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Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

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Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Hi,

I'm heading to Sicily in December for 4 nights the week before Christmas! I'm flying into Palermo and it's our first time in the southern part of Italy! There are 2 of us. Looking to explore the city and the surrounding areas! But I'm finding it a little difficult getting resources on travel information on the island. Hence, what are good recommendations to do with my time there? a brief itinerary I can work on perhaps? We like beautiful sceneries (easily accessible by public transportation I hope) and are not really museum people, although we do like cathedrals.

Am definitely visiting Monreale. I plan to head to Taormina and Mt Etna. I tried locating a tour in December but are there no tours during that time of year?

Travel timetables are a little hard to come by as well. Unsure of where to start looking.

I also understand that Sicily is very large and we aren't renting a car. So we may not be able to see as much as we would like. But definitely do want to go to Taormina after looking at pictures!

Thanks!

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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1. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Welcome to Sicily Crystal S!

With only 4 nights in Sicily during winter and the holiday period, and travelling via public transport, perhaps reconsider Taormina, but especially reconsider Mount Etna. Mount Etna would have snow, and be very cold and windy.

You would spend all your time traversing Sicily from Palermo to Taormina, and back to Palermo.

Surely see Monreale, and perhaps Agrigento's Valley of the Temples.

Catania is the preferred airport for Taormina. Ideally you would arrive in Catania and depart from Palermo to save time doubling back.

If you'll arrive and depart in Palermo, and decide to see Taormina, then begin in Taormina and end in Palermo to better position for your departing flight.

You'll only have time for Taormina, Palermo, and Monreale.

Vagabonda

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2. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Thank you for your reply Vagabonda!

I can extend my trip for another night.

Day 1: Flying into Palermo around mid-day

Day 2: Monreale (Do i need a whole day?) + Agrigento (can I cover this in a day?)

Day 3: Head to Catania/Taormina and stay there. (What do you recommend to do there? other than Mt Etna) I do want to see Mt Etna from afar. Is from like a Greek Temple or some sort?

Day 4: Catania/Taormina.

Day 5: Proceed back to Palermo

Day 6: Catch flight home.

Any changes or other recommendations would be good! you would know best! I heard the wine is really good as well? and the region is around Palermo?

Where should I make my base for the east side of the island for 2 nights? Catania? or Syracuse? Somewhere easily accessible from Palermo perhaps?

Edited: 7:23 am, October 09, 2013
London, United...
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3. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Did a bit of digging around. Does this sound feasible?

Day 1 - Base: Palermo

Flight arrives 1pm

Sightseeing around city/Monreale

Day 2 - Palermo

Agrigento/Segesta (which one is better?)

Day 3 - (tbc)

Taormina

Day 4 - (tbc)

Syracuse

Day 5 - Base: Palermo

Erice, Trapani (worth visiting? Or would it better to stay in Palermo? or head to Cefalu?)

Day 6 - Palermo

Flight home at mid-day.

Thanks very much!

Here & There
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4. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Prego Crystal S,

That extra night will absorb some of your travel time, and you'll appreciate the extra time.

Allocate half a day to visit the Duomo in Monreale. Avoid Sundays since there's no AST bus service on Sundays from Palermo to Monreale.

Find the schedule for visitations in the yellow box on the right.

…chiesacattolica.it/cci_new/…

Agrigento would require a full day - It's impossible to day trip via public transport to Monreale and Agrigento on the same day.

Taormina is compact and its Teatro Greco is its top attraction. You can see views of Etna from Taormina, and the views of Etna from the Teatro Greco are especially beautiful.

frommers.com/destinations/…0137010029.html

Consider beginning in Taormina and ending in Palermo, and also allocating one less day to Taormina, and adding one more day to Palermo, especially if you'd like to visit Agrigento.

Vineyards are located in the countryside and would require a car, but there are some wine tasting experiences that can be enjoyed in Palermo and Taormina.

Best Wine Shop in Palermo?:

tripadvisor.com/…41336549

Wineries without a car:

tripadvisor.com/…42525685

Siracusa is lovely and Interbus runs direct bus service from Palermo to Siracusa.

Vagabonda

Here & There
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5. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Again consider heading directly to Eastern Sicily on arrival, and then clustering your time in Palermo at the end of your route. It's never efficient use of time to stay in the same town twice.

Or perhaps take the direct bus from Palermo's airport and begin in Agrigento.

http://www.autolineesal.it/

http://www.autolineesal.it/PuntaAn.html

Spend the night in Agrigento, and then head to Eastern Sicily, ending in Palermo.

Sicily in 5 days and 5 nights - tips please...:

tripadvisor.com/…25878383

Trapani itself is low on attractions.

Erice is a minimum 6-hour trip round-trip via public transport from Palermo.

Vagabonda

Hagerstown, Maryland
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6. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

You are trying to cover WAY TOO MUCH ground. It appears you are aiming to see sights in literally all four corners of this huge island in only 4 and a half days.

Do you really want to spend so much of your precious little time there riding on buses???

Edited: 8:36 am, October 09, 2013
London, United...
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7. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Well, we don't mind travelling on buses. The only limiting factor is the frequency of inter-city/town transportation.

What would be the best way to get from Palermo airport to Taormina then? Perhaps the first night can be there? second night in Syracuse and head back to Palermo for the remaining 3 nights?

Many thanks Vagabonda. you've been such a great help!

London, United...
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8. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Hi Vagabonda,

Do you recommend staying in Catania for two nights and making trips out to Taormina and Syracuse from there? Any good hotels in particular? :)

Or is it better for a night in Taormina and another in Syracuse?

Is there a direct bus from Palermo airport to Catania btw?

Thanks

Here & There
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9. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Prego Crystal S,

There is no direct public transport from Palermo's airport to Taormina.

You don't mind travelling on buses, but surely you would prefer more time at your destinations and less time getting there!

You would take the Prestia e Comandè bus from Palermo’s airport to Palermo.

http://www.prestiaecomande.it/

Click on “Aereoporto Falcone Borsellino – Palermo”:

www.prestiaecomande.it/…

Then take the direct SAIS Autolinee bus service from Palermo to Aeroporto Catania or Catania, and then take Interbus from Aeroporto Catania or Catania to Taormina.

http://www.saisautolinee.it/regionali.htm

http://www.interbus.it/Home.aspx

Siracusa warrants more time than Taormina.

There is direct Interbus service from Siracusa back to Palermo.

Whether you were to base in Catania and take day trips to Taormina and Siracusa is a matter of personal preferences, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each plan.

One-night stays are inefficient use of time with packing and unpacking and an afternoon hotel check-in, so 2 nights in Catania is more convenient from that perspective, and also convenient logistically.

But Taormina and Siracusa offer tremendous atmosphere and these towns are best enjoyed in the early morning and evening once day trippers have left.

Best regards,

Vagabonda

Glasgow, United...
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10. Re: Help with Planning for Sicily Trip!

Vagabonda has given you some really great option/ideas there. We have visited Sicily many times and have still to visit places. The public transport is good but you do spend time between finding the bus, getting tickets and being there for the bus departing (all time comsuming). The one I would suggest is the train journey to Agrigento, it is a lovely journey through the valleys and when you arrive in Agrigento you can take the bus to The Valley of the Temples which is well worth visiting.

Vagabonda could possibly give you time-tables/links to the train and buses required.

Don't try and do too much as it will spoil the enjoyment of each place you manage to visit.