Sicily or Puglia for 9 days

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Jun 4th, 2012, 03:03 PM
  #1
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Sicily or Puglia for 9 days

Hi all-- I'm trying to plan a trip for early September for my husband and me. We will by flying from NYC and will have about 8 or 9 nights in Italy. We just are not sure where to go! We'd like some beaches, culture in terms of old villages and lively restaurants, and outdoor adventure, but don't care so much for historical sites and museums. We really want somewhere we can relax, take in beautiful scenery, maybe do some hiking, and wander around the towns. I was thinking of either Eastern Sicily or Puglia. A friend went to Puglia and loved the culture of it, but it doesn't seem to be that beautiful in terms of the natural scenery. I love the look of the Amalfi Coast, but just don't want to deal with the tourists and the inflated prices. Any thoughts/advice on which place to pick or favorite spots in those regions would be great. Thanks so much!

**I posted this in Europe but realized it should go in Italy. I couldn't figure out how to switch it once it posted, so I'm sorry for the re-post!
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Jun 4th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Both of those are not easy to access and are less tourist friendly. I would look at the Dolomites and Lake Garda that time of year if you want natural beauty and some relaxing.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 03:54 PM
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europesept2012,

there is no italy forum. the europe forum [and others] allows you to tag your thread to assist other fodorites, eg with a country name. However all threads posted on the europe forum are shown together.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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Is it your first time in Italy? I don't consider either Puglia or Sicily to be a good introduction to Italy, but if you have been before, my vote goes to Sicily.
There is a lot to see and do, Syracuse, Taormina, Noto, Modica, are all very close together.
http://www.google.ca/search?q=ortigi...w=1024&bih=672


If you care to go to Cefalu for a few days there are beautiful drives through the Madonie mountains, where you can also hike.

http://www.back2mine.net/index.php/g.../category/165/

You can fly into Catania, and it's not far from beautiful and busy Taormina, where you will find a beach, fine restaurants, picturesque setting and relaxation. Also, if you get up early (to avoid the tour bus loads of people) you can go see the Greek theatre with its amazing views over the coast and Mt Etna.

http://www.taormina.it/introduction

By the way once you get to Taormina, it is a traffic free, pedestrianized, zone, so no stress.
In general, we found Sicily to be a cheaper option than the North of Italy, although Taormina, as a world class resort, is more expensive (not overly so, though).

Just be prepared that Sicily is not as "refined" as northern Italy.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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One of our most memorable and fun trips to Italy was a 10 day trip to Sicily. Your description of what you are looking for is great and describes Sicily perfectly. We had lots of fun and spent very little time in museums. The food was great, the weather (mid September) was perfect, the scenery amazing and the people wonderful.

If you are experienced Italy travelers, Sicily would be a great trip. If this is your first trip to Italy, you might be better off following the advice of Bob the Navigator.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 06:39 PM
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I loved Sicily! We were there in September and it is very brown in the hillsides , but still very scenic. Taormina was very crowded, but otherwise it was delightful. It is very different from Rome & Florence and all the other popular places, but it is beautiful with much to c and wonderful food and friendly people. I would go there before I go to the Dolomites, which I liked a lot and is very pretty. Lake Garda is not a favorite of mine.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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We've been to Italy before. Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre. We don't like super touristy places, so Lake Garda didn't really appeal to me. I think we want something off the beaten path
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Jun 4th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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You will certainly find far fewer tourists in Sicily. Even in Taormina, you just have to get off the main street, and it is surprisingly quiet.

Syracuse was my favorite, the old part, on the island of Ortigia, is a very atmospheric place to stay. It is a little bit quieter, though, at least it was in early October when we were there. Many more locals than tourists.

In Puglia, the Adriatic Coast is beautiful, and the rolling hills around Locorotondo, but, unless you are a foodie, there is much more variety in Sicily. I hated to leave.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 11:33 PM
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some parts of the coast of puglia are gorgeous. some of the gargano peninsula compared to the amalfi-- without all the gorgeous cliffside buildings. we just got back from puglia-- see my report and ask if you have any specific questions. we loved it.
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Jun 5th, 2012, 12:37 AM
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kawh, not meaning to sound negative about Puglia. We also loved it, but toured Sicily just before arriving in Puglia. In terms of the variety of landscapes (Mt Etna) and lively cities, we found Puglia to be quieter, maybe just because it was mid-October.

EuropeSept2012, I'm sure you would find either of these choices relaxing and with far fewer tourists than Florence or Rome.
And the food is very good, in both Puglia and Sicily

Kawh's trip report is very enjoyable and gives a realistic feel for Puglia.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-loved-it.cfm

Here's another

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-splendido.cfm

Have fun planning!
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Jun 5th, 2012, 01:21 AM
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sundried- how does the driving in Sicily compare to Puglia?

We found Puglia driving fine on the whole and quite keen to visit sicily at some point too?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 03:46 AM
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Hi HG: Driving in Sicily is fine outside the urban centers. But in and around the cities, pretty hair-raising.

To the OP: Beaches are much better in Puglia than in Sicily. That is not to say that there are not some pretty beaches in Sicily, but overall, MUCH better ones in Puglia. The most arresting physical beauty of Puglia is to be found mostly along the coastline; the inland areas are more pastoral, flat or slightly rolling landscapes dotted with massive olive trees that are gorgeous to look at.

I do not agree with the comment above that Puglia is not tourist friendly....or difficult to access.
Can't understand that, at all...
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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europe/sept -i am facing the same conundrum, only in my case, there's a third place in the mix!

at the moment i'm leaning towards Sicily, mainly because DH prefers the idea of going there - he too has been seduced by inspector montalbano! [but possibly not for the same reasons as me].

sundried - if i want to see Ortiga/Syracuse, Ragusa and Agrigento, could i fit that into a 10-12 day trip? [probably flying into Catania if i can work out how to get there from here!]
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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ps - apparently BA fly into Catania from Gatwick, and i can fly to Gatwick from our local airport only 30 mins away, so that would be a definite option.
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:24 AM
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pps - sorry europe, for hijacking your thread.

I'd start another, but if you decide on Sicily, i suspect that we'll be asking the same Qs!
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Jun 5th, 2012, 08:19 AM
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Ann: You could easily do that in your time frame.
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Jun 5th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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how many days would you dedicate to each, ek?

anything else I really ought to see that I'm missing?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Ann I agree totally with Eks about driving in Sicily. Palermo was a bit crazy, and we bypassed Catania, so didn't find it bad all in all.
I have read in other posts that you can arrange transfers from Catania airport to Taormina. No need of a car while you are there. You could pick up a rental car when you leave Taormina.
Another poster mentioned that Europcar will drop off your rental by your hotel in Taormina (for a charge) so you don't have to taxi down the hill to the rental agency.

We spent 4 nights in Syracuse but used it as a base for seeing Noto, Modica, etc. If you stay at Ragusa for a few nights, then 3 would be plenty for Syracuse.
Although the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is a must-see, the only other thing we saw there was the Scala dei Turcchi sp? which was really cool but a scramble down the hill.
http://www.google.ca/search?q=scala+...w=1024&bih=672

The area around Agrigento is not thrilling, so most people say 2 nights there is enough.

Eks did you go to Taormina? Did you like it? My husband loved it, as he likes to people watch, and it was a break from driving as well. I loved, loved the views, the gardens there, and the whole town really is very photogenic. I would recommend it.

There are a number of trip reports from Sicily, including one from Bob....
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Jun 6th, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Yes, I've been to Taormina on two different Sicily trips. The physical beauty is outstanding but I think 2 days there would be plenty. I stayed both times at Villa Belvedere. Great views of Etna, and beautiful public areas, but guest rooms are only so so, at least in the moderate categories.

We rented a car the second time from Avis; the rental agency is within the town so no need to taxi to the location. We dropped it off and took a taxi to Catania airport at the end of the trip.
We had only a week and began in Palermo.

I've written two trip reports about Puglia (click on my name to find) but none on Sicily; my most recent trip was about 2005 or so so kind of outdated by now....
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Jun 8th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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thanks, sundried and ek, for the help and the tips.

i suppose i need to do some research and start my own thread!
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