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Sicily off the beaten path

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My favored part of Sicily is the south east, particularly Siracusa and the Valley of Noto. I have been there over a dozen times and there are always new things to do and explore. It is a short drive from Catania airport which can be reached frequently and inexpensively from many town in Italy and Europe with low cost carriers (Ryan, EasyJets, etc). Siracusa is a magnificent small town, full of history, architecture, beaches, wonderful boutique hotels, great restaurants and wine bars. There are magnificent greek temple and ruins, and also the ruins of many layers of different civilizations. The place to stay is Ortigia Island, connected to the rest of town through a short causeway. It is less than a mile long, with small beaches on either side. It has magnificent baroque buildings, small alleys and the best piazzas of Sicily. It has great boutique hotels for every budget, great restaurants and small shops. It is safely and easily walkable. A good place to spend 24 hours, or more if you visit the greek ruins which are a short driving distance inland. The Valley of Noto is less than one hour driving from Siracusa, less than two from Catania, and has half a dozen of superb and reasonably unspoiled baroque little towns. Most of the valley was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1600 and rebuilt with mayor master plans. There are beautiful palazzi, churches and squares: what is unique is that the town are little changed from the time they were rebuilt and are truly magnificent. My favorites are Noto, Modica and Scicli (the smallest and probably the nicest). All have small and nice hotels and great places to eat. It is nice to have a car because, aside from the towns, the countryside is also stunning. There are magnificent beaches at short driving distance from Siracusa or Scicli. From Catania airport is mostly by expressway and most of the roads inland are in good shape. If you don't have a car, Siracusa is easily accessible with frequent buses and you don't need a car there. From there to the towns of Noto you can go by bus, although there are less frequent. More frequent is the connection from Noto and Modica to Catania. The best time to go is late March to early June and late September to early November.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

9 Places

1 City Tip

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Map

9 Places

Day 1

Ortigia

Islands

Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel

Hotels

Il Porticciolo

Restaurants

Enoteca Solaria

Restaurants

Gut Neo Bistrot

Restaurants

Hotel Gutkowski

Hotels

Day 2

Hotel Novecento

Hotels

Day 3

Scicli

Historic Sites

Baqqala

Restaurants

marcopolo111's City Tips

  • December-March can be cold and rainy and most of hotels and restaurants are closed
    Day 1
  • Save
    Ortigia
    Islands
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Magnificent little town, perfect for one or two days

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Wonderful place to stroll and explore
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 163 things to do in Syracuse
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Delightful place. 21/09/2018
    • What a wonderful surprise 21/09/2018
    • Ortigia
    Address:
    Corso Umberto
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
  • Save
    Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
    Hotels
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Upscale boutique hotel, great location and service

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Most of the rooms are not facing the water, but new rooms are been added nearby
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 77 Hotels in Syracuse
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely hotel and exceptional service 21/09/2018
    • Hard to Beat 12/09/2018
    • Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
    Address:
    Via Vittorio Veneto 93
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    011 39 0931 465186
    Other:
  • Save
    Il Porticciolo
    Restaurants (Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean)
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Excellent simple trattoria with great fish and pasta

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Less touristic than others. Owner is always there and provides great advices
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Amazing spaghetti with shrimps and clams 06/08/2018
    • This is why you should heed a good B&B host's recommendation. 10/07/2018
    • Il Porticciolo
    Address:
    Via Trento 22
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 0931 61914
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$66
    Hours:
    Wed
    09:00 - 23:00
    Thu - Mon
    12:00 - 15:00
    18:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Enoteca Solaria
    Restaurants (Italian, Mediterranean, Wine Bar)
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Charming old vinoteca, a great place to taste sicilian wines with charcuterie.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Two young new owners, knowledgeable and eager to please
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Tres bien! 25/08/2018
    • Excellent, friendly wine bar. 29/04/2018
    • Enoteca Solaria
    Address:
    Via Roma 86
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 931463007
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$12
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 - 14:30
    18:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Gut Neo Bistrot
    Restaurants (Mediterranean)
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Outstanding new restaurant with innovative sicilian fare

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    Tips
    • Limited menu but a great young chef
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Friendly service and good food 11/11/2015
    • Wonderful seafood dinner 06/10/2015
    • Gut Neo Bistrot
    Address:
    Lungomare Vittorini Nr. 10- 12
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 347 775 1703
  • Save
    Hotel Gutkowski
    Hotels
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Simple but charming budget small boutique hotel with great location and service

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Couples
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Book early for a room with water view
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 77 Hotels in Syracuse
    • bohemian chic 29/08/2018
    • Charming and friendly! 17/08/2018
    • Hotel Gutkowski
    Address:
    Lungomare Elio Vittorini 26
    96100, Syracuse, Sicily
    Italy
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Hotel Novecento
    Hotels
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    The place to stay in Scicli. Very comfortable boutique hotel with great location and service

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Knowledgeable owner and staff
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Scicli
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Perfect located 07/06/2018
    • Excellent 22/04/2018
    • Hotel Novecento
    Address:
    Via Giovanni Dupre' 11
    97018, Scicli, Sicily
    Italy
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Scicli
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Probably the best of the baroque town in southeast Sicily. In a deep valley has spectacular churches and palazzi, good walks, great beaches 10 miles away and great little hotels and restaurants

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Probably the best place to stay if you wish to see Noto, Ragusa and Modica
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 50 things to do in Scicli
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A hidden gem 09/09/2018
    • THIRD TOWN MAYBE BAROQUE OVERLOAD 30/08/2018
    • Scicli
    Address:
    Via Francesco Mormino Penna 2
    97018, Scicli, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 0932 839111
    Other:
  • Save
    Baqqala
    Restaurants (Seafood)
    See more photos
    marcopolo111 Says:

    Great little trattoria with excellent food and service

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Couples
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dinner for family 22/07/2018
    • Outstanding food and service 04/07/2018
    • Baqqala
    Address:
    Piazza Angelo Ficili 3
    97018, Scicli, Sicily
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 0932 931028
    Price range:
    US$35 - US$70
    Hours:
    Thu - Tue
    12:30 - 14:30
    19:30 - 22:30
    Other:
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