Last updated on May 1, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Sicily

10 days in Sicily without a car or by car

With 10 days in Sicily, you will be surprised by how much you can actually experience.

I mean, Sicily is a big island, in fact, the biggest in the Mediterranean Sea.

However, you will be amazed by how much you can see and do on the island if you plan your itinerary well in advance

And this is where this guide comes to help you, whether you are after the most amazing beaches, a romantic holiday, a family adventure, a trip full of historical sites and of course the most unique experiences to have.

I have organised below 5 itineraries for 10 days in Sicily without a car and by car, in a relaxed or more active way, or just for the most spectacular beaches

But let’s dig into it

You can read also

10 days in Sicily – in a nutshell

Here below the itineraries which I have called either relaxed (max 3 or 4 changes of accommodation, with more chilled out time) and on the go (with more changes of accommodation, to see more of the island)

Sicily has two major airports, Catania and Palermo.

The suggested itineraries cover the whole loop so it does not really matter where you fly

Map of Sicily with major attractions
Map of Sicily with major attractions – distances in hours when you drive your own rented car
  • 10 days in Sicily without a car relaxed: in this itinerary, you will get to visit the top villages, towns and attractions using only buses and trains. It is more of a relaxed adventure where you will spend 2 or 3 nights in the same location to visit the area. Read more below on this itinerary
  • 10 days in Sicily without a car on the go: if you are willing to travel more often and change accommodation on a regular basis then this itinerary will be better for you. It’s going to be more tiring, taking more busses and trains, however, you will get to experience also so much more. Read more below on this itinerary
  • 10 days in Sicily by car relaxed: you will have a more flexible trip if you decide to rent a vehicle. It does however come with a few drawbacks (keep reading). On this trip, you will get to enjoy not only the final destinations but also the trip itself. Read more below on this itinerary, where you will get to experience the iconic places and a few hidden beaches in a relaxed holiday
  • 10 days in Sicily by car on the go: in this itinerary, you will really get the lot. It’s going to be more tiring, with more changes of accommodations, however, you will get to experience so much more, including a few amazing places along the route like the surprising Ragusa. Read more below for the 10 days plan
  • ten days in Sicily by car only for beaches: Hard to organise an itinerary for the best beaches. There are so many beautiful ones. Read more below for a map of my best beaches that you can use to draft a plan. My suggestion? Be flexible because there is always a beautiful cove around the corner.

How to move around Sicily? Check out my guide with a list of the options, with links to buses, trains and rental options.

Some of the bus companies do not have an English version of the website. Use instead the Chrome (or any other web browser) Translator extension.

In this guide, I have always listed the bus companies you need to take (unfortunately there are around 10 of them in Sicily that cover different areas; I know, confusing)

Ten days in Sicily without a car relaxed

In this itinerary, you will get to visit the most popular attractions of Sicily, like the Valley of the Temples or the Etna Volcano.

However, you will have also some spare time for relaxing at the beach

I limited the transportation time to the minimum providing also the bus companies where you can check the timetable and book your tickets.

10 days in Sicily without a car relaxed
10 days in Sicily without a car relaxed
  • Day 1 Palermo stay: The first day in Palermo is all about the city. Start from the Ballaro’ market, really unique and grab some street food for lunch, so yummy. Keep going through the wide Old Centre of Palermo (the widest in Europe). You can also join this exclusive Palermo Art Tour with a local guide that will show you to the hidden corners of the city
  • Day 2 Palermo stay: Time to visit the famous Monreale Cathedral just outside Palermo, one of Sicily gems. To get there, grab the public bus (#389P) from Indipendenza Square. Have a stroll in the old town and organise your lunch at the deli Le Bontà Di Peppe. Great price, fresh local quality. In the afternoon head down to Mondello beach, one of the best in Sicily, absolutely beautiful. To get there, go back to Palermo first and then take bus #806 (1.5-2 hours in total) or take a direct taxi (20km in ~30 minutes).
  • Day 2 (alternative): If you are not really into Cathedrals why not catching a quick train to Cefalù (45 minutes) for a day trip. The old town is one of the most charming in Sicily, so romantic too. The beach close to the old port is stunning, picture-perfect, although tiny. The long wide beach on the new side of the city is gorgeous, perfect for a lazy afternoon before catching the train back to Palermo
  • Day 3 Agrigento stay: Time to move to Agrigento in the early morning (Cuffaro Trasporti, 2 hours by bus). Spend the afternoon in the Old Centre, also called the Marvellous City. This is a real maze of small lanes, boutique squares, hidden stairs. So beautiful 
  • Day 4 Agrigento stay: This day will be spent visiting the most important historical site of Sicily, the Valley of the Temples. Expect amazing and well preserved Greek temples, sanctuaries, necropoles, antique fortifications and so much more from the Greater Greece era. You can wander around on your own or get a local guide. I personally suggest at least buying your tickets in advance, skip the line and get an audio guide. You can also think to visit it by e-scooter or e-bike. You can read my getting around Sicily guide on how to get from your hotel in Agrigento to the Valley by local bus.
  • Day 5 Avola stay: Time to move to Avola, south of Catania. From Agrigento, you will need to take the SAIS Bus to the Catania Airport (~2h45m) and from there the Interbus to Avola (~1 hour). There are frequent runs for both buses. Spend the remaining part of the day relaxing at the fabulous beach.
  • Day 6 Avola stay: Take the train to Noto (10 minutes) to explore one of the most amazing Baroque towns in the world, completely rebuilt in Baroque style after the deadly earthquake of 1693 that destroyed most of the towns and cities on the east coast of Sicily. It’s like walking in an open-air museum. Are you after some beach time in the afternoon? Take the local bus to Lido di Noto for another lovely beach.
  • Day 7 Avola stay: Avola is also well connected by train to Siracusa (20 minutes) where you can visit Ortigia Island, the old centre of the city, one of the most charming and characteristic in Sicily, really stunning. In the afternoon you can either go back to Avola Beach or stop halfway in Fontane Bianche, another superb beach, ranked as one of the best in Sicily and Italy.
  • Day 8 Taormina stay: Time to move to the last base, Taormina, probably the most known and popular town in Sicily. The great thing about staying 2/3 nights there is that you will get to enjoy the town in the evening and the early morning, without the day-trippers. From Avola, you can catch the train to Taormina (2h20m-3h) or the bus to the Catania Airport (Interbus, ~1 hour) and from there to Taormina (Etna Trasporti, ~1.5 hours). In the afternoon wander around the Old Centre.
  • Day 9 Taormina stay: This is the day for an organised tour to experience the area like the visit to the local wineries around the Etna Volcano (with wine tasting) or the unique Godfather/Mafia Tour. If you were thinking to do some trekking at the Etna Volcano, then I highly suggest you to join this Etna Tour with wine tasting
  • Day 10 Taormina stay: Enjoy the old town and spend some time at the local boutique beach reachable by cable car, or walk down to Giardini Naxos for the lovely beach and explore the coast and the boutique Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) by boat

Accommodations & Experiences

Back to the Airport

If you fly out from Catania Airport, I suggest catching a direct bus (Etna Trasporti, ~1.5 hours) from Taormina to Catania Airport.

If you fly out from Palermo Airport, use day 10 for your way back to the Palermo Airport. 

You can take the train from Taormina to Palermo (it’s a 6-7 hours trip)

The alternative is to take the bus to the Catania Airport (Etna Trasporti, ~1.5 hours) and from there the bus to Palermo (Sais Autolinee, ~2.5 hours)

Ten days in Sicily without a car on the go

In this itinerary, you will have the possibility to visit most of the cities, towns and sites along the Sicilian coast, moving almost on a daily basis.

There is more travelling than in the other itinerary of ten days in Sicily without a car, however, you will get to see more places too

It’s a full loop, so It does not matter if you will start in Palermo or Catania.

For the below plan, I assume a start from Catania airport (re-arrange it if you fly to Palermo)

10 days in Sicily without a car on the go
10 days in Sicily without a car on the go
  • Day 1 Siracusa/Ortigia stay: From the Catania Airport grab the direct bus (Interbus ~1 hour) to Siracusa for a stay in Ortigia Island, the Old Centre of the city in an amazing island, an open-air exhibition of beautiful buildings from multiple eras: Medieval, Baroque, Norman and more. Explore Ortigia Island and enjoy the lovely sunset, really magical
  • Day 2 Siracusa/Ortigia stay: Take the train to Noto (10 minutes) to explore one of the most amazing Baroque towns in the world, completely rebuilt in Baroque style after the deadly earthquake of 1693 that destroyed most of the town and cities on the east coast of Sicily. It’s like walking in an open-air museum. Are you after some beach time in the afternoon? Take the local bus to Lido di Noto for a swim in the beautiful turquoise water.
  • Day 3 Taormina stay: Time to travel to the lovely Taormina where you will spend 2 nights. There is a direct train leaving Siracusa at 7:30am and another one at 10am (check the Trenitalia Website for the most up to date timetable). It’s the most popular destination in Sicily, for a good reason, it’s so amazing. Wander around the Old Town and, on a hot day, take the cable car down to the local boutique beach for a dive.
  • Day 4 Taormina stay: This destination is also famous for the fabulous experiences you can have like the visit to the local wineries around the Etna Volcano (with wine tasting), the unique Godfather/Mafia Tour or the Etna Hike Tour with wine tasting, if you do not mind some easy trekking to the peak of the Etna Volcano, one of the most active volcanos in the world. Pick one and enjoy the day. Alternatively, you can walk down to Giardini Naxos for the lovely beach and explore the coast and the boutique Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) by boat
  • Day 5 Cefalù stay: Time to travel to Cefalù by train (around 4 hours if you take the train at ~9:30am to Messina and change there to Cefalù, Trenitalia Website for bookings). This is one of the most romantic towns in Sicily, nestled in a lovely bay and perched on a hill with a castle on the top. Have a walk around the Old Town, you will love it instantly. There is also a charming, although small, beach next to the old port or a much bigger and wider one in the new part of town.
  • Day 6 Palermo stay: Take the 50 minutes direct train to Palermo where you will spend the whole day exploring the city. A good starting point is the Ballaro’ market where you can organise also your lunch with some street food, so much choice, so yummy, so good value. Keep visiting the Old Centre of Palermo (the widest in Europe). For more local insight, join this exclusive Palermo Art Tour with a guide that will take you to the hidden gems of this beautiful city
  • Day 7 Palermo stay: The day is organised in two parts, a cultural morning and a lazy afternoon. In the early part of the day take a trip by bus (#389P from Indipendenza Square, check the timetable here) to the famous Monreale Cathedral just outside Palermo, one of the Sicilian gems. The Old Town is also a great place to have a walk. For lunch, you should not miss out on the deli Le Bontà Di Peppe. Great price, fresh local quality. Spend the lazy afternoon at one of the most beautiful Sicilian beaches, Mondello, located on the north side of the city. To get there, go back to Palermo first (#389P) and then take bus #806 (1.5-2 hours in total) or take a direct taxi (20km in ~30 minutes).
  • Day 8 Trapani stay: catch the 2 hours Bus (Segesta Trasporti) to Trapani as early in the morning as you can. In Trapani, after you have checked-in in your accommodation, take the cable car up to Erice, a fabulous medieval town perched on the hill with a never-ending view of the west coast of Sicily. Lunch at Gli Archi di San Carlo for the yummy antipasti and primi piatti. Spend the remaining part of the afternoon exploring the Old Centre of Trapani or simply at the local Blue Beach.
  • Day 9 Agrigento stay: Time to move to Agrigento in the morning (Lumia Autoservizi,~4 hours by bus). Spend the remaining part of the day exploring the Old Centre of Agrigento, also called the Marvellous City, a maze of tiny squares, hidden corners, and boutique churches and chapels. So marvellous
  • Day 10 Agrigento stay: the last day will be dedicated to the exploration of the Unesco listed Valley of the Temples, an entire valley full of well preserved Greek temples, sanctuaries, necropoles and so much more. You can wander around on your own or get a local guide. I personally suggest buying your tickets in advance to skip the line and get an audio guide, otherwise, you may end up queuing up for hours. For a unique experience, why not visiting it by e-scooter or e-bike. You can read my getting around Sicily guide on how to get from your hotel to the Valley by bus.

Accommodations & Experiences

Back to the Airport

Based on your flight time, you can decide to go back by bus (SAIS Bus, ~2h45m) to the Catania Airport in the late evening of Day 10 (the last bus is at 7pm, check the up to date timetable) or in the early morning of the next day, with the first bus leaving as early as 4:30am (check the latest timetable).

Take a bus with Cuffaro Trasporti (2 hours) if you need to go to Palermo to fly back home.

Ten days in Sicily by car relaxed

Renting a car will give you so much more flexibility, besides cutting the travelling time, sometimes up to 50%.

I spoke extensively about the drawbacks of renting a car in my post on getting around Sicily.

The key point from my post (have a read anyway for more tips) is that you should rent the vehicle with full insurance for your peace of mind

For ten days in Sicily, I suggest renting your car at DiscoverCars.com, a website that compares the price of multiple reputable providers giving the best deal around.

I assume the start of the trip to be Palermo, however, being a loop you can easily adapt it to start from Catania.

In the itinerary below I always try to use the drive as an opportunity to visit other attractions on the island

10 days in Sicily by car relaxed
10 days in Sicily by car relaxed
  • Day 1 Palermo stay: delay the hire to Day 2. Spend the first day visiting the city of Palermo (you will not need a car for that). Start from the Ballaro’ market where the locals still go to buy fresh produce to cook their own meals. You will find plenty of kiosks around to buy the famous Palermitan street food for lunch, so gorgeous. Keep exploring the wide Old Centre of Palermo (the widest in Europe). You can also join this exclusive Palermo Art Tour with a local guide that will take you to the hidden corners of the city. Still time for a dive? Grab bus #806 (45 minutes) to Mondello Beach, one of the best in Sicily, in a neighbourhood north of the city.
  • Day 2 Palermo stay: rent the car and drive to Scopello. Located west of Palermo, this charming coastal town is dominated by the ancient Tonnara, a building built in the 13th century to process fish. You can enjoy the local beach or have a walk along the trail north of town in the Riserva del Zingaroa National Park with a stunning view and multiple little coves to have a dive and small hidden beaches to chill out (though, not as hidden in July and August). 
  • Day 3 Agrigento stay: time to go to Agrigento, however, use the drive as an opportunity to visit other attractions. From Palermo take the SS624 road to the Ruins of Poggioreale (~1 hour), a ghost town emptied after the catastrophic earthquake of 1968. It’s a quirky experience. You can walk through the town, however, I do not suggest stepping into any building, very unsafe. From there keep driving on the SS624 till you reach the road SS115 that you will follow to get to Scala dei Turchi (~1 hour), a beach with a unique white rock formation used by the pirates. Lunch at Baia, close to the beach. In the afternoon finish your drive to Agrigento (20 minutes). Spend the remaining part of the day exploring the Old Centre of the Marvellous City (that’s how Agrigento was called).
  • Day 4 Agrigento stay: drive or take the local bus (#1, #2 or #3, more info on my transportation guide) to the most important historical site of Sicily, the Valley of the Temples, an extensive area with well preserved Greek temples, sanctuaries, necropoles from the Greater Greece era. You can visit it on your own, just walking around. My only suggestion here is to buy your tickets in advance, skip the line and get an audio guide (queues at the ticket office can be unbearable). You can also think to visit it by e-scooter or e-bike. What about a swim in the afternoon? Drive down to Cannatello Beach.
  • Day 5 Lido di Noto stay: Time to move to the next destination, Lido di Noto on the east coast, a small village with a fabulous beach where you can relax and visit the nearby attractions. From Agrigento, keep driving on the SS115 direction east. Stop in Ragusa on the way (2 hours from Agrigento). This is, together with Noto and Modica, one of the most beautiful baroque towns in the world. These 3 towns were completely destroyed in 1693 by a deadly earthquake that demolished most of the east coast. They were completely rebuilt using the then-popular baroque style. Lunch at the famous Circolo Italia. For a dive, you can either keep driving to Lido di Noto (1 hour) or have a tiny detour to Black Stones Beach in Pozzallo (40 minutes).
  • Day 6 Lido di Noto stay: the morning is dedicated to the fabulous baroque town of Noto. You can either decide to drive there or take the local bus (10 minutes). In the afternoon, chill out at the Lido beach. I also suggest a quick drive to Pizzuta Beach or Eloro Beach, both quite wild and far from the mass (take the water with you). For dinner head back to Noto. The town becomes magical with the sunset colours and the night lights
  • Day 7 Lido di Noto stay: drive to Siracusa (25 minutes) to see the lovely Ortigia Island, the old charming centre of Siracusa today connected with two bridges. Ortigia has gone through so many occupations and architectural styles, from Greek to Norman, from Baroque to Medieval, a real open-air museum. Spend the afternoon at the beach. There are a few choices: Punta Carrozza (for the spectacular view over Ortigia Island), Lido di Arenella or the ever-popular Fontane Bianche (it can be quite busy in July, August and weekends).
  • Day 8 Taormina stay: Time to drive to the last base, Taormina (~2 hours). Although I suggest visiting Catania, I personally do not recommend driving into it. A possible solution would be to drive to the Catania airport and park there (this parking may do the job). From there take the 20 minutes train into the city. It takes time. I am not sure if it’s worth the effort on a trip for 10 days in Sicily. Spend the remaining part of the day exploring Taormina. You can also think to take the cable car to the local boutique beach for a dive if you bypass Catania and you have more spare time.
  • Day 9 Taormina stay: leave the car at the hotel and join one of the famous tours of Taormina like the visit to the local wineries around the Etna Volcano (with wine tasting) or the unique Godfather/Mafia Tour. Alternatively, if you are into trekking, why not driving to the Etna Volcano, you can read more on my DIY Etna guide.
  • Day 10 Taormina stay: If you fly out from Catania, I suggest spending your last day at the lovely beach of Giardini Naxos and/or have a walk to the Isola Bella (Beautiful Island). If you fly out from Palermo, take the coastal route and have a stop in Cefalù, a romantic town perched on a hill in a beautiful bay, great for a walk, a swim and of course lunch

Rent a car in Palermo or Catania

Accommodations & Experiences

Ten days in Sicily by car on the go

In this itinerary, you will change accommodation every day, or second day.

In this way you will get to visit more places, but, it will be also more tiring

I assume a start in Catania, however, being a loop, you can re-arrange it to start from Palermo.

10 days in Sicily by car on the go
10 days in Sicily by car on the go
  • Day 1 Catania stay: You do not need a car on the first day to explore Catania, in fact, I would not suggest driving in the city at all, it can be quite chaotic. Explore the Old Centre starting from the fishing market. You can also access the underground of the city for one of the quirkiest experiences in the city, to see what is left of the old foundations including streets and buildings. For more local insights I suggest taking this Customized Private Walking Tour. After dinner, enjoy the Catania movida, one of the best nightlife in Sicily
  • Day 2 Taormina stay: Time to rent the car and drive to Taormina (less than an hour). Explore the town, have a wander around and on a hot day take the cable car down to the local beach for a dive. Alternatively, for a much wider and longer beach, you can drive to the nearby town of Letojanni.
  • Day 3 Taormina stay: Trekking to the Etna Volcano is one of the best experiences you can have in Sicily. I wrote a DIY Etna guide that you may want to use for this day. Alternatively, if hiking is not your thing, join one of the famous tours of Taormina like the visit to the local wineries around the Etna Volcano (with wine tasting) or the unique Godfather/Mafia Tour
  • Day 4 Cefalù stay: drive to Cefalù (~2.5 hours), one of the most romantic towns in Sicily, on the north coast. On the way, you may want to stop at Spiaggia Baia Del Tono, near Milazzo, or at the Reserve of the Lakes of Marinello. They are both great beaches for a swim. Once in Cefalù, have a wander around the Old Centre and the port area, so scenic, the typical Instagram places. The beach keeps going for over 1km towards the new part of the town.
  • Day 5 Palermo stay: drive to Palermo (45 minutes). Leave your car at the hotel and visit the Old Centre, the widest in Europe. Start from the Ballaro’ market where you can have also lunch with the famous local street food. In the afternoon you can either wander around on your own or join this Palermo Art Tour with a certified guide. Do you want to chill out a bit at the beach? Catch bus #806 (45 minutes) to the Mondello neighbourhood to have a relaxing swim in the turquoise water.
  • Day 6 San Vito Lo Capo stay: drive to one of the best beaches in Europe, in the town of San Vito Lo Capo (2 hours), where you will spend the night. Get a sunbed at the organised beach and enjoy the sunny day.
  • Day 7 Agrigento stay: time to go to Agrigento (3 hours drive). On the way (1 hour), stop at the famous Temple of Segesta, one of the historical icons of Sicily. From there head to the Scala dei Turchi, around 20 minutes before Agrigento, a beach with a unique multilevel white rock formation. Don’t miss the Baia Restaurant if you are around the area at lunchtime. Once you have checked in at the hotel, enjoy the old centre of the Marvellous City, another name for Agrigento.
  • Day 8 Agrigento stay: drive or take the local bus (#1, #2 or #3, more info on my transportation guide) to the world-famous Valley of the Temples where you will visit the well preserved Greek temples, sanctuaries, necropoles all dated back to the Greater Greece era. You can organise the visit on your own, however, I highly suggest buying your tickets in advance to skip the unbearable line (you will get also a free audio guide). You can also think to visit it by e-scooter or e-bike. What about a swim in the afternoon? Drive down to Cannatello Beach.
  • Day 9 Lido di Noto stay: Time to go to the next destination, the Lido di Noto beach town, your base for the last two nights in Sicily. From Agrigento, take the SS115 road direction east. After 2 hours you will arrive at Ragusa, one of the most beautiful baroque towns in the world, together with the nearby Noto and Modica. Have a break in Ragusa and wander around the old town, used multiple times as a film set for the popular Inspector Montalbano series. Lunch at the famous Circolo Italia. Looking forward to a swim? Have a dive in Lido di Noto (1 hour) or take a small detour to Black Stones Beach in Pozzallo (40 minutes). Go to the baroque town of Noto for dinner. The town becomes magical with the sunset colours and the night lights. 
  • Day 10 Lido di Noto stay: in the morning you can either head back to Noto or drive (20 minutes) to Siracusa to see the lovely charming Ortigia Island, made of many architectural styles, from Greek to Norman, from Baroque to Medieval, a real open-air museum. If you still have time, have a swim at Punta Carrozza (for the spectacular view over Ortigia Island), Lido di Arenella or the ever-popular Fontane Bianche.

Rent a car in Palermo or Catania

Accommodations & Experiences

Back to the Airport

The drive from Siracusa to the Catania airport takes around 1 hour, meanwhile to the Palermo airport take around 3.5 hours

Ten days in Sicily by car only for beaches

I have to be honest with you, there are so many beautiful beaches that is super difficult to suggest an itinerary

Some of the most spectacular ones are:

  • Mondello Beach in Palermo
  • San Vito Lo Capo Beach, one of the most beautiful in Europe
  • Riserva del Zingaro, for a small cove or a boutique beach
  • Scala dei Turchi, for the unique white rock formation
  • Black Stones Beach in Pozzallo
  • Fontane Bianche Beach, great for families
  • Patanello Beach
  • Punta del Cane, for the spectacular view over Ortigia Island
  • Giardini Naxos and Isola Bella, near Taormina
  • Spiaggia Baia Del Tono, near Milazzo
  • Reserve of the Lakes of Marinello.
  • Cefalù Beach next to the Old Centre, so romantic

Here below I share my Google Map with my suggested beaches.

Best Beaches of Sicily - Check it here live on Google Maps
Best Beaches of Sicily – Check it here live on Google Maps

You can select and add them to your 10 days in Sicily personalized itinerary.

Usually, the beaches on the South Coast tend to be less busy, although harder to reach.

For accommodation suggestions, you can check my guide to where to stay in Sicily.

View of Taormina
View from Taormina
San Vito Lo Capo bay
San Vito Lo Capo bay
Ballaro' market in Palermo
Ballaro’ market in Palermo
The lovely Palermo
The lovely Palermo
Ortigia Island in Syracuse, Sicily
Ortigia Island in Siracusa, Sicily
Places to visit in Sicily
Places to visit in Sicily
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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