The famous island had been on my to-do list for while. I knew there was a lot to see there, so going in summer wasn’t really a good option, that’s why I picked fall, knowing this would be a cultural trip and not a beach one!
The richness of Sicily really didn’t disappoint, I still have a lot of inspiring shots to share! I planned a three-stops itinerary that ended up offering very different visions of the island, a very good surprise that made going from North to South totally worth it.
WHEN : LATE NOVEMBER
HOW LONG : 12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
TRAVEL AGENT : MYSELF
TRANSPORTATION : PARIS-CATANIA FLIGHT WITH EASYJET, BUS AND TAXI
WEATHER : MILD (22°C/72°F) AND STORMY IN PALERMO, SUNNY AND COOL IN SYRACUSE AND MODICA (13°C/55°F)
TOURIST CROWD : VERY FEW AND ONLY AROUND MAJOR LANDMARKS
Airbnb loft (4 nights)
We started our trip in Palermo, but actually landed in Catania, since there were no direct Paris-Palermo flight this time of the year. The Catania-Palermo transfer was much easier and quicker tha you might think though. The bus leaves directly from the airport and reached Palermo’s station in a little less than three hours, all on a brand new road with gorgeous views all along. I didn’t find a hotel that I liked enough in Palermo so I rented an apartment instead, a very impressive (the highest ceiling we’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot!) loft in the old town. We really loved the city and its unbelievable churches. We took a couple of field trips: to Monreale and its mind-blowing cathedral and to seaside Mondello, with a stop at the Palazzina Cinese on the way.
Palazzo del Sale (3 nights)
We then took a bus to Syracuse (a little bit over 3 hours long), and this was a major change of tone, almost a different country! Palermo is this practically non-touristic town, all brown, gold and black while Syracuse, and especially Ortygia, is this very proper tiny white town. On one hand it was a nice break (much easier to find a restaurant/not fearing your camera might get stolen!), but on the other it was definitely a bit soulless in comparison. There were no crazy cool hotel options, so I settled for a nice B&B in the old town. We walked around a little bit and went to see the Greek theater, but apart from that, if you don’t have a car there is not much to do around there. We enjoyed the bright sun and the view on the transparent sea and took two buses to reach our next stop, Modica.
Casa Talia (3 nights)
Modica offered yet another kind of landscape, architecture and population. This is fully Baroque town, in an almost mountainous setting, and with a far more wealthy feel. The highlight of this part of the trip was definitely our hotel, Casa Talia, whose beautiful garden lead us to favor long reading sessions instead of around-the-clock exploration.
IF I COULD RE-DO IT
I would come two weeks before! It’s supposed to still be quite warm late November, but last year a cold wave stroke Europe at this period. To be on the safe side, I guess early November is safer weather-wise. You should also know that Sicilian weather is notoriously capricious, and more and more unpredictable these last years: talk about Sicilian character!
I would spend one less day in Syracuse and Modica to fit in one more stop, either close to Palermo or in South, maybe in Catania (to see Mount Etna from afar, knowing it’s far too cold to go near it at this time of the year!)
IF I GO BACK
I’d love to see the island in spring! It would be hard to decide on an itinerary, since every place sounds mythical (Taormina! Trapani! Caltagirone!). I know I’d like to see these ruins in the middle of the nature that I’ve heard about though. It might also be the opportunity to try the Monaci delle Terre Nerre that I keep reading about. I’m also hoping to rent a car next time (that driving license is still in progress) to be able to explore a little bit better.
In any case, like every place in Italy I visited, it only made me curious to see more!
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