Where should we stay in eastern Sicily?
August 1, 2018 7:48 AM   Subscribe

We're planning a trip to Sicily this winter. Should we stay in or near Catania, Siracusa, Avola, or Marina di Rigusa? (Or elsewhere nearby?)

We have accommodation options in or near the places listed above, but would love to hear opinions on where it would be best to stay. Regardless of where we sleep, we will see the other places because, yes, we won't be that far from them.

- The places named above are all on the coast, but proximity to the water isn't that important overall. (We'd like to see the coast, but it'll be February so we're not going in the water or lying on the beach.)

- It will be a working vacation. Based on past trips elsewhere, a typical day for us might be wake up, eat breakfast at a bakery, get some work done, and then see something interesting, whether it's a church or ruins or some coastline.

- We tend to self-cater lunch and dinner much of the time, but are always open to eatery suggestions.

- We will be there for a month, so in general we won't be hugely crunched for time, but we don't want to spend hours and hours a day in the car.

(I have seen this question and it's a great start.)
posted by veggieboy to Travel & Transportation around Italy (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We stayed near Taormina for a week in October and it was a lovely city with nice shops, but not a whole lot more to o in the off-season. For that reason, I'd stay closer to Catania as I expect it to be more than just a holiday town.
posted by jillithd at 8:34 AM on August 1, 2018

I spent five days on the Ortygia island in Siracusa which was pretty quaint and not super touristy. I imagine it'll be even quieter in the winter time. There's not a big restaurant culture there, but an amazing market if you want to get fresh food/bread everyday. The mainland of Siracusa felt much more like a big city and Ortygia was the little village on the side.
posted by monologish at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Siracusa is a wonderful base both in itself and as a departure point for trips farther out.
posted by Elsie at 10:30 AM on August 1, 2018

Additionally, my Siracusa cheerleading on the green a few years back:

On your Catania end, set aside several days for Siracusa. It has an incredible, operatic outdoor food market--singing, yelling, octopus, sea urchins, tomatoes, artichokes, great food smack dab by some ruins. Check the schedule to make sure you're there when the market is on. There's a fabulous ancient Greek amphitheater, archeological museum, and gorgeous curved piazza in Siracusa. Modica and Ragusa are not terribly far away from Siragusa. We landed in Catania and zipped out to stay in Siracusa for a few days, then a couple nights in Modica with a day visit to Ragusa. Both these smaller towns have knockout Baroque buildings and churches. Palermo's a pulsating wild place that will be a lot to deal with when you arrive. But go for it, especially the mosaics in Montreale--stunning. Don't miss the catacombs with your preteens in tow--short walk from the city center. It will be the highlight of their trip, perhaps not yours.. Run your question over on slowtrav.com for Italy/Sicily. They helped us plan our two-week trip.

I will say the driving in Sicily was hair raising, except for the auto strada. Wish we'd used the auto strada more than the back roads, which were gridlocked from overuse along the coast. Also wish we'd had a GPS. Never got so lost anywhere the way we did in Sicily. The roundabouts were insane and took nerves of steel to negotiate.

posted by Elsie at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I loved Siracusa when I stayed there, and used it as a base as suggested above.
posted by frumiousb at 11:16 AM on August 1, 2018

Ortygia island in Siracusa is *super* touristy. That being said, the market is great and you can get an amazing, life-changing sandwich at that market, while you wait in line with other tourists.

You can park in Siracusa, but you can’t really drive around on Ortygia, although you don’t need to. You can just use it as a home base and drive all around the East side of the island.
posted by degoao at 5:44 PM on August 1, 2018

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