Planning a trip to Sicily proved a little trickier than I anticipated. I spent ages searching holidays to Sicily and didn’t really find much for just a weekend break to the island. Yes, a week or two would be lovely but if you need to be selective with how much annual leave you use on each break then a weekend trip is ideal.
I guess when I say I searched holidays, I really mean flights to Sicily. I tend to book my flights, accommodation and transfers separately. Sicily has been on my travel wish list for ages now. It made my top ten destinations lists for both 2015 and 2016, so I’m SO happy to have finally booked my first of many Sicily holidays. Yes, I’m convinced I’ll love it that much!
So, if like me you’re dreaming of a Sicilian getaway, this post is an attempt to help you on your way. This is my itinerary for our long weekend in Sicily.
Flights to Sicily
If you’ve ever looked at a map of Sicily you’ll know how small the island is. Although it’s petite there are quite a few airports to choose from, including Palermo, Catania, Trapani and Comiso. From the UK, budget airlines, easyJet and Ryanair fly to most of them, but the schedules vary depending on the time of year, your outbound airport and the day of the week.
Palermo is in the north of the island, Catania in the east, Comiso in the south and Trapani in the west. At first I was trying to pick our flights based on where I most wanted to hang out in Sicily, but that was stupid. As we’re going for a weekend break we’re going to be on the move, so it’s kind of irrelevant where we start. Plus, the island is so small that any of those hubs would work fine as a base.
We have decided to fly from London Stansted to Palermo via Ryanair because the flights were SUPER cheap – just £45 return – and these were the only flights that went on our chosen days (late Friday to avoid a whole day off work and late return on Monday to maximise our time out there).
It’s worth noting that the prices vary incredibly depending on what time of year you want to visit. I’ve been watching flight prices for ages and it’s probably been one of the main reasons I haven’t gone (yet!). They’ve been up to £200-£300 each. We’re travelling out of season, when it’ll be chillier but we *should* have blue skies and let’s face it, it should definitely be hotter than the UK!
The Plan and Things to Do in Sicily
We’re spending three nights in Sicily and staying in three different locations to create a weird triangle shape that takes us to the things that are top of our list. There’s no way that we’ll be able to do everything that we want to in just a weekend break, so we’ve picked our faves. It’ll still be quite full on, but that’s how we like our trips!
We’ll start in Palermo at the top of the island, head down to the south to Agrigento, across to the east to Etna and then back up to Palermo to fly home.
I’ll be travelling with Jay and my baby Nova, who will actually be more like a toddler by then. We arrive at Palermo late on Friday night, so rather than delay Nova’s bedtime more than needed we’re not going to faff about with a rental car at the airport. We’re going to hop in a taxi straight to our first hotel.
Well, it’s more like a B&B which is a little unusual for me. I’m not normally a fan, so I hope Porta di Castro won’t disappoint! The reviews on TripAdvisor are really, really good, though I didn’t read those until after I’d booked. It’s the quirky, yet stylish charm and location that swung it for me. Oh and the price – just £66 for the one night.
Before you say anything, I know it doesn’t look particularly baby proof – just look at those balconies and decorative bits and bobs, but children are welcome. We may have a baby, but we haven’t really changed our travel style. We’re pretty laidback, so a ‘normal’ hotel (rather than a super child-friendly one) still works for us.
As we arrive so late we’re only really using this place as somewhere to sleep. It’s right in the historical part of Palermo so it should be a good place to start exploring. At some point we’ll collect a rental car and then head on a three hour drive to Agrigento.
I’m SO excited for this part of the trip as it’s where you can find the world heritage site by UNESCO, the Valley of the Temples. Think well-preserved Greek temples and the ruins of the ancient city Akragas. If I’m honest this is mainly what spurred my obsession with Sicily.
Rightly so, we’re staying at Hotel Villa Athena. It’s just 200 metres from the Temple of Concordia, so you can see it from the hotel. It’s a five star hotel, but it’s affordable luxury. Our room only cost £111 for the night.
I’m hoping the annual almond blossom festival will still be on when we’re in Agrigento. I bet it’s so pretty.
Late on Sunday we’ll drive two-three hours to our final hotel, Monaci delle Terre Nere. It’s a Mr & Mrs Smith hotel so I know that it’ll be perfect. We actually used a voucher that we got for Christmas towards our booking, but regardless of that we still got a great deal because we’re travelling out of season.
Its location is awesome as it’s near Mount Etna; Europe’s tallest and most active volcano. As you can probably gather by now we’re not into conventional family travel, so to compliment Nova’s time on a Canadian glacier we’ll be taking him up a volcano! I’m not sure if we’ll trek, ski or go on one of those cool jeep tours, but either way it’s going to be so much fun.
We’ll then head back on another two-three hour drive to Palermo for our flight home. And then no sooner than we touch down I’m sure I’ll be plotting our next holiday to Sicily!
Replicate the Trip
Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Palermo
Friday: Palermo | Porta di Castro
Saturday: Agrigento | Hotel Villa Athena
Sunday: Mount Etna | Monaci delle Terre Nere
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