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Are you dreaming of a trip packed with memories and new taste sensations? If sampling the local cuisine is one of the most important elements of your travel plans then Sicily is a good choice for you. During this trip, we tasted local delicacies, visited markets and pubs and got to know the interesting eastern corners of this Italian island. Our journey is slowly coming to an end and we will be returning to Poland today, so we want to take this opportunity to share our impressions.
When in Sicily, you’ll quickly notice the variety of local specialties. There is a real blend of Italian cuisine with Arabic, Greek and French influences, though during our trip we experienced Greek and Spanish flavours most of all. Sicily is a foodie-friendly area of Italy that is unmissable for anyone who loves to eat! Cannoli, brioche ice cream, arancini, pasta, Sicilian pizza, pistachios, citrus and seafood are just a few of the specialties that Sicily is famous for!
Flights to Sicily
Flights to Sicily are available by scheduled, low-cost and charter airlines. On the eSky website, head to the Deals tab to find excellent flight deals to both the east and west of the island. It’s a good idea to arrive at one airport, e.g. Catania, and depart from another, e.g. Palermo, giving you the opportunity to plan a trip from A to B and save time on your commuting. We departed from Warsaw just after 8 p.m., landing in Catania around 11 p.m.
If you are planning a very short trip, such as a weekend getaway, we’d recommend choosing a morning flight in order to enjoy the city as much as possible. In our case, a late arrival had its advantages as we were able to leave our luggage at the hotel and get enough sleep, so that we would be ready for sightseeing the next day.
Day One — Catania
We started our first full day in Sicily with a visit to the La Pescheria Market in the very centre of Catania. “The market made a great impression on us, with plenty of fresh fish and seafood, some of which was unfamiliar to us,” recount Maciej and Sonia, continuing, “In addition, we found a huge selection of vegetables and fruit at very low prices (often €1/kg), although it should be noted that buying individual produce is not usually the done thing here, so be prepared to buy in bulk. The market’s live fish, seafood and snails were initially a bit of a shock, however it is worth visiting as it is an important part of the local life and culture”. The market is located near Piazza del Duomo, right next to the famous Basilica of St. Agata, which has a terrace overlooking Mount Etna.
Rent a car and book attraction tickets before you go!
For breakfast, we went to Insigne Cafe on the famous Via Etnea, where we tried cannoli. “This is one of the most popular Sicilian desserts, known all over the world. We ate cannoli for the first time in an authentic Italian place in Boston, but trying them in Sicily was like tasting little bites of heaven! The cannolo consists of crispy, fried dough in a roll, traditionally filled with local ricotta. It can also be decorated with pistachios or chocolate. We also tried the pistachio cream version and I have to admit that it was just as delicious.” enthuses Maciej.
Day Two — Taormina and Castelmola
On our second day, we picked up a rental car booked via the eSky Cars tab, where you’ll find a search engine with offers from various rental companies. The vehicle gave us complete freedom to discover Sicily and its flavours as we could go wherever we wanted. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can also search, find and book organised tours on the eSky website – it’s a great alternative! We set off out of Catania, to the north. Our first stop was Taormina, which is less than an hour from Catania.
Let’s give the floor to Maciej and Sonia: “Taormina is a charming place that captivates people from all over the world with its location and monuments, including an impressive ancient amphitheatre. Unfortunately, the result of its popularity is its considerable commercialisation and a lot of tourist “attractions” may spoil this town for some. However, in our opinion it is a necessary visit”. They continue, “In Taormina, we visited BamBar where we tried granita with brioche. Then we headed to Castelmoli, which is situated much higher, with even more beautiful views of the surrounding area and Mount Etna. This town is less touristy and more peaceful. One of its main attractions is Bar Turrisi, which has a rather controversial motif of male genitals throughout its decor!” explain Maciej and Sonia.
Day Three — Syracuse and Noto
On the third day we travelled south from Catania, to Syracuse. Maciej and Sonia explain, “We came to Syracuse for two reasons. First, it is a city with a long history dating back to the ancient Greek times, and for centuries the city was also under Roman, Arab and Spanish influence. Secondly, it is said to have the best sandwiches in Sicily, and possibly in the world, and I fully agree with this!” Get one of these legendary sandwiches at Caseificio Borderi.
Less than 40 km southwest of Syracuse is Noto — a real gem and a perfect example of Sicilian Baroque, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The town impresses with its architecture and harmony; the facades of all buildings are painted in a uniform, light yellow colour and in the same style. In the maze of streets you will find many pubs and cafes, including the popular Caffe Sicilia Noto, where you can try delicious pastries.
Impressions of the trip
Unfortunately, our journey through the flavours of Sicily is at an end. Maciej and Sonia describe their impressions from the trip, “Sicily is beautiful and full of character. Most important of all, the food here is delicious — both sweet and savoury. Everything we tried was tasty and we were absolutely delighted with a few standout dishes. We know that we only managed to try a fraction of what the local cuisine has to offer, so we’ll definitely be planning a return trip!”.