How to spend a long weekend in Syracuse, Sicily
After arriving at Catania airport the evening before, we spent our first morning in Sicily exploring the city.
With only a few hours to spare we go straight to the Piazza del Duomo to check out the Fontana Dell’Elefante (Elephant Fountain) and the Cattedrale di Sant'Agata before crossing the road to the church, where you can climb up on to the rooftop for an amazing view of the city and Mount Etna towering over the rooftops. We check out the bustling market and after a quick pit stop at our hotel to pick up our luggage, catch the train to Syracuse. Only an hour away, it’s a relaxing journey looking out at the Sicilian countryside speeding past the window and before we know it we’ve arrived. We quickly check into our Airbnb before heading out for a beautiful meal of fresh carpaccio and grilled octopus at La Lisca.
The sun is shining so we decide to explore the Archaeological Park (Neapolis) and see its ancient greek theatre, Orecchio di Dionisio (a huge cave carved into the rocky cliff) and roman ruins before stopping for a mid-morning espresso and something sweet.
From the park it’s a short walk to the Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime , a huge modern cathedral that is truly breathtaking. We catch the bus back to town and spend the afternoon exploring the cute winding streets of Ortigia dotted with shops and cafes.
At the centre of town is the Piazza santa Lucia, a square surrounded by stunning baroque buildings. We stop for yet another coffee (we are in Italy after all) and check out the views of the sparkling Mediterranean. After freshening up and resting our feet for a bit, we head back out an aperitif at Dada Bar. It’s such a beautiful spot with the golden evening light and the locals chatting away in Italian that I don’t want to leave. But before long our stomachs guide us to a local Osteria for a steaming plate of spaghetti alla vongole and finally, slightly merry from all that local wine, to bed.
With mum out exploring Noto, I spend the morning strolling the streets of Ortigia before arriving at the local food market. It’s a cacophony of fishmongers hawking the days catch and the greengrocers selling their wares, which all look so delicious it’s difficult not to buy it all!
With my belly rumbling I stumble upon Caseificio Borderi, a deli which also sells food-to-go. I spend the time in line watching the most elaborate sandwich preparation I’ve ever seen and eyeing up the beautiful selection of local cheeses and hams, none of which will (sadly) fit in my teeny suitcase. To finish off our last day in Ortigia we go and enjoy the last of the evening sun beside the Castle. It’s a lovely spot overlooking the sea and we sit and relax, listening to the waves on the shore below. As the sun starts to set we munch some sicilian fish and chips before heading home to pack up.
A few useful tips!
There is no airport in Syracuse itself but you can fly to Catania (we flew from London Gatwick) and take the train. They run a few times a day and take around an hour. Tickets are around €7 so a really good option if you’re on a budget! The train station (Catania Centrale) is in the centre of town so you’ll need to take a bus or taxi to get there from the airport.
Layer up - In spring the midday sunshine is hot but the evenings really cooled down so I would pack for all weathers and bring layers. You can see what I packed for four nights in Sicily here!
Be aware of opening times - even though it’s a relatively touristy place, most supermarkets,shops and other attractions were shut between 13:00 - 16:00 (or even later). They do stay open a bit later in the evenings though.