Sicily is amazing island packed with beautiful historic places, stunning nature and great beaches. If you add to it delicious food and hospitable people, you have the place which you could explore for months.
Unfortunately most of us don’t have that much of holiday time, that’s why after many visits of this gorgeous island we put together 2 itineraries for 4 day long holiday.
The first Sicily itinerary for 4 days concentrates on the historic heritage of Sicily. The second Sicily itinerary for 4 days is about natural beauties and beaches.
1st Sicily itinerary for 4 days – historic heritage
If historic heritage is what you are mainly looking for then the southeast Sicily will satisfy you fully. The whole area is called Val di Noto and is listed as UNESCO heritage.
In this itinerary we will see historic cities of Catania, Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Modica and Scicli. You can optionally stop at Vendicari reserve which is great spot to enjoy some beaching.
The infrastructure is not that good in Sicily, so it is best to rent a car right away in Catania airport. 4 days is not that much and car will help you to be much more flexible and use your short time here fully. We always use this website which compares all major rentals and offers you the best deal.
The great entry point for this itinerary is city of Catania. There are plenty of the cheap flights flying here from all over the Europe. You can fly here with low cost companies like Wizz Air or Ryanair, but as it is 2nd biggest city in Sicily you can choose basically any airline carrier.
Catania was founded in the 8th century BC by Chalcidians and was one of the most important cultural cities of Sicily. The city was destroyed as most of the Sicily by 17th century earthquake and the whole city was rebuilt in baroque style, using black volcanic basalt from nearby Etna volcano as important building material. This gives the city unique character which you can enjoy for the 1st day.
We stayed overnight here. The apartment has very good location in the city center and with 2 bedrooms and kitchen it has all you need to comfortable explore the city. For more info about Catania read our separate article dedicated to this city.
The next day we will go south stoping in Syracuse city for half of the day. The gem and historical center of Syracuse is Ortigia island, which is connected with the rest of the city by 2 bridges. The island is not that big, so we recommend to park a car nearby the bridges of Ortigia and walk around the island by foot. We parked our car here for free.
Ortigia was in past practically fortified harbor area which could protect big amount of people living there. The best thing you can do is to get lost in the small streets of Ortigia and enjoy the atmosphere of the island. The island holds beautiful cathedral, many churches, fort on the south and there are even 2 small (not that attractive) beaches.
After the lunch on the seaside we will continue 30km south to the city of Noto.
Noto has a diverse history as it was under influence of Romans, Arabs and Normans at the different times of the history. Noto was also destroyed by the huge earthquake in 17th century and now it is masterpiece of Sicilian baroque style. The city is a place of many religious buildings and several palaces. The main cathedral is breathtaking and it is totally worth spending a night in Noto.
There is great place to stay directly in the city center of Noto. It is clean, simple and great value for the price.
Despite this itinerary concentrates on historic Sicily, it would be shame not the taste at least a bit of Sicilian nature and have a swim in the Ionian sea. That’s why we would recommend to visit Vendicari reserve in the morning. It is coastal protected area and there are several beautiful beaches to swim. The best beach is probably Calamosche and it is short walk from the parking lot here, but you can check official site of Vendicari if you would like to hike along the coast.
If you don’t want to swim you can go right away further south to the Marzamemi.
Marzamemi is beautiful coastal hamlet which was strongly influenced by Arabic present. They also built there very important tonnara, which is the place to catch and process red tuna fish in traditional way. Marzamemi is so small that you can walk around in 1 hour. The main square is exceptionally beautiful and is totally worth a stop.
Our local friend Vincenzo told us that the square is not good place to eat though, because it is aimed on tourists, it is expensive and the food is not that good. We ate here in nearby street some sicilian street food – Arancini. Arancini is rice ball mixed with different stuffing (ragu, salmon, spinach,…) covered in breadcrumbs and fried.
If you feel like trying some local sweets, we totally recommend nearby cafe Al Ciclope. We went there every morning for breakfast and ate our favourite local sweet delicates – role di pasta bigna. It is local ricotta cheese rolled in soft dough. Another typical Sicilian pastry is cannoli. We could eat it every day. It is also ricotta (yes they use ricotta a lot in Sicily) cheese rolled in fried crunchy dough.
After you enjoy the hamlet it is time to move on. The next destination is Scicli.
As basically all the cities in this itinerary, also Scicli is listed as UNESCO heritage. Scicli is small city literally cut into the surrounding rocks. The rocks around the city are full of caves which were inhabitat by local poor until 1958. During the history, Scicli was under the rule of Arabs and Normans and after the 17th century earthquake was beautifully rebuilt in Sicilian baroque style.
You can walk around the city center and also to the nearby viewpoint, which is the place of San Matteo church overlooking the whole city. After few hours in the city you will move to the last destination of this day – Modica.
Modica is much bigger city than Scicli and you can feel the bustling atmosphere there. The city was established 1360 BC and went through diverse history (as most of the cities here). It saw coming and leaving important powers like Carthaginians, Sicels, Arabs, Normans and Romans until it was destroyed by the same earthquake as the rest of the area in 1693.
Today it is home to beautiful cathedrals and churches, but also to restaurants serving local specialities. Modica has also long tradition of making the real chocolate. You should definitely try that, because it is very different from any other chocolate. For the chocolate visit the shop/museum right opposite of the San Pietro cathedral in the city center.
But because you will probably arrive to the Modica late in the evening, you will explore it properly the next day.
For this day we would recommend to stay at this place. Every history enthusiast will love this place. Uniquely designed flat which reflects the beauty of the city. Concentration on every detail, super polite hosts and personalized stay for every single guest.
First half of this day we will spend in Modica and after the lunch we will move to nearby Ragusa. It is one of our favourite places of the whole Sicily and it will be great ending of Sicily itinerary for 4 days.
Ragusa is gorgeous city sitting on the limestone hill between two valleys. It consist of two parts – Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Superiore. Both parts are divided by deep ravine, so prepare for lot of walking up and down and lot of stairs. Narrow alleys of historic Ragusa Ibla are very atmospheric with beautiful houses and many churches all around the city. Similar wild history as other cities around brought many different civilizations and cultures into this city since two milleniums BC when the city was founded.
After you walk around both parts of Ragusa, it is time to get back to Catania where we started.
Reading this itinerary you might wonder why did we skip Palermo, which offers huge variety of historical monuments. We think that southeast part of Sicily offers so much when it comes to history and architecture that it doesn’t make sense to drive across the whole island just to see Palermo.
2nd Sicily itinerary for 4 days – natural heritage
This Sicily itinerary for 4 days concentrates on natural beauty. As 4 days are very short time for Sicily, we will stay in northwest part of Sicily which has a lot to offer when it comes to nature.
Same as in previous itinerary it is recommended to rent a car immediately after you arrive to the airport. It will help to make the best out of your stay there.
We recommend to fly either to Palermo or Trapani for this itinerary. Trapani offers many low cost flights and we will consider it as entry point for this trip, but if Palermo suits you better you can exchange the days and starts from there.
After you rent a car at Trapani airport you will drive to San Vito Lo Capo. It is small town on the northern coast with long public beach. But what is more interesting for outdoor enthusiast is that there is very good climbing and bouldering in San Vito Lo Capo. You can just rent a gear or get a guide. There are routes of different difficulties suitable for everyone.
After you enjoyed San Vito Lo Capo, you can move to the destination where we recommend to stay for 3 nights – Scopello. It sounds a lot for 4 day itinerary, but this place is a great base for many natural beauties around.
Scopello is a small village which lives from tourism during the summer and sees only very few visitors outside of the main season. The village sits above the coast and has very atmospheric historical center with few restaurants where you can get a very good pizza, seafood, but also traditional street food of Sicily.
We recommend to stay in the property of 16th century coastal tower which overlooks dramatic coast and offers views very far to the distance.
This is without exaggeration the best place we have ever stayed in our long history of traveling. The huge property of the tower is private and the apartment is partly cut into the cliff. You will have the amazing view from the tower just for yourself and you will have even your own private swimming spot. But prepare to walk 230 steps down from the tower to the sea. The property has big terrace where you can sunbathe and enjoy the views. The apartment is often booked long time in advance, so don’t leave it till the last moment. You can book it here.
Note that minimum length of stay at this property is 3 nights and there are 2 apartments of slightly different size on the property.
You will spend the rest of the day by exploring the property and enjoying the magnificent views.
After you will go swim again in the morning to your private swimming spot, you can drive few kilometres to the Zingaro nature reserve. Zingaro protected area combines easy / intermediate hike (suitable even for kids) along the coast, beach hopping (there are 6 small pebble beaches) and amazing views on the wild coast during the hike. Read more about all Zingaro beaches in our separate article.
The hike along the coast together with beach hoping will take the whole day. For the dinner we recommend pizzeria in Scopello.
This day we will start by visiting nearby tonnara. Tonnara is the place where fishermen catch and process fish in traditional way. The history and the museum of tonnara is very interesting and also there is very nice swimming spot on the property of the tonnara. If you feel like you can actually swim there from your private swimming spot.
After the tonnara we recommend to visit mineral hot springs and relax for few hours here. The place is public and is totally free. Prepare for smelly sulfur water and if possible take your old swimming suit.
If it is too hot and you don’t want to go to hot springs you can visit Guidaloca beach and Cala Rossa (cala means bay) to swim and sunbath.
Guidaloca beach is long stone beach just 3km south from our recommend paradise accommodation. The beach has great access to the water, good parking and restaurants and small shops around. You will have everything you need for a day at the beach there.
Cala Rossa is a bay another 1 km south from Guidaloca. This place is for more adventure minded people. You will have to walk down the stairs from the cliff where you can park a car. The access to the water is quite rough, but anyone with at least bit of physical power and balance will make it. Even our 60 years old guests made it. But we would not recommend it for kids.
This day is dedicated to visit of the Palermo. Despite the itinerary concentrates on natural beauty, Palermo is such a atmospheric city and represent very well diverse history of Sicily that it should not be missed. It is about 1 hour drive from Scopello. Be prepared that driving in Palermo is not for faint-hearted.
As parking in city center is always paid we recommend to bring your luggage by car to the place where you stay and then park the car for free here. It is about 1.5 km from the city center.
We stayed over night here in the city center next to the Teatro Massimo. Super cozy apartment with 2 bedrooms and kitchen is located just above traditional street market, so you can grab some fresh food in the morning for breakfast. And the price is very reasonable.
For more detailed info and what to do there, read our dedicated article about Palermo.
And if you plan to stay at Sicily for 7-8 days we totally recommend to merge these two Sicily 4 day itineraries. Like that you will see the best out of historical and natural heritage of Sicily.