Sicily - 8 Day trip in February 2019

Feb 11th, 2019, 12:41 PM
  #1  
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Sicily - 8 Day trip in February 2019

I have done a fair amount of Sicily research on Fodors generally and on these boards. One clear conclusion I have reached is that 8 days is not enough for Sicily and the idea of frantically going from place to place to see the "must sees" is not appealing. However, 8 days is all we have, so I'm wondering if it makes sense to focus on just part (half?) of Sicily for this trip and save the rest for another (hopefully longer) trip. If so, which part would you recommend we focus on?
Thank you in advance for your help and advice.
JMK38 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 01:29 PM
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Western Sicily

I would probably start in Palermo (are you landing at Palermo or Catania airport?). Spend two - three full days in Palermo and take a bus or private transfer to Monreale to see the most amazing mosaics of the Monreale Cathedral.

Are you planning to rent a car? If yes, you can drive to Trapani and see beautiful medieval Erice perched on top of the mountain.

Then you can proceed to Selinunte to see its vast Archeological Park, if you are interested in ancient ruins. From Selininte drive to Agrigento to see amazing Valley of the Temples (stay overnight).

Then you can drive to the gorgeous Baroque Towns - Modica, Ragusa, Scicli - all of them are so beautiful. A real treat for architecture lovers.

And thd last stop could be lovely Siracusa and Ortigia (the latter is part of Siracusa), for two nights. You can arrange an excursion to Mount Etna from Siracusa if you are interested.

If you can fly out from Catania and not Palermo, it will save you significant time. We had done it, but in the opposite direction. We had 13 full days and spend three of them in Taormina, the beauty of Sicily, which will be very quiet in February: it is a resort town with gorgeous views and spectacular antiquities, like Teatro Greco.
vinonobile987 is online now  
Feb 11th, 2019, 01:37 PM
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I woild add tne stunning site of Segesta near Erice.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Feb 11th, 2019, 05:30 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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I think your plan to visit just part of the island makes a lot of sense! Which part really depends on your interests! With 8 days, I think you could concentrate on
  • the west (for example, some subset of Palermo, Trapani, Erice, Segesta, and Selinunte);
  • the southeast (for example, some subset of Siracusa/Ortigia, the Baroque Towns, the Villa Romana del Casale, maybe as far as Agrigento);
  • the northeast (Catania, Taormina, Mt. Etna);
  • the north coast (Palermo, Cefalu, one or more of the parks);
  • etc.
I must admit that I would find 2 days in either Palermo or Siracusa sadly insufficient and 3 days in Taormina 2 days too many -- to each his/her own!

My recommendation would be to decide what you most want for this trip -- ruins? Baroque architecture? scenery? art? a sampling of each with minimal time in transit? etc.

FWIW, I found the Rough Guide to Sicily particularly useful.

Hope that helps!
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Feb 11th, 2019, 05:40 PM
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Taormina

Clarifying my point about Taormina. We had done a Jeep 4x4 excursion to Mount Etna and hiked to Castelmola while staying in Taormina. Another magnet was our divine hotel, “Villa Ducale”. We did not want to leave...
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Feb 11th, 2019, 05:54 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by vinonobile987 View Post
Clarifying my point about Taormina. We had done a Jeep 4x4 excursion to Mount Etna and hiked to Castelmola while staying in Taormina. Another magnet was our divine hotel, “Villa Ducale”. We did not want to leave...
I did those things, too. Well, not the Villa Ducale. ;-)
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Feb 11th, 2019, 06:01 PM
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Villa Ducale

Villa Ducale was stunning: away from the crowds. amazing service, fantastic restaurant, and breakfasts to die for. And the views of Mount Etna and the sea were heart-stopping... Probably, the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen was from our balcony...

We also loved nearby Al Saraceno restaurant not frequented by tourists and very atmospheric tiny church of Madonna Della Rocca carved in the mountain.
vinonobile987 is online now  
Feb 11th, 2019, 06:11 PM
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Our time just about anywhere in Europe is always “sadly insufficient,” but we never regret even one day just about anywhere. If that’s all we have, we google "24 hours in such and such place" and go from there. It is amazing how much you can see and do in even one day.

You are a well-travelled person and certainly have a good idea of the type of traveler you are. We have been to Sicily several times, but when I reflect on our shorter visits, we did a lot in a small amount of time. We can move quickly, travel with carry-ons, are up early and stay out late. Again, that’s why it’s up to your travel style.

One short visit of ours included a flight to Palermo (one base), Monreale, Cefalu, Taormina (second base), Mt. Etna, a private driver to a small hill town of my grandfather, Siracusa, Ortigia and more and flight out of Catania. My recollection is that this trip was less than a week. Later, we took an even shorter trip with a flight in and out of Trapani, where we were based, that one with a car; and it included Erice, Greek temples at Segesta, Selinunte, and Agrigento and, Marsala and several small hill towns.

Sicily is a large island, and some see transit time as a negative. We enjoyed seeing the countryside on the rail trip, for example, from Palermo to Taormina and used that as an opportunity to stop off for our brief visit and lunch in Cefalu. Our rail trip from Taormina to Siracusa included some memorable interactions with other passengers.

In October, we will return to just relax,11 days in Siracusa/Ortigia, Noto, Modica, and Ragusa.
whitehall is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 06:15 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by whitehall View Post
Our time just about anywhere in Europe is always “sadly insufficient,”
'Nuff said.
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Feb 11th, 2019, 06:29 PM
  #10  
 
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Europe...

Our time just about anywhere in Europe is always “sadly insufficient,”

Sadly, it is so true.. The only cure is to come back and this is what we are doing religiously twice a year every year...
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