The Marine park of Isoa bella. Taormina Boat tours.

Where to stay in Sicily for a week

The best 2024 guide to a seven day trip to the east coast of Sicily. A detailed article on how to get the best out of a week vacation in Sicily.

Sicily East coast seven days itinerary

As I have already written about Sicily in previous articles, the island is big; it is the biggest of the mediterranean sea. So if you plan to visit the entire region in just a week or even fifteen days, you better revise your plan, unless you do not mind driving for a whole week, ending up with a stressful vacation. Sicily has two of the most active volcanoes in the world, three archipelagos with some stunning islands, seven of which are Unesco World Heritage, some of the best-preserved Greek ruins, three thousand years of history, and culture. So I suggest choosing one or two provinces of this marvelous island and deep yourself in the culture, food, and natural beauty while relaxing. Before presenting our itinerary We want to answer a few of the most common questions such as: What to do in a week in Sicily? What to see in Sicily in a week? And where to stay in Sicily for a week?

Check out our related articles. best beaches in Sicily, Sicilian Food.

Where to stay in Sicily for a week?

The best beach in Taormina
The sandy beach of Giardini Naxos

Sicily has lots to offers to holidaymakers. Since I have to advise our readers about the best place where to spend a week in Sicily I've chosen the east coast. Especially if you are visiting Sicily for the first time, we believe that the east coast is the ideal place where to start from. In how many places around the globe can you hike up to 10000 ft. on an active volcano listed in the Unesco world heritage, and within an hour, grab your Snorkeling kit and swim in the crystal waters of a Marine Park? While along the way, you will pass through wine fields, alpine vegetation, Greek roman, and byzantine ruins, and finally end up on a sandy beach? Not many and certainly no one in the Mediterranean. This is just a brief recap of the many natural wonders and historical aspects that the east Sicilian coast can offer. Along with our guide, you will find a detailed itinerary

What to do in Sicily for a week?

Well, in a week holiday in Sicily, there are plenty of things to do. Wine tastings, Boat tours, snorkeling trips, Mount Etna hiking trips, kayak tours, historical buildings to see and off-the-beaten-path villages to discover. I’m sure that what I have listed so far it’s enough to keep you reading our ultimate East coast Sicily itinerary 2024.

What to see in Sicily for a week?

Taormina and Mount Etna
A view of Mount Etna from Taormina Greek Theatre

Among the top five things to see in a week's holiday on the east coast of Sicily, there is the Greek theatre of Taormina. The hillside villages of the Alcantara Valley. Mount Etna one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. The Marine Park of Isola Bella in Taormina, offering a beautiful Mediterranean landscape. The Alcantara Gorges, a volcanic canyon plowed by a clear river. The list could go on, as you read our Sicily seven days itinerary we are going to share tips and suggestions to get the best out of a visit to the most important attractions.

Best time to visit Sicily

Sicily can be visited all throughout the year and in any given season the island displays a different beauty. The best time to visit Sicily is from the end of May to the end of mid-October. Keep in that the central summer months are very hot and most of the tourist locations are extremely crowded. If we had to choose an ideal month, both for beach life and for visiting the cities, we will definitely choose September, the days are always long, and the sunshine is good. Temperature is not very hot as in July and August, there are far fewer tourists, but above all the sea is warm for long and relaxing swims.

The best attractions of Sicily east coast

Mount Etna

Mount Etna is the undisputed king of the east coast, and hiking on its slopes is an unforgettable experience at any time of year. In the winter and spring, excellent skiing is possible, and the upper slopes of Europe's highest volcano are rarely without snow. The towns and villages that dot the flanks of Etna are built in lava stone and are well worth stopping off at a local winery for a Wine tasting and a delicious lunch. Mount Etna offers plenty of outdoor opportunities.

Alcantara valley 

The lush Alcantara valley is home to the stunning homonymous canyon, a river, and many villages where time seems to have stopped. The citrus and olive cultivations mixed with the palms trees, prickly pear, and another multitude of plants create unique biodiversity. Body Rafting, river walks, and Hikes are the most popular activities in this valley.

Taormina and the marine park of Isola Bella

Taormina is often referred to as an open museum. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century. The buildings built with white limestone and the roads made of black volcanic rocks have welcomed and inspired tens of artists over the last 300 years. The nightlife is exciting, and thanks to the international movie and jazz festival, which takes place in June and August, a multicultural and vibrant atmosphere is palpable. Within 5 minutes drive from Taormina, we find Giardini Naxos bay with its crystal waters and a breath-taking view on mount Etna and the stunning Marine park of Isola Bella Taormina, housing a top location for Snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.

Seven Day Sicily East coast itinerary 

Day 1 Arrival at Catania Fontana Rossa airport. (1 night)

A view of Catania Piazza Duomo.
Picture by Roberto Viglianisi

On the first day in Catania, you can discover a part of the historical center with a walking tour from Piazza Duomo along the Via Etnea, the main road of Catania. We suggest visiting the Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Piazza Duomo and the Public Garden. To enjoy the nightlife of Catania go to the area around Piazza Università and Piazza Teatro, all the narrow roads hosts hundred of Pubs and wine bars. The "scogliera" along the seaside can be a beautiful place to enjoy the nightlife in the summertime.

 Tip: Along the Via Etnea in front of the public garden, you find two great places to try some of the best fast food of Sicily known by locals as "Tavola calda." The two bars to look for are "Menza" and "Spinella" Try the Arancini and the Sciacciata.

Day 2 Catania's Fishmarket and Taormina.

Isola bella Taormina
The Turquoise water of Taormina Isola Bella Marine Park.

Day two can start with a visit to the local fish market that encloses Sicily's Mediterranean spirits. If you want, have lunch in one of the many small restaurants; otherwise, hit the road towards the second location of your Sicilian trip, the stunning Taormina. At sunset, go for a boat tour to Isola Bella and Grotta Azzurra in the Marine Park in Taormina and enjoy Mount Etna's view towering over Giardini Naxos Bay. The tour costs €20/€30; it depends where you buy it. The boat tours departing from Giardini Naxos onboard serve fruit and drinks.

Tips: Try to start the boat tour from Giardini Naxos. The excursion lasts longer and costs less. The boat tour price it's €20 and includes fruit and drinks.


How to get to Taormina from Catania:

By Car: Drive along the autostrada A18 (Motorway) and exit to Taormina junction or Giardini Naxos if you want to enjoy the last five kilometers along a panoramic road.

By Train: It takes 45 minutes; the ticket price is €5 but keep in mind that Taormina train station is five kilometers away from the city center. To reach Taormina, you need to catch a local bus or ask a taxi driver to take you to Taormina.

By Bus: If you do not drive, the bus is the best option. The price of the ticket is €8, and it takes you to Taormina city center.

Tip: Do not let the taxi driver rip you off. A fair price for a ride from Taormina train station to The city center is around €10.

Day 3 Chill out and discover Taormina and Castelmola.

Taormina sicily
Corso Umberto Taormina. Sicily

Use your third day to discover the beauty of Taormina, walk along the main road Corso Umberto and enjoy the amazing view on Mount Etna, the green Alcantara Valley, and the Mediterranean Sea. Explore the narrow cobbled streets and fall in love with this enchanting Italian town. If you are short of ideas, check our Taormina guideAt sunset, visit Castelmola, the small village above Taormina. The view is phenomenal.

Tip: Vist the Naumachie, the Odeon theater, and Taormina's Public Garden.

Day 4 Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorge

Body rafting Sicily
Sicily Active Body rafting Team at the Alcantara Gorge

With a full-day Etna tour departing from Taormina, you can visit two iconic places of Sicily's east coast; Mount Etna and the Alcantara Gorge. A standard tour includes sightseeing of some mountain villages on the way to the volcano, a walking tour to some ancient crater, and a lava cave visit. After lunchtime, the tour of Etna goes to the stunning Canyon of the Alcantara Gorge. We suggest using Sicily Active, a local tour operator that offers a wide choice of Etna tours, with the best prices to be found in Taormina and Giardini Naxos. If you have your car, you can drive to Mount Etna yourself passing through Linguaglossa town, and on the way back, stop at the Alcantara Gorge.

Tip: Half-day Mount Etna tours are also available.

Tip: Try a body Rafting Adventure to explore the Alcantara Canyon.


Day 5 Siracuse and Fontane Bianche Beach.

A view of Syracuse. Sicily

Syracuse's city is sixty kilometers away from Taormina and can be reached in 90 minutes through the motorway. We suggest going straight to the island of Ortigia, to visit the local market. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Delle Colonne and the Archeological park with some impressive ancient Greek ruins are among other things to see in Syracuse. For the archaeological park of Neapolis, plan about 2 hours to explore it. You can combine this visit with the archaeological museum, located 500 meters from the park. To finish your visit to Syracuse, reach the beautiful beach of Fontane Bianche, have lunch and enjoy the crystal waters of this Sicilian beach.

Tip: Santa Lucia Sepolcro in Syracuse treasures a masterpiece of the renaissance painter Caravaggio.

Day six Half day visit to Savoca and Forza D'agrò 

a view of Savoca Sicily
The hillside town of Savoca. Sicily

For your sixth day in Sicily, we suggest discovering the Valley of Agrò, visiting two pretty villages Forza D'Agrò and Savoca, both used by F.F. Coppola, the American movie director, to film the saga of the Godfather movie. The town of Savoca is located on the Peloritani Mt. range at about 300m above sea level and, thanks to its great geographical position, enjoys an extraordinary panorama. The village overlooks two valleys where the Savoca and Agrò streams flow. Make sure you do not stop just by the famous bar Vitelli. Go for a walking tour of the town. Visit the Chiesa Madre, the main church inside; houses some frescos dating back to the fifth century. If you like "spooky" experiences, go to the museum of the mummies. The city of Forza D'Agrò retains the medieval urban conformation. It is framed by lush nature: the dense intertwining of lanes and streets and the enchanting view of the Ionian coast that goes from Etna to Messina are already two good reasons to visit the town! Use the afternoon to relax at Isola Bella beach.

Tip: If you want to have lunch before going back to Taormina, eat-in Forza D'Agrò. The town has a good choice of restaurants.

Day Seven The Pirata Beach in Giardini Naxos

Giardini Naxos Beach.
Aerial view of the Beautiful "Pirata Beach club"

Giardini Naxos is just five kilometers away from Taormina and has many beaches. Why not use your last day to relax, enjoy a tasty lunch by the sea and energize before the flight back home? Most of the people visiting Giardini Naxos go to the sandy beach of "Schiso." Nothing wrong with it, but it's super busy, and the restaurants around are nothing special. Spoil yourself and go to the beautiful Pirate bay. This beach can be reached just on foot or with a scooter but do not worry, five minutes it's all it takes to get there. As you get to the beach, skip the first "Lido" (private beach) and go to the "Lido" Pirata, the service it's fantastic, the food even better, and the stretch of sea is lovely. By lunchtime, spoil yourself with a delicious meal. I go myself to Lido Pirata, and I've never been disappointed. The walking lane to get to Pirata beach is located right opposite Giardini Naxos Carabinieri ("Police") station.

Tip: At lunchtime, try the Risotto with seafood, which is delicious. If you want to try a typical Sicilian dish, ask for sea urchins pasta or "Crudi," a raw fish selection.