Sicily has inspired wanderlust for generations, and now with the wildly popular TV series White Lotus, the Mediterranean's largest island is firmly back in vogue and on travelers' radar. These ideas for a cheap Sicily trip will give you all the wonder without breaking the bank.
At the crossroads of empires throughout history, Sicily is imbued with unique culture and natural beauty and can be cheaper than other Italian hotspots. The island's lower cost of living, cheaper food and accommodation options, and variety of free or low-cost cultural and natural attractions make it ideal for lower budgets and offer a bang for your traveler's buck.
Cheap Things To Do in Palermo
As the historical seat of power for several empires over the millennia, the Sicilian capital is a world unto its own. Here's what to do and see inexpensively
Affordable Accommodations: The Musical Box
For affordable accommodation located near the heart of town, consider The Musical Box. Fitted with adorable stylistic details, like arched interior doorways and phoenix-themed tiles in the kitchen, this Airbnb oozes Sicilian charm. With two bedrooms and three beds, it is perfect for either couples or a small family group. At around $77 per night, it'll be hospitable on your budget too.
Easycily Street Food Tour
Palermo is a street food mecca with arancini, panelle, and sfincione being some iconic dishes to savor on its streets. To bite deeper into the story behind these snacks, find a local guide who can share their gastronomic secrets amid the hustle and bustle of the markets. There are plenty of operators in town, but Easycily is hard to beat, with guided street food tours for around $55 per adult.
Via Pignatelli Aragona Carpark (AKA Parking Lot)
Like many Italian cities, Palermo restricts traffic into the historic center (also known as the “ZTL.”) Parking on side streets can be challenging, to say the least. Many visitors will be disoriented by the flexible interpretations of ‘parking space,' with many vehicles edging onto sidewalks. For a secure, sheltered place to park your car, consider Via Pignatelli Aragona. It comes at the standard rate of around $28 per day but is conveniently located at Teatro Massimo, saving you time on the walk to landmarks in the historic center.
Palermo boasts several fine dining outlets, including several Michelin-starred restaurants that add a creative twist to Sicilian cuisine. For a boutique upmarket hamburger eatery with decidedly local ingredients, try Tritalo Mediterraneo. Booking through Fork.com can get you 50% off food on select dates.
Things To Do in Taormina
Taormina is a must-see mountain-top historic town, but beware, the prices can be sky-high, too. Costs seem to increase with the elevation – a small plastic cup of pomegranate juice will set you back almost $7 at the clifftop bar behind the Greek Theater! It's worth seeking out some cheap alternatives here.
For authentic, delicious gelato at a friendly price, head to Gelatomania on Corso Umberto. Don't be fooled by the name – this is no tourist trap but a nearly four-decade-old artisanal shop. Gelato cones are less than $4 for a medium-sized cup with two flavors.
Escursioni Poseidon Boat Tour
Boat tours are a brilliant way to see the idyllic Sicilian coast, but many on TripAdvisor are listed at over $100 an outing, making them a tad pricey. Instead, try Escursioni Poseidon, whose two-hour cruise takes you up close to the film locations of the White Lotus and other famed hotels, as well as volcanic caves and hidden grottos around Isola Bella. Enjoy Captain Enzo's jovial humor as he shows you the sites, with a glass of prosecco to boot.
Porta Messina Pizza Course
Get in the kitchen with a pizza-making course at Pizzeria Porta Messina. With this package, priced around $77, you'll get to make a pizza and handmade macaroni too. The restaurant not only provides lunch (a cheese and salami board with olives and bread) but also serves your own creations straight from the kitchen. Don't get through your big hearty pizza? You can take it home in a box (that's today's dinner and tomorrow's lunch sorted.) With extra jugs of table wine, pistachio cannoli, and limoncello on the house, it's unbeatable value.
La Saracenia Walk
Situated between mountains and the sea, Taormina is blessed with epic views. To take these vistas to the next level, take the La Saracenia trail up to Castelmola (the neighboring village situated on an even higher peak.) The trail starts near the Porta Catania, the main entrance to the town, and winds its way up the hillside towards Castelmola. The trail is well-marked and leads you through fragrant lemon groves, ancient ruins, and rustic farms, with past breathtaking views of the coast all along the way. The trail is open to the public and free to use.
Cheap Things To Do in Southeast Sicily
The southeast corner of the island is dotted with charming Baroque towns, award-winning vineyards and sleepy fishing villages, and is well worth exploring.
E-scooter Temple Tour
Agrigento is home to some of the best-preserved ancient Greek structures in the world, making it a must-see for visitors. The archaeological site is vast, and tramping around it all on foot can quickly tire out even the most ardent ancient history fans. Thankfully, you can wheel it instead by taking an electric scooter tour. There are many day tours to the temples set out from Sicily's cities, with all-inclusive packages typically costing over $200.
If you can get yourself to Agrigento, taking an e-scooter tour with EasyWay Tours will save you money. This tour costs about $66 per person, and covers several main temples and includes some native fauna too – Girgentana goats.
Occhipinti Wine Tasting
Sicily may not be home to the Chiantis of Tuscany or Barollos of Piemonte, but its vineyards are growing in international standing. To sample some of Sicily's first and only Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita region (DOCG) which means that the grapes grown here yield the highest class of Italian wines.
Most wine tours around Siciliy’s iconic volcano Mt Etna only sample Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC varieties) cost $110 and up. For a cheaper experience, drive about 62 miles south of Etna and visit Arianna's cellar door for tasting from just $33 a head.
Take a Pottery Lesson at CEAR ceramics
Caltagirone is a town in the Sicilian province of Catania known for its vibrant ceramics industry and beautiful baroque architecture. For more hands-on experiences, make your own pots with CEAR ceramics. While other pottery houses charge $78 for a three-hour lesson, CEAR offers a two-hour course for half that – $39 for a two-hour course.
Vendicari Nature Reserve
Sicily offers a lot for nature lovers. The Vendicari Nature Reserve, positioned midway on the southeastern coast between Noto and Marzamemi, offers a leafy day trip without breaking the bank. The park is home to remote sandy coves like Calamosche, while its tranquil lagoons also serve as a stopover point for migrating flamingoes and herons, making it ideal for birdwatching. The park has a large, free car park and admission is only about $3.90 per person.
What To Do in Sciacca
The charming seaside town of Sciacca is located on the south coast and boasts natural hot springs, beautiful beaches, and dynamic fishing culture.
When you want a break from the Baroque and Greek columns, try the Enchanted Castle of Sciacca. Don't let the Disney-esque name deceive you; this open-air art museum features over 100 surrealist sculptures by renowned Sicilian Italian artist Filippo Bentivegna, made from recycled materials. Many artworks evoke universalist themes of spirituality and mythology, while some are laden with social commentary and strike an offbeat tone. At less than $7 per person, this may be the most budget-friendly museum admission on the island.
Cheap Things To Do in Syracuse
Syracuse, the birthplace of the brilliant mathematician Archimedes, is steeped in classical heritage, with visitors soaking up its ancient ruins, picturesque beaches, and lively markets.
Archaeological Park of Neapolis
The Archaeological Park of Neapolis holds the city's stunning Greek theater, Roman amphitheater, and the iconic Ear of Dionysius cave. Better yet, entrance fees are fairly low, at just $14.58, while children (under the age of 18) get in free.
For a budget-friendly outdoor meal, visit the Ortigia Market to pick up some cheap local produce. Then, head to one of Syracuse's beautiful beaches, like Arenella, for a seaside picnic. These beaches offer free access and are perfect for couples to sunbathe or for families to splash with the little ones in the shallows. A self-prepped picnic can keep you well-fed and save you the money of eating out at restaurants.
Saving Money While Traveling In Sicily
These are just some of the ways to save while traveling in Sicily. By researching ahead of the trip and remaining flexible when you get there, you can make the most of your time at this incredible destination and save on spending too.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks Travel.
Editor's Note: Prices mentioned are based on the exchange rate on 5/3/2023.