In case you didn’t already know, 2022 was the year everyone was seemingly flocking to Italy—including the guests in the latest season of The White Lotus. (I’m still thinking about that season finale, aren’t you?) If you found yourself immersed in watching the latest happenings—and misfortunes—of the coastal resort every Sunday night, odds are you’re itching to book your next vacation to the Mediterranean island, located just off the “toe” of Italy. Allora!
Between the Old World history, the food, the warm weather, the slower, more relaxed pace, and the shopping, it makes perfect sense that Sicily has quickly become the next go-to spot, especially for people who planned their first major post-pandemic vacations. Add in the idea of a luxury hotel or resort, and you have no reason not to go and indulge in a true getaway. (And if you want to make the most of your time there, book yourself a business class seat with ITA Airways; I guarantee jet lag will hardly be a thing.)
With cities like Palermo and Catania, plus smaller towns such as Taormina and Sciacca, this little island truly has something for everyone. Take in the breathtaking views of Mount Etna or the ancient ruins in Agrigento, or visit a local winery for a low-key tasting. Below are a small handful of suggestions for your next vacation to Sicily. It’s all about la dolce vita here, and as long as you have an aperitivo in your hand, nothing else will be on your mind.
Valley of the Temples
Once you’ve settled in after your flight, I suggest venturing to the Valley of the Temples just outside of Agrigento, a hilltop city on the southwest shore of the island. This UNESCO archeological site boasts seven ancient Greek temples—all in Doric style, for the history buffs out there—including the Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Juno. Take your time and soak it all in, and be sure to get your best snaps as the sun sets.
Chiesa di Santa Caterina
For those who enjoy a bit of history mixed with an architectural tour, visiting Catholic churches, in all their architectural glory, is always a good idea. Yes, there are other cathedrals to visit in Palermo, but the Chiesa di Santa Caterina does not disappoint. It might not look like much on the outside, but once you step inside, you’ll be amazed by the ornate details that cover the walls and ceilings. Be sure to allow yourself some extra time just to admire every corner.
While you’re on the south side, be sure to visit Sciacca, a charming coastal town that calls itself home to some of the city’s top artisans specializing in local crafts. Relax and roam the cobblestone streets while you people-watch and get a feel for the laidback Sicilian way. From the island’s iconic colorful ceramics to meticulously crafted jewelry featuring Sciacca coral, here is where you’ll find some of the best local trinkets and more to bring a bit of Sicily back home.
Case Vecchie Culinary Experience
What’s a trip to Sicily—or Italy, for that matter—without a cooking experience? Anna Tasca Lanza offers a variety of workshops where you’ll be able to embark on a four-day culinary experience and be totally immersed in the Sicilian food world. You can also sign up for shorter stays and specialized workshops if you’re tight on time.
Looking for a place to dine on your more casual days? Capo Market is the place to be. On a narrow street in Palermo, you’ll find stalls filled with fish, fruit, grains, and candies alongside street vendors selling delicious potato croquettes, chickpea fritters, and other quick bites to eat as you take a quick pause in your day. This area is busy, for sure, but there’s no doubt you’ll feel reenergized after you eat.
You’re on vacation, so you might as well treat yourself to a Michelin-star meal, right? Right. Located in San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, Prime Cerami offers Sicilian cuisine in the form of fine dining. Combined with the unparalleled views of Taormina Bay, you’ll experience a meal you’re sure to remember.
Planeta Ulmo Winery
Wine? Wine not? (Sorry, had to.) Family-owned Planeta has opened the doors of its Ulmo location—the company’s first winery—to visitors. Built near the family’s 16th-century stone farmhouse, you can tour the facilities, learn about sustainable winemaking at the open-air viticulture museum, and bask in the rolling fields of grapevines. Finally, enjoy an aperitivo and taste all the wines Planeta has to offer.
Bohème Mixology Bar
Let’s be honest: a speakeasy-style bar is always a good time. At Bohème Mixology Bar, the staff members will create your cocktails (which are based on fruit) on the spot, which means you’ll get a cocktail made just for you. It’s a fun time for anyone, but especially if you love to drink and want to chat up the bartenders to get a lay of the Sicilian land.
In Taormina, you’ll find Morgana, which will be as much of a treat for your tastebuds and evening festivities as it will be for your eyes. The bar is bright and cheerful, with staff members donning flamingo pink blazers. Order a signature cocktail as unique as the bar, or get your go-to. As long as you’re vibing, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.
Home to the Igiea Terrazza Bar and so much more, Villa Igiea may be one of the most luxurious hotel experiences you’ll have in Sicily. The Art Nouveau palazzo (which actually makes an appearance in the second episode of The White Lotus season 2) sits between Mount Pellegrino and the Gulf of Palermo, providing you with breathtaking views of Palermo.
Traveling with a cinephile? Consider staying at the Villa Sant’Andrea, a Belmond Hotel, which is located on the northeast corner of the island, just south of Savoca, the village where scenes of The Godfather were filmed. Situated right on the coast, wake up to picturesque views of the water while you settle into your Sicilian home away from home.
If you want to spend some time far removed from the busyness of the city, escape to Verdura Resort, which has a golf course, beachfront property, and an Irene Forte spa featuring thalassotherapy pools. Not familiar with thalassotherapy? It’s a circuit treatment utilizing the benefits of seawater, where you spend 10 to 15 minutes in each consecutive pool for electrolyte exchange. This circuit also promotes lymphatic flow and removes toxins, in addition to other benefits. You deserve some R&R.
Dale Arden Chong is the Senior Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Previously, she was an editor at MensHealth.com and has written for Who What Wear, GLAMOUR, The Coveteur, and more. She loves fashion, food, and art, among other things—but her greatest love is K-pop idol V of BTS.