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Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel
Hotel in Monte di Pietà, Palermo
Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel has a restaurant, outdoor pool, bar and lounge. we will be back here for sure, an amazing boutique hotel – great location and rooms
Hotel in the Ragusa Ibla neighborhood, Ragusa
The Itria Palace Hotel with bar is located in the Ragusa Ibla area of Ragusa. very nice and authentic. beautiful design and friendly staff.
Room Of Andrea Hotel
Hotel at Trapani City Centre, Trapani
Room Of Andrea Hotel is located in the center of Trapani, 1.4 km from Trapani port and 3.3 km from the cable car of Funivia Trapani Erice. Our room was very spacious, with a view to the sea and the street, right in the corner, so it was noisy for cars.
San Giorgio Palace Hotel Ragusa Ibla
Hotel in the Ragusa Ibla neighborhood, Ragusa
The San Giorgio Palace is a boutique hotel located in Ragusa Ibla, 15 km from Modica. Overall quality and ideal to build such a place. The breakfast is served on beautifull terrace with a great view. Very good quality of products, polite and lovely staff.
Hotel in Albergaria, Palermo.
Conveniently set in the Albergaria district of Palermo, Marmur Suite is located 200 meters from Fontana Pretoria, 600 meters from Palermo Cathedral and 6 km from Ospedali Riuniti Palermo. If there is an example of how a hotel should like, definitely Marmur is one of them. From the start i got impression that everything will be great. The hosts are so nice and polite that I would like to give them best grade. So advice for future clients to treat them well because they are really good persons. The room is big and cozy you have all what you need. So my stay in Palermo will remember by them because it was all wonderful. Hotel si on city center, so clean, jacuzzi, Netflix. TOP. Thank you Marmur and I hope that we will see again.
Hotel in Marsala.
Baglio Custera has a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge in Marsala. With free WiFi, this 3-star hotel offers room service and a concierge service. This is not to be missed. It is an upper level class hotel, newly built, with a swimming pool in the middle surrounded by the rooms, in the middle of olive trees. Breakfast is included, and if really you find something missing, just ask. They will prepare eggs for you if needed etc. There is bread, cheeses and meat, croissants, yoghurts, cookies, fruit juices, ask your cappuccino or latte, it will arrive soon on the terrace at the pool. We had dinner once in this hotel : excellent. The crudo fish and the ombra grilled was sooo good ! And in the evening you see the sun go down next to your plate. The staff is wonderful and extremely helpful, rooms are cleaned every day, the minibar is foreseen, and on the other side of your room, you have a private outside terrace to sit. We will for sure return to this gem.
How much does it cost to go to Sicily
I don’t like heat, beach vacations and crowds of people, so I prefer to travel in the low season. I didn’t want to get cold and wet in the rain too, so I chose Sicily: in December it’s sunny almost all the time and it’s about +15°C. Lots of sights and delicious food. The flight from Moscow takes 4 hours.
It took me a week to buy tickets, book accommodation and plan my itinerary. And only half a day to fall in love with the island.
For 8 days I spent 65 700 P for one person.
|Accommodation||17 200 Р|
|Food||17 000 Р|
|Transport in Sicily||11 500 Р|
Why go to Sicily
To sunbathe by the sea. Sicily has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and short mild winters. The temperature averages +26 ° C in July and August and does not drop below +10 ° C in December and February. Bathing season lasts from May to October.
Sunny days per year in Sicily.
Admire the art. The historic centers of Sicily are decorated in the Baroque style. Well preserved ancient architecture and frescoes in cathedrals and churches.
Good food. Sicilian cuisine differs from classical Italian in its great variety. Italian, Arabic, Spanish and French culinary traditions are intertwined, since the island has often changed owners.
Take up extreme sports. In Sicily there is an active volcano Mount Etna, which is about 3300 m high. In winter it becomes a ski resort, and in summer they arrange climbs and just walks on the slopes.
In one week I visited seven of the most popular tourist spots in Sicily. I lived in two cities: Palermo and Catania. From Palermo I went to Agrigento, Cefalù, Erice, and the suburbs of Montreal. From Catania I went to Taormina, Syracuse, and saw volcano Etna from afar.
From Moscow to Sicily, planes fly to two cities: Palermo and Catania.
In December 2018, Pobeda flew to Palermo and S7 flew to Catania. A one-way ticket with luggage to Palermo cost 4,700 P, to Catania – 10,000 P . Now Pobeda also began to fly to Catania.
Moscow-Palermo direct flight and return with luggage in December.
For tickets from Moscow to Palermo and back with luggage, I paid 9,500 rubles. The luggage came in handy on the way back: I packed so many edible Italian souvenirs, that my suitcase weighed 17 kg, while the allowed weight was 20 kg.
The currency of Italy is the euro. Almost everywhere you can pay by card, but there are exceptions. For example, to buy a ticket from the driver of the city bus can only be in cash. In small guest houses may not be a terminal. Some bars and restaurants may not accept cards, too, about which it is better to specify at the entrance. Usually only cash is accepted in drink and snack machines. Private cab drivers do not want to pay taxes, so they do not accept cards.
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I spent six nights out of seven in Palermo and one night in Catania. I booked accommodation in Palermo on “Bookings” 4 days before arrival, in Catania – just a couple of hours before check-in.
Cost of a single room per night in Palermo
In Palermo, I rented a single room in a guesthouse. It didn’t have its own bathroom, only a common one for several rooms. But in the low season it wasn’t a problem: I was the only guest. The room was small – only 12 sq m, but with all the amenities for an unpretentious traveler: bed, closet, bedside table, lamp and TV.
If you will be traveling in low season, tell the hosts in advance what time you will arrive. The guest houses do not have a 24 hour reception desk. So I specified the time of arrival when booking and wrote down the phone number of the hotel, so if necessary to call the owner.
When checking in I had my passport scanned: by law hotels are required to officially register each resident.
The room in Catania was five minutes walk from the station. It cost the same as in Palermo but it had a private bathroom.
Sicilian cities are small – you can walk around the historic centers in an hour. Therefore, the most convenient way to move around the city is on foot. Transport I used mainly for long-distance travel.
Trains. Trains in Sicily are very convenient. Tickets cost the same as a bus, but the comfort is more.
Trenitalia – the Italian equivalent of Russian Railways.
Announcements are pronounced in Italian and English. The scoreboard indicates the nearest trains with destination, departure time and delay. During the week I had only one train late and only by 5 minutes.
Any ticket must be stamped before boarding the train. Composters are in the station building and on the platforms. You have to shove the ticket deeply into the slot and wait a while for the device to beep. Then you can take the ticket out and get on the train with a clear conscience.
What to see in Sicily
Palermo. Most of the historical center of Palermo was built in the Baroque style. I was able to explore the city in half a day, but I did not go into the palaces and churches.
The entrance to the catacombs of the Capuchin monks
It’s worth the climb up the cliff that overlooks Cefalù
I wanted to go to the main cathedral, but it was closed. The tourist sites say it is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Sicily because of its mosaics. I had already seen the mosaics in Montreal and Palermo, so I wasn’t too disappointed.
Syracuse. I went to Syracuse to see the ruins in the ancient park of Neapolis. But it turned out that in winter, on Sundays and holidays, the park was only open until 1:45 pm. I went there in the afternoon and saw the ruins only through the fence.
But 2 km from the Antique Park is the island of Ortigia, where the historic center of Syracuse is located. There are no paid attractions here – churches are open to tourists during services. And I walked around the streets for several hours, looking at every house.
Volcano Etna. Planning the trip, I wanted to climb the volcano Etna by cable car. But in the end I didn’t have enough time for it.
You can also ride around Etna on the old narrow gauge railroad. The train leaves from Catania from a separate station 2 km from the central station. Then it takes 3.5 hours through the villages around the volcano to the terminal station of Riposto. From there you can in 15 minutes drive to the spa town of Taormina or back to Catania.
Taormina is a resort town, also called the Sicilian Riviera. I went there for the photos – the historical center of Taormina offers wonderful views of the sea and Etna.
The town itself is very small, but pretty. I took my time walking around the center in just a couple of hours.
Erice was a small town that looks like it came down from the pages of medieval books. Massive towers, narrow stone streets and stunning views of the coast from a height of about 900 meters above sea level.
Markets and supermarkets
I wanted to go to the Sicilian markets. I hoped to see endless fish stalls, bustling vendors, and mountains of fruits and vegetables. But either because of December or for some other reason, Palermo’s markets weren’t like that at all.
Tourist sites advertise the Vucciria market in the center of Palermo. It’s quite small and geared more toward tourists than locals.
Locals buy their groceries at the Ballaro market. It is near the Palermo Centrale train station. The market is large and the range is Sicilian: fresh and frozen fish, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, sausages and meats, olives, spices.
Cafes and restaurants
Going to a restaurant in Italy is not considered a big event. Italians like to arrange family dinners, meetings with friends and lunches with colleagues. Stopping at the bar and having an espresso at the bar counter is almost a daily ritual for some.
Menus are often written in Italian and English, sometimes even in Russian. Waiters may not speak English, but they will still recommend a local dish and emotionally show how delicious it is. Before boarding, it is worth to clarify the possibility of payment by card and the availability of Internet – they are not available in all restaurants.
Sicilians are even more sociable and friendly than residents of continental Italy. Every Sicilian was willing to help me find a point of interest or the right stop. If they didn’t know themselves, they would ask the first person they met or look online. Once two young men even shared their wifi because they did not speak English, but they were very eager to help.
Italians are very fond of their language. They think that it is tourists who should learn Italian, not Italians who should learn English. They were not embarrassed by my “no Italiano,” and they kept asking me friendly questions about something in Italian. Sometimes it was a little annoying. English was spoken by staff at hotels, cafes, and attractions.
At our guest house in Palermo, the hostess’s mother came every morning and brought buns for breakfast. She spoke only Italian, and my voice-activated Google Translator was a great help.
Shopping and souvenirs
Shopping. Sicily has many pluses, but good shopping is not one of them. In Palermo, Taormina and Syracuse you can buy something of the famous Italian brands. But the prices are the same as in Moscow. In mid-December the Christmas sale has not yet started, so I did not see the point of shopping.
The main shopping street of Palermo is Via della Liberta. Here you can find both well-known Italian brands: Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and mass market brands: Zara, Benetton and H&M. In Taormina and Syracuse, stores are scattered throughout the historic center.
Souvenir shops. The souvenir shops sell the standard set – magnets, mugs and t-shirts. Of the more or less unique things – porcelain wine stoppers with traditional Sicilian motifs.
A lot of cheap jewelry and bijouterie. Sicilians are very fond of brightly colored jewelry.
Souvenir stores with traditional food and drinks are popular, but you should buy products in them only for the sake of beautiful packaging. The same thing in supermarkets is much cheaper, and there is a larger selection.
I brought home edible souvenirs: cheese, sausage, pasta, wine, grappa, and wine vinegar. I shopped in the center of Palermo near the promenade in the big “Carrefour”.
On my short vacation, I went somewhere every day, alternating between natural and architectural sights. Because of this, the trip around Sicily was intense, but not tedious.
There are no sights of the level of the Vatican in Rome, and the streets of Palermo are sometimes not at all like pure Europe. But the nature, the weather and the local people made Sicily a place I would like to return to. I will consider it for a summer vacation by the sea or a similar city trip in 5 years.
Man, people know how to travel on a budget and beautifully, with emotion… None of my trips to Europe were cheaper than 150k and this despite the fact that I travel alone, because I have no one to travel with…
And, man, after reading these feelings, those who travel for 100 and I who spend 300 – the difference is almost no… -_- I envy that skill. How do you do it?
I also want to go to Italy. Haven’t been there yet I’ve been dreaming of going there since I was a kid. This year, I plan to, the article will be useful, thank you!
James, you just have 300, and you are willing to spend it on a trip), and someone is willing to spend only 80
James, it’s time to organize tours for T-J singles :))))
James, get rid of the word “pancake” at the beginning of every sentence and people will be drawn to you – there will immediately be someone to go with! As long as you refer to people as “pancakes” you will ride alone!
James, why don’t you have someone to ride with? Call…）
My favorite places in Sicily not listed in the article:
– The Egadi islands (Favignana and Levonzo) have beautiful beaches and nature, and it’s only a half-hour ferry ride from Trapani. – The town of Marsala is the birthplace of the fortified wine of the same name. The wine can be tasted in the center for free in almost any store. – City of Caltagirone – there is a famous staircase decorated with painted ceramic tiles, very beautiful. – The beach Scala dei Turki (Turkish Steps) – for swimming the place is doubtful, but for sunbathing and photos – The neighboring towns Ragusa and Modica – great views and the famous salty local chocolate
By the way, Cefalù has not only a nice city, but also a nice beach. Right in the city center, the sea is very clean and the sand is beautiful. 10 out of 10.
In general, of course, is better to rent a car and drive around the island, because the most beautiful places are not always reachable by train. We went with a girlfriend in October 2016, to rent a car for 8 days we spent 150 euros with full insurance + gasoline.