How Long To Stay In Syracuse
The city is so beautiful that you could stay for weeks. However, we all have time constraints and a wide world to discover. Thus, you are probably wondering how many days you should stay in Syracuse when traveling around Sicily? We strongly recommend you spend at least one night in the city.
Most tourists visit Syracuse from Catania or Taormina. They spend a couple of hours and leave. Therefore, youll have the entire place to yourself in the evening! Nights in Sicily are wonderful. You can smell flowers in the air while the breeze from the sea refreshes you.
Besides, you can hang out with the locals. Italians are so nice and friendly! However, during the day, with so many tourists around, theres no way to mingle with them. As soon as the crowds leave, everybody relaxes. Have some wine and enjoy the best of Italy: its people!
Riserva Naturale Orientata Cavagrande Del Cassibile
Its the nature getaway not to be missed near Syracuse! The nature reserve Orientata Cavagrande del Cassibile is about an hours drive from the city.
From the car park, count 30 minutes of descent on foot to reach the gorges. The ascent will take 45 minutes / 1 hour. The panorama is magnificent, with a beautiful view of the canyon. It is also possible to see Etna in the distance! It is an ideal place for walking, picnic and swimming.
Some tips for your visit:
- Plan to bring drinks and good shoes preferably, because its pretty steep!
- In summer, go early in the morning to avoid crowds.
What Is The Bests Atractions In Syracuse
Now lets get to know some of the attractions in Syracuse.
Duomo di Siracusa
In the historic center it is possible to visit points such as the beautiful Duomo di Siracusa . The Cathedral is a temple with a mixture of inheritances from various people such as the Greeks, Byzantines, Islamists and Christians. The Cathedral is in the highest part of Ortigia and its architectural influence is very varied.
It is possible to observe Ionic, Doric, Gothic and even Baroque influences. The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Nativity of Holy Mary is an impressive building, of an almost indescribable beauty. Inside the Cathedral, the decoration, its columns and its works enchant our eyes!
Still nearby, it is possible to visit the Pupi Museum. The museum houses the entire artistic heritage of the Vaccaro-Mauceri family, a historic family that produced puppets. There, still active, there is also a theater, where there is a performance with the dolls that seem to come to life! The theater is also part of UNESCOs list of Oral and Intangible Heritage. Its fantastic! A souvenir tip: a small puppet, an item so characteristic of this incredible place!
Neapolis Archaeological Park
30 MINUTES OF CONSULTING FOR FREE FOR HOTEL SUGGESTIONS!
Piccolo Hotel Casa Mia
On an earlier visit to Siracusa I spent several nights at this good-value place to stay. When I visited it was an excellent B& B. Now Casa Mia is marketing itself as a hotel, although its prices are still reasonable. The accommodation is in a small complex of converted apartments, located on Corso Umberto. I enjoyed my four-night stay, and found the accommodation comfortable and convenient . Rooms are air-conditioned, with televisions and private bathrooms. Breakfast is a generous spread, including delicious homemade cakes, served on a pretty terrace in good weather, and otherwise in a gracious living room. The hosts were welcoming and well-supplied with maps and information.
Catania Nice City To Stay In Sicily To Explore The Island
On the east coast of Sicily and in the shadow of the islands famous volcano, Catania is the second largest Sicilian city after Palermo.
The crime rate is moderate, with risk of pickpockets increasing in crowded areas and on public transport, and muggings being fairly prevalent.
However, travelling in a group, avoiding the streets after dark, and ensuring that valuables are not on display while travelling about can all minimise your risks tremendously.
Catanias mild crime problem is a new one the citys burgeoning tourist industry has encouraged a criminal element to seek their fortunes in the area!
Living in the shadow of an active volcano is something to be respectful of. Should an evacuation warning sound while you are in Catania, immediately make preparations and leave as ordered!
Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, with rumblings and lava spurts occurring frequently. The volcano has even been known to blow smoke rings perhaps a clear sign that the volcano is aware of its popularity with the many tourists that flock to Catania every year!
Getting around Catania is best done on foot, if possible. The city centre is compact and well-pedestrianised and it is easy enough to stroll across the area without too much effort.
To go further afield, the bus services are reasonable, with the various routes running between 10 and 40 minutes apart.
You can also take a small train that circles around the peak in nearly a full circle, from coast to coast.
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Linger Around Piazza Duomo
The grand dame of Ortigia, with hues of honey and ivory, wealth and decadence, style and salvation, history and culture.
As with most Italian cities, it’s the Piazza Duomo which forms the hub of the city. Flanked by the imposing baroque facade of the Cathedral and several palazzos, it will be the priciest espresso you’ll have in Syracuse, but the setting and people watching are unmatched .
You can also visit the little Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia in the corner of the piazza , an intimate church which drew thousands in the last decade due to its housing of one of Caravaggio’s last works.
Fellow devotees of the renegade artist should know in advance however that his ‘Burial of St. Lucy’, which used to hang there, is out for long-term restoration and whilst some hope that it will return to Ortigia, an ongoing dispute may mean that it returns to its original home in Basilica of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro, in central Syracuse. Please do let us know in the comments if / when / where it does come back.
Caravaggio in Syracuse Update | A reader was kind enough to let us know the original painting is currently hanging in the Chiesa di Santa Lucia Extra Moenia . There is also a copy hanging in the Basilica Santa Lucia di Sepolcro in the same square
If you wish to enter Syracuse Cathedral its 2 for adults or free for various concessions. Find it here on Google Maps.
City Center Between Foro Siracusano And Ortigia
If you want to be in the center and next to Ortigia Island, stay around the Foro Siracusano. Its the nicest urban park in Syracuse. The area is small and very quiet. Most tourists cross it to go to the island. Thats why it feels very local.
The park itself is beautiful. It used to be the Greek agora. Look for the Greek columns, the remains of a city gate, and the forums road. However, the trees are even more impressive. Some are hundreds of years old! The Church of San Tommaso al Pantheon presides over the park.
The church is from 1919 and is also a monument to the victims of World War I. One of the citys most important streets crosses the neighborhood and the park. Shops and all types of eateries line Corso Umberto I. We like having ice cream at Gelateria Bianca in the park.
We Recommend These Hotels in the City Center:
Caportigia Boutique Hotel
Book a room at the Caportigia Boutique Hotel if you want to stay in one of the best 5 star hotels in Syracuse. Its got an unbeatable location, walking distance to most attractions. We love the rooftop terrace. It has a great hot tub and awesome views over the city.
Grande Albergo Alfeo
The rooms at the Grande Albergo Alfeo are big, comfortable, and perfectly isolated. Most of the rooms come with a balcony and a tub. Considering its location and the services it offers, its great value for money. The complimentary breakfast is delicious, while the onsite bar is popular amongst the locals.
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White Fountains Arenella Cassibile
The countryside and the sea surrounding Syracuse are well worth a stop and are also a great place to sleep in Syracuse. Relaxing atmosphere, quiet whitewashed streets, sunshine, fabulous rocky valleys and gorgeous beaches.
Between Syracuse and Noto, these hamlets and their surroundings offer different types of accommodation, ranging from bed and breakfast on the beach to farmhouse accommodation in the countryside.
For example, you can stay at Cassibile, a peripheral area of the city of Syracuse, which includes the seaside areas of White Fountains and Ognina, suitable for those who want to live between sea and nature.
The coast of Ognina is represented by small rocky coves that open onto the sea, while Fontane Bianche offers Caribbean beaches with white sand and a crystalline sea.
Another recommended area to stay is that of Arenella much appreciated for its beach of fine and golden sand, its seabed that slopes gently towards a limpid and calm sea. Arenella is located about 5 km from Fontane Bianche and 10 km from Syracuse and can be easily reached by car.
Find accommodation in Fontane BiancheBook accommodation in Ognina
Syracuse: Stay At Hotel Gutkowksi
Hotel Gutkowski is a fantastic find. Very reasonably priced at 110 pounds for a double it is beautifully minimalist. The location of this Syracuse hotel is fantastic just on the edge of lovely Ortygia and across from the waterfront.
Hotel Gutkowski Sicily has a great restaurant where you can get dinner and a fab breakfast. Their breakfast was the highlight of the breakfasts on my Sicily trip. Super fresh local ingredients tomatoes to die for, freshly boiled eggs, amazing juice and great coffee.
Another great area to visit in Southern Italy is Puglia. Check out my post on the 7 Best Places to Visit in Puglia.
The rooms at this hotel in Syracuse are lovely minimalist and clean and as I was there in August I particularly appreciated the fantastic air conditioning. The hotel has a great terrace where they serve Granite in the afternoon.
I would highly recommend heading to some of the foodie/deli shops nearby and grabbing some local wine and cheese and meat and having pre-dinner drinks on the terrace it is lovely.
The staff at Hotel Gutkowski Syracuse are very friendly and were very helpful in organizing transfers and trips.
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Siracusa Great Place To Stay In Sicily For Sightseeing
Nearly 3,000 years old, Siracusa is famed as the birthplace of Archimedes, at a time when the city was a vitally important trading link in European trade as well as being a military staging post.
As with much of Sicily, the city is filled with signs of the past: with Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Baroque buildings and influences easily seen even under the veneer of modern urbanity.
These remnants have seen the city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, especially in the light of the benefits brought to the entire world from this relatively small region.
Siracusa is largely a safe place to live and visit, although locals do fret that as more tourists are drawn to the city, so too are pickpockets and other opportunistic felons.
There are some minor issues with drug use and the petty crime that often accompanies this, but by and large, tourists are left alone as the islanders are all too aware that tourist money is the bread and butter of many of the businesses on the island.
With most of the sights gathered within walking distance even the furthest flung attraction is a mere 25 minutes stroll getting around Siracusa is best done on foot.
Buses do service the area, and you can buy tickets that are valid for two hours, or opt for day or even week passes if you will be travelling a lot.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SICILY IN SIRACUSA
Ideal Location For Exploring Ortigia With A Pleasant 15 Min
Ideal location for exploring Ortigia with a pleasant 15 min walk there. We walked round the entire island – highly recommended and lovely breeze. Our favourite deli was Fratelli Borgia watching the world go by on the promenade looking at the superyachts moored up restaurants pottery shops jewellery shops bakeries amazing. It was a truly memorable holiday. We travelled by train from Naples which was comfortable and easy too.
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Ortigia Near The Cathedral
As mentioned, the best place to stay in Syracuse is Ortigia. Weve divided the island in two. This area is to the south of Diana Foutain, around the cathedral, and north of Maniace Castle. Thus, youll be surrounded by the sea. Locals call the cathedral the Duomo di Siracusa.
The original 7th Century church was built over the ancient temple of Athena. The one we can see today is from the 17th Century. The Church of Santa Lucia is nearby. Contrary to popular belief, Caravaggios The Burial is not inside. There are 8 more churches in the area. Our favorite is San Philippo.
Walk next to the sea to Arethusa Spring, a freshwater fountain full of plants and life. Keep walking south until you reach the Maniace Castle on the tip of the island. The 13th Century castle hosts art exhibits. Go back north to Vigliena Fort. Then, explore the charming streets and isles of Ortigia.
We Recommend These Hotels near the Cathedral:
La Maison is one of the best hotels in Ortigia, Syracuse and Sicily. The 19th Century mansion is 400 feet from the Cathedral. Tucked in a quiet street, it offers elegant rooms, tastefully decorated common areas, and superb service. Have a glass of wine or champagne at the onsite La Societe bar, the best in the city.
Hotel Henrys House
Sunset Drinks On Lungomare Alfeo
A golden hour passeggiata on the road encircling Ortigia is always a good idea.
The sunsets on the western side of the island are quite wonderful, and the whole section bubbles with life and love from about 5 pm onward, with couples walking hand-in-hand, birds swirling and chorusing amongst the trees of Giardino Aretusa, the waves gently lapping, local men fishing from the rocks in front of the Arethusa Spring.
Breathe it in, walk it slowly, and do try to enjoy it each evening youre in Syracuse.
Oh, and be sure to end with a sunset drink or two.
The most popular spots are along Lungomare Alfeo, where you’ll find a handful of bars set up specifically for this moment. Take your pick between drinks at Sunset Ortigia or Mikatú prices are all marked up quite a bit given the traffic they see in the early evening, but it’s still worth it for the setting.
We recommend turning up a little earlier too to make sure you get a seat and can watch the sky change.
Alternatively, walk north along Lungomare Alfeo to the marina, where you’ll find fancy yachts docked, locals strolling or excercising along Passeggio Foro Vittorio Emanuele II, as well as a few cocktail bars and restaurants. Its less of tourist hotspot and the atmosphere is quite different, although do note that this is one of the only places weve stopped just for a drink and been charged coperto, which could affect your bill quite a lot.
Not sure what the coperto is? Check out our quick guide.
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Where To Stay In Sicily The Aeolian Islands: Salina
I settled on Salina as the Aeolian island to stay on. This was for a few reasons. I wanted somewhere a bit happening but didnt want to be on the biggest island as that never feels like a good idea.
I have wonderful memories of watching the movie Il Postino and being entranced by the town and it was shot in Salina. Salina seemed to have a good mix of restaurants and hotels without compromising on size.
Malfa is definitely the place to stay within Salina. It is rather hilly and you do want to be somewhere where you are able to walk to the main street and to the beach.
Where To Stay In Sicily
Sicily is an incredible island at the bottom of Italy, its the football to the boot so to speak! Whether youre looking for a stunning summer escape, a trip filled to the brim with culture or youre backpacking around Italy, its not to be missed!
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Sicily.
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The Aeolian Islands: Have A Sunset Drink At The Hotel Santa Isabel Terrace Bar
This is THE bar to go to for a sunset drink in Salina The view is absolutely stunning. It is a lovely outdoor bar with cocktails and a nice wine list. And best of all they put on some very tasty snacks.
The bar at Hotel Santa Isabel is usually quite busy but you should still score a seat definitely the place to go and watch the sun come down in the Aeolian Islands.
And dont miss my complete post on 8 Charming Sicily Boutique Hotels.
And if you are visiting Sicily why not make sure you see more of amazing Italy? One of my favorite places in Italy is Milan. Check out how to make the most of 24 hours in Milan.