Anyone deciding to cruise Sicily will experience the landscape’s stunning diversity. From striking volcanoes to alpine meadows, picturesque towns to dazzling beaches, it’s hard not to become enchanted with the island. Sicily is also a fascinating cultural hotspot, bearing traces of numerous ancient civilisations, from the Phoenicians to the Ancient Greeks.
With its beaches, beautiful scenery and fascinating history, Sicily offers something for everyone. A cruise to Sicily will allow you to experience everything the island has to offer. If you want to know more, check out this guide to the island’s most beloved ports.
Popular Ports in Sicily
If you decide to cruise Sicily, Palermo is an unmissable destination. This ancient city is an intriguing mixture of cultures and civilisations. From churches topped with Arabesque domes to Norman palaces and ancient ruins, you’ll be captivated from the get-go.
Palermo is one of the world’s best street-food destinations, and the winding streets around bustling markets like Capo and Ballarò are full of stalls. A popular food is arancini, crispy rice balls stuffed with a variety of fillings such as tomato ragu or smoked cheese.
Whether you’re marvelling at the beautiful frescos of the Palazzo dei Normanni, watching an opera at the Teatro Massimo or browsing the city’s many vintage shops and markets, there’s no shortage of things to do.
It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful city than Sycracuse. Ornate, honey-coloured buildings, a jumble of lanes and broad piazzas are surrounded by dazzling turquoise sea.
Syracuse was once the biggest city of ancient Greece, and now it houses a huge number of ancient Greek and Roman remains. These can mainly be found at the Neapolis Archaeological Park. Highlights include a huge Greek amphitheatre and a man-made cave called the Ear of Dionysius.
The historic centre of Syracuse is located on the island of Ortigia, connected to Neapolis by a causeway. You’ll find many landmarks here, from ancient Greek temples to Byzantine churches.
Taormina is Sicily’s most popular resort destination, and it’s easy to see why people flock there year after year. There’s the stunning beaches, for a start. Giardini Naxos is the area’s largest beach, with a long stretch of golden sand leading to clear waters, perfect for swimming.
The town itself is located on the side of a mountain. The view is dominated by the dramatic outline of Mount Etna, with its dramatically smoking top. There are lots of day tours to the volcano, including guided hiking trips.
Like all towns in Sicily, there are no shortage of attractions here. Visit the fabulous amphitheatre, which has incredible views of the ocean and the volcano. Saunter down the pedestrianised street, Corso Umberto I, where you can browse the boutiques and gaze at amazing architectural marvels, such as a 12th-century bell tower.
What are the best cruise ships for a Sicily cruise?
Sicily is a popular sailing destination, visited by many small yachts and catamarans. But it’s also visited by cruise liners. Here are a couple of choices that visit Sicily year-round, and allow you to travel in style for very reasonable rates.
The luxurious Marella Dream makes a stop in Sicily on its ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ tour. If you want to cruise Sicily in style, this is the way to go. With two outdoor pools, there’s plenty of scope for sunbathing, and there’s even a spa for you to relax in too. With a daily Kid’s club offering movie nights and art activities, the whole family will be entertained. When it comes to food you’ll be spoilt for choice, with a variety of restaurants offering everything from Mediterranean to pan-Asian cuisine.
The newest ship to the fleet, Marella Explorer offers cutting-edge comfort to passengers. On each of the 13 decks you’ll find something to entertain you. From a luxury health spa to a mini golf range, from Broadway shows to a casino, your days and nights will be packed full. Don’t forget to find time to lie on the sundeck by the outdoor pool, and to eat and drink your fill at one of the 10 restaurants or 10 bars.
Shore excursion ideas
Despite its relaxed atmosphere, Sicily is packed with attractions. There’s so much to see and do here, we’ve come up with the best shore excursions on offer.
Vineyards Tour and Tasting
Sicily is renowned for its delicious local wine, which has been produced on the island for hundreds of years. Head inland from Palermo to a picturesque winery, where you’ll get a tour of the surrounding vineyard and learn about the winemaking process from an expert. Of course, you’ll get to sample the wines, too, alongside some scrumptious cheese and mezze platters.
Cappuccini Catacombs and Zisa Palace
To uncover a hidden side to the city of Palermo, take this tour. As well as getting shown around the town, you’ll also take a look underneath it with a visit to the Cappuccini Catacombs. This winding maze of eerie underground chambers once functioned as a unique cemetery and holds the bodies of 7,000 aristocrats.
After returning to ground level, your guide will take you off to the spectacular Zisa Palace, a pink-tinged Arabesque structure built in the 12th century. Your guide will bring the history of this fascinating place alive for you.
The temple of Segesta
Another fabulous excursion is the Segesta, said to be the best-preserved Greek temple in the world. You’ll travel inland and take the winding road to the top of Monte Barbaro, where the temple is located. Marvel at the 36 well-preserved Doric columns and the amazing view over the island, from the undulating hills down to a glimmering sea.