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Sicily deserves a good 2 weeks or more exploration but if you have a long weekend off from work and want to experience somewhere sensational you honestly could not do much better than a trip to Sicily. Don't try to cram too much into a long weekend, you are sure to want to return!

For a three day trip we have three different proposals depending on your interests. Each of them will make for a wonderful weekend break.

Three days around Palermo, Sicily

Palermo is an attractive city with a great atmosphere and some real treasures to see.

Day 1. Fly into Palermo airport and take a bus or taxi to your hotel. We definitely would not recommend hiring a car in Palermo!

It is worth heading to the beautiful Arab Norman cathedral of Palermo to start your visit. It is a very beautiful building and a walk up on its roof will give you a feel for the layout of Palermo down below. If you have time then head to Piassa Bellini which is surrounded by three very different churches each of them magnificent in their own way. You will want to visit all three during your visit.

Palermo

Enjoy exploring the busy streets of Palermo, all of them full of life and take the chance to stop at one of the bars or restaurants and street food is a must try in Sicily. Popular street food choices are the Arancina, the fried rice balls with various different fillings that are literally everywhere in Sicily or the Panino con le Panelle, a kind of chick pea fritter in a soft bread roll. If you have a sweet tooth then try the sweet ricotta filled cannoli (we are completely hooked on these) or a granita, a semi-frozen desert.

Day 2. If the weather is good take the train or bus to Cefalu which is Sicily's prettiest seaside town and as well as a beach has a beautiful old town and a 12th century Norman cathedral with wonderful Byzantine mosaics decorating the interior.

The train takes about 45 minutes and so you can enjoy a full day at Cefalu and return in the evening for dinner in Palermo.

If the weather is poor (and it usually isn't) you could get the bus up the hill above Palermo to Monreale instead and admire the Byzantine mosaics decorating the cathedral of Monreale and also the views over Palermo down below.

Day 3. Spend the day, or whatever time you have before your flight visiting the rest of Palermo. Visit the Palatine Chapel first as it is best to go early to avoid the queues. The Palatine Chapel is decorated with the most beautiful Bzantine mosaics. If your time is limited on day 3 be sure to visit here on day 1. Other highlights include the Quattro Canti Baroque palaces and the Piazza Pretoria with its fountain of naked statues. The Capuchin catacombs with their mummified monks is also very interesting.

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Three days around Taormina

Day 1. Fly into Catania airport and take the bus or train to Taormina.

Taormina is a beautiful historic town with lots of narrow streets to explore and fabulous views over the sea and Mount Etna from various parts of the town. Spend whatever is left of your first day exploring the town and choosing a nice restaurant for dinner. The streets remain packed and full of life in the evening.

Taormina

Day 2. Head to the beautiful Greek Theatre first thing in the morning before it gets busy and enjoy this evocative site and beautiful views over both the sea and Mount Etna. In the afternoon take the cable car down to the beautiful beach of Isola Bella.

Alternatively you could organise a trip to Mount Etna. There are various different options available and plenty of tour operators to organise the trip with the minimum of fuss.

Day 3. Get on the local bus up the hill to Castelmola. A charming village with attractive views. If you are feeling energetic you can walk up and enjoy the views even more. In the afternoon relax in Taormina before your trip back to the airport.

Three days around Syracuse.

Day 1. Fly in to Catania airport and take the train or bus to Syracuse.

Syracuse is an absolute marvel of Baroque architecture and its historic centre of Ortigia is very beautiful. Spend the rest of day 1 exploring the lovely Ortigia and enjoy an apperatif in front of the beautiful Syracuse cathedral.

Ortigia

Day 2. Take a day trip to Noto which is another stunning Baroque town. Either a train or bus can get you there in not much more than half and hour. Noto is part of the Val di Noto UNESCO World Heritage Site for their Baroque architecture.

Alternatively if you want a quieter day take a local bus to the Archaeological park of Neapolis on the edge of Syracuse. Here you can see the remains of the largest Greek Theater in the world as well as a Roman Ampitheatre.

Day 3. Continue exploring Ortigia including a walk along the sea edge down to the castle at the tip of the island.

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