12 Must See Sights in Northern Sicily

Looking for sunshine and ruins on a cold winters day we decided to book a trip to Sicily. I love the fields of lemon trees as you drive through the interior and the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean there. It’s a favorite destination for our family and if you plan to go there sometime I know it will be very special for you too.

Here are my top 12 must see sites in Sicily:

Castlemarre del Golfo a great place to visit the Zingaro Natural Reserve and Segesta. A cute village with a picturesque marina and ancient fortress. Very busy in the summer months for a reason, good food, great location, and pleasant.

Sandy beach in the Zingaro Nature Reserve

Sandy beach in the Zingaro Nature Reserve

Segesta located about 15 minutes from Castelmarre del Golfo has spendid temple ruins to wander through and a Greek Amphitheater that overlooks the temple is still in use today for concerts and plays. The city was rumored to have been built around 650 B.C.

The ruins of Segesta on the way up to the amphitheater

The ruins of Segesta on the way up to the amphitheater

Erice hilltop village filled with historic churches, castles and fortress. Fun little streets to meander with excellent cafe’s and bars. The views of Sicily from here are spectacular.

The road up to Erice Castle

The road up to Erice Castle

Selinunte a large archaeological park situated along the sea with many ruins and large temple or Acropolis. Depending on your energy level you can take the short walk to the Acropolis or the 20 minute walk to the old town ruins on the bluffs along the sea.  Stop by and taste the local Marsala in town.

The Acropolis of Selinunte

The Acropolis of Selinunte

Agrigento Valley of the Temples is the largest and most popular historical park in Sicily. You can still walk through these ancient temples that once were held in high esteem by the people.  a graveyard chiseled into the ancient walls that stood to protect the city.

The ruins of the Temple of Hercules in Agrigento

The ruins of the Temple of Hercules in Agrigento

Piazza Armerina Once you have walked through the vividly detailed mosaic floor of the house you will compare every tile mosaic you see from now on to it. One of a kind floors that tell a story in every room from the hunt, how to use the Roman Baths to the workout gymnasium and even the bedrooms. All are in perfect detail.

The Girls in Bikini mosaic in the gym at Piazza Armerina in Sicily

The Girls in Bikini mosaic in the gym at Piazza Armerina

Ragusa a town of architectural delights. As you approach you can see from either side of the road that nothing has changed in the last 500 years. Home and buildings stacked on top of each other reaching top heights by cobbled lanes. At the top the Basilica de San Giorgio is the perfect neoclassical structure that offers some of the best views of the city.

The town of Ragusa at night

The town of Ragusa at night. photo by L’lbleo

Catania a must  see is the Church of San Benedetto with the intricate high frescoed ceilings and Murano glass chandeliers. Rivals any church Europe for beauty and art. Baroque architecture that houses salons, piano room, and the gallery of mirrors that make the rooms look larger than life itself.

Inside the San Benedetto Church at Catania in Sicily

Inside the San Benedetto Church in Catania

Taormina another hilltop village that looks out over the translucent Mediterranean sea. The ancient Greek theater is still used today for concerts and plays. Just behind the main stage is a spectacular view of Mt. Etna. Taormina has great shopping for Ceramics, local art, stylish clothes, jewelry, mosaics and puppets, yes the famous Taormina puppets that are still so popular in Sicily. And by all means if you have the chance, go see a show!

The amphitheater of Taormina with view of Mt. Etna in Sicily

The amphitheater of Taormina with view of Mt. Etna

Palermo A large city which is easy to get lost in but sometimes that is good! Palermo has little hidden treasures to discover. A favorite is the Ballarò  Market the largest market in Sicily filled with busy merchants selling local fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. Or you might find a quiet cafe with the best cuisine Sicily has to offer. Art is everywhere along with interesting architecture.

Palermo Government Building in Sicily

Palermo Government Building

Monnreale Cathedral just outside of Palermo is one of the most extravagant mosaic churches this side of St. Marks Basilica in Venice. The Pantocrator above the altar is one of the best from the 12th century.  Golden tiled walls surround the inside of the sanctuary tell of various stories in the bible in vivid detail.

Mosaic wall inside the Cathedral of Monreale Palermo, Sicily

Mosaic wall inside the Cathedral of Monreale

Mosaic wall inside the Cathedral of Monreale Palermo, Sicily

Mosaic wall inside the Cathedral of Monreale

Alter of Jesus Christ in Monreale outside of Palermo Sicily

Elaborate Alter of Jesus Christ

Cefalu quaint and laid back Cefalu is a popular seaside resort used by Sicilians for weddings it’ is luring travelers from all over the world as a preferred holiday destination.  Built along the sea and hills of Northern Sicily this small fishing village with its medieval streets is a great place to explore old Sicilian life. There are quite a few good pizzerias in Cefalu if you love the Sicilian kind.

Colorful boats along the beach at Cefalu in Sicily

Colorful boats along the beach at Cefalu

28 Comments:

  1. Beautiful photos, it really is a stunning part of the world isn’t it.

  2. Gorgeous place! Sicily is one of my top must-visit destination. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the photos. Must get there sometime.

  4. Sicily appears amazing, I would love to scale mount Etna. The probability of an eruption is very small, so it is definitely something to think about. The beaches look amazing.

  5. Alessandra Granata

    still missing that part of Sicily!!!

  6. Sicily leaps out of your post in vivid colour. The cathedrals and the mosaics within are really exquisite. The landscapes are stunning. Always have had a fascination for Sicily, after seeing it in the movie Godfather.

  7. This place looks so artistic. Would love to visit this place someday. I have read many posts about Sicily in the past few days.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      It is pretty amazing with historic art just about everywhere you go on the island. You just have to visit some day Gokul!

  8. Only yesterday I was watching this travel show on Sicily and wondering…is there any part of Italy that is less than gorgeous. Seriously!! And that mosaic interior of Monreal..wowww!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      You did? Maybe thats a sign you should be planning a trip to Sicily! 😀 Oh yeah, Monreale is incredible, so much gold in one place.

  9. Sicily looks beautiful! Looks like a place worth visiting for sure!

  10. I was only in Rome and Venice, hopefully I get to see this city too!

  11. Erice Castle looks mighty fine! I hope to visit Sicily soon! Keep up the good work!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Thanks Viktoria. We feel Erice has some of the most interesting ruins in Sicily. Best part is most travelers tend to go to Taormina, Palermo and Agrigento so Erice is less crowded. Can’t wait to hear what you think about Sicily!

  12. Amazing list! I’ve been to Italy but never really considered Sicily a must-visit. This def helped change my mind! Love the photos.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Thanks Jenn! I really never considered Sicily before either but once we went we knew it was a place to come back to often.

  13. What awesome spots to visit! I don’t know where to start! I love the fact they still perform at the Greek amphitheatre by Segesta, that’s quite incredible. Would be awesome to be an actor on such an old stage!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      It would be so special to see a concert or play at one of the ancient amphitheaters in Sicily or anywhere for that matter. It would be incredible for an actor to perform there!

  14. Wow Sicily looks beautiful! I think I would really like to visit Selinunte and take the longer walk to the old town ruins by the sea. I hope to visit all of these places one day though!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      They had spectacular views of the sea from the old town ruins. They beach is very nice there too, nice and sandy.

  15. Definitely visiting Sicily after seeing your article. Beautiful pictures!

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