars (very large offer).
- Also read more tips about renting a car on holiday.
Download your free travel guide Sicily and don't miss out on anything!
Like most of us, you don't want to miss out on anything during your vacation on Sicily. Well, we have some good news, because we already did the research for you! Buy our travel guide Sicily with 93 highlights (+ GPS coordinates) and a mapped out round trip. Prefer to try it out first? Download your free travel guide preview Sicily here with free city walk Palermo.