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Please sanity-check my 2-week Sicily itinerary

Please sanity-check my 2-week Sicily itinerary

May 26th, 2019, 11:43 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 12
Please sanity-check my 2-week Sicily itinerary

Please critique this itinerary. I am taking the "donít leave luggage in the car while sightseeing" warning to heart by either taking a day trip to Segesta or dropping off luggage at a hotel first. Please give me your feedback on my itinerary.Any recommendations of tour companies would be appreciated. Thank you.
  • Saturday, Sept. 7 - Dulles to Palermo
  • Sunday - arrive in Palermo airport, take bus to hotel, take a nap, explore Palermo
  • Monday - bus to Monreale, return and explore Palermo
  • Tuesday - bus to Segesta, return and explore Palermo
  • Wednesday - pick up car at airport or in town, drive to Selinunte hotel, drop off luggage, visit Selinunte temples
  • Thursday Ė drive to Agrigento hotel, drop off luggage, visit Valley of the Temples
  • Friday Ė visit Valley of the Temples again, explore Agrigento
  • Saturday - drive to Ortigia hotel, drop off luggage, explore Siracusa/Ortigia
  • Sunday - visit Siracusa archeological site.
  • Monday - take Montalbano tour from Siracusa
  • Tuesday Ė drive to Taormina hotel, explore town
  • Wednesday Ė take Etna tour from Taormina
  • Thursday Ė drive to Milazzo hotel, drop off luggage, take afternoon tour to Panarea/Stromboli to see eruptions at night.
  • Friday Ė drive to Cefalu hotel, explore town, visit Cinema Paradiso sites
  • Saturday - drive to Palermo airport in late afternoon, drop off car. Taxi to airport hotel
  • Sunday - shuttle to airport, fly home to Dulles
gensuki is offline  
May 26th, 2019, 02:41 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,607
My one-trip-to-Sicily suggestion would be, since you are already staying two nights for Agrigento, maybe pick a place somewhere between Agrigento and Piazza Armerina or just not right in Agrigento. Then you can drop your luggage, go to the Valley of the Temples, and on the second morning, drive to the Villa Romana al Casale. You could get back in time for a little more Valley of the Temples.

I'm kind of ready to go back and it's only been a year since our trip to Sicily.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
May 27th, 2019, 12:01 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,220
Itís a rush but entirely doable.

I would drop one of the day trips from Palermo and spend more time in the city.

Its my joint favourite city with Charleston and Bordeaux. All are vibrant and fresh to tourism without being mobbed like Amsterdam or Salzburg. The locals still seem to want to talk to you rather than see you as a money fountain.

The food scene is a fascinating mix and the city just has a feel of flourishing since the Mafia appear to have stopped shooting everyone in sight.

Just a note on driving and the ZTL in Palermo, the zone is huge and covers the sea front promenade, itís really difficult to traverse town without getting caught (I did! ) and some of the ZTL maps are outdated.

Have you booked anywhere in the SE of the island?

Which route are you taking to Selinute?

BritishCaicos is online now  
May 27th, 2019, 12:07 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,220
Early September is still high summer.

The past two years haven’t been too bad but summer can mean 110oF which can destroy whistle stop tours over two weeks. Pick the wrong hotels and you will not sleep at night, the signage on the roads in some areas in non existant and the drivers in Sicily can be a little less than forgiving, it could be stressful and be aware that in some areas the traffic around beach areas is just biblical, easily lose an hour.
BritishCaicos is online now  
May 27th, 2019, 02:21 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 62
I like it a lot. I'd find a way to visit villa casale. That I found our highlight of Sicily.
ahbonvraiment is offline  
May 27th, 2019, 02:48 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You do want to explore Valley of the Temples and the Archeological Museum, all are fascinating, breathtaking. . Do not, however, waste any time going up the hill to the seedy city of Agrigento with closed storefronts, unpleasantness.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
May 27th, 2019, 04:07 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 215
We are doing a Calabria/Sicily driving trip this summer for 20 nights (5 more than you are planning) but I do find your trip rushed. Visiting many different sites in too little time results in not enough time simply getting to know and enjoying the different places you will be staying at.

Visiting various sites is important, but it is just as important to actually take the time to walk and 'feel' the culture of the places you intend to sleep over at.
AirBalloon is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 05:06 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Thanks for all the great advice. The following are my replies and follow-up questions.
Originally Posted by tuscanlifeedit View Post
My one-trip-to-Sicily suggestion would be, since you are already staying two nights for Agrigento, maybe pick a place somewhere between Agrigento and Piazza Armerina or just not right in Agrigento. Then you can drop your luggage, go to the Valley of the Temples, and on the second morning, drive to the Villa Romana al Casale. You could get back in time for a little more Valley of the Temples.
.
Good idea but we saw the Villa Romana on our other Sicily trip in 2005. My husband is passionate about Greek ruins which is why we are revisiting Segesta, Selinunte, and Agrigento. If I wasn't so paranoid after reading about luggage stolen out of cars, I would visit it on the way to Ortigia from Agrigento.
Originally Posted by BritishCaicos View Post
I would drop one of the day trips from Palermo and spend more time in the city.
Just a note on driving and the ZTL in Palermo, the zone is huge and covers the sea front promenade, itís really difficult to traverse town without getting caught (I did! ) and some of the ZTL maps are outdated.
Have you booked anywhere in the SE of the island?
Which route are you taking to Selinute?

We heard Monreale was a must. Originally we were going to visit Segesta after picking up a car in Palermo and driving to Selinunte. However, after reading warnings about not leaving luggage in the car, we thought a bus trip from Palermo would be the best option.
We will pick up the car after leaving Palermo, either in town and drive out or at the airport. Which do you think is best?
If by SE you mean Ortigia, we plan to book there.
The route to Selinunte I would use would be whatever Google Maps tells me. My understanding is that GPSs don't work well and Google Maps works best. What do you think? Is there something I need to watch out for?
Originally Posted by BritishCaicos View Post
Early September is still high summer.
The past two years havenít been too bad but summer can mean 110oF which can destroy whistle stop tours over two weeks. Pick the wrong hotels and you will not sleep at night, the signage on the roads in some areas in non existant and the drivers in Sicily can be a little less than forgiving, it could be stressful and be aware that in some areas the traffic around beach areas is just biblical, easily lose an hour.
We will push it a week into September but my husband doesn't want to go into October due to potentially rainy weather. By wrong hotels do you mean noisy with no AC?
Are you saying there will be traffic jams and don't count on the Google Maps estimates I am getting now because it is May?
Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
You do want to explore Valley of the Temples and the Archeological Museum, all are fascinating, breathtaking. . Do not, however, waste any time going up the hill to the seedy city of Agrigento with closed storefronts, unpleasantness.
We were in Agrigento in 2005 and also found the city depressing and creepy. I was hoping it had changed since then. When I read about the historic center, do they mean some place other than downtown?
Originally Posted by AirBalloon View Post
We are doing a Calabria/Sicily driving trip this summer for 20 nights (5 more than you are planning) but I do find your trip rushed. Visiting many different sites in too little time results in not enough time simply getting to know and enjoying the different places you will be staying at.
Visiting various sites is important, but it is just as important to actually take the time to walk and 'feel' the culture of the places you intend to sleep over at.
This will be our second time in Sicily. Our first time in 2005, we visited Taormina and Agrigento. From Agrigento as a base, saw Valley of the Temples, Segesta and Selinunte. So everything won't be so new so we will have a chance to relax.
gensuki is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 12:35 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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We haven’t visited in September , just three times, in late October and twice in August. Some of the coastal areas in August were swamped, although as you probably know Italy goes back to work in September just be aware of the weekend traffic.

Ive always found google maps to be creepy accurate, creepy as it can clearly track phone locations and knows when phones aren’t travelling at 50mph in a car ie the software knows where traffic jams are.

One route from Palermo to Selinute takes you directly inland and past Poggioreale both new and old. In 1968 the old and beautiful village was badly damaged by an earthquake leaving most of the houses as uninhabitable.

The centralist Italian government based in Rome came in and spent huge amounts over- designing a new town 2 miles down the road. The best architects in Italy were consulted but unfortunately the residents of the village were not. A new town to house a population of 10,000 was built and they hated it. To cut a very long story short, one family moved to Texas, phoned home and told everyone how great life was and the town all moved over to Texas. New Poggioreale is nearly devoid of life and only 10% occupied.

What’s left is one ancient ruined village which is left with rooms as they were in the day of the earthquake and another village left as a monument to centralised control. One ruined by the power of nature, one ruined by the misuse of power which humans control.

I found it a fascinating insight into social history,

Just up the Belice valley is a further surreal sight. It was decided that the town of Gibellina which was destroyed in the same earthquake should be entombed in concrete. It’s probably one of the worlds largest “art” installations and is a strange sight from miles away. I’m not sure if the artist, Alberto Burri should be too proud of the result. Looks a little like a large piece a the Star Wars Death Star fell to Earth.

While you are in Selinute try to eat at the Planeta vineyard down the road in Porto Palo, the food and wine are high end, Also in Porto Palo is the raucous Da Vittorio, run by a celebrity chef, it is chaos, on the beach, hugely busy, friendly but a lottery, we’ve eaten there four times and it’s varied from some of the best seafood I’ve had (62 countries, 5 continents) to down right awful (send it back). It’s worth a try because it’s usually all theatre, on the beach, very noisy, lots of strange characters and what Sicily is all about. Just don’t get there before 9pm or else you’ll be eating in your own.

Theres a beautiful nature reserve near Noto called Vendicari with large numbers of birds, flamingo and four beautiful beaches.

Ortigia : stay in the old town, dump the car in the car park at the entrance to the island, any further is a ZTL. Everything is on the island and it’s architecture is simply stunning Sicilian Baroque at its best.

If you love Montalbano (we do) many of the old Palazzi which were also used in the Godfather are round the back of Ragusa Isla on the way to Noto. Just drive round and keep your eyes open stock to the country roads and there are stunning old country Palazzi littered around.
BritishCaicos is online now  
May 28th, 2019, 04:48 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Re: staying in Ortigia, we used B&B I santi coronati and they had their own parking which was a real advantage. Otherwise you can use the parking lot "Talete" which is on the east side of the island near the market. It takes a picture of your license plate when you enter, so you just park, leave the car, and go to the machine and pay when you leave by typing in your license plate number.
I think the worst place for driving in Sicily is the road that goes from Agrigento to Enna. Lots of road works and it's just a two lane road, so gets clogged with cars and trucks. That was my experience two times driving ourselves and also this past spring we had a driver and he was complaining about it though luckily we didn't stop in Agrigento so didn't have to take it. Anyway, it looks like there is another route further south to get to Ortigia. Just an observation! On Ortigia we had a great dinner at Sicilia in Tavola but book early - they fill up.
palatino82 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2019, 06:21 PM
  #11  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,941
Chiming in late, but FWIW, why go to Palermoís airport to pick up a rental car? There are offices in the city, including some easily reached by public transportation.

P.S. Given what you have already seen and what you've said of your interests, I think you have a great play n!
kja is offline  

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