The Top Cities in Sicily to Explore – Top 7

Italy is split up into several different regional stops, and each region has some awesome cities to take in. Sicily is one of the most popular regions as the largest island of Italy with tons of great sites. But there are close to 400 cities in Sicily alone!

How can you possibly prioritize and pick out exactly where you want to go?

You really can’t go wrong anywhere in the spectacular countryside of Sicily. From the north coast to the southern coast and everywhere in between, this breakaway from Mainland Italy will leave you in awe. But if you’re trying to figure out exactly where to pick up the highlights, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve compiled this simple guide to help you pick out where you want to visit in Sicily, from ancient city locations to archaeological sites to stunning beaches and many other Sicilian towns.

We’ve got the top cities to explore highlighted for you. Keep reading to learn more!

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From the Italian Mainland to Sicily – The 7 Best Cities to See

From the east coast to western Sicily, there are some beautiful towns with a lot to offer. We’ve narrowed down some of the most popular and stunning locations to help you create your itinerary and decide where you want to go among the many towns in Sicily.

These are our top 8 picks to check out on the list of cities of Sicily.

  1. Syracuse
  2. Palermo
  3. Messina
  4. Catania
  5. Taormina
  6. Val Di Noto Towns
  7. Aeolian Islands

1. Syracuse – Eastern Sicily

Syracuse city in Sicily

Syracuse is one of the major cities in Sicily. This city is an impressive destination for many reasons. If you’re looking for the best city to stay in Sicily, this coastline vantage point brings you the best of the beach, architecture, and plenty for the visitors to enjoy.

Enjoy fantastic scenery from one of Sicily’s finest locations. Life has never been better while you sip famous wines, enjoy the Mediterranean Sea, tour through the ruins, and more.

This is one of the most beautiful towns on the island, and you really can’t go wrong here.

Along the Sicilian coast, you can find an old Roman amphitheater, a sandy beach, Greek theatre remains, and lively markets that will impress.

2. Palermo

Palermo city

Palermo falls at the opposite end of the island from Syracuse, placed in the north where culture and the villages are different from other parts of the island. And yet, it’s another top choice of several towns in this area. You can find sites like the Norman Palace and a well-known Greek theater from the 12th century.

Palermo is one of the main cities in Sicily as the capital and stands out against many Sicily cities that just don’t have as much architecture or diversity throughout them. As the biggest city in Sicily, you can enjoy wine, beaches, Norman Castle, and so much fun on your trip.

Head in during the summer months to see centuries of history on display. Check out the churches, walk among the hills and valleys, and just explore to your heart’s content in this largest city of Sicily.

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3. Messina

Messina Sicily

Messina lies just off the Strait, which means it has easy ferry access and rests pretty much right at sea level. Many Sicilians take up residence in this town, and it’s one of the best cities to visit in Sicily for a few reasons. It’s an impressive location with a lot to offer.

This location is famous for its olive groves, huge trees, and sloping hills along the countryside. You can check out the astonishing Cathedral, as well as some ancient churches in the area. Sicily’s pride and joy are clear in this lovely botanical location that will make you smile the entire time you’re here.

Be sure to add San Giorgio to your itinerary while visiting these towns in Sicily.

4. Catania – East Coast Sicily

City of Catania

Catania is the famous location of Mount Etna, the volcano with a long-standing reputation. Mount Etna is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and has wreaked havoc across many beautiful towns in the area.

However, it also contributes to those beautiful towns with fertile soil and amazing sights.

The volcano soil leads to beautiful beaches across several smaller town locations, including Catania. This might be the best city to visit in Sicily if you want a good look at the Etna volcanic spots.

Two-thirds of the villages and island’s population surrounding the north part of Catania have been affected. It is one of the most important cities to remember for things like the nature reserve, the proximity of the Catania airport, Aci Castello, and the welcoming climate year-round.

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5. Taormina

Taormina sea view

Taormina is another of the most beautiful towns and one of Sicily’s finest towns to boot. Loaded with layered culture and stunning island life, this Sicily town is located on the side of the hill overlooking the sea.

The old town offers the welcoming lifestyle of a small town but is actually quite large.

In one area, you can see the remnants of the Greek historical sites, and in another you can check out hotspots like Corso Umberto, Isola Bella, and other small towns in Sicily.

The ancient Greek theater located here actually still gets used and maintains the original structure, which is something many of the top locations of Italy and Sicily continue to do.

This is one of the top villages to explore to see the historical sites of the Greeks, and it’s certainly something they are known for here.

If you are a fan of these towns, make sure to check out our list of small towns in Italy.

6. Val di Noto – Unesco World Heritage Sites

Ragusa city in Val di Noto area

If you’ve heard of the Salt Works natural reserves and spa, you can easily visit them and explore further from the Val di Noto location. This is one of seven Unesco world heritage spots, along with locations like Villa Romana Del Casale, Catania, and several others in Italy.

Located in the Southeast locale, Val di Noto area has some of the most beautiful towns in Sicily, and they are absolutely breathtaking. Many of these towns are smaller locations in Sicily, Italy, but they are no less grand than some of their counterparts.

On your next trip, be sure to look up the Hyblaean Plateau of Sicily and explore the town and all that it has to offer. From historical Baroque beauty to splendid limestone pathways, you won’t regret this visit.

Val di Noto towns are:

  • Caltagirone
  • Catania
  • Militello in Val di Catania
  • Modica
  • Noto
  • Palazzolo Acreide
  • Ragusa
  • Scicli
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7. Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands, Sicily

Visit the Aeolian Islands in the summer and enjoy your holiday while you explore yet another of the most beautiful towns in Sicily. This island comprises seven small island locations in Sicily, Italy, and you can visit one or all of them.

This summer destination includes Lipari, which is the largest island to visit in this area. The entire cluster is a volcanic archipelago and is said to be the home of the mythical ruler of the winds.

Whether you visit in the summer or head out in another season, you can experience wine, churches, history, culture, and so much more!

Tips to Take in The Best Towns in Sicily

Best Towns in Sicily

Italy is a huge location, and you can see the evidence of that in the fact that locations like Sicily are almost 10,000 square miles of land. Throughout Italy, there are amazing locations just like this one, and you have to be able to narrow it down or spend days/weeks trekking across the countryside to take it all in.

Take a look at these tips to help you plan your trip to Sicily, Italy, and how to make the most of it.

See Several Cities at a Time

You don’t have to trek through all of the cities in Sicily while you are in Italy. While we would all love to have that much time, it only makes sense that you will have to prioritize and narrow it down.

As you head to Sicily, pick a few top locations and then work in others where you can. As you travel through Sicily from one place to another, you can often get a glimpse of those locations in Italy you don’t get to spend a day in.

Move Around in Sicily

Another top tip is to move around the areas of Sicily that you want to experience in the summer ahead. You could plant yourself at a resort in Sicily and then just trek nearby with day trips, or you can move from one place to another and see several different stunning stops along the way.

You could travel by train between the main cities. Here is more info about trains in Italy.

This will take some planning, but it’s a great way to experience more!

Bar Vitelli

If you’re headed to Sicily, Italy, take the time to visit the location of The Godfather. Fans of the famed movie masterpiece visit from Europe and locations all over the world just to say they’ve been to Italy and experienced the location that The Godfather was set in.

Of towns in Sicily with unique vibes, this one has a story all its own, and all of Italy knows it.

Of course, there are many towns in Sicily and Italy that have stories and backgrounds. It all just depends on the type of story you are looking for.

Prioritize Sites to See

Another great way to figure out where to go and where to skip until the next time is to prioritize the things you specifically want to see. Do you want to see the beach, historical architecture, a Greek theater, or something else?

Pinpoint those hotspots and then plan your trip around them, filling in other stops where you can!

Explore Sicily in All Its Grandeur

Explore Sicilian cities

Sicily rests not so far from the tips of North Africa. This island location has so many different types of scenery and adventures that you will have an awesome time no matter where you go.

We’ve shared our top 7 picks for the best cities in Sicily to take in while you’re here, but there are many other choices along the way that will be great adventures too.

What do you look forward to experiencing the most while in Sicily?

Also, see what other islands of Italy offer for you, for example, Capri.

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Cities in Sicily on Map


What are the Two Main Cities in Sicily?

Catania and Palermo are probably the most known and largest cities in the area.

What is the Most Beautiful Part of Sicily?

Taormina has been said to be the most beautiful location here.

Which is the Best Town to Stay in Sicily?

There are several really great choices. Any of our seven picks above will be amazing. Some other choices also include Trapani and Cefalu.

What City is Near Mount Etna?

Catania is the city most known for being by Mount Etna. There are some others nearby as well.

What is the Nicest Town in Sicily?

It’s really a matter of opinion, but places like Syracuse, Cefalu, Palermo, and Taormina certainly fall at the top of the list.