With 9 provinces and a ton of attractions sprawled all across the island, the Meditteranean Island of Sicily is a wonderful place to explore. It has plenty of culture, great food and some of Europe’s best beaches. This guide runs you through 18 different options where to stay in Sicily and who the area is best suited to!
When looking at the map, the Southern Italian island of Sicily might seem tiny. Everything is relative, of course, however, driving from Trapani in the far West to Marzamemi in the East will take a good 4.5 hours. Therefore picking the best area to stay in Sicily could save you many hours in the car as well as the stress that comes with driving in Sicily.
This guide was put together after many, many visits to Sicily with my Sicilian partner. It runs through the various areas, what they have to offer and why you do (and in some cases do not) want to stay there.
There are many unique accommodations in Sicily, and they will not necessarily break the bank. The various types of hotels have been woven into the guide to ensure you not only find the best area but also the very best accommodation to enjoy the beautiful island. As with all my accommodation guides, hotels are mostly sustainable and locally run.
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Quick overview of where to stay in Sicily
Short on time yet still looking for the best area to stay in Sicily? Have a quick look at the below table for all the info you might need.
Tip: Click on the area to jump directly to the relevant section in this article pertaining to your area of choice.
|AREA||BEST FOR||RECOMMENDED HOTEL|
|PALERMO||First-time visitors||Cathedral View Appartments|
|CEFALU||Fisherman village||Palazzo Maria|
|ERICE||Authenticity||Il Carmine Dimora Storica|
|SCOPELLO||Lesser-known||La tonnara di Scopello hotel|
|SAN VITO LO CAPO||Best beaches||Artemide Hotel|
|MARSALA||Kitesurfers||Sunrise B&B Stagnone|
|MESSINA||Arriving from mainland Italy||Three Rooms|
|CATANIA||Climbing Mount Etna||B&B Grand Tour Catania|
|TAORMINA||Hub for day trips||B&B Villa Britannia|
|GIARDINI NAXOS||Families||Invito al viaggio|
|ORTIGIA||Baroque lovers||B&B Porta Marina Ortigia|
|NOTO||LGBTQ+||Gagliardi Boutique Hotel|
|AGRIGENTO||History lovers||Hotel Villa Athena|
|AEGADIAN ISLANDS||Rest & relaxation||Favignana & Marettimo|
|FAVIGNANA||Family-friendly beaches||Nido Del Pellegrino|
|MARETTIMO||Slow travelers||Casa Marettimo|
|AEOLIAN ISLANDS||Local’s favorite||Panarea & Vulcano|
|PANAREA||Luxury & tranquility||Da Francesco|
|VULCANO||Families & Vulcano lovers||Rojas Bahja|
|LAMPEDUSA||Quiet retreat||I Dammusi di Borgo Cala Creta|
18 Best Areas to Stay In Sicily
Time to delve into the best part of Sicily to stay. The answer will prove to be a little different for every traveler. The baroque lover will stick to eastern Sicily with villages such as Noto and Ortigia, the best Etna views are to be found in Catania, Taormina, and Giardini Naxos.
Or perhaps you are looking for a more quiet area to spend your time visiting Sicily? The traditional fishing villages on the Aeolian and Egadi islands are perfect to slow down, read a book and people watch.
MORE INFO ABOUT SICILY: Read up on the most charming villages in Sicily, the strangest Palermitan street food, and traditional Sicilian recipes to try.
Palermo- Best accommodations in Sicily for first-time visitors
Perched on Sicily’s northwestern coast, Palermo offers the perfect base for first-time visitors. Boasting glorious Baroque architecture, sprawling museums, and a very vibrant nightlife scene, there’s plenty to love about the island’s capital. Palermo continuously proves to be one of the best destinations in Sicily for newbies.
It may not be as picturesque as other places to stay in Sicily, but Palermo’s range of attractions and impressive walkability makes it easy to explore. Combine UNESCO world heritage sites like the Norman Palace with obscure little churches with surprising rooftop terraces with world-class streetfood and you have yourself the perfect gateway into Sicily.
Depending on your needs, you can stay in the Centro Storico, Politeama, or Mondello districts. Centro Storico is ideal for culture-seekers as it houses the main attractions. If you’re only in Palermo for a couple of days, staying in Politeama may be more beneficial as it’s connected to the airport and has an exciting night scene. Finally, beach lovers will adore the Mondello district; located right on the beachfront, it’s perfect for families with children.
Where to stay in Palermo
CENTRALLY LOCATED YET PEACEFUL: B&B Dimora Tomasi
Dimora Tomasi is located in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Palermo, at the heart of the city in possibly the most beautiful Palazzo in the whole city. Palazzo Cammarata is a favorite of both locals and tourists. A truly special location for a top-rated B&B.
SUSTAINABLE WITH AN AWESOME VIEW: La Terrazza sul Centro
This B&B is located 50 meters from the Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio in the Historical Center. Breakfast is served on a large terrace overlooking the magnificent church. Rooms are very spacious and tastefully decorated with a mixture of modern and traditional Sicilian design elements.
RECOMMENDED: Cathedral View Appartments
The accommodation with the absolute best view in all of Palermo. Set in the Historical Center of Palermo, right opposite the stunning Cathedral in a historical 17th-century palazzo. Guests rate the apartment as spacious, light and a state their stay was a truly unique experience.
Cefalu – An idyllic fisherman village in Sicily
Cefalu is an idyllic fishing village in Sicily, and it’s ideal for travelers who want a more laid-back vacation. Located just an hour’s drive from Palermo, Cefalu offers tourists sandy beaches, narrow cobbled streets, and incredible views of La Rocca Mountain. So, if you’re wondering where to stay in Sicily this year, why not take a chance on this popular spot?
This town has an impressive history, and you should take time to explore the winding medieval streets and iconic Norman Cathedral. For panoramic views of the beaches and harbor, climb up to La Rocca where you’ll find the Temple of Diana. You won’t find much nightlife here, but several restaurants serve up fresh seafood and cocktails late into the night that should fill that void.
Accommodation prices in Cefalu are slightly steeper than in Palermo, and most lodgings are located at the base of La Rocca. You may find menial discounts if you head slightly outside of the main town, but they’re not significant enough to justify the added travel time.
Depending on your budget, you’ll be able to choose between quaint B&Bs, hotels, and luxury seafront suites. If you’re worried about safety, it’s worth noting that this area is incredibly safe. This makes Cefalu one of the best areas to stay in Sicily for solo travelers.
Where to stay in Cefalu
SUSTAINABLE GUESTHOUSE: Alberi del Paradiso
Alberi del Paradiso is housed in a historical manor surrounded by lush gardens and a swimming pool. On-site you will find a gym & a wellness area that provides massages upon request. The views overlooking the bay of Cefalu are spectacular!
LUXURY ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Kalura
The top rated 4-star Hotel Kalura has a private beach and never-ending views over the Caldura Bay and Rocca of Cefalù. The on-site restaurant serves Sicilian regional specialties and is stocked with over 100 Sicilian wines. Located 2 kilometers from the center of Cefalu with free parking on site.
RECOMMENDED: Palazzo Maria
Palazzo Maria is located in the very heart of Cefalu overlooking the Duomo (Cathedral). A mere 5-minute walk will bring you right to the best sandy beach of Cefalu. Guests absolutely love the view from the terrace, the exceptional location and the cleanliness of the appartment.
Erice – Best town to stay in Sicily for authenticity
Are you looking for accommodation in Sicily, Italy where you can wander narrow little streets and do some great people watching? If so, consider the search over with Erice.
The medieval buildings here are almost perfectly preserved and offer unbeatable views over Trapani (and plenty of fairytale photo opportunities!). While you’re here, you should also visit the Pasticceria Grammatico. It may look like a simple café, but it serves up the most delectable desserts in Sicily. The Bocconcini and Genovesi are popular choices but ordering anything containing almonds is a safe bet!
Before leaving, spend time at the Castello di Venere; offering both historical context (it’s one of the area’s oldest medieval structures) and panoramic views, visiting this spot is a no-brainer! You can easily get to this town from Trapani by car, and the mountainside roads will give you a taste of the area’s natural beauty. Alternatively, hop over on the Erice Cable Car for a more sustainable trip. There is a selection of authentic hotels in the medieval town center, and several B&Bs that will happily host you.
Where to stay in Erice
VALUE FOR MONEY: Bella Vista B&B
A rustic B&B located in Historical Erice boasting some of the best views out of any accommodation in Erice. Guests are in particular fans of the location, the very warm welcome they received upon arrival and the very comfortable beds.
TOP RATED STAY: Residence San Martino- Rooms & Suite Apartments
With an average score of 9.2 and over 500 reviews, the Residence San Martino is an absolute favorite amongst travelers. Guests love the historical character of the building, the location within Historical Erice and the welcoming decor.
RECOMMENDED: Il Carmine Dimora Storica
Set within the walls of Historical Erice, 200 meters from Erice Cathedral, Il Carmine is housed in a former monastery of the Carmelite order of monks. Bedrooms come with a beautiful balcony and are tastefully decorated in keeping with the historical nature of the building.
Scopello – A truly unique place to lodge in Sicily
If you’re looking for unique places to stay in Sicily, then you can’t beat Scopello. This lesser-known area is regarded for its pristine beaches, secluded coves, and dramatic cliffsides. Established in the 13th century, this tranquil hamlet even caught the eye of Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh in 2004! This may have raised Scopello’s profile slightly, but the area remains one of the quietest lodgings in Sicily.
Located within the Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve, visitors should expect excellent walking trails in Scopello. If you have time, it’s worth dedicating an entire day to trekking across the village and admiring the area’s rock formations. You should also allocate an afternoon to exploring the impressive ‘tonnara’ (tuna fishery) before diving into the azure waters for snorkeling or swimming.
As Scopello is small, there are fewer accommodation options available to tourists than in larger cities. However, there are several hotels, B&Bs, and private residences that will see you sleeping soundly!
Where to stay in Scopello
BEST VIEWS: Torre di Scopello
The Torre di Scopello is set right next to the Tonnara di Scopello (see below). While the Tonnara is right by the water, the Torre di Scopello has the undisputed best views over the bay as it sits perched atop the iconic rock. Located 2 kilometers from the Zingaro Natural Reserve and 15-minute walk from the beach.
UNIQUE LOCATION: Torre Bennistra
The little village of Scopello has very few authentic accommodations in the heart of the village. Most of the accommodations are resort-style, located on the outskirts of town. The Torre Bennistra is a modest 3-star accommodation with slightly dated interior which is totally made up for by the spectacular views over the bay and the Torre di Scopello.
RECOMMENDED: Tonnara di Scopello
The historical Tonnara di Scopello is a truly unique place to stay. It was built by the Florio family – the most important Sicilian family of the last few centuries – and thus has both a sentimental and historical character. The rooms have seaside views over some of the most pristine waters in all of Sicily. Well worth a little splurge!
San Vito Lo Capo – Best part of Sicily to stay for beaches
San Vito Lo Capo is the best part of Sicily to stay for beaches, vineyards, and spectacular views of the Zingaro Natural Reserve. Offering urbanites a wonderful escape from city pressures, you can sunbathe and down cocktails on the untouched Baia Santa Margherita without a care in the world!
While you’re here, be sure to visit the Sanctuary Fortress and Moorish-style Chapel of Saint Crescenzia. For a slice of paradise, check out Bue Marino Beach and its incredible cove; littered with pebbles and boasting crystal-clear waters, it’s considered one of the most beautiful attractions in Sicily.
Accommodation options in San Vito Lo Capo are relatively basic, but prices are high. You’ll find a smattering of 2-star and 3-star hotels that are typically booked out in advance, but you may find a hidden gem if you explore private rental options like Airbnb. Try and stick to the heart of San Vito if you can, as this area offers easy access to the dazzling beaches.
Just as a heads up – this is one of the best resorts in Sicily for environmentally friendly tourism. You’ll be able to get around on foot without much issue and shouldn’t need to hire a car unless you’re taking a day trip to surrounding areas.
Where to stay in San Vito Lo Capo
BEACHFRONT ACCOMMODATION: Albergo Auralba
The Albergo Auralba is located a mere 300 meters from the beach in San Vito Lo Capo. Make use of the free on-site bikes to explore the area. Certain rooms have views over the Tyrrhenian Sea, be sure to request in advance when booking. On-site parking is available.
TOP RATED: B&B Selena
B&B Selena is the top-rated beachfront B&B in San Vito Lo Capo, located 100 meters from the San Vito Lo Capo sandy beach. Guest particularly like the great breakfast, the impeccable location and the on-site parking. This property is rated as very family-friendly.
RECOMMENDED: Artemide Hotel
The beautiful Artemide Hotel is located a mere 5-minute walk from both the center of town and the beach. The views from the terrace are absolutely jaw-dropping. Very family-friendly hotel at an affordable price range (for this specific area of Sicily which tends to be pricy).
Marsala – Great accommodation in Sicily for kitesurfers
If you’re wondering where to stay in Sicily as a fan of kitesurfing and winetasting, Marsala is one of the best options around. Located on the west coast of the island, Marsala balances beachside fun with old-world charm for a unique vacation. Just 12.5 miles from Trapani airport, you can quickly reach this beautiful city after disembarking your flight.
Start your adventure in Marsala by kitesurfing on the beach. Believe it or not, this area experiences over 300 windy days and is blessed with flat water. This makes Marsala a kitesurfing panacea for beginners and seasoned pros.
The main windsurfing area is known as Lo Stagnone, and there are several launching areas around here that are favored by locals. Established surfers should head to Salina Wall at Isola Grande for steady winds and optimal depths, while beginners will appreciate the ethereal waters at San Theodoro.
If the wind isn’t on your side, stroll through the gorgeous central Piazza della Repubblica and visit the Parco Archaeologico Lilibeo and Museo Archaeologico Baglio Anselmi for an incredible display of centuries-old artifacts. You should also set aside time to sip a glass of fortified Marsala wine while watching the sunset.
Marsala is considered one of the best places to go in Sicily for water-based activities, so expect to find several waterfront hotels. There is also a selection of guest houses and self-catered accommodations available for families wanting to save money on eating out.
Where to stay in Marsala
DOWNTOWN MARSALA: Slo Design House
The Slo Design Guesthouse is located in the center of Marsala. The property has an on-site restaurant and a spectacular rooftop terrace, the perfect spot for a true Italian aperitivo before dinner. Guests love the free secure parking & the location.
AGRITURISMO FOR WINE LOVERS: Agriturismo Baglio Donnafranca Wine
Spend a few nights in a functioning vineyard producing Marsala Wine. The top-rated Agriturismo Baglia Donnafranca is surrounded by vineyards, has an on-site wine cellar and offers their guests tastings of locally produced Sicilian wines. When not out tasting wine, take a complimentary bike and go out to explore the property and surrounding area.
RECOMMENDED: Sunrise B&B Stagnone
Located right opposite a rocky beach, and very close to the Kitesurfers’ paradise of the Stagnone Nature Reserve. The B&B has the very best sunset views and is within walking distance from the Marsala Salt Pans. Free on-site parking is available.
Messina – Great if you are coming in from mainland Italy
If you simply need somewhere to rest your head after arriving by ferry from mainland Italy, Messina is one of the best options around. Not only is this bustling port a convenient pitstop on the way to Sicily’s larger cities, but it’s a hidden gem in its own right! Home to enduring Renaissance monuments, scenic vistas, and fascinating museums, you should resist the temptation to bypass Messina on your grand Sicilian adventure.
Although you may have spotted it on your way into Messina, you should take time to explore the Fort of San Salvatore. Constructed in 1681, it’s one of the most historical parts of the city. You can then continue your historical journey with a visit to Camposanto. It may be a cemetery, but it boasts impressive Neoclassical and Baroque sculptures that you won’t find elsewhere.
Don’t leave Messina without visiting the iconic Fontana di Orion (Orion Fountain). Proudly perched in Piazza del Duomo, it’s one of the most impressive monuments in the city.
As several tourists pass through Messina, there’s no shortage of accommodation options here. Most of the 5-star hotels feature rooftop terraces and private balconies, providing excellent views of the port. For easy access to attractions, it’s wise to stay in the city center.
This will have you within walking distance of the Basilica Santuario and the Piazza Antonello. If you’re arriving by train, there are a few mid-range hotels dotted around the railway station that you can settle into.
Where to stay in Messina
BEACHFRONT LOCATION: Town House Messina Paradiso
Located on the outskirts of Messina, the B&B Town House Messina Paradiso is a liberty-style villa right at the beach. Rooms are a little rustic but the uninterrupted sea-view rooms more than make up the decor. Free on-site parking is available
LUXURY B&B: Re Vittorio De Luxe
The Re Vittorio De Luxe is located 500 meters from the Duomo of Messina. It hosts an on-site bar, 24 hour reception and an airport shuttle. Guests particularly like the professional service, the great breakfast and the very modern design of the hotel.
RECOMMENDED: Three Rooms Guesthouse
The top-rated guesthouse in Messina. Three Rooms Guesthouse is centrally located a short 10 minute walk from the Duomo. Guests particularly like the comfortable & homey interior, the welcoming host and the location.
Catania – Best area to stay in Sicily if you want to climb Mount Etna
If your bucket list includes a day trip to Mount Etna, then you should consider adding Catania to your Sicily accommodation shortlist. Nestled at the foot of Mount Etna and built almost entirely in the Sicilian Baroque style, this cultural hub blends its rich history with the beauty of nature.
During daylight hours, visit La Playa beach for sunbathing and swimming before heading to the Riviera dei Ciclopi for snorkeling. Although this area isn’t as attraction-heavy as other Sicilian cities, it has a vibrant night scene that’s ideal for adventurous couples.
As an aside, we get that sustainability in travel isn’t always easy. However, you can easily negate your carbon footprint by leaving natural areas in Catania as you found them. If you decide to trek up Mount Etna (an active volcano!), leave nothing behind and stick only to marked trails.
If possible, you should also use an eco-friendly tour group to take you to the peak. If you’re looking for suggestions, Go-Etna is a highly regarded provider that aims to be completely carbon neutral.
When searching for accommodation, stick to areas in the historical center. This is where the main attractions are, and you’ll get incredible views of Mount Etna from most central hotels. You’ll still be able to access Mount Etna easily, but you won’t be too far from the action!
Where to stay in Catania
SUSTAINABLE HOTEL: Duomo Suites & Spa
Nothing beats a good view, and the Duomo Suites & Spa delivers it with a side of luxury. The hotel is very centrally located, a mere 100 meters from Piazza Duomo, and offers guests the possibility to hire a bicycle to explore the surroundings. Massages are available upon request.
SUSTAINABLE LUXURY: Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
A top-rated 4-star hotel with 10-star service. Located in a historical 19th century renovated Palazzo (Palace) on the most iconic street in Catania: Via Etnea. The hotel boasts a 24-hour reception, gym and Turkish Bath. Breakfast is served on a terrace overlooking Mount Etna.
RECOMMENDED: B&B Grand Tour Catania
Centrally located downtown Catania in a beautifully restored historical building. The B&B Grand Tour is one of the best value for money properties. Convenient parking opportunities within 5 minutes walking, ample breakfast and warm staff have guests raving!
Taormina – Great hub for day trips in Eastern Sicily
Taormina is a quaint hilltop town that offers unspoiled views over the Mediterranean Sea. With its turquoise waters, medieval ruins, and miles of unimpeded views, it’s unsurprising that it’s considered one of the best areas to stay in Sicily.
Explore breathtaking ruins at the Greek Theater before heading over to the beaches by cable car. In the evenings, head to one of the many lounging bars for a glass of wine by the waterside. The bars here are open late, making this an excellent area for couples and groups of young travelers.
Thanks to its luxurious, seaside resort feel, visitors should expect to pay through the nose for a hotel booking in Taormina. Prices aren’t completely out of the question for most families, but the area is a magnet for rich tourists.
You can find an assortment of charming 4 and 5-star hotels in the center, but if you do some digging, there are reasonable B&Bs and serviced apartments that reduce their rates during the shoulder season. If you can stretch your budget, choose somewhere in the historic center as you’ll get excellent views of Mount Etna and the bay if you’re lucky.
Where to stay in Taormina
VALUE FOR MONEY: Villa Sara
In Villa Sara it feels like time stood still. This truly authentic – if slightly rustic – B&B is run by an exceptionally hospitable host. The B&B is located slightly outside of Taormina (15-minute walk), perched atop a hill with the absolute best views over Mount Etna you will ever see.
LUXURY ACCOMMODATION: Villa Fiorita Boutique Hotel
A 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of Taormina. The hotel has a panoramic terrace and pool with majestic seafront views. What sets the hotel apart is the high level of service, the great location and the sumptuous breakfast selection.
RECOMMENDED: B&B Villa Britannia
Villa Britannia is a small B&B with an absolutely stunning interior. Every room on the premise has a spectacular sea view. Located a comfortable 10-minutes walk from the center, the B&B is an oasis of tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the many tourists.
Giardini Naxos – One of the best places in Sicily for families
All the facilities and attractions that your brood could hope for. This area may not be the most interesting place to stay in Sicily, but it offers a stunning beach and is packed with family-friendly activities.
Spend the afternoon on Lido Bonday Beach for sandcastle building and stunning views of the ocean. Then, take the kiddos to the Naxoslandia playground to blow off some steam. If you’re looking for something more adventurous and are traveling sans kids, head to the Alcantra Gorges for body rafting and river trekking. Giardini Naxos also provides an excellent base for touring Mount Etna – another huge plus.
The beachside setting of Giardini Naxos makes it a prime choice for anyone wanting an affordable family getaway. It’s worth mentioning that the accommodation here is infinitely more affordable than Taormina’s offerings. This makes the area an excellent alternative that gives you access to nearby towns without burning through your pocketbook!
Where to stay in Giardini Naxos
MOST CHARMING B&B: B&B La Villa
A true hidden gem, the B&B La Villa is located a little further out (2 kilometers from the sea) but well worth the little walk. This rustic style B&B has a large garden, a pool and a host of animals on the premises. Great for families with kids looking to stay away from the crowds.
FAMILY RUN B&B: Invito al viaggio
This top-rated family-run B&B is loved for its great location, a mere 2-minute walk from the beach and 2 kilometers from Taormina. Guest love the breakfast, the tasteful decoration and the warmth & hospitality of the family.
RECOMMENDED: B&B Villa Accademia
Villa Accademia is a beautiful property tastefully decorated to reflect the charm of Sicily. Located 600 meters from the beach and within walking distance to the bus direction Taormina. The suites have an unbeatable view over Mount Etna. Breakfast is served in the lush garden every morning.
Ortigia – Beautiful accommodations in Sicily that will woo baroque lovers
Ortigia is a small island that’s close to the city of Syracuse, and it offers beautiful accommodations, golden beaches, and magnificent attractions. This area in Sicily is tiny, but it has a fascinating history that’s reflected in its Norman architecture and Baroque structures.
Ortigia moves at a slow pace, and you can spend hours wandering its quaint streets and alleyways. The entire island only spans 45 hectares and has less than 5000 permanent inhabitants, so you should expect a friendly, neighborhood feel here.
Although there are better places to stay in Sicily for beachgoing, the nearby Arenella beach is a beautiful spot that offers a beach club and designated areas for sunbathing. If you’re looking for the perfect sunset, head to the west of the island for an aperitivo on the pedestrian jetty near Fonte Aretusa.
For the best of the island’s Baroque architecture, visit the Piazza Duomo. Considered Sicily’s most dazzling Baroque square, you’ll find the Syracuse Cathedral standing proudly. The 18th-century façade of the Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco is also worth seeing, and you can stop by the Alagoniana Library to further your cultural education. To experience Ortigia like a true Sicilian, grab an espresso from one of the local cafes near the main square.
Many visitors to Syracuse choose to stay in the larger main town, but settling in Ortigia is far more peaceful. There are several upscale and boutique hotels near the Via delle Vergini sector, and this is an excellent location for exploring the main center and the Fonte Aretusa. Realistically though, Ortigia is pocket-sized, and most accommodations offer easy access to major points of interest!
Where to stay in Ortigia
CHARMING B&B: Maecò Ortigia B&B
A centrally located, top-notch B&B set in a beautifully restored historical baroque palazzo. Rooms are comfortable, tastefully decorated to reflect the historical character of the building and the chromotherapy shower is great to step into after a day of exploring.
TOP-RATED B&B: Aretusa Vacanze B&B
With an average score of 9.5 and over 1000 reviews, the Aretusa Vacanze B&B is a true favorite amongst travelers to Ortigia. Guests particularly love the breakfast served on the terrace overlooking Ortigia and the very hospitable & helpful hosts.
RECOMMENDED: B&B Porta Marina Ortigia
This rustic B&B is set within a historical building typical of the UNESCO classified Ortigia island. With stunning views over the ocean and a 300-meter stroll from the Syracuse Cathedral, the location is simply unbeatable.
Noto – Best destination in Sicily for LGBQ travelers
Are you looking for accommodation in Sicily, Italy as a member of the LGBTQ+ community? If so, consider booking a stay in Noto. It may be small, but this historic town is the most gay-friendly area in Sicily. Although you’re unlikely to be openly harassed in any Sicilian neighborhood, this area allows you to travel as a couple without fear of being approached.
If your vision of the perfect Italian getaway also includes a decadent scoop of gelato, then Noto is by far the best part of Sicily to check out. Like Ortigia, this south-eastern area of Sicily boasts impressive Baroque architecture across its palaces, cathedrals, and churches.
There’s much to love about this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can spend hours exploring the Cattedrale di San Nicolo’s 18th-century Baroque features and neoclassical interior. While you’re here, you can also stroll through the Palazzo Ducezio and admire the 18th-century artwork inside the well-preserved Chiesa di San Domenico church.
To cool off, head to Caffe Sicilia or Dolceria Constanzo for a scoop of Sicily’s finest gelato. Offering classic flavors and more outlandish options that are bursting with spices and local ingredients, these gelaterias are havens for sweet lovers.
Depending on your personal preference, you can book into one of Noto’s classic hotels or scour booking sites for authentic B&Bs. If you’re new to the area, staying in hosted accommodations is a good idea. Not only will you feel safer and have breakfast included in the price of your room, but you’ll get insider tips for making the most of the area.
Where to stay in Noto
SUSTAINABLE HOTEL: Trigona Garden Suite
This locally run charming guesthouse is located in the center of Noto, within walking distance of the Cathedral of Noto. What sets this guesthouse apart is not so much the location but more the unbeatable views over Noto from it’s breakfast terrace.
BEST AGRITURISMO: Villa Felicia
Villa Felicia is an oasis of tranquility, set amidst an ocean of lemon trees. This beautiful Agriturismo has a small pool, and a large garden (i.e. a lemon grove) and is 600 meters from the beach (Lido di Noto). A 10-minute drive takes you into the heart of Noto itself.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Gagliardi Boutique Hotel
The Gagliardi Boutique Hotel is a small hotel located 500 meters from the Noto Cathedral. With a spectacular terrace, concierge service and top-notch rooms it is one of the best accommodations in Noto.
Agrigento – Leading area to stay in Sicily for history lovers
Also known as “the city of temples” Agrigento is the best area to stay in Sicily for history lovers. In this ancient town, you’ll find seven beautifully preserved Hellenistic temples. This historical site can be explored on your own, or you can join a guided tour for more in-depth local knowledge. To further enrich your trip, head to the Agrigento Old Town and explore the winding lanes and charming squares of this hilltop city.
Be aware that the historical center is small, and the Valley of the Temples can be covered on a day trip. Therefore, accommodation in Agrigento is best for overnight visitors that want to visit the area as part of a wider itinerary. If you’re looking to stay for longer, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several B&Bs, hostels, and apartments available for rent in the area.
Where to stay in Agrigento
VALUE FOR MONEY: La Terrazza di Empedocle
A locally run B&B with impressive views. The property is located within walking distance of the train station and the city center, in a quiet side street. Guests are raving about the views & the typical Sicilian breakfast that is served.
RUSTIC: B&B Le Teste di Moro
This centrally located B&B is beautifully decorated like a traditional Sicilian cottage. Comes with free bikes on-premise and a good hearty breakfast. 150 meters from the center of Agrigento and 3.6 kilometers from the Valley of Temples.
RECOMMENDED: Hotel Villa Athena
This 5-star hotel is set right in the Valley of Temples. Wake up to the sun rising over ancient Greek Temples, before heading to a sumptuous breakfast. The hotel itself is set in a majestic 18th-century villa and comes with wellness facilities, a garden and panoramic pool.
Aegadian Islands – Rest and Relax are on the program
The Aedgadian Islands are a group of three islands on the west coast of Sicily, and they include Favignana, Levanzo, and Merettimo. Offering tourists expansive vistas, vibrant piazzas, and excellent beaches, it’s unsurprising that they’re among the best places to stay in Sicily.
Compared to the volcanic Aeolian Islands, the Aegadian Islands are more low-key and provide a relaxed coastal getaway. Even during the peak summer season, you’ll find the islands packed with locals instead of curious tourists! As a rule, this makes them more affordable than other Italian island destinations, and one of the best places to stay in Sicily for beaches.
If you’d like to visit the Aegadian islands, be aware that accommodation books up fast during the high season. You can find options on Airbnb or booking.com for as low as €30 ($34)/night, but you’ll need to be quick. It’s also worth noting that Favignana is considerably larger than Merettimo, so you’ll have more luck finding an empty room there if you’re in a pinch.
Favignana – Great beaches and very family-friendly
Favignana is the largest of the Aedagdian Islands, and it boasts excellent beaches and a family-friendly atmosphere. The island is only half an hour from Trapani, and a simple boat ride transports you to this delicate seaside town.
The Cala Rossa beach and Cala Azzura beach are the most beautiful options on the island, and the water at both locations is crystal-clear. Grab your bathing suit and hit the water for swimming or bask in the summer sun while the kids build sandcastles – bliss.
In the name of eco-travel, it’s worth renting a bike to explore the local area in Favignana. There are several rental spots dotted around the island, and you’ll rarely pay more than €10 ($11) for a day’s hire (don’t be afraid to negotiate though!). Your wheels can be parked safely at most beaches, and the towering rocks of Bue Marino can be accessed from local bike trails. If you have time between beach hopping, visit Mama’s Ice Cream for a scoop of fresh gelato!
As Favignana is a popular local getaway spot, many accommodation options are typically booked by Italians. If you book well in advance of the summer season, you may snag a bargain. However, if you leave things too long, prices will start to skyrocket. Make sure to account for the minimum stay rule here too – if you didn’t know, many accommodations impose a 3-night minimum stay during the summer months.
Where to stay on Favignana
MOST AUTHENTIC: Cave Garden Rooms Guesthouse
Carved out of a historic cave, this guesthouse is a true one of a kind. Guests love the hospitable host and the great location. The guesthouse is a 10 minutes walk from the beach and equipped with all the modern amenities.
VALUE FOR MONEY: B&B Il Tufo
This locally run B&B is heralded by guests for its amazing breakfast, helpful owners and comfortable beds. The B&B is a 6-minute walk from the beach Calamoni Beach, and Lido Burrone Beach. Comes with all the modern amenities & bicycle rental is available on site.
RECOMMENDED: Nido Del Pellegrino
The top-rated beachfront Nido Del Pellegrino apartments are located a mere 3-minute walk from the sea. Comes with a private beach & sun terrace, rooms with a sea view, air conditioning & wifi. Private boat trips available upon request.
Marettimo – Authentic, quiet and off-the-beaten-path
If you’re wondering where to stay in Sicily for rest and relaxation, look no further than Marettimo. Although it’s not an excellent choice for beachgoers (there’s only one pebbled beach here!), it’s favored by diving enthusiasts thanks to its clear waters and extensive marine life. If you’d prefer something less active, rent a boat and explore the grottoes nestled along Marettimo’s coastline.
As this island isn’t as large as Favignana and isn’t a typical Sicily resort, there isn’t much tourist accommodation around. The Marettimo Residence is the only official hotel on the island and offers visitors a handful of eco-friendly rooms for the sustainable traveler. It’s hardly The Ritz but should be suitable for most tourists!
RECOMMENDED: Casa Marettimo
This quaint cottage has the very best views with a terrace overlooking Scalo Nuovo. Guests particularly like the location (a mere 5-minute walk from the harbor) & the well-equipped kitchen in the cottage.
Aeolian Islands – A favorite amongst the locals
The Aeolian Islands comprise seven islands on the northern coast of Sicily. Infinitely more touristy than the Aegadian Islands, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. Offering plenty of unique activities, visitors can enjoy the biodiverse reefs, climb active volcanoes, and bathe in sulfurous waters at this archipelago.
The Aeolian Islands are typically busier than the Aegadian Islands, and you’ll see swathes of tourists arriving by ferry from Palermo each day. Aside from Panarea, most of the Aeolian Islands are affordable getaway spots when booked in advance.
Panarea – The playground of the rich and famous
Panarea is the most exclusive place to stay in Sicily, and you’ll frequently spot mega-millionaires cruising through the crystal waters on their yachts. The nightlife and restaurant scenes here are eclectic and worth experiencing, but you’ll also be able to evade the island’s noise by visiting the alcoves and beaches along the coastline. With its small size, luxurious atmosphere, and breathtaking views of the Aeolian Islands, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation spot.
As you might expect, accommodation prices in Panarea are through the roof thanks to its reputation. In fact, it’s considered one of the most expensive places to visit in the Mediterranean. The rich and famous will often retreat to their holiday homes, but they may also choose from the many hotels costing upwards of €500 ($560)/night.
The Hotel Lisca Bianca is a cult favorite hotel in Panarea, as it offers incredible views of San Pietro and the surrounding Aeolian Islands. However, if you’re looking to cut the budget slightly, scour through Airbnb listings a few months before your trip.
Where to stay on Panarea
BEST VIEWS: Dependance La Caletta
Have breakfast with views over the Stromboli Vulcano! This cozy cottage is a quintessential Aeolian island home with all the modern amenities. Very close to the harbor and to the beach. Pick-up service from the port available upon request.
LUXURY ACCOMMODATIONS: Quartara Boutique Hotel
The 4-star Quartara Boutique Hotel is known for its exceptional service and comfort. Located in the quieter Piano Quarter overlooking the harbor and coast. Features a panoramic pool & pick-up service. The property is decorated with handicraft from all over Sicily.
RECOMMENDED: Da Francesco
With the perfect location, right in front of the Harbor, Da Francesco combines the best views & location in one single property. Request a room with a sea view to wake up to the sound of the ocean!
Vulcano – Stay on an island with a Vulcano
Vulcano is a truly unique island and is best known for its steaming volcanic craters. In addition to impressive natural structures, Vulcano also offers visitors hot springs and mud baths, coastal bluffs, and panoramic views.
While you’re here, visit the 500-meter Cratere della Fossa to witness the fumaroles in action, before heading to the edge of the volcano for spectacular views of the island. The walk to the top of Gran Cratere isn’t too arduous, and you’ll be rewarded with an excellent view of Valle dei Mostri along the way. To make the most of the island’s volcanic properties, go for a ‘pozza’ (mud bath) at Laghetto di Fanghi. Kept at a pleasant 28 degrees Celsius year-round, it’s a unique activity that sets Vulcano apart.
Before booking, be aware that the whole island smells like sulfur. However, this isn’t a dealbreaker for most people as it’s part of the area’s charm! Despite being small, Vulcano offers several luxury accommodations within a short walk of the center in addition to budget apartments closer to the port.
Where to stay on Vulcano
VALUE FOR MONEY: Pensione La Giara
A great budget option, this locally run guesthouse is wonderfully located – 200 meters from the harbor and 4 minutes walk from the beach. Decorated in a traditional Aeolian style it almost feels like a home away from home.
A TOUCH OF LUXURY: Les Sables Noirs et Spa
This 4-star spa hotel is a mere 90 meters from a very cool black sand beach. Guests are absolutely raving about the breakfast and the helpful staff. Personally, my breath was taken away by the unbeatable views!
RECOMMENDED: Rojas Bahja
Rojas Bahja is located right off the beach Baia Levante and the thermal mud pool. Exquisite typical Aeolian villa with a great garden to relax in during the hottest times of the day away from the crowds. Ask for a room with a sea view when booking!
Lampedusa – A quiet place to retreat in Sicily
If you’re on the hunt for lesser-known places to stay in Sicily, you can’t go wrong with Lampedusa. This Island is one of the quietest in the archipelago, and its rocky coastline and picturesque beaches provide an incredible backdrop for vacation snaps.
One of Lampedusa’s main selling points is its lower footfall; with few tourists around throughout the year, you’ll be able to enjoy its 12 local beaches in relative peace. If you’re looking for suggestions, the Spiaggia Dei Conigli is a veritable haven for sunseekers, and the remote Cala Pulcino is ideal for couples. When you’ve worked up an appetite, sample local seafood at Bar dell’Amicizia while watching the sunset on their sprawling terrace!
There are plenty of 3 and 4-star hotels, apartments, and campsites available to Lampedusa travelers. Thanks to this island’s elusive reputation, you shouldn’t be battling with tourists for a booking at most accommodations. Before planning your trip, be aware that this area is slightly farther to reach, and typically requires boarding a connecting flight from Palermo to get here.
Where to stay on Lampedusa
BEST VIEWS: B&B Giro Di Boa
Located a short 10-minute walk from the nearest beaches Guitgia Beach, Cala Maluk and Cala Croce. The real stunner of this B&B are the views over the little harbor. Request a room with a sea view upon booking.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Borgo Acqua
Great for travelers looking to stay in a traditional stone villa without breaking the bank. Conveniently located 240 meters from the port of Lampedusa. Guest fell in love with the peace & quiet and the wonderfully hospitable owner.
RECOMMENDED: I Dammusi di Borgo Cala Creta
A sustainable and wonderfully authentic little hotel. Set in a traditional Lampedusan style stone villa (Dammuso) overlooking the ocean. Located 1-minute walk from the beach inside the Area Marina Protetta Isole Pelagie Natural Reserve. Guests love the breakfast as well as the various activities on offer by the hotel.
Best accommodation in Sicily: Map
Now you have a view of the various different places to stay in Sicily, but where in the world are they located? This interactive google map should be able to answer that question.
Top things to do in Sicily
Oh, the list of things to do in Sicily is endless! There is a good reason this island is one of the most visited islands in all of the Mediterranean.
Eat your way around Palermo
The capital of Sicily, Palermo, is known to have some pretty amazing street food. It is well worth spending a day taking in the sights and eating your way through the various local markets (La Vuccheria, Mercato del Capo, Mercato di Ballarà).
The street foods you cannot miss are:
- Arancine: A fried rice ball traditionally stuffed with ragu (meat) or aubergines (vegetarian-version)
- Pane câ Meuse: A spleen sandwich is a true classic amongst the street foods in the city. Works wonders as a midnight snack after a night out on the town
- Gelato con brioche: Yep you read that right, Gelato placed inside a sweet brioche (oftentimes the size of your head).
Visiting the various Sicilian villages
Regardless of your choice of area to stay in Sicily, do not miss out on the wealth of little villages dotted around the island.
- Greek Temples: Agrigento, Segesta
- Fishing Villages: Cefalu, Marzamemi
- Best sunsets: Trapani (over the salt flats)
- Baroque: Noto, Ortigia, Ragusa
Getting around Sicily
While I try and travel as sustainably as possible, for Sicily I would recommend choosing a hotel that is centrally located and to opt for renting a car. Public transport is available and connects the larger cities, taking it requires a fair amount of patience and time though (trains & busses are often late or sometimes do not show up).
Renting a car in Sicily
The cost of renting a car in Sicily is between €60 and €100 ($67-$112) euro a day, depending on the size and model of the car as well as the insurance you end up choosing. Prices can get expensive in high season and you will want to compare rental companies via Auto Europe.
To rent a car you need to be in possession of a valid driver’s license (renting from outside of Europe will require you to show an Internation Drivers Permit) and be at least 19 years old.
Make sure to have a collision damage waiver and theft protection insurance for the car as they are mandatory by Italian law.
Final thoughts on where to stay in Sicily
There are plenty of great areas to stay in Sicily, it really depends on the type of holiday you are after and the length of your stay. If you end up renting a car on the island, it is perfectly feasible to stay in one place (Palermo or Catania) and use it as a hub for day trips.
Personally, I would highly recommend spending a few days in Western & Eastern Sicily in a city of your choice, followed by a few days in Palermo. This will give you the best chance of seeing all the island has to offer, without having to spend too many hours in the car!
MORE RESOURCES FOR VISITING SICILY
Sicily: An overview of mouthwatering Palermitan street food
Sicily: 20 Best things to do in Palermo during your visit
Sicily: Traditional Sicilian dishes you need to try in Sicily
Sicily: The most quaint villages in Sicily that usually escape the guide books
Sicily: 14 breathtaking churches in Palermo worthy of a visit
Sicily: Driving in Sicily: 10 Essential tips & tricks from a local
Sicily: 15 Day trips from Catania
Italy: Delicious vegetarian foods in Italy from each region