Sicily for six nights - lots of questions....
Replies: 7 - Last Post: May 23, 2012 1:07 PM Last Post By: lucapal
May 21, 2012 5:50 PM
Sicily for six nights - lots of questions....Hi, all,
My husband and I will be in Sicily for 6 days in June. We fly into Palermo and out of Catania. We're into food and wine, and we're pretty active. Being city folk, we're not crazy about driving, but with our flights and everything we'd like to see (and I tend to 'pack things in' on vacation), I know we have some driving in store for us. I'm thinking about the following itinerary. I'd love to hear feedback or ideas, and I also have some specific questions as well. (I've been to Sicily before, but my husband hasn't. I feel a bit guilty skipping Taormina and Villa Romana del Casale, but we have such limited time, plus it sounds like a good part of VRdC is closed off right now.)
Tues: Arrive in Palermo. Drive to Trapani (1 hr). Check in, head to Erice (famous pastry shop!)
Wed: Maybe take ferry to Favignana?
Thurs: Drive to Agrigento (3 hr drive). Half day there, stay overnight in Agrigento.
Fri: Drive to Noto. (3 hr drive) Lots of hotels in Siracusa seem booked this particular Friday night, and I would like to see Noto anyway, so stay here overnight. (And then get two visits to famous pastry shop!)
Sat: Drive to Siracusa (40 min). Not sure what to prioritize seeing, at there are many options
General feedback would be appreciated, but I also have some specific questions:
o Driving times are from Google maps, which has usually been reliable. Any reason to think otherwise in this case?
o Is Favignana interesting for a day? Would you recommend one of the other Egadi islands instead, or skipping them altogether?
o Is Agrigento worth the visit? If we drove through Enna and stayed in Enna overnight, I think this would be 1.5 hours less of driving. I've been to Paestum, Ephesus, etc. and really enjoyed them. Is Agrigento as interesting?
o We thought about going to Licata after touring Agrigento, in order to eat at La Madia. But that adds another 45 minutes of driving onto a long day. Anyone think it worth that extra drive?
o Related to the question above, should we skip Ragusa and Modica and just go to Noto, given the limited time? Someone asked a similar question, and it sounds like all three towns are very enjoyable, but if we head straight to Noto and skip the other two towns, I guess we could take the highway (and essentially pass through Siracusa) which, though roundabout, is faster. If we drive directly east from Agrigento, we'd pass through Licata and could hit all three towns on the way to Siracusa.
Any help is much appreciated!
May 22, 2012 4:54 AM
1Most of the driving times are more or less ok....3 hours Agrigento to Noto is optimistic though.
Favignana is ok.....built up and touristy,lots of bars and restaurants etc.Personally i prefer Marettimo but its a long trip for a day!
Agrigento is interesting for the temples.The town itself is nothing special (mind you,neither is Enna).If you are into Greek stuff you will probably find the temples great.
I haven't been to that restaurant in Licata so can't help you on that...however,you will find excellent food everywhere in Sicily.
May 22, 2012 4:57 AM
2Of those 3 south-eastern towns,my favourite is Ragusa.All 3 are interesting though.You don't really have enough time to see all of them IMO.....unless you just want a little walk around each one.
There is no point going to Piazza Armerina at the moment...all the best stuff is closed to the public for restoration (which should be finished now,but isn't)
May 22, 2012 4:37 PM
3Kat, to add to Lucapal's local expertise, we were just there for a month. Both Noto and its Baroque cousin Modica were interesting. Their architecture is similar of course. But Noto especially, is very busy due to its notoriety. Their foodic hilites might beckon. We sampled numerous places in each, with Noto's Costanza pastry/gelato as our fave. Modica has several pastry/sweet shops but the one whose product we thought stood out was the chocolatier Bonajuto. Ragusa was excellent. Its Ibla Old Town is the place to be. The Public Garden at one end is a wonderful respite and also free. Its main square worth a look. Its Gelato Divini might just have the friendliest service in Sicilia. Its famed hike up the steps to Scale Church is worth it for the panorama one sees on guidebook covers et al. Just be aware that given restorations, that church is scaffolded now and the halfway point has to suffice---still great. We rented an apartment from Risveglio Ibleo (actually a B+B) and lucked out. Their larger one is excellent! Their breakfasts are outstanding too. The lungomare seafront walk in Siracusa is excellent either at sunset or during sunrise and its mercado was amongst the best we saw (Rome's seemed B-league later on). If you've been patient enough to read thus far, then here is your reward: our fave daytrip was to the hilltop town in Madonie Mountain Park called Petralia Soprano. The Real McKoy. Reached from Cefalu in our case. We rented an apartment in Erice and loved it. Get away from the touristy centre and you may enjoy it more. The views from the castle area are incredible, as are those from the so-called Spanish Quarter. With a little luck, the Veil of Venus fog-mist might occur in Erice. You may be underwhelmed by the pastry shop. We were anyway. Trapani's Old Port was the part we enjoyed most. *Don't underestimate Palermo--Sicily at its raucous, sassy, exhuberant best. On via Butera alone, one could: visit the Puppet Museum and catch a show; eat at the unofficial trattoria Padre Aldo (Salvos); stay and/or take a Cooking Class with the Duchess (of Palma) at Palazzo Butera and also on weekends take in the massive Antigo Market and/or one of the other 3 noted local markets. You could also hook up with Lucapal, if he's out of jail by now. I am done. The end.
May 22, 2012 4:42 PM
May 23, 2012 10:29 AM
5Thanks, Lucapal and Zebec, for your replies.
Originally, we had a longer time period, but it got shortened, and we're stuck with our in/out airports. I kind of had my heart set on going to the Trapani area, though I can't say why. I think I have a romantic idea of just a more wild, open area and heavy Arab influence. Plus I read that book Biiter Almonds and was keen on visiting that pastry shop in Erice, though I'm less keen now after hearing your reaction!
But in reading your replies, I think I need to be a little less stubborn and consider leaving the western area for another time. =( I do want to end in Siracusa, as it's close enough to the airport, and ending in Catania, from what I have read, seems a bit anti-climactic.
I see a couple of shorter options:
Option A: Palermo, Cefalu, then either towards Ragusa and make our way to Siracusa OR directly to Siracusa and day trip just to Noto.
Option B: Palermo, Agrigento or thereabouts, Ragusa/Modica/Noto, Siracusa.
So some more questions for you, if you're willing:
How much did you enjoy Cefalu? My husband would love a beach day or two, but my impression is that the beaches are OK, not amazing, and the town isn't as 'pretty' at Taormina. (I hope I don't lose too much credibility in saying that I had a great time in Taormina, it was just so stunning.) That day trip to Petralia Soprana does look great.
I read in one of my books that there's a nice beach somewhere near Agrigento. Are there charming towns or beaches near Agrigento that you've enjoyed?
Our time is just too short! (Zebec, I envy the timeframe you had.) Palermo sounds fun, but I'm skipping it, thinking that if/when I get to head back to Sicily, I'll be sure to pass through again.
May 23, 2012 1:05 PM
6The beaches in Cefalu are 'ok'.And the town isn't as pretty as Taormina (personally I dislike Taormina but it is undeniable pretty).
Agree with Zebec that the Petralias (there are two)are great,esp.Soprana.Another great place near there is Castellana Sicula...also Geraci Siculo is pretty.The Madonie is full of nice little towns.
May 23, 2012 1:07 PM
7The beach at Selinunte is nice enough....and its near the historical site.
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