I would go back to Sicily in a heartbeat. Great food… Friendly people… Amazing weather… Beautiful and diverse scenery… History all over the place… Not overpriced… It’s got it all. Our travel itinerary focused more on the great food and amazing weather side of things.
It was the first time Dan, Tayl and I have been to Sicily, and it was my Dad and Jan’s first time in Italy all together. The rough plan was spend time in Cefalu, Taormina, and Mount Etna. Big shout out to Dan’s Dad, Tony, for the recommendations!
Highlights of the trip:
- Sicilian Cooking Class in Cefalu
- Boat tour in Taormina
- Hiking Mount Etna
- Granita for breakfast
- Arancini for lunch
- Pasta alla Norma for dinner
- Etna wine all the time
More below on our day-to-day itinerary …
We took an evening flight from London Stanstead and made our way to Palermo, Sicily. We arrived at around 10pm, picked up the rental car and drove straight to our accommodation in Cefalu. Picking up the car was easy and straight forward with Italy Car Rent and the drive to Cefalu was an easy highway journey.
Day 1 – Cefalu Beach
We woke up in our perfect apartment style accommodation booked with Difrontealmare Apartments on Booking.com. We had an ocean view, private patio and a pool onsite. We were about 2.5km’s away from Cefalu but that worked for us. It was a nice walk, quick run or an easy drive. Difrontealmare Apartments give you a free parking pass so if you drive into town, you don’t have to pay for parking. Free parking on the premises too.
We pretty much just chilled today. Went for a short run in the morning. Relaxed by the beach during the day. Enjoyed some great food. And then in the evening, we picked up groceries to make dinner and enjoy the sunset from our patio.
Day 2 – sicilian food lovers
Tayl and I walked into to town along the beach and met Dan at a bakery for some pastry’s and a coffee. Dad and Jan skipped breakfast in preparation for a big day of eating! We booked a Sicilian cooking course for today at a beautiful villa along the coast of Cefalu.
It was AMAZING. Highly recommend this experience with Sicilian Food Lovers. We booked it the night before by email and paid with cash day of. It was 95 Euro for the experience, coffee upon arrival, glass of Prosecco during antipasti, a three course meal with wine. You walk away from the day with a great experience, a good feed, a bag of leftovers and all the recipes.
Day 3 – Cefalu town centre, drive to taormina, pit stop in capo d’orlando
Cefalu town centre is a must see. Stunning piazza at the duomo (cathedral) and cute narrow streets to wander in.
We started our drive to Taormina, choosing to take the scenic route along the coast at first. We are a family that suffers with car sickness though, so this didn’t last long haha Ended up driving on the highway which has tolls, but it’s exceptionally faster.
We took a pit stop in Capo d’Orlando as recommended by a local. It seemed like a big city, so not as quaint but we found a great place along the beach called il Muretto for beach food and a few drinks. We hung out there for a couple hours in the afternoon sun before finishing our drive to Taoromina. In total Cefalu > Taormina with no stops and on the highway is only a 2 hour drive.
Our apartment in Taormina was another winner from booking.com. We stayed with Appartamenti Placido. Again, we had a private patio, we were a short walk from the beach and to the cable car where it is only 3 euro to get into the heart of Taormina’s town centre.
Taormina’s town centre is at the top of a mountain basically. If you want to stay in city centre, you won’t be near the beach. We opted to stay at the bottom of the the mountain by the coast and I’m so glad we did.
We didn’t know the cable car was so convenient when we first arrived and took a taxi instead… don’t do that, it’s not more convenient and it is more expensive.
We enjoyed a delicious meal at Ristorante al Duomo in Taormina Saturday night. Seafood pasta and freshly baked bread. NOM!
Day 4 – Taormina town centre, boat excursion along the coast
Slow start. Espresso by the beach. At around 11 we took the cable car into the town centre to wander the streets and the shops. We had THE BEST ARANCINI EVER at Da Cristiana. This is a must have.
The boat excursion was another highlight of the trip. The blue caves, dramatic cliffs and clear water. It’s the best way to see the coast.
Day 5 – mount etna, wine tasting, fly home
We packed up and said good bye to our cute apartment in Taormina, hit the road to start making our way to Mount Etna. I put Rifugio Sapienza into Google Maps which would bring us to a parking area and give us the option to take the cable car further up if we wanted to.
Roads are pretty straight forward, however I think we ended up taking the local route… It might be worth following the written instructions on the Rifugio Sapienza, Contact Us page (“How to arrive by car”) instead of following your google maps. But, we got there!
Mount Etna is Special. The colours in combination with the dramatic landscape are like nothing else I’ve seen. I would love to go back and spend more time at Mount Etna. We didn’t go to the top – it was 30 Euro’s for the cable car and it was pretty overcast so you wouldn’t see much. But we did a small hike near Rifugio Sapienza and the views were stunning.
It’s pretty crazy to think that we visited one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
On our way back down Mount Etna we made our way to Benanti Winery for Mount Etna wine tasting. The wine was incredible and the estate was beautiful. Seriously considering a Sicilian wedding for Dan and I after this visit. Absolutely incredible.
We tasted three wines… Etna Bianco 2015, Nerello Cappuccio 2015, and Nerello Mascalese 2014.
We tried all three wines at our own leisure which was really nice. They talked us through each bottle and organised to show us the wine cellar, the vintage wine making process and welcomed us to simply enjoy wandering the vineyard and estate facilities. We spent an hour and a half at Benanti Winery before making our way to the Catania Airport. It was a brilliant way to end a great trip…. and to take the edge off a hectic airport!
The drive from Benanti Winery to Catania Airport was 30 minutes. Thank-you, Dan for being our DD!
Highly highly highly recommend our travel itinerary if you are planning a trip in Sicily. We had an amazing time.