Explore the historic and beautiful island of Sicily

My husband and I are taking a trip to Sicily for two weeks next month. We are both interested in architecture and history and would love some recommendations on places to visit while we are there.

My husband and I are taking a trip to Sicily for two weeks next month. We are both interested in architecture and history and would love some recommendations on places to visit while we are there.

Full of natural beauty and timeless history, Sicily is a great choice for a getaway. Although it is the Mediterranean’s largest island, it is still small enough so that you can see a large amount in a short space of time. There is certainly a lot to see and do. From eating in amazing restaurants to visiting beautiful historical sites and discovering breathtaking architecture, Sicily will not disappoint.

One of the most beautiful places in Sicily is its capital, Palermo, a top tourist destination not only in Italy but also in Europe. Palermo is a city full of history, culture, fabulous food and architecture. While there, I highly recommend the hop on-hop off bus tour to make sure you see as much as possible. On this tour, you will visit highly popular tourist attractions such as the Massimo theatre, the Vucciria Market, the botanical gardens and the Royal Palace, to name but a few.

Next stop on your list should be the picturesque village of Trapani. Situated on the west coast of Sicily, it is a lovely port and fishing village. It is also overlooked by Mount Erice which can be visited via cable car from Trapani. The village is infamous for its plains of salt pans and the tours of these plains are very popular with tourists. The museum of salt is also definitely worth a visit while you are there.

While in Trapani you should also check out the Lido di Marausa which is a beautiful beach that comes highly recommended due to its crystal clear waters. Also, be sure to visit Sunset beach hotel where the ‘tourist menu’ gives you a great insight into the Sicilian specialities such as Pasta alla Norma.

Next, I recommend travelling east to Taormina which is just under a four hour drive from Trapani. Taormina is home to an abundance of Michelin star restaurants as well as numerous beautiful beaches along the Lonian Sea. Although it is the busiest town in Sicily, it has managed to maintain its medieval charm with its interesting mix of buildings. The Teatro Greco with its views of Mount Etna is not to be missed.

The town’s picturesque setting and beautiful cathedral, The Duomo, makes it a very popular choice for weddings so you are sure to see a happy couple or two during your stay. The choice of restaurants and bars is almost daunting but Villa Antonio’s romantic setting and local cuisine is a must try for breakfast or brunch. Although expensive, the Hotel Metropole is an unforgettable way to relax with a drink at the end of the night, with its very alluring balcony overlooking the sea .

Finally, I would recommend the often overlooked city of Messina. Messina is the third largest city in Sicily and has a lot to offer. Due to the violent earthquakes in 1908 that struck the area, the buildings of Messina are predominantly modern in structure although its history is still evident throughout the city.

The cathedral of Messina is the most historic in the city as it contains the remains of King Conrad, ruler of Germany and Sicily in the 13th century. It’s also worth checking out the Regional Museum which is host to many beautiful paintings. A site that shouldn’t go unmissed during your trip is the Church of Santa Maria Alemann which is a little off the beaten track so can often go unseen by tourists. It was once the place of worship for Germans who lived in Messina but is now one of the few Gothic churches left standing in Sicily.

Where to stay

Cristal Palace Hotel, Palermo (****)

Prices start from €77 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

The Cristal Palace hotel is situated in the centre of Palermo, close to The Piazza Politeama, Teatro Massimo and the Regional Museum. There is a buffet breakfast in the morning with cold meats, jams, juices and rolls.

Hotel Isabella, Taormina (***)

Prices start from €80 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This hotel has its own private beach and is located in the centre of town with quick access to the Greek Theatre and Lido Mazzaro. Rooms feature balconies with sea or city views. The breakfast room features remains of the city’s ancient Roman walls and in the summer, breakfast is served on the roof terrace, which overlooks the nearby ancient theatre.

Al San Domenico Residence, Trapani

Prices start from €60 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices subject to availability at the time of booking

This hotel offers quick access to Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and Museo Regionale Pepoli and you’ll be in walking distance of historical sights like Santuario dell’Annunziate and Palazzo della Giedecca. One, two and three-room apartments are available and come with private patio, fully equipped kitchenette, and satellite TV. Common area facilities include free internet and a sun terrace that is available in spring and summer.

Capo Peloro Resort, Messina (Star rating not available)

Prices start from €74 per night on hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This hotel is situated in the heart of Messina convenient to Messina Fountain of Neptune and Pylons. The Capo Peloro is surrounded by 2.5 hectares of parkland including tennis courts, a playground and fitness centre.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday.