Last updated on April 2, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Sicily

Where to stay in Syracuse & Ortigia – Top areas and best hotels

Let me be straightforward: the best place to stay in Syracuse is the island of Ortigia, however, there are other 4 areas that may work better for you if travelling on a budget, with family or if you prefer more of a beach stay.

Without further ado, let’s just straight to a few key points.

Map of the best areas to stay in Syracuse Sicily
Map of the best areas to stay in Syracuse Sicily

Where to stay in Syracuse, Sicily – Key points

Here is a quick table that compares all the 5 areas. Click on the name for more information or just keep reading the full guide. On a mobile swipe left or right to see all the columns.

AreaBest forProsConsFor couplesFor familiesFor restaurantsFor beach
OrtigiaHistory, stunning architecture, romantic stayUnique historical sites, vibrant markets and cuisine, walkable and charmingCan be busy, higher pricesExcellentGoodExcellentPoor
New City CentreFamily-friendly stays, convenient locationRestaurant options, family-friendly, easily accessibleCan be noisy, challenging parkingGoodExcellentExcellentNot applicable
Borgata Santa LuciaAuthentic experiences, local cuisineAuthentic local atmosphere, diverse dining options, affordable accommodationsNo nightlife, limited tourist servicesGoodGoodGoodNot applicable
Near the Train StationBudget travellers, short stay, convenientGreat transport connectivity, budget-friendlyLesser charm, it can be noisyGoodGoodModerateNot applicable
Fontane BiancheBeach relaxation, day trips to Syracuse and Baroque townsOne of the best beaches, short train ride to Syracuse, access to Val di NotoDistance from Syracuse and OrtigiaExcellentExcellentGoodExcellent

My 3 best hotels in Syracuse

Ortigia: The Historical Heart

  • Best place for history, stunning architecture, and a romantic stay

Pros

  • Unique historical sites
  • Stunning Baroque architecture
  • Vibrant markets and cuisine
  • Walkable and charming
  • Picturesque waterfront views

Cons

  • Can be busy
  • Higher prices
  • Challenging parking
Syracuse Cathedral in Ortigia Island
Syracuse Cathedral on Ortigia Island

Ortigia is the Old Centre of Syracuse where you will find an unforgettable blend of history, culture, and beauty, making it, in my opinion, the best place to stay in the city.

This island, connected to the mainland by a bridge, is basically a living museum, showcasing centuries of history. Its narrow, winding streets lead to the majestic Piazza del Duomo, where the Cathedral of Syracuse stands as a testament to the island’s Greek origins and subsequent layers of history.

The nearby Fountain of Arethusa, with its fresh spring water and papyrus plants, adds to the island’s mythological charm.

In Ortigia, you will experience also one of the best markets in Sicily, where you can taste and eat amazing street food made of fresh seafood, sun-ripened fruits, Sicilian cheeses and aromatic spices, reflecting the region’s rich culinary heritage. 

I loved so much walking in the Giudecca, the south-east of the island, the old Jewish Quarter, a real maze of tiny lanes where getting lost is part of the fun. Stop for a visit at the Mikveh, the oldest and biggest Jewish ritual bath in Europe (expensive tour but well worth the money). 

Finally, enjoy a dive from the lower platform of the Vigliena Fortress. There are basically no sandy beaches around and this is really the best place for a swim in a sort of old-day spot (it almost seems to be back in a 60s movie).

Unfortunately, despite its many advantages, Ortigia’s popularity means that the demand for accommodations and services in such a prime location can drive prices higher than in less frequented parts of Syracuse.

Ultimately, the island of Ortigia is the best place to stay in Siracusa for couples looking for a romantic breakaway. In fact, although the island can indeed get very busy, particularly during the tourist season and with day trippers, it’s also true that at night the illuminated lanes of Ortigia become so charming, a real dreamy destination.

Here are 4 of the best choices in Ortigia:

Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel ($$$$): Outstanding building and rooms (especially the suite), breakfast featuring traditional fresh ‘cannoli‘, excellent location. One of the best Syracuse hotels.

Grand Hotel Des Etrangers ($$$$-$$$$$): Luxury hotel with stunning sea views, exceptional staff service, and an exquisite breakfast. The rooftop terrace is superb.

Antico Hotel Roma ($$$-$$$$): Modern rooms and excellent service. Central location, plenty of space, and friendly staff.

Aura Ortigia ($-$$): Charming apartments with attentive hosts, central location, and thoughtful amenities. Excellent value for money.

Other great options are the Hotel Gutkowski, the Hotel Henry’s House and the Ortea Palace Hotel.

Best places for a romantic honeymoon in Sicily - towns and boutique hotels
Ortigia is certainly one the best places for a romantic honeymoon in Sicily. Swimming next to the Vigliena Fortress

City Centre: A family possibility

  • Best place for family-friendly stays, restaurants, and convenient location

Pros

  • Plenty of restaurants
  • Family-Friendly
  • Close to the station and Ortigia Island.
  • Next to the Old Market of Ortigia

Cons

  • Can be noisy with car traffic
  • Challenging parking

The modern New Centre of Syracuse is the small area between Ortigia Island and the Train Station, an ideal spot if you are travelling with bulky luggage and don’t want to venture into the maze of Ortigia.

The area is dominated by the impressive Church of San Tommaso al Pantheon, a monument to the fallen of World War I, built in 1919 with a modern design by the architect Gaetano Rapisardi, known for his significant contributions to Italian architecture, particularly in Rome.

One thing I loved about this neighbourhood was the food scene. There are so many restaurants and bars around. My personal experience at Sikania Pizzeria was unforgettable – the pizza was absolutely fantastic, with authentic local flavours. A must-visit if you are around lunch or dinner time.

For families travelling with children, the Giardino dei Marinaretti offers a small playground, giving a bit of entertainment for little ones. 

You will be also close to the historic Old Market of Ortigia and the Temple of Apollo (located near the bridge connecting the New Centre to Ortigia).

Ultimately, the City Centre is a great area to stay for families looking for a base that combines the convenience of city living with a great location, especially if carrying around bulky luggage.

Here are 3 of the best accommodations in the Modern Centre:

I Mori di Ortigia ($$$): Conveniently located, 2BR accommodation with a well-equipped kitchen and comfortable bedrooms. Good value for families.

Pasitea($-$$): 1BR with modern design and well-equipped kitchen. Conveniently situated near Ortygia

B&B Le Grand Bleu ($): Excellent location with stunning sea views, clean and big rooms, and fully-equipped kitchen.

View from the bridge connecting the New City Centre and Ortigia
View from the bridge connecting the New Centre and Ortigia

Borgata Santa Lucia: Local Vibes

  • Best place for authentic experiences, value for money, and local cuisine

Pros

  • Authentic local atmosphere
  • Local dining options
  • Affordable accommodations
  • Easier parking

Cons

  • No nightlife
  • Not as charming

On our last trip, we decided to rent a car in Sicily for an island itinerary. Siracusa was obviously part of our itinerary, after all this city is one of the best Sicilian destinations to visit and stay.

As we approached Syracuse, a big structure stood out from the city skyline. That was the contemporary Basilica Madonna Delle Lacrima, the heart of the Borgata Santa Lucia, a place you should visit even if your hotel is not in the area.

The modern design of the Basilica is inspired by a massive eye drop falling from the sky. As you step inside you will be surprised by the immense ceiling height, almost never-ending, and the total quietness.

Borgata Santa Lucia will give you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the authentic rhythm of Syracuse away from the more frequented tourist paths. Wander through its streets, and you’ll find yourself amidst the locals going about their day.

This is a great neighbourhood for the most typical family-run trattorias, where you can experience real local cuisine based on fresh products at bargain prices.

Sure, the streets and the buildings are not as characteristic as in Oritigia but what it lacks in charm it makes up in price, offering probably the best value accommodation in Siracusa.

My 2 suggested accommodations in Borgata Santa Lucia:

Casa di Gio ($): Spacious 1BR apartment with a well-equipped kitchen and comfortable beds. Large terrace with city views.

Appartamento St.Lucia($): Big and clean 2BR apartment with good amenities. Convenient location near attractions and markets.

Inside the Basilica Madonna Delle Lacrima
Inside the Basilica Madonna Delle Lacrima

Near the Train Station: Convenience and Value

  • Best place for budget travellers, short stay, convenient transport links

Pros

  • Next to the station
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Convenient for short stays
  • Close to the Neapolis Archaeological Park

Cons

  • Lack of historical ambience
  • It can be noisy

Positioned near the Syracuse Station, this area works very well as a practical base for travellers prioritizing convenience and budget.

It’s a great location if you are thinking of using Syracuse to explore not only Ortigia but also other destinations by train like Noto (~40 minutes), Catania (~1 hour), the famous beach of Fontane Bianche (15 minutes) or Ispica, one of the best Baroque towns in the Val di Noto still unknown to the most (1 hour).

However, it’s worth noting that the area does not have any Sicilian charm, and it’s probably the nosiest of all places I have talked about in this guide.

In saying that, the train area is a great place to stay if you are travelling to Syracuse on a budget, this is where you will find the best deals.

Here are 2 great value for money stays close to the station:

Casa Tevere ($): Immaculate, fully-equipped 2BR apartment with modern furnishings, and comfortable beds. City views from the balcony. Convenient for families. Exceptional value for money.

Casa Bella($): Charming and cozy 1BR in a convenient location. Including a fully equipped kitchen.

The beautiful Duomo Square
The beautiful Duomo Square

Fontane Bianche: A beach stay

Finally, I wanted to mention in this guide also the possibility of staying in Fontane Bianche a town 20km south of Syracuse with one of the best beaches in Sicily.

This is the perfect place to be located if you want to relax and experience more of the Sicilian beach life leaving a visit to Siracusa and Ortigia for a day trip.

The great thing about Fontane Bianche is that the train to Siracusa takes just 15 minutes, in fact, you will spend more time walking from the Syracuse Station to Ortigia (20 minutes).

You will be also a short trip away (by train or car) to the Val di Noto and its Baroque towns.

True, you are not in Siracusa and you will not experience Ortigia with the dimmed street night lights, so magical by the way, but that’s the only price you pay if you prefer to stay by the beach.

Here are 3 great accommodations in Fontane Bianche:

Loft Cocorito ($$-$$$): Big and clean 2BR apartment with comfortable beds. Ideal location near the beach and the station. Great value for a family stay.

Villa Marika($$-$$$): Fully equipped 2BR apartments with a shared swimming pool near the beach and the station. Great for families.

Villa Rita Apartment ($-$$): Tranquil atmosphere and modern design. Spacious, clean 1BR with a lovely garden and outdoor dining area.

Beach in Marina di Avola
Beach in Marina di Avola, another great town along the coast, south of Siracusa
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.

Leave a Comment