8 Unusual Places in Sicily Off the Beaten Path

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Sicily is a popular traveler destination since it offers a wide array of exciting things to do and places to visit. No doubt you’ve heard of Palermo, Mount Etna, and Taormina, but there are some lesser-known places that aren’t in most tourist guides.

There are some phenomenal vistas and quaint villages in Sicily off the beaten path. And the best Sicily tours factor this into their itineraries. They blend the “must-see” attractions with places that see few tourists.

Because less visited spots have more authentic culture, here are eight places in Sicily that are off the beaten track. Add them to your Sicily itinerary and you’ll have a more memorable visit.

ⓘ TIP: To get the most out of your trip, read up on your destination before you go. Rick Steves’ Guide to Sicily is a best seller on Amazon.

ALSO READ:
6 Unique Experiences in Sicily

1. Enna

Enna Sicily on top of a hill, with Mt Etna on the horizon

Enna is just about as far off the beaten track as you can go in Sicily. Located in the center of the island, this mountain town features a rich history and an exciting culture.

Set among rolling green hills, the town is divided into Enna Alta, a historic center located at the hilltop, and the more modern Enna Bassa below.

Both offer a huge variety of things to do and see. Top sights and spots in the town include the ornate Duomo cathedral, featuring magnificent gothic architecture at its finest, and the Castello di Lombardia, one of the largest medieval castles in Italy.

Moreover, Enna is the highest spot in Sicily, meaning you will be able to see the mighty Mount Etna volcano towering over the island.

ⓘ TIP: Visit at the end of the day because the view becomes even more remarkable at sunset. 

2. Ortigia

Details of a Baroque church in Ortigia Sicily

Ortigia (Ortygia) is one of Sicily’s less visited UNESCO World Heritage sites. Yet this small island, located a short walk across the water from the city of Siracusa, is bound to enchant.

Ortigia boasts many ruins from the Ancient Greek era and is perfect for on-foot exploration. The Temple of Apollo will greet you as you cross the bridge, and also be sure to see Maniace Castle and the Fountain of Diana.

3. Ustica

harbor full of fishing boats in Ustica Sicily

Ustica is a small volcanic island full of hidden caves, rugged coastlines and black rocky slopes. The island is a Marine Protected Area and is a popular diving destination.

As you might guess, Ustica offers plenty of water-based activities. However, there are many other things to do if you prefer to remain dry. Probably the most exciting activity you can take part in while visiting Ustica is the volcano tour.

You can also revel in the surroundings while riding a donkey or explore the island by bike.

Food tours are also popular, since the island is full of places that serve delicious local specialties.

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4. Caltagirone

tiled staircase in Caltagirone Sicily Italy

Caltagirone was one of the eight Val di Noto towns that were destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt in the Baroque style. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, it is perched on three different hills and boasts stunning views of the valley below.

Caltagirone is also famous for the quality and sophistication of its exquisite ceramics and pottery, which date from ancient times. The ceramics museum is popular attraction, divided into three historical periods: Roman, Medieval, and present day.

You’ll find the ceramic tradition everywhere – in the city’s architecture, balustrades, vases, and on the streets. The Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte is particularly famous, with 142 steps enhanced with exquisite Sicilian majolica tiles. Other fabulous Baroque places include the Cathedral of San Giuliano and Musei Civici Luigi Sturzo.

Caltagirone also offers a great opportunity to gaze out over scenic landscapes and participate in local events. The town’s main religious celebration is the Feast of San Giacomo, held each July. Or you may prefer to visit in May for La Scala Infiorata, when the grand ceramic staircase is carpeted in thousands of flowers.

5. Aegadian Islands

boats on the water in Egadi Islands Sicily Italy

The Egadi Archipelago, also called the Aegadian Islands, is off the coast of western Sicily. It consists of three islands, Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo, as well as the islets of Formica and Maraone. Favignana is the largest and is well connected by ferry.

And like most off the beaten path spots in Sicily, tourism hasn’t changed daily life. It remains the same as always, and therein lies its appeal.

Beachgoers come here to snorkel in the crystal waters and sunbathe on empty white sand, while landlubbers enjoy exploring mysterious caves and wandering through ancient limestone quarries with gardens. And while on Favignana you shouldn’t miss visiting the Florio Tonnara museum and perhaps learn about La Mattanza.

One of the most enjoyable activities is renting a bike for the day. A bicycle ride around the island will reward you with picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views. Or you can just cruise around the flat area of the main town or to some of the more popular beaches nearby.

ALSO READ:
10 Top Beaches in Sicily

6. Cave di Cusa

Column Stones near Cave di Cusa

Cave di Cusa, also known as Rocche di Cusa, is one of the most off the beaten path places in Sicily. What makes it a unique travel destination is that the quarry in the cave dates back to the 6th century B.C. It was the source of the stones used to build the great ancient temples spread around the island.

Cave di Cusa has a tremendous value for archeology, history, and culture – you will see its huge stone blocks sprinkled throughout the area.

Though this spot is undoubtedly underrated, it should certainly be a part of your Sicily itinerary. After all, when you wander through Cave di Cusa, you can’t help but dig into the extraordinary atmosphere of the ancient period.

ⓘ TIP: The best time to visit is during spring, when the valley is full of wildflowers.

7. Scicli

church and houses on the side of a hill in Scicli Sicily

Scicli is another gorgeous baroque town listed on UNESCO world heritage sites. And there’s a reason for that! 

Scicli is in the same valley and shares the same architectural heritage as Ragusa, Modica, and Noto. But unlike those towns, few tourists visit so Scicli remains off the beaten path.

What makes this town unique is the stunning nature surrounding the town. They built the ancient town around two valleys that are separated by steep hills.

This overlooked town has a scenic location and charm that appeals from the very first moment. Touring Scicli will give you plenty of opportunities to absorb the essence of authentic Sicilian culture, an enjoyable sense of discovery and a pleasant atmosphere. 

8. Modica

grainy Sicilian Chocolate made in Modica Sicily

Centuries ago, Modica was the thriving capital of what’s now known as the province of Ragusa. Like many other authentic Sicilian towns, Modica boasts baroque architecture and magnificent views. But the uniqueness of this town lies in Modica Alta, its most historic part.

Taking a stroll in the streets, you can’t but come across fabulous buildings and constructions like the Duomo di San Pietro, the Duomo di San Giorgio, the Belvedere Pizzo, and many other. Moreover, the town offers many events and exciting activities.

If you are a chocolate lover, you must add Modica to your Sicily trip. The town is famous for producing the best Sicilian chocolate on the planet. It’s prepared with a special recipe dating to the 14th century and has a very unusual texture.

But of course, chocolate is not the only specialty to try. Walking around the streets of Modica, you find plenty of places for mouthwatering local food.

Travel Sicily off the beaten path

As you see, there are a lot of places in Sicily off the beaten path and worth visiting. Choose one of the ones we listed above, and we guarantee your trip will be full of unforgettable memories.

Can you suggest any other unusual places in Sicily to visit? Share it in the comments!

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to around 60 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It with her husband Dan, a professional photographer. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

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