Sicily has long been the backdrop for films and TV shows. Historically, these were the famous gangster films, however this Italian island gained a whole new fan base when The White Lotus: Season Two premiered in October last year. If you too were lured in by those luxurious surrounds and twinkling waters, you’ll want to know where the best places to stay in Sicily are. Our comprehensive guide to its prettiest towns and cities is here to give you just that.
Sicily’s capital city is probably the grittiest of the destinations on this list. It has a real lived-in feel to it, and you’re more likely to find locals sipping coffees at the local pasticceria (the Italian equivalent to a patisserie or sweet bakery), than you are tourists. That’s a huge part of the charm though. As you pass by the Fountain of Shame or famed Cathedral, you’ll feel that their grandeur is just a part of life here, rather than something to be enjoyed by visitors.
dealchecker Tip: On a recent trip to Sicily, we found Palermo to be one of the island’s most cost-effective destinations. Litres of wine could be found at many of the restaurants here for as little as €10.
The city of Noto in southeastern Sicily is an almost-perfect example of Baroque architecture and town planning. The original city was destroyed in the 1693, and the task of rebuilding the city went to three architects: Labisi, Sinatra and Gagliardi, all of whom worked to a Baroque style. Beauty was at the heart of planning this city. The city’s three central roads run east to west so that the sun can be enjoyed throughout the day, and the buildings are made of a limestone that appears to absorb the light come golden hour.
dealchecker Tip: It’s well worth getting out to explore. You’ll find sandy beaches at both Eloro-Pizzuta and Eloro, beaches without any of the crowds that the rest of Sicily often experiences.
The town of Cefalù (just a short train journey from Palermo) perches, in an almost precarious manner, between craggy hillside and an arc of blonde sands. As it tumbles towards the sea, it reveals pretty piazzas, pastel-coloured buildings and a real sense of history. The beach here is bedecked in primary-colour-clad parasols, giving it a real holiday feel. And yet, when you hop between beach and dinner, you’ll want to scrub up, as the town itself has a romantic upscale ambience. It’s perfect romantic getaway fodder with terraces poised for sunset tipples overlooking the sea.
dealchecker Tip: The foodie highlight of our recent trip to Sicily was the spaghetti vongole at Ristorante Pizzeria al Porticciolo in Cefalù.
2. San Vito Lo Capo
In the most north-western corner of Sicily, you’ll find the town of San Vito Lo Capo. This is a town that was built for holidaymaking, and has a distinctly laid-back feel to it. The three-kilometre stretch of golden sands slope gently into crystalline waters and verdant hillsides surround you, meaning that it’s easy to forget that you’re not on Caribbean ground. It’s a great base for those looking to do the hike at Réserve naturelle du Zingaro, a seven-kilometre route which takes in former fishing villages and unspoilt ocean views.
Taormina was the filming location for season two of The White Lotus and it takes only moments upon visiting this pretty town to understand why. Pastel-hued homes and designer boutiques arc their way up to an impressively-maintained Roman amphitheatre that looks out over Mount Etna, before rushing back down to twinkling seas. There are more affordable apartments to rent here, but to soak up the glamour you’ll want to head to one of the five-star hotels. These hotels also give you the opportunity to escape the hubbub that the summer crowds bring.
dealchecker Tip: It’s almost impossible to park within the city walls, so if you’re coming via car, you’ll want to head to one of these car parks and walk in from there.