8 days in Sicily - help!

Apr 11th, 2016, 07:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 2
8 days in Sicily - help!

Hi everyone,

I'm planning an 8 night trip (total 8.5 days) in Sicily for Mid-May. I wanted to see your take on a my initial stab at an itinerary and modes of transportation. Anything helps thank you!

Day 1) Arrive Palermo airport mid-afternoon (stay in Palermo)
Day 2) Palermo
Day 3) Monreale, Erice (stay in Erice)
Day 4) Erice, Agrigento (stay in Agrigento)
Day 5) Agrigento, Siracusa / Ortigia (stay in Siracusa)
Day 6) Siracusa
Day 7) Either Siracusa, Mt Etna in the AM, Taormina in the PM (stay in Taormina)
Day 8) Head to Cefalu
Day 9) Cefalu to Palermo (and home)

I am thinking of renting a car on my way out of Palermo and then returning back to Palermo to fly out. I am American and have driven in Santorini, but am hoping that Sicilian driving isn't too crazy! (I'm not amazing at directions, are there GPS options?)

What do you think I should add/take away from the itinerary? Is it too rushed?

Thanks in advance!
smophiee is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Hmmm. I might go the other way. Are you flying into Sicily transoceanic, or from someplace that is a much shorter plane flight and therefore won't be jet-legged?

If you are arriving jet-lagged into Palermo, consider extending your stay in Palermo so you can see Monreale as a day trip from there -- and maybe even Cefalu as a day trip from Palermo. Then pick up a car and head to Mt Etna, Taorminia, Siracusa, etc -- and finish up in Erice before dropping the car off at the Palermo airport and flying away.

In the alternative, if you haven't bought air tickets yet, I would try to utilize the Catania airport, and fly directly into Catania, then loop up to Palermo, finishing up there (with day trips to Monreale and Cefalu).

There is also an airport in Trapani if you wanted to take my first itinerary and fly out of Trapani instead of Palermo.
sandralist is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 08:43 AM
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You can also fly in to Catania as we are, we are leaving from Trapani.
pookymimi is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 09:45 AM
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I like Sandra's suggestion of more time in Palermo, with "day trips" to Monreale (just outside Palermo) and Cefalu--easily done by train. Otherwise, It's fine for the time you have.

Traffic in Sicily is much more sedate than on the mainland, and having a car is a very good idea.

I also like the idea of flying into Catania and out of Palermo (or vice-versa), which will give you a half day or so more for sight-seeing.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 09:53 AM
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Posts: 2
Thanks so much for your replies so far, the only flight we have already booked is a trans-Atlantic flight into Palermo from JFK. So perhaps we will look into flying out of Catania (we are headed to Paris).
smophiee is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 04:28 PM
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Mid-May is a lovely time to be in Sicily!

I must admit that this trip strikes me as very fast-paced, which might be fine, but that really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Only then can you decide whether this plan will work for YOU.

If you proceed with this itinerary, you will see many of Sicily's highlights. I don't see the Villa Romana del Casale in your plans, and many of us consider it to be a particular gem. It might be worth considering.

IME, driving in Sicily can be ... exhilarating. It has its challenges (IME, Sicilian drivers can be crazy!), but the major roads that I drove were well marked and well banked -- if only Sicilians honored the lane markings. Seriously! Major highways marked for 2 lanes each way sometimes had 4 or 5 lanes of traffic, with cars on the shoulders and between the "marked" lanes, motorcycles whipping between and around cars, and all at speeds well above posted limits and high enough to make me extremely uncomfortable -- at least near Palermo. Driving on side roads was a bit more like driving on side roads anywhere -- locals and jerks drive faster than anyone can actually do so with safety, so expect the unexpected and drive defensively.

For GPS, arrange one through your rental company or, if you have one that has maps for Sicily, take your own.

If you can fly out of Catania, I think that would make sense.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,118
Unless you have specific things that are important to you, I think Sandra's idea, either direction, would give you the most bang for your buck. There is no way to see everything so concentrate on what is easiest to access with the least stress.

The highway between Palermo and the eastern side of the island is a very good road, easy to drive and takes approximately 3 hours from Palermo to Catania, so in one morning, you can be in a completely different zone, with major sights close by.

No Greek temples though, unless you do a daytrip from Palermo to Segesta and Erice.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Apr 12th, 2016, 01:55 AM
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okay, so if you are committed to flying into Palermo, then I would suggest several days there, incuding day trips on pub trans, then heading by car to Erice, Agrigento, Siracusa, etc, winding up with Taormina/Etna and flying out of Catania.

If for some reason Catania's timetable of flights just won't work for you, then I would still spend added time in Palermo doing day trips, then travel the island by car in the opposite direction and fly out of Palermo airport without returning to the city proper (or use Trapani airport if that works for you).
sandralist is offline  
Apr 13th, 2016, 05:37 AM
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