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The Mediterranean’s largest island, and one of the most intoxicating, Sicily has enticed travellers for centuries. Ancient Greeks and Romans, Saracens and Normans – they’ve all left their mark here. But on a holiday to Sicily, you can expect more than a step back in time…
Every corner of the island has a share of Sicily’s many cultural, historic and natural sights. Palermo, Sicily’s fast-paced capital with its fusion of Arab, Norman and baroque architecture, dominates the north-western corner. Once you’ve explored Palermo’s impressive cathedral and tried some of its renowned street food (arancini are a must), take the bus to the hilltop town of Monreale to see its extraordinary Norman basilica. It’s just as easy to visit the nearby beach at Mondello and, for a longer day trip, take the train to the remarkable coastal town of Cefalù.
Agrigento in the south-west has some of the finest Greek ruins in Europe, and north-eastern Sicily is dominated by Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Just south is Taormina, probably the chicest resort on the island. If you’re visiting Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, don’t miss its boisterous fish market.
Hiring a car? Be sure to hop between some of the most beautiful baroque towns on the island – Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Syracuse – in south-eastern Sicily.
Sicily is generally safe, although watch out for bag thieves and pickpockets in the main cities. If you’ve hired a car, don’t keep valuables inside it. For up-to-date travel advice for Sicily, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
No, travellers with a full British passport do not need a visa to go to Sicily.
If you’re planning a city break, then three nights should be sufficient. If you plan to tour more than one region, or have a two-centre holiday, then six to seven nights would be better.
If you’re visiting a church, make certain your shoulders and knees are covered. Walking around in beachwear in towns is not appreciated, so wear a cover-up or T-shirt.
A hire car is practical if you intend to do any touring in Sicily, as it will give you more freedom. There are bus and train services around the island, and some are very useful for visiting resorts near the main cities. If you’re staying in just one city such as Palermo or Catania, a car will be more trouble than it’s worth.
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