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Road trip: Discovering Sicily, from Palermo to Syracuse

Discovering Sicily by car gives you the opportunity to explore the Mediterranean’s largest island and completely immerse yourself – from Palermo to Syracuse – in its characteristic charm, kaleidoscope of ancient civilizations, Eastern and Western medieval influences and appreciate all the outrageousness of the Baroque style.

Explore the island at your own pace and in total freedom, enjoying the quality of its network of roads and the Mediterranean climate, to linger in the cosmopolitan and exuberant cities, which have often been celebrated by painters, musicians and filmmakers. Discover the many facets of this Italian gem where the volcanic soil, the sunny beaches, the remarkable cultural and architectural heritage and the pleasures of the table are all assets to a memorable stay.

Along your route, alternate between 2-lane motorways and less-travelled roads, and discover the treasures of Sicily.

From Palermo airport, it’s only a 30-kilometre drive to the city centre. Don’t forget to admire the beautiful historic buildings and Baroque-style monuments that give charm to the Sicilian capital, a warm place on a large bay between the sea and the mountains.

On the road towards ancient Sicily, via Agrigento

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To reach Agrigento from Palermo, you can complete part of your journey by taking the motorway to Erice, a beautiful iconic village of ancient Sicily. Then change your route, going along the coast lined with salt marshes and windmills before reaching Agrigento. Located halfway between Palermo and Syracuse, the archaeological site of Agrigento remains one of Sicily’s major attractions, classified a Humanity Heritage site by UNESCO. Its Valley of the Temples and the remnants of an ancient city transport you from this century to ancient times.

Syracuse, the must-see stop on your Sicilian journey

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You just have to drive for two and a half hours to cover the 200 kilometres and discover Syracuse, a maritime city justifiably considered the most beautiful city on the island.

You’ll understand why when you visit its beautiful monuments, whether it’s the Cathedral, the Greek Theatre dug in the rock or the Ear of Dionysius, a cave located in an old quarry.

In addition to its exceptional scenery, Syracuse offers delicious gastronomic surprises like spaghetti à la bottarga with tuna, sausages with white wine and fennel seeds and cannoli, tasty sweet beignets with ricotta cheese.

A stop in Taormina, between the sea and the volcano

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Once you have explored every nook and cranny of Syracuse, go to Taormina, about 120 kilometres further on the East Coast.

Since you’re free to set your own schedule, take advantage of visiting the city at the end of the day and mingle with the natives, who are dressed to the nines at this hour, and wander the streets of this Sicilian Saint-Tropez, stopping for ice cream or to have a cup of latte di mandorla.

In the upper part, Taormina reveals a number of architectural and cultural gems: its medieval village, Gothic palaces and ancient Greek theatre, where performances are still performed today.

If you prefer Getaways in nature to cultural tourism, Taormina also gives you a fantastic view overlooking the sea on one side and facing Etna on the other.
In the lower part, you can access dream beaches by taking the sandy cross paths.

As well as taking the time for an excursion to the volcano, you’ll probably have the chance to witness one of the frequent eruptions of Mount Etna, a show as impressive as it is unique, which is well worth the detour!

 

Marsala at the crossroads

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Continue on your custom-made auto-tour by heading towards the province of Trapani, on the Western Sicilian coast.

At the bends in the road, the many viaducts offer incomparable views of the varied charms of a coastal and agricultural region, where long beaches and dizzying cliffs alternate with vineyards and fields of fruit trees. Upon leaving Marsala, several unique routes offer you the chance to discover an unusual side of Sicily: Go between Marsala and Agrigento by the Cala dei Turchi, a panoramic coastal route, which rolls along with wide turns on a quarry that has been transformed over time by the sea into a pristine chalk cliff.

Save the famous wine route to your GPS, which serves all of western Sicily, since this province manufactures wines of high quality, delicious muscats and marsala wine, an alcoholic beverage renowned for its quality, manufactured in the artisanal tradition, historically known as the wine of Venus and used in Italian cuisine such as the star ingredient in tiramisu.

Before you complete your journey by returning to Palermo, follow via del Sale along the coast, the salt road typical of the region where ancient Dutch windmills and salt marshes extend over more than 900 acres from Marsala to Trapani.

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