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Ragusa Ilba as seen from above in the Val di Noto, a must-see place during a Sicily road trip itinerary

The Ultimate Sicily Road Trip: An Epic 10 Days in Sicily Itinerary

Italy

Beautiful, mysterious Sicily, with its looming volcano, sparkling azure waters, and hilltop villages, is one of those travel destinations that I have spent most of my life dreaming about. After finally taking a Sicily road trip, I can say confidently that the island was worth the wait… and that we’ll be working our way through another Sicily itinerary before too long.

The largest island in the Mediterranean truly does have it all: whether you’re looking to lounge on a beach, dive headfirst into the cuisine, explore the Roman (or Greek, or Norman, or Arab, or Byzantine) history, or visit famous Mount Etna, a Sicily road trip has something to offer.

Planning your own trip to Sicily and not sure exactly where to go?

We’ve put together this 10 days in Sicily itinerary for first-timers to the island–this is how to make the most of your first Sicily road trip!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm in the Greek Theatre of Taormina Sicily

Why to Take a Sicily Road Trip

Sicily was made for road tripping: with plenty of wide-open spaces, beautiful natural spots, and tiny towns worth visiting, there are few places in Italy more worthy of hitting the open road than Sicily.

Add in a less-than-ideal public transportation system, and a Sicily road trip quickly emerges as the clear best way to explore the island–but you need to be prepared in order to make the most of it.

Mosaics on the ceiling of the Church of Martorana, Things to See in Palermo Sicily

How We Structured This 10 Day Sicily Itinerary

You could easily create a month-long Sicily itinerary and still leave the island with stones unturned–but let’s face it, most people won’t have that long to spend on the island.

Our Sicily road trip itinerary is designed to hit all the best spots on the island for first-timers to visit, allowing you to get a taste of many different parts of Sicily: complicated yet lovely Palermo, beautiful beaches, and hilltop villages are all covered, as well as some of the most popular cities in Sicily.

Next to each location, we’ve noted the minimum number of full days (so, not counting a day you arrive at 4pm, for example) we’d recommend spending in each location. 

This works out to be quick-paced but reasonable 10 day Sicily itinerary–but if you’re lucky enough to have more time to spend in Sicily, you can extend it far longer, both by increasing the number of days spent in each location and adding new destinations (we’ll provide some suggestions for those below as well).

empty beach as seen on a sunny day in avola sicily with sea on the right side of the photo, as seen as part of a sicily road trip

A Note on the Language of the Island

Though Italian is the official language in Sicily, Sicilian dialect–which is related and yet distinctly different, to the point where Italian speakers will have a hard time understanding it–is widely spoken in Sicily.

In the destinations covered on this Sicily road trip itinerary, you won’t run into many people (especially those who work with or near tourists) who don’t comfortably speak Italian–but if you stop off in smaller towns along the way, you’ll start to hear (and even see, on menus and such) more and more dialect.

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As for English, well–like most places in the world, you can get by among those working in the tourism industry by using it, but it’ll be a bit harder here than in most of Italy.

We strongly recommend learning at least some basic Italian phrases before taking your Sicily road trip–the more Italian you speak, the easier your Sicily travels will be.

I don’t speak much Italian, but knowing enough to ask for (and receive) directions, order food in out-of-the-way places, read basic signs, speak with taxi drivers, etc, made our trip a bit simpler.

Kate Storm sitting a table at BamBar in Taormina. There's an orange granita in front of her and yellow tile work behind her. Visiting BamBar is absolutely one of the best things to do in Taormina Sicily!

The Ultimate 10 Day Sicily Road Trip Itinerary

Palermo: 2 Days

The capital of Sicily is known for being a bit of a rundown place–and though in some ways it is, it’s also a beautiful, laid-back, and endlessly engrossing city. 

We spent an entire week in Palermo and still weren’t ready to leave when it was over, but 2 days in Palermo will be enough to give you a taste of the major sights and start your 10 days in Sicily itinerary off on a great foot.

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What to Do in Palermo

Step inside the magnificent Palermo Cathedral.

Dating back to the 12th century and built in a variety of architectural styles, the beautiful and distinctive Palermo Cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in the city.

It’s also home to some very unique touches, like a sundial on the floor marked with zodiac signs and an inscription from the Quran on one of the columns near the entrance–both highly unusual for a Catholic church!

Palermo Cathedral as seen from across the street, a wonderful place to start your 10 days in Sicily itinerary

Take a walking + food tour in order to see some of Palermo’s best highlights, fast.

Taking a Palermo food and walking tour on one of the first days of your Sicily travels is an excellent way to orient yourself both to the city and to the island as a whole.

Explore historical landmarks, markets, and cuisine while also getting a taste of what Palermo is all about with a fabulous food and walking tour.

We took this fun tour during our trip to Palermo and absolutely loved it!

Book your Palermo food + walking tour today!

Outdoor Capo Market food stalls, Best Things to Do in Palermo

Visit the mummies at the Capuchin Crypt of Palermo.

From the 17th to the 19th century in Palermo, increasing numbers of people were mummified in these catacombs–first naturally, and later intentionally, preserving them for all eternity.

The walls of the catacombs are lined with clothed bodies that have their full skeletons intact, staring down at visitors with sometimes disturbingly aware facial features.

No photos are allowed inside, but I can’t impress enough the creepiness of this place–I think it has something to do with the fact that these people are preserved as themselves that adds an extra layer of disturbing to it all, as opposed to places like the catacombs of Paris where the bones are more or less repurposed into artwork using human remains.

If you find catacombs interesting, we highly recommend visiting these during your trip to Sicily–they are, hands down, the most bizarre and fascinating catacombs we have ever seen.

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Palermo Travel Tips

You probably don’t need a car here.

Palermo is one of the two major airport hubs in Sicily (Catania is the other), and if you arrive to the island here, we recommend not picking up your rental car until you’re ready to head to Cefalù–it’ll save you both a bit of cash on your rental bill, and a bit of a headache, as you won’t have to worry about parking it.

3 tuk tuks on the street in Palermo, Sicily

The easiest way to get from the airport to the city center is the train.

It costs 5 Euros, avoids the hassle of a taxi, and is perfectly comfortable!

Stay in an ideal location, and you should be able to walk everywhere in Palermo.

This is the biggest reason not to kick off your Sicily road trip until after to leave Palermo: here, a car is a liability but doesn’t really add much of a benefit.

You can walk between all of Palermo’s best things to do, so opt for that instead!

Pretoria Fountain of Palermo Sicily from above, one of the best places to visit in Sicily itinerary

Where to Stay in Palermo

Budget

Il Lapino — Home to simple rooms (some with shared bathrooms) and located only a 10-minute walk from the Palermo Cathedral, Il Lapino is very well-reviewed and is an excellent place to stay in Palermo for those on a budget.

Check rates & book your stay at Il Lapino!

Mid-range

Ciuri Ciuri B&B — Featuring spacious rooms, included breakfast, and an excellent location, mid-range travelers can’t go wrong with a stay at Ciuri Ciuri B&B while in Palermo!

Check rates & book your stay at Ciuri Ciuri B&B!

Luxury

Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel — Boasting near-perfect reviews, Palazzo Natoli is located in the heart of Palermo, just steps from some of the city’s best highlights. Private balcony views, exceptional customer service, and a delicious daily breakfast are all included here–if you’re looking for the ultimate relaxing stay in Palermo, this is it!

Check rates & book your stay at Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel!

Square in Palermo: Best Things to Do in Palermo Sicily

Cefalù: 2 Days

Of all the places to visit in Sicily, this is the one outlined on this Sicily road trip itinerary that we personally have the most unfinished business with.

We squeezed a quick visit to Cefalù into one day, but this magnificent seaside town captured our hearts and absolutely deserves more time than that–as we strolled the streets of Cefalù, we fantasized about one day returning here for a month!

In other words, don’t rush: you won’t regret taking two of your 10 days in Sicily to enjoy this beautiful place.

Jeremy Storm sitting on a wall overlooking Cefalu beach, a fabulous stop during a Sicily road trip itinerary

What to Do in Cefalù

Climb to the top of La Rocca.

Climbing high over Cefalù to La Rocca takes less than an hour but rewards you with stupendous views over Cefalù and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as providing some interesting stops along the way (namely, the ruins of the Temple of Diana).

Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and ideally, complete this climb in the morning or early evening–the midday sun is brutal up here!

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Check out the Cefalù Cathedral.

Not many villages as small as Cefalù have cathedrals as impressive–dating back even further than Palermo’s Cathedral, the Cefalù Duomo is absolutely worth visiting during your Sicily road trip, and if the views at La Rocca weren’t enough for you, you can even climb to the top!

Cefalu Cathedral with a vespa parked in front of it, one of the best things to see on a Sicily road trip itinerary

Enjoy being a beach bum.

One of the best things to do in Cefalù is simply to enjoy its beach that is conveniently located right outside of the old town, where you’re never far from gelato or a granita.

Pull up a stretch of sand, dip your toes in the water, and enjoy the beauty of Cefalù without stress.

Cefalu Beach in Sicily Italy, with towels for sale on the right and the sea visible on the left, one of the best places to visit in Sicily travel

Cefalù Travel Tips

Savor getting lost here.

The small streets and occasional unexpected sea views give Cefalù a delightful charm that completely captivated us during our Sicily travels–this small village is worth wandering aimlessly, and due to its small size, it’s impossible to get too lost along the way.

Small street of Cefalu Sicily with cars parked alongside it

Where to Stay in Cefalù

Budget

Sweet Home Cefalù — Located practically next door to Cefalù’s beach and complete with both a balcony and a small kitchen, Sweet Home Cefalù gets rave reviews and is the perfect option for budget travelers in Cefalù.

Check rates & book your stay at Sweet Home Cefalù!

Mid-range

Marina House — What’s better than a well-reviewed apartment in the heart of Cefalù? One that’s located right on the water and includes a balcony overlooking the sea!

Check rates & book your stay at Marina House!

Luxury

Casa Barone Agnello — Housed in an antique home in the center of Cefalù, this impeccably decorated and well-reviewed apartment is perfect for travelers looking for a bit of old-world charm during their trip to Cefalù.

Check rates & book your stay at Casa Barone Agnello!

Restaurant with outdoor tables shaded by awnings outdoors in Piazza Duomo in Cefalu, as seen on a Sicily road trip

Taormina: 2 Days

Taormina is probably the most touristic place on this Sicily itinerary, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth adding to your Sicily travels.

Boasting phenomenal views of both Mount Etna and the sparkling Ionian Sea, great swimming nearby, and an incredible Greek theatre, Taormina is hard not to love.

View of Taormina as seen from grounds of the Greek theatre. You can see the bottom of Mount Etna, the peak is covered by clouds.

What to Do in Taormina

Visit the Greek Theatre.

Of all the Greek theatres we have visited in world–including ones in Greece itself–this one is by far the prettiest we have ever seen, and a visit here absolutely belongs on your 10 day Sicily itinerary.

On a perfectly clear day, you’ll see an epic view of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea behind the theatre–but even on a slightly cloudy day like when we visited (at least over Mount Etna, that is), the views are still pretty phenomenal.

Kate and Jeremy standing in Greek Theatre in Taormina--visiting this place is easily one of the best things to do in Taormina! Kate and Jeremy are facing each other, Kate is wearing a floral maxi dress.

Take a day trip to Mount Etna.

Want to add a little thrill to your list of things to do in Taormina? Book a day trip to the crater of an active volcano!

On a clear day, the views of Mount Etna from Taormina are fantastic–but there’s still nothing like standing on an active volcano with your own two feet.

Whether you want to book a morning hikea scenic tour, or a full day trip that also includes a visit to the beautiful Alcantara Canyons, you’re bound to find a visit to Mount Etna that appears to your travel style.

Book your day trip to Mount Etna today!

Morning Hike | Scenic Tour | Full Day Trip

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Go for a swim at Isola Bella.

Home to what are widely considered to be the best beaches in Taormina, summer visitors should definitely add a visit to Isola Bella to their Sicily road trip itinerary!

Though you can easily reach the island yourself from Taormina via the cable car, a cruise along the coast paired with visits to the island’s best swimming spots is an excellent day to spend a hot day in Taormina!

Book your boat cruise around Isola Bella today!

Photo of the Ionian Sea as seen from Taormina. There are cacti in the foreground of the photo.

Taormina Travel Tips

Not everything is within walking distance.

In order to visit some of Taormina’s most popular sights like Isola Bella, and its beaches in general, you’ll need to head down to the seaside via cable car.

Check the weather carefully.

If you’re in town for a couple of days and one day looks clearer than the other, use the clearer day to visit Mount Etna (or if you don’t want to head all the way to Mount Etna, admire views of it from the Greek Theatre).

Kate Storm in a floral dress sitting on a garden wall overlooking the sea in Taormina Sicily

Where to Stay in Taormina

Budget

Hostel Taormina — Boasting great reviews and a perfect location in Taormina’s Old Town, Hostel Taormina is the perfect place for budget travelers looking to keep costs down in what is arguably Sicily’s most expensive city.

Both private rooms and dorms are available, and a shared kitchen is located in the hostel.

The only downside? No parking options–so keep that in mind if you choose to book a stay here!

Check rates & book your stay at Hostel Taormina!

Photo of Piazza IX Aprile in Taormina Sicily

Mid-range

Hotel Natalina — We had a great time at this little hotel!

The location is a short walk from Taormina’s Old Town, the included breakfast quite large by Italian standards, and the customer service excellent. The staff helped us park our rental car for free nearby, which we greatly appreciated!

The rooms are large, but a bit dated–this certainly isn’t a luxury hotel, but it’s definitely a cozy enough place to stay while visiting Taormina, and we’d be happy to stay again.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Natalina!

Luxury

Hotel Continental — Want to admire the sea views that Taormina is famous for from the comfort of your hotel, while also staying in the lap of luxury?

If so, the Hotel Continental is for you!

Known for its superb location in the heart of Taormina, its views, and its wonderful included breakfast, luxury travelers can’t go wrong with a stay here.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Continental!

Photo of a street in Taormina Sicily with cars parked on either side. There's a church visible toward the back of the photo.

Syracuse: 2 Days

Packed with ancient ruins, beautiful churches, and a maze of quiet streets, Syracuse (or Siracusa) is second only to Taormina in tourism popularity for Sicily vacations.

For your 2 days in Syracuse, we recommend focusing primarily on the island of Ortigia (or Ortygia), which is a small island right off the coast of Sicily (and I do mean right off the coast–no ferry necessary) that is essentially Syracuse’s lovely old town.

Parade in Syracuse Sicily with a drummer in the foreground looking away from the camera

What to Do in Syracuse

Check out Castello Maniace.

Located on the far edge of Ortigia, this citadel-slash-castle dates to the 13th century (an earlier castle on the site dated to the 11th) and boasts beautiful views over the Ionian Sea.

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Stroll through the small streets of Ortigia.

Ortigia is a charming place, and we found that we loved it most when wandering the streets in search of coffee bars, churches (we stumbled across one with a festival going on inside!), and the island’s many ruins.

Be sure to make your way to the Piazza Duomo and the Fountain of Arethusa during your wandering!

small street in Syracuse Sicily with flags outside the shop windows

Marvel at the Temple of Apollo.

Of all the ancient ruins in Syracuse, the Temple of Apollo is considered the most important.

Dating to the 6th century BCE, the temple has served a whole host of functions over the centuries, including acting as a temple to both Apollo and Artemis, as a church (more than once), and as a mosque.

Syracuse Travel Tips

Stay in Ortigia if you can.

This is essentially the old town of Syracuse and is set on an island nearby the main part of the modern city.

It’s beautiful, easy to get lost in, and delightfully fun to explore on foot, making it the perfect place to stay in Syracuse. 

The only catch is what to do with your car, which leads me to…

Church on the island of Ortigia in Syracuse Sicily, as seen on a Sicily road trip

Choose where you park in advance.

Parking is severely restricted on the island of Ortigia, and on our Sicily road trip we ended up driving in circles for a bit trying to find the right place to leave our car.

Learn from our mistakes and plan carefully beforehand!

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Consider visiting the Greek Theatre on your way into or out of Syracuse.

Syracuse’s Greek Theatre is one of its most popular attractions, however, it’s completely across town from Ortigia.

It’s the perfect place to stop for a quick sightseeing break as you arrive in or leave the city, though.

Empty road in Sicily with green fields on either side

Where to Stay in Syracuse

Budget

Room Calafatari — Ortigia is peppered with dozens of small, simple apartments that are used as budget rentals, and Room Calafatari is both a great option and the perfect example of what to expect in Ortigia in a budget price range: no frills but a great location.

Check rates & book your stay at Room Calafatari!

Mid-range

Hotel Posta — With a fabulous location overlooking a port and within a short walk of many of Syracuse’s top attractions, Hotel Posta is a prime choice for mid-range travelers on their Sicily road trip.

Personally, we’d be tempted to upgrade to a room with a balcony–those views are just too good to pass up.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Posta!

Luxury

Hotel Livingston — With excellent reviews, and included breakfast, and a prime location on the edge of Ortigia (most rooms include a sea view!), luxury travelers (or just those looking for a splurge) can’t go wrong with a stay at 4-star Hotel Livingston during their 10 day Sicily itinerary!

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Livingston!

Pastry and cappuccino breakfast in Syracuse Sicily shot from above

Val di Noto: 2 Days

Sicily’s Val di Noto is littered with stunning Baroque towns, rolling hills, lovely wine country, and some of the best chocolate in the world–in other words, it’s definitely a place that belongs on your 10 days in Sicily itinerary.

What to Do in the Val di Noto

Hop between the beautiful Baroque towns.

Eight of the towns in the Val di Noto are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their incredible Baroque architecture: Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Scicli, Palazzo Acreide, Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, and finally, Catania itself.

Obviously, that is a bit much to cover with just 2 days of your trip to Sicily.

We recommend prioritizing Ragusa, Noto, Modica, and if you have time, Scicli.

Church in Ragusa Sicily set on a steep hill as seen during a Sicily travel itinerary

Admire views of Ragusa Ilba.

Beautiful Ragusa is divided into two sections: Ragusa Superiore (the upper town) and Ragusa Ilba (the lower town).

The views of Ragusa Ilba looking down from Ragusa Superiore may just be some of the best views in this entire Sicily itinerary, which is really saying something!

Kate Storm in a blue skirt overlooking Ragusa Ilba from Ragusa Superiore, one of the best views on this 10 days in Sicily itinerary

Snack on chocolate in Modica.

The beautiful town of Modica is world-famous for its chocolate, which boasts a recipe that originally hails from none other than the Aztecs.

The chocolate is created with “cold processing”, giving it a characteristic grainy texture, inconsistent color, and delicious taste.

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Val di Noto Travel Tips

Choose where to stay carefully.

Think about your travel style when you choose where to stay in the Val di Noto: do you want to be the heart of the action? Do you want to be able to do plenty of sightseeing without driving? Would you prefer a countryside stay so that you can easily come and go without worrying about parking or driving through a town to do so?

Personally, we chose to stay in Ragusa for its relative popularity and central location and were very happy with the choice.

Prosciutto and cheese platter with bread as seen from above--be sure to eat plenty of delicious food like this during your 10 days in Sicily!

Don’t try to see more than 1-2 towns a day.

The Baroque towns of the Val di Noto may look very close together on a map, but add in small, winding roads, the hassles of finding a place to park and making your way (often uphill) to the picturesque town centers, and the delights of savoring each spot, and it’s definitely best to limit your movements when possible.

We recommend sticking to seeing 1-2 towns per day in this section of your Sicily road trip itinerary.

Steep staircase in Ragusa with a church tower on the right and Ragusa Ilba visible in the distance

Where to Stay in Val di Noto

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve outlined a few well-reviewed places to stay in Ragusa here, but staying somewhere like Modica or Noto will also easily work with this 10 day Sicily itinerary!

Budget

SanVito Hostel — With excellent reviews, a prime location in Ragusa near Piazza San Giovanni, an included breakfast, and a gorgeous terrace offering panoramic views of the Val di Noto, SanVito Hostel is a phenomenal option for budget travelers during their Sicily road trip.

Check rates & book your stay at SanVito Hostel!

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Mid-range

Hotel Il Barocco — Cozy and comfortable, this small hotel is located in a 19th-century building in central Ragusa, making it the perfect launching pad for your sightseeing. With excellent reviews and a fabulous included breakfast, Hotel Il Barocco is a reliable choice in Ragusa for your Sicily vacation.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Il Barocco!

Luxury

San Giorgio Palace — Located in the heart of Ragusa Ilba, popular San Giorgio Palace boasts very spacious rooms, as well as modern decor and amenities (including a very well-reviewed included breakfast) in a picture-perfect setting, with some rooms that overlook the valley.

Check rates & book your stay at San Giorgio Palace!

Plate of pasta in Sicily Italy as seen from above

Other Places to Visit on Your Sicily Road Trip

If you’re lucky enough to have more than 10 days in Sicily–or you just prefer an even more fast-paced Sicily road trip–there are plenty more incredible places to visit in Sicily to add to your list!

Here are a few more beautiful places to see in Sicily that you might want to add to your itinerary.

View of Sicily with the Meditteranean Sea in the foreground, taken from a plane window
Excuse the blurriness, but even the plane views when flying away left us dreaming of going back to travel Sicily more soon.

Agrigento

The ancient Valley of the Temples outside of Agrigento is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Sicily.

Once a thriving Ancient Greek city, these ruins are remarkably well-preserved and far less crowded than many better-known Greek ruins throughout Europe.

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Mondello

Located just outside of Palermo, Mondello is best known today for its long stretch of beach, which is one of the most popular places for beach days for both tourists and locals who are staying in Palermo.

Avola

This laid-back beach town is perfect for kicking back and enjoying long stretches of sandy beach–in fact, if you want a little more swimming to be included on your Sicily vacation beyond what’s outlined in this 10 day Sicily itinerary, you can even add a quick stop in Avola during your drive from Syracuse to the Baroque towns of the Val di Noto.

Long stretch of empty beach in Avola Sicily with the clear sea visible on the left, an excellent stop on any Sicily road trip itinerary

Aeolian Islands

Also sometimes called the Lipari Islands, this stunning volcanic island chain is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts some of the most magnificent sea views in all of Sicily (which is, as you can imagine, very high praise).

Catania

Located in the shadow of Mount Etna, Catania is Sicily’s second-largest city and second airport hub–you’ll likely fly into and out of either Palermo or Catania (in fact, for this Sicily road trip itinerary it’s easiest to fly into Palermo and out of Catania if you can swing it).

Though Catania is far from Sicily’s most popular tourist attraction, it’s definitely worth a bit of exploring if you happen to be passing through!

Sicily Road Trip Itinerary Map

What to Know About Driving in Sicily

Driving in Sicily truly deserves its own post, but here are some essential tips to know before embarking on your Sicily road trip!

Shop around for your rental car.

There are dozens of rental car companies operating in Sicily, all with their own prices and rental agreements. We recommend shopping through Discover Cars in order to search through multiple companies at once.

Not only will you be able to compare prices easily, but you’ll also be able to compare rental inclusions (like insurance, kilometers allotted, etc.), which we found varied dramatically among different rental car companies in Sicily!

Price Sicily rental cars with Discover Cars today!

Jeremy Storm leaning against a small black Sicily rental car looking out over an empty road in Sicily

The driving honestly isn’t as bad as it is portrayed… but it’s not easy.

There’s no way around it: driving in Sicily has a pretty terrible reputation.

However, ultimately, we walked away feeling that driving in Sicily was easier than expected–but we fully admit this impression is likely partially because of how nervous we were about doing it.

The major roads in Sicily are perfectly well maintained–smaller roads, not so much, so beware of potholes. City driving is the trickiest while traveling between cities on major highways is fairly simple.

Drivers can be a bit aggressive, yes, but we wouldn’t say they were drastically more aggressive than in, say, Tuscany.

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As much as Sicily has a reputation for being its own world, particularly when it comes to driving, driving in Sicily felt pretty much like driving anywhere else in Italy (which is, admittedly, a harder place to drive than some).

Bear in mind that we are coming at this from the perspective of people who drove daily for nearly a decade and have road-tripped through many countries, including Italy, before. You do need to be a confident, well-practiced driver to comfortably drive in Sicily.

Taking a Sicily road trip if driving makes you anxious, you’re out of practice, you don’t like to drive, or you’ve never driven outside your home country is likely not the best idea.

Also–this is not the place to learn to drive a manual. Unless you are very confident with one, we recommend paying extra for an automatic transmission.

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… But be sure you have insurance (preferably with no deductible/excess).

We didn’t incur any damage to our rental car in Sicily… but when we dropped it off, both rentals parked on either side of us had huge dents in them!

Due to the aggressive driving, small roads, and distances covered on this Sicily road trip, we’d recommend purchasing insurance with no deductible/excess for the time it takes you to work through this 10 day Sicily itinerary–it’s simply one less thing to worry about on the road.

Winding roads in Sicily with Ragusa Ilba visible in the background, a must-see during 10 days in Sicily

Rent the smallest car you can manage.

Tiny roads. Cramped historic centers. Parking lots where cars are parked a mere inch apart (and the lines denoting where the parking places should be seen as mere suggestions at best–people park over them regularly).

Truly, renting a big car in Sicily is a liability, not a benefit. 

We recommend renting the tiniest car you can squeeze your group + luggage into. If the rental desk suggests an upgrade? Turn it down.

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Carry lots of coins.

You will pay tolls when driving in Sicily, especially in northern half of the island, so come prepared with a cupholder full of Euros.

Coast of Sicily near Avola with the sea visible on the right side of the photo, as seen on a Sicily road trip

Don’t underestimate the time it takes to drive between destinations.

There were days that we pulled into our hotel’s parking space exactly when Google Maps said that we would–and days (like the day we had to catch a flight) that we ended up way behind schedule due to road work and an unfortunate accident that we got stuck behind.

Definitely leave yourself plenty of extra time on days that you have somewhere to be at a specific time!

Quiet street in Francavilla Sicily on a rainy day with cars parked along the edge

The Best Time to Visit Sicily

July and August are peak tourism season in Sicily, and while the beaches will be warm and the sun shining, it’s best to avoid taking your Sicily road trip during those months if you hope to avoid peak crowds and prices.

Luckily, Sicily is characterized by its brilliant weather that allows for swimming over nearly half the year! 

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Personally, we’d recommend aiming for a September or early October trip to Sicily if you hope to swim your heart out, and a late April or May trip if you want to avoid the worst of the heat and crowds while still thawing out after a long winter.

Over the winter, lots of small, tourist-focused businesses close and the island, especially in smaller towns, quiets down significantly–but if a slow-paced, off-season 10 days in Sicily itinerary sounds right up your alley, you’ll certainly find plenty of peaceful spots to savor.

View of a beach along the Ionian Sea as seen by peaking through a gate at Villa Comunale, one of the best places to visit in Taormina Sicily!

What to Pack for Sicily

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and a fast-paced Sicily road trip is definitely better a case of safe than sorry. We use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Italy.

Cell Phone Holder — This is especially important if you don’t have a reliable co-pilot: the last thing you want to do is be fumbling with the GPS on your phone during your Sicily road trip. Pack a cell phone holder to attach to the car and you’ll be able to drive much more safely!

Additional Car Insurance — Whether you purchase a policy with World Nomads that covers car rental (only some of theirs do, so double-check!), purchase a policy through the rental car company, or something else, be sure you have coverage: in Sicily, it’s worth the peace of mine.

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International Driving Permit — If you’re coming from outside the EU and plan to rent a car in Sicily, you’ll need to make sure to acquire an International Driving Permit in your home country, before coming to Italy. It is required for all car rentals in Italy, and while the rental company may not ask, it’s not worth the risk of being refused a car once you arrive or getting a fine if you’re pulled over to be without one. 

Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough: this travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft in Sicily, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).

Selfie of Kate and Jeremy in Taormina Sicily. You can see the sea in the background.

Travel Adaptors for Sicily — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors for your electronics.

Comfortable Day Bag — We currently use Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this trip, that’s totally understandable. Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a Northface Jester backpack for years and loved it as well.

Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal, but can’t commit to a huge amount of writing each night, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough–I’ve been using it for almost 3 years now and adore it!

Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use one, but if you’re more comfortable having your passports on your person in Sicily, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints. These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.


4 photos of Sicily. From top left: Cefalu Cathedral, Taormina from above, Ragusa from above, beach near Avola. Black and red text on a white background reads "the ultimate 10 day sicily itinerary"

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Kate has been traveling the world full-time for more than 3 years. She tries to keep a balance between going on new adventures and exploring favorite destinations (like Italy!) in depth, and is always on the lookout for the next beautiful overlook and delicious meal.

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