13 Authentic Experiences in Sicily That You Don’t Want to Miss

Ragusa, Sicily - 13 Must Try Experiences in Sicily

Planning to visit Sicily and looking for the best things to do? I am here to help you discover the coolest experiences in Sicily and help you with the planning process.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region of Italy. It is located at the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina.

The island is known for its beautiful coastline, stunning landscapes, and historical sites. Mount Etna, an active volcano and the tallest in Europe, is located in northeastern Sicily and attracts many visitors.

In this article, you will find must try experiences in Sicily that you simply have to include in your itinerary. As always, sharing my best tips, practical information, and keys to secret doors that others don’t know about.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

But before we dive in…

The most popular tours in Sicily:


Best experiences in Sicily

Sicily food experiences: Arancino or arancina?

food in Sicily
food in Sicily

Food is one of the highlights of Sicily and you can’t visit Sicily without trying some of the local Sicilian specialties. I believe you have heard about arancina or arancino, but do you know the difference? This is where Sicilians get competitive.

In Palermo and its surroundings, it is called “arancina”, but if you are in Catania you will be served an “arancino”. Obviously, people in Palermo will say that they have the best version, while Catanians believe their arancino is way better.

I will let you try both and choose your favorite but make sure that you call it arancina (or arancine plural) when in Palermo or arancino (arancini) when in Catania. Maybe you are wondering where to try the best arancini? My personal favorites are Pasticceria Savia in Catania and Friggitoria da Davide in Palermo.

Market madness in Palermo

Palermo, Sicily

Market experience in Palermo was my personal favorite. Normally I am not a big market fan, but this is an experience that you can’t miss. There are 3 main markets in Palermo and your experience can be different in each one, so let’s find the one that you like the most.

Mercato Ballaro

Mercato Ballaro is the most popular one because it is considered authentic, but I am not sure that everyone is ready for this. It’s crowded with scooters passing by and sellers screaming in your ear. This is also the cheapest one and that’s where you will find all the locals. Keep in mind that all the restaurants in Ballaro have very low ratings, so probably they are there just because it’s the most popular market. If you want to buy food and you are not scared of mess, this is your choice.

Mercato Vucciria

Mercato Vucciria is just a tiny square of the market (with some additional streets), however, this is the market that you must try for a restaurant experience. Everything that they sell, they can cook for you. And it doesn’t get better than this. Especially if you are a fish lover like me and can give up fancy experiences once in a while. Find a place that doesn’t have a fixed menu, they will sell you food per kg. My personal favorite was Al Tentacolo and for a huge sea bass, we paid 10 EUR. 700 grams of fried fish was less than 20 EUR.

Mercado del Capo

Mercado del Capo is the safe hit. I can’t say it is touristic, but it’s the prettiest one. Everything is nice and clean and tourist-friendly, so I am sure that you won’t get culture shock here. Prices are slightly higher, but still very affordable for Italian standards. This was the one that I visited first and I think it’s a good start. You can also get fresh juice or find some typical Sicilian food for takeaway. 

Ragusa from your balcony

Ragusa Ibla
Ragusa Ibla

Ragusa is still considered a hidden gem and it completely stole my heart. I did my research in advance and I found the accommodation with the best view – B&B Terra del sole Ibla. We choose the room with a terrace but every room has a beautiful view of Ragusa. On top of all, the owner is there to welcome you and help you with anything. These 2 days in Ragusa I felt like at home and it doesn’t happen often. Honestly, once you have a view like this, do you even need to go out?

Book your stay with the best view over Ragusa here.

Well yes, there are some places that you should visit. There are famous stairs that you should visit during sunrise or sunset and you will find these stairs right next to Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Itria. Michelin Star restaurant called Duomo is a great option for gourmet lovers. And of course the heart of the Ibla – Duomo di San Giorgio.

Historical food experience in Modica

The best food in Modica

Another amazing food experience you will find in Osteria dei Sapori Perduti in the heart of Modica. It all started with the Muriana family that proposed ancient recipes with nostalgic flavors. Nowadays, this place brings many tourists to Modica and you should try it as well. A door to the past, something that you can’t find anywhere else. This restaurant has won many awards, yet it’s still authentic and affordable. The big lunch for two people (with wine) was a bit more than 50 EUR. Oh and don’t forget to try their ravioli with chocolate – you might think it is strange, but go for it before you judge it.

food in Sicily

Another famous product of Modica is their local chocolate. Modica Chocolate is cold processed and has no cocoa butter added, at 45 degrees Celsius sugar does not dissolve; that’s why it has a different texture. This chocolate will not melt easily, but you can’t be sure with Sicilian heat. The perfect souvenir to bring for your friends or family.

Get your street food tour in Modica

Best beach experience in Sicily

Maybe you are thinking that it is enough activities? You are right, it’s time to relax on the beach and I am here to share the best beach in Sicily! Welcome to Mazzaforno.

Located only three kilometers from Cefalù, Mazzaforno is a seaside resort that gives its name to the seaside coves, the sandy and rocky beaches, and the sea of emerald and turquoise colors. A stretch of coastline that can be easily reached from the trunk road SS113 heading towards Palermo and following the directions for Mazzaforno.

It is not the longest beach, but it is not the most popular one either. In fact, part of it is private, so not many people know about it. You will find many beautiful beaches in Sicily, but this is at the top of my personal list. Don’t miss it!

Sicilian Granita tasting

Bam Bar Taormina

Yet another thing that you have heard when mentioning Sicily is granita. Maybe you are wondering what is granita? Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from water and various flavorings. However, in Sicily, they don’t add sugar or syrup, just pure water and the ingredient of your choice. Sign of a good granita? Pieces of fruit inside. I am a gelato lover, but when it’s more than 30 degrees outside, you want something light and refreshing.

Now let’s talk about the best granita experience in Sicily. No doubt it is hidden in Bam Bar in Taormina. It is very affordable, the staff is friendly and granita.. well the best one that you will ever try. Additionally the design of this place is marvelous. It doesn’t get more Sicilian than this! 

Oh, and I forgot to mention, it comes with a weirdly shaped brioche. At first, I thought it was a strange combo, but go for it and thank me later.

Meet the sunset in Cefalu

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu is another beautiful town that stole my heart as soon as I arrived, but it gets even better at sunset. This uniquely-shaped hill gives the town of Cefalu its striking appearance, rising up beside the picturesque colorful houses with its sheer cliff face. Add a bit of golden hour and it is pure perfection. 

Once the sun goes down, Cefalu is filled with life and fun. People are out having drinks, meeting up with friends, and making the best memories in Sicily. Join them and discover the magic of Cefalu. 

While in Cefalu, here are some other things to see: Castle Ruins, Cefalu Cathedral, Piazza Garibaldi, and other tiny streets of Cefalu.

Cefalu, Sicily

Discover Ancient Greek history in Valley of the Temples

Sicily

Valley of the Temples is an archaeological site and it is the biggest example of Greater Greece art and architecture in entire Italy. You can visit the archaeological site on foot, but there is also a tourist train shuttle service. It will cost you 3 EUR per person, one way. There is also a restaurant in case you didn’t have time to eat before your visit. 

Make sure you plan at least 2 hours for this experience and I highly suggest visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon in order to avoid the heat.

From July to September, you have a unique opportunity to see the temples at night. It gets magical when illuminated in the dark. The entrance fee is around 15 EUR depending on your age and how you want to combine your ticket. Keep in mind that it is highly suggested to book your visit in advance and you can do it HERE.

See salt road in Trapani

Marsala

Along the road that runs from Trapani to Marsala, you will find a unique landscape with salt. The part that you simply cannot miss is called the Saline of the Laguna Marsala. It is a fully functioning Sicilian salt mill that draws thousands of tourists each year.

Once you arrive, you will find a lot of parking options. You can visit the salt museum, see inside the windmill (highly suggested!), or take a boat around the island. Make sure you check working hours before you arrive, they change depending on the season.

If you decide to spend a night here, I highly suggest you stay in a bed and breakfast called La Finestra Sul Sale. They have the best views. In case you are on a clock, consider a drink in SEI – Mamma Caura. Espresso bar with a panoramic view over the salt mill. It might be a bit pricey by Sicilian standards, but you can see the sunset over the salt mill with a drink in your hand. Pretty impressive, right?

Marsala

Horse meat in Catania

food in Sicily

Horse meat is a traditional delicacy in Catania and it is usually eaten in the form of meatballs or small steaks. One of the best-rated restaurants is Achille in Catania according to Trip Advisor, so we decided to give it a try. Forget about fancy dining here. Near Achille you will find many other similar restaurants with a very inviting smell – everything is grilled on the street, right in front of you. 

Let me tell you that I have tried horse meat once in my life and I didn’t like it, so I was prepared to order something else from the menu. However, I got to try horse meat meatballs before my dish arrived and I didn’t hesitate to cancel my initial order. I am not saying that you will love horse meat, but you certainly have to try it! And Achille is a typical place that offers the best-grilled options – vegetables, meat, or fish, it’s up to you.

Travel back in time and discover hidden Sicily

Discover hidden Sicily
hidden Sicily

My partner has a passion for retro cars and I have a passion for hidden gems, so we found a perfect experience on Airbnb. It’s a car ride with MGA 1961’s 1600 MKII and Antonio, your host, knows all the best places in the area.

He comes to pick you up in Cefalu and takes you to tiny towns, historical attractions, and remote treasures in the area. During this tour, you are going to see places like the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, Isnello, Castelbuono, Pollina, etc.

And yes, you can see all these places by yourself but it is way more fun when someone can guide you and share all the curiosities. Plus, a drive in a retro car in this particular area.. looks like a scene from an old Italian movie. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you can book it HERE.

Ceramics in Caltagirone 

Caltagirone
Catagirione

What is a good trip without souvenirs to bring home, right? Sicily certainly won’t be a problem when it comes to souvenirs that last. If you are like me and you like ceramics, Caltagirone is your place. Ceramic production in Caltagirone is a millennium-old tradition making the town one of the most important ceramic production centers of Sicily.

The ceramic tradition is visible in every part of the town, not only in its numerous shops selling ceramics and maiolica. For example, you can’t miss the famous tile-covered stairs – Santa Maria del Monte. Also, there is the Regional Ceramics Museum, which contains examples of Sicilian ceramic objects dating from prehistoric times to the present day. 

Authentic cannoli experience

Palermo, SIcily
Cannoli in Sicily

We started with food, so I want to finish with food. Cannoli is another must-try thing while you are in Sicily and I found the most amazing place to taste them. The place is called Segreti del Chiostro di Palermo and it is located inside the sixteenth-century monastery of Saint Catherine.

Back in the time, they didn’t have enough finances to maintain the monastery, so the nuns decided to sell sweets. The recipes of the convent pastry are secret and were only revealed by the older nuns to the younger ones who inherited them. That’s the main reason why you should try their special cannoli.. it is certainly worth keeping the recipe a secret!

While you are here, you should visit Chiesa di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria. Actually, I have another tip for Sicily. Make sure you visit as many churches as you can. Sometimes they look insignificant from the outside, but you can find a real treasure inside.

+1! Pistachio festival in Bronte

This festival is another interesting experience that Sicily can offer to you. It is fully devoted to this tasty fruit and its unlimited food applications: you can enjoy the taste of ice cream, cakes, pasta, arancini, and pastries and discover much more recipes to delight this legacy of the Arabic domination of Sicily.

It takes place at the beginning of October, so if you are visiting during this time, make sure that you check out the exact dates. Pistachio is the green gold of Sicily, so when in Sicily – try everything with pistachio. Even pasta and pizza!

Further reading for the authentic experiences in Sicily

Or read more about: Palermo | Sicily | Italy

Other popular regions of Italy

Dolomites | Liguria | Lombardy | Piedmont | Puglia | Tuscany | Veneto

Other useful tips for visiting Italy

🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide and Viator have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Italy? Use Rentalcars
✈️ Looking for the best flight deals? Check WayAway
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo

In conclusion…

Palermo, Sicily

I love to try local experiences when traveling, it is a great way to discover the place that you are visiting. Sicily certainly has a lot to offer, so it is hard to try it all, however, I want to make sure you don’t miss the important ones. Plan your trip around these experiences and discover real Sicily. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and save the best experiences in Sicily!

13 MUST TRY EXPERIENCES IN SICILY
13 MUST TRY EXPERIENCES IN SICILY

57 Comments

  1. Where is Palermo
    July 22, 2022 / 6:28 am

    Your photos sold me!! Though this is a photo that’s already been on my bucket list as well for a long time!

  2. June 28, 2022 / 10:47 am

    I’m so glad I found this guide, I’m actually going to Sicily next month and this has gotten me even more excited

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      June 29, 2022 / 11:05 am

      Yay, that’s exciting! Enjoy your time in Sicily and I hope this can help ❤️

  3. Shannon
    May 25, 2022 / 12:43 am

    Wow- I am drooling over all the food pics! Looks so amazing.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      May 27, 2022 / 7:45 am

      Glad to read that 😍😍

  4. May 21, 2022 / 11:09 pm

    I’m heading to Sicily in mid-June. This list will come in very handy!! I cannot wait to try the pistachio cannolis in Palermo! Thanks for the great tips.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      May 22, 2022 / 4:52 pm

      Yay! That’s so exciting!! And I hope you can do at least some of these – made me fall in love with Sicily!

  5. September 25, 2021 / 6:48 pm

    Sooo Beautiful! This post makes me want to explore more of Sicily, I’ve only been to Taormino and Palermo.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      September 26, 2021 / 4:52 am

      These are beautiful places as well! But I think there is more to Sicily.. so I hope you get a chance to visit again 🥰

  6. September 10, 2021 / 12:09 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful and the food all looks so delicious!
    I had a trip booked pre Covid, but unfortunately has to cancel! These photos really make me want to reschedule
    Julia x

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      September 10, 2021 / 1:43 pm

      Wow, thats so sweet of you! Thanks 🥰 Sicily is amazing so I hope that you get to reschedule it!

  7. August 30, 2021 / 11:30 pm

    these pictures are absolutely gorgeous!! i wanna go!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      September 10, 2021 / 1:42 pm

      Wow thank you so much 🥰

  8. Rita
    August 18, 2021 / 9:16 pm

    I think ,that your article will help me to planning my vacation! About 5-6 years ago we visited Sicily. It was unforgettable vacation. And we all agree, that one day we must be back. You describe everything so perfect 😍 and very much explanatory. You are the very best, of all. Thank so much, for your priceless recommendations . Hopefully 🙏 Sicily will be open for the New Year !

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 22, 2021 / 7:01 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Rita! I’m glad I could help and I really hope your trip to Sicily goes as planned! Fingers crossed ❤️

  9. August 17, 2021 / 8:23 pm

    This is a great article! I have never visited Sicily, but it’s on my list. Your photos and experiences make me want to visit it as soon as possible 🙂 I would love to try all the delicious food and watch the sunset in Cefalu.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      September 27, 2021 / 6:13 pm

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Sicily is amazing and certainly deserves a visit, hope you get a chance to discover it soon 😍

  10. August 17, 2021 / 2:31 am

    Oh, my…the food, the views, the architecture, the history! I must try all these experiences in Sicily!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:34 am

      I really hope you can one day! ❤️ Thank you so much!

  11. August 17, 2021 / 1:03 am

    your photos are stunning! i feel like i’m actually in sicily now… and i can almost taste that pistacio canoli 💖this was such inspo to visit sicily soon.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:33 am

      Wow, that’s so sweet of you, thank you so much! Hope you get a chance to see it with your own eyes.. and try all the Sicilian food! ❤️

  12. August 17, 2021 / 1:01 am

    these pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:33 am

      Thank you Alex ❤️

  13. August 16, 2021 / 11:57 pm

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! What a dream trip!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:32 am

      Wow, thank you so much ❤️

  14. August 16, 2021 / 11:40 pm

    Such a great article, I’m so keen to go to Sicily…. Looks absolutely beautiful

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:32 am

      Sicily is amazing indeed! So I really hope you get a chance to visit. Thank you ❤️

  15. August 16, 2021 / 9:38 pm

    Those steps are absolutely breath-taking. I would love to visit Sicily one day. I loved reading about all the food you tried as well!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:31 am

      Thank you so much, Nina! ❤️

  16. August 16, 2021 / 9:32 pm

    All of your pictures are so gorgeous, I wouldn’t know where to start! Did you get to try your hand at making any ceramics? I’d love the opportunity to learn from a local first-hand!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:31 am

      Thank you so much, Kerri! Unfortunately, no, I just got to watch but it would be a great experience as well.. now I feel like I need to go back haha!

  17. August 16, 2021 / 9:19 pm

    Wow!! Your photos are just gorgeous, and this post is really making me want to book a trip to Sicily! I would love to do everything on the list, but checking out the markets and eating a bunch of cannolis sounds like the perfect day.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:28 am

      Thank you so much! Sounds like a perfect start.. so you are ready for your trip to Sicily now!❤️

  18. August 16, 2021 / 9:13 pm

    Great information – it looks beautiful! I’m ready to book my flight now!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:26 am

      Yay! Glad to hear that! And hope you can visit one day ❤️

  19. Amy
    August 16, 2021 / 8:59 pm

    What gorgeous pictures! We loved our brief visits to Sicily and had the best gelato ever!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:40 am

      Thank you so much! Sicilian food is amazing, right? ❤️

  20. August 16, 2021 / 8:32 pm

    Ahhhhh, you had me at Sicily. The photos, the food, the markets…it all sound delightful. Thanks! I will pin this for future reference.

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 8:34 pm

      So glad to hear this! Thank you so much ❤️

  21. Rita
    August 16, 2021 / 8:23 pm

    Che articolo e che foto fantastiche, viene voglia di sognare guardando queste foto! complimenti alla modella e al fotografo!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 8:28 pm

      Grazie mille Rita sei gentilissima ❤️

  22. August 16, 2021 / 8:15 pm

    Great list, and love your photos! I have been to Sicily many times, particularly to a village that’s very near Cefalu, because I have family in that area. I love that more and more people are recognizing how special Sicily is. I can’t wait to go again, and when I do I’ll for sure visit the Valley of the Temples – can’t believe I haven’t been yet!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 17, 2021 / 9:39 am

      Thank you so much! Sounds amazing, glad to see that you have visited Sicily many times, yet found something new on my blog. Hope you can go back soon ❤️

  23. August 16, 2021 / 6:09 pm

    I absolutely love these photos and this guide. Seriously, your photos make me want to visit Sicily ASAP!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:41 pm

      Omg, that is such a sweet comment, thank you so much! Hope you get a chance! 💕

  24. August 16, 2021 / 4:10 pm

    Love this! Your photos are so beautiful. I must visit one day!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:40 pm

      Thank you so much! I really hope you get a chance one day! ❤️

  25. Annelies De Gelas
    August 16, 2021 / 3:13 pm

    As a vegan I will surely skip the horsemeat but I’m looking forward to trying out some vegan pistachio dishes when I’m visiting! 🙂

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:40 pm

      I perfectly understand.. a lot of grilled vegetable options as well, caponata is tasty! And lets not forget granita!

  26. August 16, 2021 / 2:55 pm

    Not sure if it’s Arancina or Arancinos but those look absolutely delicious! Trying new foods in different countries is one of our favorite things!!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:36 pm

      We have something in common! As you see most of the experiences involve food 😁

  27. August 16, 2021 / 2:26 pm

    My husband and I plan to visit Sicily next summer, so your post is very timely. I am intrigued by the retro car experience, the salt mills of Trapani, Ragusa and the Valley of the Temples. Not sure if I would be up for trying horse meat, though. Fantastic post and beautiful pics!!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:35 pm

      Oh that is so nice, I hope it works out for you. And I hope you include some of these experiences in your Itinerary! Thank you so much. ❤️

  28. August 16, 2021 / 2:23 pm

    The salt road in Trapani really caught my eye! I think the markets I Palermo would be a different experience too!

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:34 pm

      Salt mills are very unique and certainly deserves a visit! Hope you get a chance to visit Sicily one day! ❤️

  29. Flavio
    August 16, 2021 / 7:53 am

    This was truly amazing 😍 we had great time and yet it was not enough! Reading this made me want to go back again…and it also made me hungry of course 😄😄

    • lasma.plone
      Author
      August 16, 2021 / 7:34 pm

      Thank you! You are right.. and I say that we should plan another visit. Maybe a short food tour? 😁

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