How expensive is Sicily – A daily travel budget
Italy is not anymore as cheap as it used to be with the old Lira currency, I guess we all know that.
But is Sicily expensive for a holiday? What could be a daily travel budget I should plan on?
Let me say first that the South of Italy offers better value for money than the North of the country, and this is great news.
For example, you can get amazing accommodations for a much better price you would pay in the more famous Tuscany
In this guide, you will find all the info you need to plan your daily budget, based on real figures
To make your life easier, I have also added the costs for the 3 most famous destinations in Sicily: Palermo, Syracuse and Taormina
Table of Contents
More reading on Sicily
- Where to stay in Sicily, the best areas (and the worst)
- Best itineraries of Sicily for 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, 7 days, 10 day or 14 days (with maps and daily plans)
- Best places to visit in Sicily, including unique and hidden gems
- All you need to know about a Mount Etna Tour – do it yourself, with a car or with an organised trip
Is Sicily expensive – in a nutshell
Here below a few quick answers to the most common questions that I receive.
Keep reading for more details on Palermo, Syracuse and Taormina with suggestions on accommodations and restaurants for a budget, good value or lux stay
Keep also in mind that the inland towns and villages are usually 20-25% cheaper than the major tourist destinations.
- Is Sicily expensive to visit: Low-cost, as well as regular airlines, connect most of the biggest cities in Europe and Italy to the Palermo Airport and the Catania Airport. You can find prices as low as 19 euro if you plan you trip well in advance. Tuesday and Wednesday have the best prices. If you have the choice, I suggest flying to Catania if you want to visit Taormina, Syracusa, Noto, the Etna Vulcano and the East Coast. Fly instead to Palermo if you plan to visit San Vito Lo Capo, Erice, the Valley of the Temples and of course Palermo itself. You can also think to fly in and out from different airports and build your own itinerary around the island.
- Is Sicily expensive for a holiday: Sicily is one of the best value places to have a trip to Europe and if you are in real budget stay far from the most popular destinations to have the cheapest prices. Taormina is the only exception, especially in peak season when prices of accommodation are similar to other European destinations
- Is Sicily expensive to eat out: no, it’s not. You can easily go down below 10 Euro if you eat a pizza with sparkling water and of course a coffee. If you are after some wine, you can get a half litre local wine for 7-8 euro. On average you can easily eat a starter, the main (“primo”, as pasta or rice, or a “secondo”, as meat with vegetables), wine or water, coffee for around 25 euro or even lower. These are the prices that you usually find in family-run restaurants. High-end restaurants, especially in Taormina, Palermo, Syracuse and Cefalu may charge much more than that.
- Is Sicily expensive for tourists: it is as expensive as for locals. There is no differentiation in price. Remember to take the concession/pension card with you, if you have it. You will have a discount at the museums and local transportations.
- How expensive is Taormina: this is the most famous city in Sicily, famous around the world, so beautiful but also so popular, in fact, the most popular destination in Sicily. It can get extremely busy in peak season. Unfortunately, this is also the most upscale destination in the region. It all tends to be 15-20% more expensive than anywhere else. If you are on a strict budget I suggest bypassing it all together and visit it on a day trip. Read more on Taormina below, with accommodations and hotels based on the 3 price categories.
- How expensive is Palermo: it is not as expensive as Taormina, however, also not the cheapest place to visit in Sicily. In saying that it provides still a very good value for money if compared with other famous destinations in Italy as Florence, Milan or Turin in the north. Read more on Palermo below with a few suggestions on restaurants and hotels.
- How expensive is Syracuse: price-wise it is probably cheaper than Palermo, a great value in my opinion. The romantic Isola di Ortigia has the most expensive options for both accommodations and food, however also the most picturesque ones. Read more on Syracuse below
- Is Catania or Palermo more expensive: Palermo tends to be 10-15% cheaper than Catania, for both accommodation and food. That’s on average of course. Read more on Palermo vs Catania. You can check where to stay in Catania on my dedicated guide.
- Is Sardinia more expensive than Sicily: it is, and also by a big margin, around 30%, give or take. It has to be said that, although we all tend to compare the two biggest Italian islands, they are so different that it’s almost like comparing apples with pears. Sardinia is more about nature and beaches (some of the best in Italy). Sicily is more about history and culture with, of course, also some amazing beaches, but probably not the same as Sardinia, in both quantity and quality.
Sicily budget travel
Your budget travel to a holiday in Sicily really depends on the destinations you want to visit
Sicily can be almost considered a luxury vacation spot if you stay in famous towns like Taormina, however, outside of that, you can have a really wonderful trip on a tight budget.
Private taxis can be expensive (always check that the meter is running or agree on a price prior to the departure). Public transportation, on the contrary, is very affordable.
With just 6 euros, you can take advantage of the extensive rail network for fun day trips to different parts of the island.
You could also take the bus around large cities or to local beaches for as little as 2 euros per ticket.
When it comes to accommodation options in Sicily, the best way to save money while still enjoying your stay is to book an Airbnb.
The rates differ with seasons and locations but you can get something nice for as low as 25 euros per person per night.
There are also several good hotels near the city centres for low price ranges between 30 and 40 euros.
You could go to one of the many free beaches, explore the charming villages, the exciting cities and the lively street markets and live like a local.
There are also several awesome attractions under the 6 euros per ticket mark including the Archimedes Technology Museum and the castle of Sciacca.
Finally, set aside between 20 and 25 euros per person per day for meals if you plan on eating out on a budget. Or 40-45 Euro for something fancier.
However, if you go for the Airbnb options, it would be best to cook at home, sourcing the ingredients from the local market
Daily summary in Euro
- Accommodations: Airbnb (from 25E/person), Hotels (from 30E/person)
- Restaurants: Pizzeria (from 8E/person), Restaurant (from 20E/person with starter, main and a glass of local wine)
- Activities: from free to good value ones placed in the 5-10 Euro range. The Valley of The Temples (including the Archaeological Museum) has one of the most expensive tickets at 16 Euro. You can organise the Etna trip on your own to save some money but you will not be able to reach the pick. Read more on my guide to the Etna trip.
- Cappuccino: 1-1.5Euro (if you do not seat at the table, otherwise much more)
- Beer at the bar: 2-4Euro for a small 33cc bottle, 5-8Euro for a pint
- Wine: it can actually be cheaper than the beer and for sure better value
- Light drink: 2Euro for a Coke/Sprite
- Water bottle: 1Euro for 0.5 litres at the bar, 30c at the supermarket
- Bread: 2Euro/Kg
- Renting a car: from 30-35Euro/day
- Cigarettes: 6Euro/packet (although I am not 100% sure as I do not smoke)
If you are travelling on a budget then I suggest booking an AirBnb and cook yourself the meals with the fresh local ingredients sourced from the local market.
Just think yourself walking through the loud vegetable, meat and fish stands between the old local ladies, an experience by itself.
Total Daily budget: from 50Euro/day/person if travelling with your partner/friend and cooking yourself
Taormina may be a chic resort town, but it is very versatile when it comes to different budget trips whether you want to holiday in the lap of luxury or explore on a tight budget.
The average daily cost per person would be about 50-100 euros for accommodation, 40 to 50 euros for food and about 20-50 euros for transport and entertainment.
When it comes to eating out, Taormina has several options for you to consider.
If you want a decent meal for less than 15 euros, then is Ristorante Pizzeria Taormina the place to go.
On the other hand, Ristorante I’Incontro is moderately priced with meal prices averaging 25 euros.
For a high-end experience, Osteria Rosso Di Vino is definitely the spot with meals for 40 to 50 euros.
With accommodations, you can stay at Hotel Villino Gallodoro for less than 100 euros, at B&B Tauromenion for between 100 and 150 euros or Mendolia Beach Hotel for a high-end experience at 150 to 200 euros.
All of the above prices are per double room
You can read more about the local accommodations in the Taormina section of the best places to stay in Sicily, a guide I wrote on the best areas of the regions
You should also take your time to find out where locals like to eat.
These places are usually more affordable and offer the most authentic Sicilian cuisine experience (ask your hotelier for the latest opening eateries).
Palermo is a great affordable city for tourists.
On average, you may not have to spend more than between 70 and 150 euros depending on your priorities and preferences.
Of this, 20 to 25 euros go to food, less than 10 euros on public transport and about 35-100 euros on accommodation.
The city has several restaurants at different price points for all your foodie needs.
Check out Caffé del Kassaro with meals for as low as 10 to 12 euros.
Cambusone is a popular local spot in the mid-price range with awesome food for 20 to 25 euros.
If you want to treat yourself to a fancy dinner, go to Gagini and set aside 30 to 40 euros for a lovely meal.
For accommodations, on the other hand, you could try the B&B Politeama if you want a low budget option for less than 100 euros/room.
The Massimo Apartment, in the centre of the city, is fantastic if you want value for your money and falls within the 100 to 150 euros/room.
Finally, consider staying at Artemesia Palace Hotel if you want a boutique experience for 150 to 200 euros per night.
You can read more about the local accommodations in the Palermo section of the best places to stay in Sicily.
If you want to save more money in Palermo, consider booking your stay somewhere with a well-equipped kitchen.
Groceries are relatively cheap, especially at the local market.
Make your own food instead of eating out all the time and this will definitely make things easier on your pocket.
This historic city falls within the average price range when it comes to travel budgeting.
The average expenditure for tourists per day is about 70 euros but can be as low as 30 euros if you are travelling as a backpacker.
Of the 70 euros, most of it will go to accommodations with options between 30 and 50 euros per person per night.
Food should not cost you more than 30 euros with most restaurants and the remaining less than 10 euros being just enough per day for public transport and visiting attractions.
Most restaurants in Syracuse fall within the medium price range with 20 euros being enough for a decent meal.
Taverna Yerevan is one of the best in this case.
You could also go for something cheaper like Cod da Saretta where they offer awesome dishes for as low as 10 euros.
If, on the other hand, you feel like spoiling yourself then L’Ufficio – Ristorante is a fantastic high-end spot with 30 to 35 euro full meal options.
With accommodations, you also have a lot of variety to work with in terms of prices.
The Maison Ortigia is a fantastic choice for low budget trips with nightly rates below the 100 euro/room.
For a bit more luxury at a decent price range of 100 to 150 euros/room, consider staying at the Sole d’Ortigia Apartment.
Finally, the Elegante Appartamento facing the sea is a fantastic option if you want a luxury vacation at a boutique location for 150 to 200 euros per night.
In order to save money in Syracuse, stick to attractions, eateries and apartments popular with the locals to avoid the dreaded “tourist tax”.