Sicily Travel on a Budget
Want to go on a trip to Sicily and want to pay attention to your budget? Then this article is made for you.
I’ll start by introducing two examples of cheap routes a week: one in the east of Sicily , and the second in the West.
You can of course combine them to make a longer trip.
From Catania to Syracuse, via Agrigento, Palermo and Taormina, find all our good plans to save, plus a list of the best and cheapest accommodations. Because even if you want to save, it is important to have a relaxing night to enjoy your trip!
I will then give you some tips not to ruin you on 2 essentials on this trip: plane tickets and car rental.
Cheap Sicily Tour # 1: East
Day 1: Catania
For a stay in Eastern Sicily not expensive 1 week, you will have to land in Catania. The majority of flights landing in the late morning, it will actually leave you half a day to explore the city.
Enough for a short walk and discover the inevitable. And what’s good about this afternoon program is that it’s completely free ! This budget trip starts pretty good is not it?
In Catania, go to the nerve center of all the Italian cities, Piazza del Duomo. There you will find the elephant fountain and the cathedral of Saint Agatha whose entrance is free.
Then walk on the 2 main streets of Catania : the Via Etna which allows you to discover the piazza della Universita at the end and via Crociferinicknamed the Street of the Churches.
If you have time, you can go to the Castello Ursino which houses the Municipal Museum and whose visit is also free.
Expenditure on visit of the day: 0 €
As you will have noticed, you do not need to use the car for this first day. If you wish to make some additional savings, you can rent it from the second day.
It’s up to you to see if you do not mind returning to the airport (a bus ride costs € 1 from Catania) or if you prefer to pick it up on arrival to save time the next day.
Accommodation in Catania
- City-In Hostel B & B : Located opposite Ursino Castle. Bed in dormitory from 17 €, breakfast 3 €. Free WIFI. Public parking and free. Tip: Avoid street side rooms that are a bit noisy. Ask for it when booking!
- Domoikos : Located 10 minutes walk from the cathedral and 200 meters from via Etna. Spacious and comfortable double room from 45 € per night, breakfast included. Plus: the geographical situation.
- Tra Etna Il Mare B & B : Located one kilometer from the piazza duomo. Large room with refined decoration from 50 € per night. Breakfast included. Plus: Free private parking. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio!
If you do not mind sharing a bathroom with another room, in Catania, many guest houses offer rooms with shared bathroom for a price around 30 € per night. It’s always taken as economy.
We recommend Da Gio if you have chosen to take a car directly (otherwise it is a little too out of the way and not easily accessible).
Or Ursino House if you prefer to be downtown (a bit more expensive).
Day 2-4: Syracuse / Ile d’Ortigia
The second leg of this inexpensive 7 day tour in Sicily takes you to discover Syracuse and the island of Ortigia.
On the program of the first day: discovery of the island of Ortigia with a stroll in its alleys, a small tour to the fish market and the fishing port. Then admire the majestic Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral, the Maniace castello and the Aretusa fountain.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
For the second day, I suggest you go for a walk along the bike path of Syracuse. It is necessary to leave the island of Ortigia by the bridge and to take on the right. The departure is at Piazza dei Cappuccini. The views are very beautiful and the path does not present difficulties.
In the afternoon you can visit the archaeological park of Neapolis which contains a large Greek amphitheater, a Roman theater and the ear of Dionysius, a grotto over 20 meters high. The entrance costs € 10, however if you are there the first Sunday of the month it will be free!
Expenses visiting the day per person: € 10 or € 0 (first Sunday of the month free).
The third day I recommend you to go around the 3 Baroque cities classified as World Heritage by Unesco : Noto, Modica and Ragusa. You will be able to walk in their historic center all as beautiful as the others.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
To eat at noon on the island of Ortigia : Head to the end of the market at Caseificio Borderi. The chef prepares sandwiches based on cold cuts and local cheeses in front of you according to a folklore. Each sandwich is unique and so huge that only one for two is enough. The sandwich costs 5 €. Be careful the queue can be a bit long.
Cheap accommodation in Ortigia
- Airbnb: the cheapest on the island of Ortigia remains the apartments offered by Airbnb. You will find nights in apartments from 35 €.
- Design for room : Located at the entrance to the island. Double room decorated with great taste and style from 45 € per night. For breakfast, it will be up to you to prepare but everything is available in the kitchen. Most: the location and beautiful rooms.
- TRE Archi B & B : Located 50 meters from Piazza del Duomo, quiet. Colorful and authentic room from 50 €, breakfast included. Plus: accommodation in the heart of the island of Ortigia.
Day 5-7: Taormina
For the third leg of this cheap itinerary of a week in Eastern Sicily, I suggest you to reach the beautiful city of Taormina.
For the first day in Taormina, discover the city: Corso Umberto, Piazza IX Aprile, Chiesa di San Giuseppe. From via Circonvallazione, take the stairs that lead to the heights of Taormina. Spend the afternoon at Isola Bella beach.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
The next day, second day in Taormina.
I advise you to go up to the village of Castelmola, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is located only 5 kilometers from Taormina.
And for the afternoon, discover the gorges of Alcantara that have been dug by the various lava flows over time.
To not pay dearly to the gorge: do not stop on the first large parking that gives access to the gorge with a lift and where the entrance ticket is 15 €. Continue a little further on the road, a hut on the right sells tickets for 2 € down the road.
Expenses visiting the day per person: 2 €
For this third and last day of this cheap 1 week trip to Sicily, I recommend a relaxing day to enjoy the last moments of vacation. For example, you can go down to the outskirts of Isola Bella to swim and do some snorkelling.
You can also walk in the streets of Taormina and admire the many panorama s on the sea and the cities below.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
One other option for this last day is the visit of Etna. But knowing that, whatever the type of excursions you want to do (by yourself or by a tour operator), it will cost you at least 50 € per person, we have not integrated in this circuit cheap in Sicily.
Of course if you want, and you have the budget, the discovery of Etna can very well be done in one day from Taormina.
Cheap accommodation in Taormina
- Hostel Taormina : Hostel located in the heart of Taormina. Bed in dormitory from 22.5 €. Free WIFI. Breakfast not included. Little more: a large panoramic terrace.
- B & B Terrazza Sul Mare Taormina : Located about 15 minutes walk from the historic center of Taormina. Modern and comfortable double room from 40 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the terrace overlooking the sea, calm, the availability of the host and his advice.
Sicily Tour # 2: The West
Day 1-2: Palermo
We start our second cheap route through the city of Palermo. The planes generally landing in the late morning, you will have half a day to start exploring the city.
The most emblematic monument of Palermo is the Palazzo dei Normanni with its palate with golden mosaics. The entrance costs 12 €, so you have the choice to integrate or not in your budget.
Namely, it will be the only paying visit of the day and the Palatine Chapel is definitely worth a visit.
Then, admire the Church of St. John of the Hermits, the Cathedral of Palermo, the crossroads of Quattro Canti and Via Maqueda and Vittorio Emanuele where are the palaces and churches.
Finish the day in the shade and cool in the gardens of Villa Giuilia.
Expenses visiting the day per person: € 12 with a visit to the Palais des Normands or € 0
The next day, start of the day by discovering the colors and flavors of the market of Ballaro. Afterwards, you can visit the Regional Archaeological Museum of Sicily, the entrance to which is free.
In the afternoon, I recommend you to visit the cathedral of Monreale, an essential place during a stay in Palermo. Here too no reason to deprive yourself, the visit of the cathedral is free. On the other hand to see the cloister and the climb on the terraces is extra.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
Cheap accommodation in Palermo
- A casa di Amici: Hostel located one kilometer from the cathedral. Bed in dormitory from € 17, breakfast included. The hostel also offers double and triple rooms. Ideal for small budgets.
- The Sole House : Located 600 meters from the cathedral and 300 from the Vucciria market. Spacious and comfortable double room from 40 € per night, including breakfast. The most: the perfect location to visit on foot, welcome and advice from the host, calm.
- 29 Venti Luxury : Located 900 meters from the Cathedral and 1km from the Norman Palace. Double room beautifully decorated and design from 47 €, breakfast included. The most: the ideal location to visit Palermo, the decor, calm.
Day 3: Agrigento
The second leg of this 7-day budget trip to Western Sicily takes you to Agrigento.
I recommend you to visit the most famous historical site of Sicily, the valley of the temples. The entrance costs € 10 and is well worth it because the site is really beautiful and vast.
The visit will take you about 2h30. You will be able to discover the 8 temples of which 2 still perfectly preserved and restored.
For the rest of the day, join the old town of Agrigento and follow the route on foot through the city by heading with signposted directional signs.
In the late afternoon head towards the Scala dei Turchi for swimming and sunset on its magnificent white cliffs.
Expenses visiting the day per person: 10 €
Cheap accommodation in Agrigento
- Il Sorriso di Liu ‘ : Located 2.2 kilometers from the valley of the temples in the city of Agrigento. Large and comfortable double room from 40 €, breakfast included. Most: close to the historic center of Agrigento and the valley, common areas with lounge, kitchen and sports equipment, very friendly hosts.
- B & B Sorahnia – Design House: Located away from the center of Agrigento and 4 kilometers from the valley of the temples. Modern double room with terrace from 50 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the situation in a quiet and close to the center, very warm welcome and French in addition, the exceptional homemade breakfast, free private parking. It’s our heart stroke for his performance / price ratio!
- Antico Vicolo : B & B located 5 kilometers from the valley of the temples. Spacious and quiet double room from 50 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the extreme kindness of the hosts, the calm and a good breakfast.
Day 4: Selinunte
From Agrigento, I advise you to continue this budget trip by rallying the city of Selinunte.
On the road, many points of interest are worth visiting such as the Torre Salsa Nature Reserve, the beach of Heraclea Minoa or the city of Sciacca. You can spend the morning discovering them. It will not cost you anything, access is free.
Arrived at Selinunte, spend the afternoon visiting the Archaeological Park of Selinunte. The entrance costs just € 6 which is not expensive because the park is really beautiful and it will occupy you all the afternoon.
Expenses visiting the day per person: 6 €
Cheap accommodation in Selinunte
- Agrisicilia (Relax Mare e Natura): Located 10 minutes drive from the Archaeological Park. Large double room with some sea view from 45 €, breakfast included. Most: very nice setting in the middle of olive trees, calm, kindness and advice of guests, private parking and free. This is our favorite report benefits / price.
- B & B Villa Anna : Located 5 minutes drive from the park of Selinunte. Spacious double room from 45 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the quiet, the garden with swimming pool and barbecue, the friendly atmosphere, the super breakfast and the owner speaks French.
- Demetra Malophoros : Located in Marinella de Selinonte, next to the Archaeological Park. Bright and spacious double room from 45 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the very warm welcome, the free and private parking, the breakfast at the top with local products and the host speaks French.
Day 5-7: Scopello
For the next day of this itinerary, I propose you to reach the city of Scopello which is the last stage of your stay.
But before arriving at Scopello in the evening, I advise you, since Selinunte, to go to Marsala, the starting point of the salt road. This road will give you a good view with its salt pans and the mills that border it.
In the afternoon, go up to Erice’s pretty perched medieval village. A very touristy place, famous for its castle on the cliffs and its many panoramas on the Trapani region .
Then join your step for the next nights: Scopello.
Expenses visiting the day: 0 €
The next day, your program takes you on the trail of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. This reserve is a must in the region. The path along the seaside takes about 4 hours round trip but that’s without counting on the bathing breaks in the small coves! Plan a picnic and hang out easily all day. Entry into the reserve which includes the parking costs 5 €.
Expenses visiting the day per person: 5 €
And for the last day of our tour in Sicily on a budget, I recommend another ride in the nature reserve of Monte Cofano this time. It has nothing to envy to its neighbor, that of Zingaro. It also has a trail that runs along with places to swim.
To go from one end of the reserve to the other, we spent about 3 hours. Normally the entrance is 2 € but we did not pay anything because some access was forbidden. However the main path was ok.
Then by leaving the reserve by car, you can go along the coast that leads you to San Vito Lo Capo. The landscapes are beautiful and there are also beautiful beaches to relax a bit before the end of the holidays.
Expenses visiting the day per person: 2 € or Free if you’re lucky
Cheap accommodation in Scopello
- B & B Scopello Il Mulino : Located 6 kilometers from the Zingaro reserve . Bright double room decorated a bit old from 42 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the location and free and private parking. Perfect for a cheap stay in Sicily!
- Villa Paradiso : Located 5 minutes drive from Scopello and 400 meters from the beach of Guidaloca. Comfortable and bright double room from 50 € per night, breakfast included. Most: large garden with sun loungers, very warm welcome, free parking.
- B & B Tre Giummare : Located 5 km from Scopello. Double room with terrace and sea or garden view from 55 €, breakfast included. Most: the location very nice and quiet, the splendid view from the terrace, breakfast with fresh and local products.
Some tips for saving in Sicily
Eat in Sicily
- Many small cafes offer sandwiches or pizzas to take away from € 2. Ideal for a lunch.
- Do your shopping for lunch in the local markets : some tomatoes, some cold cuts and fruits, it’s done.
- The portions of food are quite generous, do not hesitate to share a big pizza for 2, you will not be badly seen and you will not go hungry more!
To move in Sicily
- In Sicily the highways are usually free, so no reason not to borrow to save time.
- Gasoline is a major expense item in Sicily. It is indeed more expensive than in France. To find the best prices and save some money, you can visit this site. It lists the prices of various service stations in Sicily.
- The trains are the way most economical to get around Sicily but unfortunately they are very slow. It’s up to you to see if you prefer to save time or money.
- The bus, although a little more expensive than trains, is they fastest. The big cities are rather well served by cons they are few in rural areas and often limited to school hours. To know that there is no real service on Sunday.
To go to Sicily: flights
Contrary to popular belief, for a stay in Sicily, it is not the price of flights that will affect your holiday budget. We are not talking about a plane ticket to Australia but a European destination only 2 hours flight from France.
Many low cost companies offer round trips at really good prices. Personally, during our stays in Sicily, we opted for Easyjet which offered the lowest rates with a round trip to about 55 € per person without checked baggage.
So I hear you already tell me: “if we add a suitcase in the hold it is much more expensive.” Well yes it is, but for a week in Sicily, a relatively hot country in all seasons, a cabin bag per person with some essentials is ample.
If you can, book your tickets a few months in advance to get the best prices. And finally, prefer to leave in May, June or September, October to avoid the peak season when everything is more expensive. You will have everything to gain, it will be nice and warm (but not too hot!), You can swim and there will be a lot less people.
Sicily Travel: Car Rental
Another budget that can be significant during a trip, the car rental. Fortunately, in Sicily the prices are reasonable. Count a hundred euros rental for a full week. However, watch out for the numerous scams. It is not enough to take the cheapest renter that will then charge you imaginary damage.
To avoid any inconvenience, I always pass by the site rentalcars.com and this for 3 reasons:
- The site allows you to compare prices between all the renters. Perfect for saving money!
- You can subscribe to their insurance “complete protection”, much cheaper than that offered by the renters (and more effective!)
- The cancellation is often free : if you change your mind, you can always cancel without any fees.
About the “full protection”, it was more than 1300 euros that I was reimbursed by this insurance during my car rentals in Sicily!
Are you going to Sicily? Read also
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- 7 Days in Eastern Sicily – Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary with Maps
- Sicily Road Trip: The Best Routes For 5, 7, 10, 15 And 21 Days
- Cheap Travel to Sicily: 1,2 & 3 days Itinerary + All our advices!