Sicily is one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations, and getting off-the-beaten path is sometimes the best way to explore a new place. Sicily’s sun-kissed beaches, splendid monuments, and breathtaking natural scenery have enchanted aristocracy, adventurers, and now tourists. But there’s another side to this lovely island. Why not explore some of the hidden gems in Sicily off-the-beaten path? Here are 18 hidden gems in Sicily that you should explore on your upcoming trip to the region.
Cefalù is a charming fishing village located at the hilly junction of the Sicilian mountains and the sea. This hidden gem in Sicily has a heavy influence of Norman and early Byzantine elements, which makes it a fascinating place to explore.
Getting to Cefalù
To get to Cefalù, you can fly into either Palermo airport or Catania airport and then take a bus or train right from the airport to Cefalù.
Top Things to do in Cefalù
Cefalù is just by the sea, making it a perfect place to relax and unwind by the beach. You can also go exploring the splendid architecture of the city by following its narrow cobblestone pathways up the hillside and admiring all the medieval-style mosaics and buildings.
The Norman castle with the mosaic lined interior, can be a great place to learn more about the history of the city and the influences that have shaped it over the years. You can also take various hikes on trails just a short drive inland from Cefalù, where you can visit the locals living in the slow-paced countryside, growing olives and lemons, goat herding and cheese making. While you’re there, make sure to visit the local wineries and breweries.
Mozia is one of the oldest Phonecian settlements in the Mediterranean. The city let’s you dive into the history of ancient civilization and the ways of our ancestors. This hidden gem in Sicily is a living museum that you can explore and be awestruck by. This is one of the hidden gems in Sicily that should not be missed.
Getting to Mozia
If you want a scenic ride, you can get to Mozia on a ferry from the seaside town of Marsala, or you can also catch the bus from there.
Top things to do in Mozia
Mozia is still an active archaeological site, with digs ongoing. This lets you explore various ancient dig sites and marvel at all the excavated ruins that were built way before our modern civilization even existed. The causeways and the windmills are signature features of Mozia that just can’t be missed. If you still want to find out more, you can visit the museum and learn more about the structures that Mozia houses.
Modica once was the capital of the region but has since been off the radar of tourists, which makes it one of the best-hidden gems to visit while in Sicily. The city is rustic and has a very medieval feel to it. Even though there is a lot to see in the city, it is best known for its chocolate.
Getting to Modica
You can get to Modica by flying into Catania and then taking the bus to the city. The bus ride to Modica gives you amazing views of the Sicilian countryside.
Top things to do in Modica
The baroque architecture on display in Modica is delightful; the lanes are lined with houses with orangish hues all over the city. The views from the terraces make the city look like something out of a painting. Well, Modica is famous for its chocolate, which is made from a secret recipe that originates from the ancient Aztecs and was brought to Italy by the conquistadors. You can visit the various gastropubs and chocolate workshops that serve up some of the best Mediterranean and Italian food along with the best-tasting chocolate.
A quaint little fishing village at the southeast end of Sicily, Sampieri offers a rustic Sicilian experience. Nothing fancy or touristy; you’ll find this hidden gem in Sicily very homely and welcoming.
Getting to Sampieri
To get to Sampieri, you can fly into either Catania or Palermo and then take a bus or train from there to Sampieri.
Top things to do in Sampieri
Sampieri is the place for you to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded tourist spots across Sicily. The village is picturesque with its baroque-style architecture and the beaches that surround it. The crystal blue water can be the best place to relax and enjoy while taking a dip. There are sand dunes right outside Sampieri that can be considered one of the best places in Sicily to witness the sunset. The dunes are special, give an exceptional view of the sea, and are relatively untouched. You might just be the only one there by yourself, enjoying the best sunset with a drink in hand.
Another old Phoenician-built village, Erice, stands tall over the Mediterranean Sea. The village used to be walled and surrounded by a huge fort that housed a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus. Now this hidden gem in Sicily is home to the remnants of history that you can venture through and explore the past.
Getting to Erice
You can get to Erice through Trapani. A flight to Trapani and a bus from the airport will get you to Erice in no time.
Top things to do in Erice
Erice is a village that you can explore on foot and admire the beauty of the architecture and scenic vistas beyond the limits of the village. The temple of Venus and the castle on top of the hill are some of the best places to visit while in Erice. You can also visit the last remaining pieces of the wall that used to cover the whole village. This wall is an original piece of architecture from the Phonecian times that was actually built by them.
Sitting on the tip of an underwater volcano, Ustica is an island that used to be a political prison during the World War II. The tourism industry flourished in the later part of the 20th century, and now the island is a haven for marine and snorkelling enthusiasts. The tranquil bay around the island and the blue water are perfect for a quiet, relaxing getaway. This hidden gem in Sicily should definitely be on the list for beach lovers.
Getting to Ustica
You can take a ferry that runs a few times during the day from Palermo to the island of Ustica. The ride is very scenic as you enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Top things to do in Ustica
The island has beautiful bays and inlets surrounding it, perfect for meals by the sea with an amazing view of the clear blue waters. The area around the island is protected and is a hub for scuba diving and snorkelling which you can indulge in. The black volcanic slopes around the island add to the mesmerizing view of the surrounding landscapes. Due to the lack of crowds, you can explore the coves around the island without hassle. The local marine life can also be explored, which makes for a fun water activity.
In the heart of Sicily lies Enna, probably the highest city in Sicily, towering at 3083 feet above sea level. Enna is surrounded by hills and rolling patches of trees that make the panoramic vistas around the city look majestic. Enna is one of the most prettiest hidden gems in Sicily off-the-beaten path.
Getting to Enna
You can fly into Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Enna. Alternatively, you can also fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Enna.
Top Things to do in Enna
Enna is home to one of the largest castles in Italy. Castello di Lombardia is a medieval castle where you can explore and get amazing views of the scenic surroundings. You can also visit the Duomo cathedral and admire the gothic architecture and the frescoes inside. You get a breathtaking view of the iconic Mount Etna, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world.
Just a short trip from Enna is Rocca di Cerere, which houses a geopark where you can find ancient remnants of the Sican civilization. You can also enjoy an amazing sunset from atop Rocca di Cerere. Another great place to visit very close to Enna is the Castle of Sperlinga, a thousand-year-old castle that has some breathtaking views of the snow-covered Madoine mountains.
Located just 10 kilometres off the western coast of Sicily are the Egadi Islands, situated in the archipelago of the same name. Because of its simplistic yet aesthetic appeal, the group of five islands is a hidden gem that tourists rarely visit and miss out on.
Getting to Egadi Islands
To get to the Egadi Islands, you can fly into Trapani Airport and then take a ferry from there to the islands. Alternatively, you can fly into Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train to Trapani, followed by a ferry to the islands.
Top Things to do in Egadi Islands
The biggest of the five islands is Favignana, followed by Levanzo and Marettimo. The scenic beauty of the island beats the most visited tourist spots in Sicily. You won’t find many restaurants and bars, but the natural aesthetic of the rustic island is enough to entice you. The beaches around the islands are idyllic and the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sunset.
Cava di Cusa is located near the town of Selinunte. This used to be one of the largest quarries that supplied the rocks used to build the temples in and around Sicily. It dates back as early as the 6th century B.C. and is full of a lush blanket of green with boulders and rocks lying around, giving it an eye-catching contrast. It is one of the coolest hidden gems in Sicily off-the-beaten path.
Getting to Cava di Cusa
The best way to visit Cava di Cusa is by renting a car; this lets you explore without having to worry about the bus or train schedules. You can rent a car from the airport for a day and explore sites like Cava di Cusa.
Top Things to do in Cava di Cusa
You can walk around and explore the remnants of the cave and the quarry inside, which produced the stones for the temples of Sicily. If you get the chance to visit Cava di Cusa in spring, you will get to witness the blooming flowers all across the green vista surrounding the rocks. You can get some amazing pictures of the boulders and rock formations with the flora in the background, which also makes this place amazing to have picnics in.
Scicli is a UNESCO-certified heritage town that still remains untapped by the large crowds of visitors journeying through the Sicilian region. This hidden gem in Sicily gets overshadowed by the other cities in the region that are more mainstream and well-known to tourists. This, however, allows you to explore this hidden gem at your leisure and away from the crowds.
Getting to Scicli
To get to Scicli, you can fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Scicli. Alternatively, you can fly into Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Scicli.
Top Things to do in Scicli
The town is rustic, and you can explore the narrow lanes and feel like you are in a movie. The baroque architecture looks aesthetically pleasing in every photograph that you take, so make sure you find a good spot to click some photos. The surrounding natural beauty is also breathtaking and will definitely make your visit worthwhile.
Ragus used to be a city that was beautifully constructed by the ancient Romans, but an earthquake destroyed most of the old city. It was then built in two parts, the first of which, Ragusa Ibla, was built in the baroque style and is a stunning example of architectural elegance. The narrow streets are lined by buildings that are styled in the most aesthetic baroque architecture, but it has still remained a hidden gem of Sicily.
Getting to Ragusa Ibla
To get to Ragusa Ibla, you can fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Ragusa, followed by a local bus or taxi to Ragusa Ibla.
Top Things to do in Ragusa Ibla
When in Ragusa Ibla, you can visit the church of San Giorgio, which is adorned with elegant baroque styling, and also the church of San Giuseppe. For some extremely picturesque views of the town, you can walk up to the top of the hill and enjoy the view. Another attraction that the city has to offer is a very special flavour of gelato, wine-flavoured gelato! Get yourself one and walk around this majestic town hidden in the middle of Sicily. You can also taste some amazing Occhipinti wine that is made in the Vittoria region of Ragusa, which has a wide range of wines on offer that are as natural and taste as good as the region they are made in.
If you want to visit some of the most hidden and picturesque beaches and coves around Sicily, the Vendicari Nature Reserve is the place to be. Hidden in the southeastern corner of Sicily, this region is home to some of the best beaches and coves that you will ever visit. While there, you might also be able to catch a glimpse of some migratory birds, like egrets and herons, enjoying the warm lagoons. This is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Sicily for nature lovers.
Getting to Vendicari
To get to Vendicari, you can fly into Catania Airport or Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Noto, followed by a local bus or taxi to Vendicari.
Top Things to in Vendicari
You will be able to enjoy some of the best Mediterranean beaches at the Vedndicari Nature Reserve. The coves and beaches are very welcoming and beautiful. The warm water feels amazing to swim in and is pleasant for people of all ages. Take a walk on the many beaches and enjoy a day basking in the sun by the crystal blue waters.
Gole Dell’Alcantara is a natural park that is formed out of the erosion of black lava and is a marvel of nature. It was not well known until recent times and now has an active set of people visiting it every year. It still can be considered to be one of the hidden gems in Sicily off-the-beaten path.
Getting to Gole Dell’Alcantara
To get to Gole Dell’Alcantara, you can fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Francavilla di Sicilia, followed by a local bus or taxi to Gole Dell’Alcantara.
Top Things to do in Gole Dell’Alcantara
The best thing to do at the Gole Dell’ Alcantara is to hike up to the top and feast on the magnificent view of the whole canyon. The view of the black volcanic rocks meeting the ocean is amazing and not to be missed. If you can’t or don’t feel like walking to the top of the canyon, you can take the lift up to the top. The naturally carved volcanic canyon is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural spots in Italy by the locals, and once you visit this place, you might end up having the same opinion.
Cava Grande is a beautiful natural park known for its stunning landscapes and impressive cave system, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you want to explore the caves, go hiking, or just enjoy a picnic, there is something for everyone in this beautiful natural park. It is one of the the perfect hidden gems in Sicily for nature lovers.
Getting to Cava Grande
To get to Cava Grande, you can fly into Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Caltagirone, followed by a local bus or taxi to Cava Grande.
Top Things to do in Cava Grande
One of the most popular things to do in Cava Grande is to explore the caves. The cave system is made up of a network of underground tunnels and chambers, some of which are up to 100 metres deep. You can take guided tours of the caves, where you can learn about the geological formations and see the stalactites and stalagmites up close.
You can also go for a hike. The park offers a variety of hiking trails that range in difficulty, so there is something for everyone. The trails offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, and some even lead to hidden caves and waterfalls. You can also enjoy picnics and camping in Cava Grande. There are several designated picnic areas and campsites throughout the park, where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
If you want to enjoy the beaches of Sicily, Donnalucata has some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the region. The village is homely, and you can go around exploring or just sit by the beach and do nothing at all, the Italian way. This is one of the best hidden gems in Sicily for beach lovers.
Getting to Donnalucata
To get to Donnalucata, you can fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Scicli, followed by a local bus or taxi to Donnalucata.
Top Things to do in Donnalucata
You can take a long plunge in the blue ocean and then relax on the beach for the rest of the day. The sun hitting the water is just the right amount of satisfaction that anyone craves on a laid-back vacation. This hidden gem in Sicily is very quaint, so you can go around the village with little to no interruption from crowds of people and enjoy the local lifestyle while you staycation there. Enjoy the catch of the day at a seaside diner with a great pairing of wine to end your relaxing day.
Caltagirone is a part of the Catania area and is famous for the ceramic production that is native to this city. The vibrant culture and rich history of the city make it a worthy hidden gem in Sicily to visit.
How to get to Caltagirone
To get to Caltagirone, you can fly into Palermo Airport or Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Caltagirone.
Top Things to do in Caltagirone
One of the main attractions in Caltagirone is the famous Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte, a stunning staircase featuring over a thousand colourful ceramics. You can also explore the city’s historic centre, which is filled with charming streets and squares, as well as several notable museums and churches. Caltagirone is known for its pottery industry, and there are many shops where visitors can purchase handcrafted ceramics. You can also visit the Cathedral of San Giuseppe, which is known for its beautiful baroque architecture. The cathedral also houses a museum where visitors can learn about the history of the city and its religious traditions.
Noto is a beautiful city located in the province of Syracuse. It is known for its stunning Baroque architecture as well as its rich history and cultural heritage. This is one of the hidden gems in Sicily that should not be missed.
How to get to Noto
To get to Noto, you can fly into Catania Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Noto.
Top Things to do in Noto
One of the top attractions in Noto is the Cattedrale di Noto or the Cathedral of Noto. This magnificent building is a prime example of Sicilian Baroque architecture, and its intricate stone carvings and ornate decorations will take your breath away. Be sure to take a guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of the cathedral.
Another must-see in Noto is the Palazzo Ducezio, a grand palace that was once the residence of the Duke of Noto. It now houses the town’s civic museum, where visitors can learn about Noto’s history and culture through its collection of art, artefacts, and historical documents.
If you want to experience the best of Noto’s culinary scene, head to the Via Corrado Nicolaci, also known as the “via del sapori,” or “the street of flavours.” This pedestrian-only street is filled with restaurants, cafes, and food shops, where you can sample some of the local specialities, such as arancini, caponata, and granita.
Foce del Belice is a small town located in the province of Trapani. This is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Sicily. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and its rich history and cultural heritage.
How to get to Foce del Belice
To get to Foce del Belice, you can fly into Palermo Airport and then take a bus or train from there to Castelvetrano, followed by a local bus or taxi to Foce del Belice.
Top Things to do in Foce del Belice
You can visit the Riserva Naturale Foce del Fiume Belice, or the Natural Reserve of the Mouth of the Belice River. This beautiful park is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including rare birds and marine life. The Castello di Venere, or the Castle of Venus, is an imposing castle that dates back to the 13th century and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Be sure to explore the castle’s many rooms and chambers.
Like this post? Save it for later!