I went to Italy more than 20 years ago, but it still stands out fresh in my mind as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. In fact, it often tops lists of the best places to visit in Italy, and for good reason.
The olive groves! The pastries! The buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto! Does it get any better than that? Young Me did not think so. Older Me still does not think so.
Therefore, I can tell you for a fact that if Sicily is on your bucket list, it’s time to make this dream destination a reality.
Though it is an island famed for the mafia (and now White Lotus Season 2, which still haunts my dreams), in actuality Sicily deserves a reputation for good hospitality, beautiful accommodations, delicious food, and some of the most stunning Mediterranean views you will experience in your lifetime.
Plus, at less than 12 hours to drive around the entire island, you can truly see what there is to see in a week. How many places can you say that about? Still, there’s Ye Olde Banke Account to consider.
Let’s take a deep dive into the average costs of lodging, flights, food and drink, transportation, and more. That way, you can check this bucket list item without putting yourself in the poorhouse.
Average Trip to Sicily Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Sicily for two people will cost around $5,100:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $100 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,400 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $200 total
- Total Cost: $5,100
Sicily is nothing if not popular!
“The number of tourist overnight stays in the Italian region of Sicily increased sharply in 2022 over the previous year, after shrinking with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” says Statista.
The site adds, “That year, the combined overnight stays by international and domestic visitors in that area totaled 3.6 million, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.”
That’s a lot of visitors at any one time, and it means a few things for you. First, you can’t go wrong visiting one of the most popular destinations in the world. And second, because it’s so popular, you will be competing with other travelers for accommodations, flights, activities, and more.
In order to save money while abroad, it’s important to understand how the time of year, hotel and flight choices, and more will affect your final tally. Let’s take a look.
Sicily Trip Cost: Average by Item
The average cost of a trip to Sicily – or anywhere else – depends on a huge variety of factors. They include how you like to travel, what you want to do while you’re there, and where you stay.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider how often you move around (since you often get price breaks on more nights at one place), how many people are in your party when you want to go… and so on and so forth.
It will also depend on personal factors. Are you a backpacker in your early 20s on a tight budget, with few opinions about where you stay? Are you honeymooners with a larger budget, but you still want to stretch it as far as you can – maybe staying longer than a week?
Are you a couple in your professional years who can afford luxury accommodations to truly unwind from the work grind? Each of these will influence how you decide to travel. Either way, though, an average budget will prove helpful to know.
The average cost of a hotel for one couple is about $125 a night. You can pay less than that in Palermo, where you’ll find 3-star hotels with WiFi and lounges for about $100 a night.
In Catania, you can find relaxed boutique hotels for between $80 and $100 a night. Farm stays – where families put you up on their farms for a reasonable price, often significantly less than the cost of hotels with food thrown in – are getting more popular.
There are lots of Airbnb and VRBO options as well, with $100 to $125 a night (before taxes) getting you a nice little apartment in Palermo, for example. On average, $100 a night is plenty to enjoy your experience anywhere in Sicily with charm.
New York to Sicily is a fairly reasonable $1,000 on average, while Los Angeles – being 5 to 6 hours farther away – is closer to $1,600. A domestic flight from a regional airport to a hub will add about $100 to $200 to your total ticket cost.
There are plenty of ways to save on tickets, though. For one thing, you should book well in advance. Tickets that are about 10-12 months out are significantly cheaper than those you book a month or two ahead of time.
You should also shop for your tickets in incognito mode. This prevents your browser from saving cookies that alert travel sites to your interest, which can cause them to inflate prices artificially or show you the more expensive options.
On average, plan to spend about $1,400 on your ticket. But using miles can go much farther than dollars, FYI!
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
There are so many places to go on Sicily that it’s hard to pick just a few. Luckily, the island is small enough that you can truly immerse yourself in a few chosen destinations, and spin by many others during your week.
Popular stops include Palermo, the capital, which has alluring markets. This is where many people will fly in if taking the place. Siracusa is home to an ancient settlement in the Greek tradition, with a beautiful promenade along the sea and lovely restaurants.
Cefalù has a lovely old town, while Agrigento is where you’ll find the Valley of the Temples, amazing Greek ruins with a museum nearby.
Catania is, according to Rick Steves, “Sicily’s second city and de facto capital of the east that’s most useful as a transportation hub — but offers a rejuvenated Baroque city center, splashy fish market, hidden Roman theater, and rare-in-Italy WWII museum.”
From Sicily, you can also travel to Malta by ferry or flight. The ferry costs an average of $200 round trip, though you can find deals for as low as $75 one way.
At 90 minutes to 2 hours per crossing, you can make a day trip of this – and visit a whole new country in the process! The food is pretty affordable if you stick to inexpensive restaurants, cafes, street stalls, and grocery stores.
You can get delicious local fare like icy granitas, hot arancini, cannoli, and eggplant everything. You’ll eat fantastically for $50 if you stay out of nice restaurants.
Plus activities, budget about $100 a day if you only take an organized tour or two (or the ferry to Malta), pay admissions to castles and parks without a tour guide, and do a lot of walking.
Trains are a good way to get around the coast in Sicily. From Palermo to Catania, you’ll pay about $20 for a 4-ish hour ride.
They are less of a bargain inland, not because they necessarily cost more, but because the hilly terrain makes them sluggish, so you can waste time simply trying to get to your destination.
For this reason, I consider trains more of a novelty. Do yourself a favor and avoid the buses. They’re messy, obnoxious, and often disorganized. The less said about them, the better.
The best way to get around Sicily is by renting a car. If you have a license, you’ll only pay about $20 on average. An SUV will cost more, but will accommodate bumpy roads, while a Mini won’t be as efficient, but can be less than $10 a day.
Overall, budget about $200 for transportation. That’s enough for several days of a rental car, a train ticket, and a taxi ride or two – though be careful, because drivers might try to rip you off.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Sicily:
- You can easily spend more than a week in Sicily. If you have the flexibility to stay longer, Sicily is a great place in which to spend several weeks – or even more. This might not be an option if you have to get back to work or school, but for backpackers, all I’m saying is: give yourself some wiggle room to see everything the island offers!
- Sicily and Italy aren’t the same. If you’ve already been to Italy and are wondering why you should “go back,” think again. It was originally settled by the Phoenicians, Etruscans, and others of the ancient world, and only became part of Italy in the 1800s. The culture, landscape, food, and more are all different.
- You can take ferries or the train to Sicily, as well as flying. The ferry costs about $50 if you take the Villa San Giovanni to Messina route. The train leaves from Rome or Naples (taking its own special ferry on the way) and costs about $20 to $25 per passenger. This is an exciting way to see more of the country on your way.
- If you take taxis, be sure to check the meter is going before you leave. If the driver “forgets,” they may quote you their own price – and it won’t be in your favor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Sicily:
Is Sicily expensive?
Sicily can definitely get expensive if you’re not careful. Paying for nice hotels, taking taxis, and eating in fancy restaurants are all excellent ways to break the budget.
On the other hand, price-shopping for hotels, eating on the street, avoiding group tours, and renting a car are all cost-saving measures that any traveler can take fairly easily. My best recommendation: do that, and you’ll have just as good a time without the ulcer-inducing stress of watching your bank account drain.
How long should I stay in Sicily?
If you can stay longer than a week, do! The island is almost 1,000 square miles in size, which means there’s plenty to explore while you’re there. It only takes about 12 hours to circumnavigate the island in a car, but there’s so much to do on the way that you’ll want to take your time.
Plus, inland is another world entirely. There, you’ll find an archeological treasure trove, castles, farm stays, and much more.
Is it safe in Sicily?
Sicily is safe enough. You certainly aren’t likely to encounter the mob looking to kidnap or extort you, à la Hollywood movies.
However, you should still be careful. As with all places that cater to tourists, petty theft and robbery are both issues. Don’t flash valuables around, including cell phones.
Avoid attracting attention to yourself, carry a minimum amount of cash ($100 in euros out to do it), and have an Italian translation app or phrasebook on hand so you can get help if needed.
Where should I go?
I mean, where shouldn’t you go on Sicily. The coastal towns and villages are striking, with Mediterranean access, lots of architecture, and seafood in spades. The inland towns are like another world, with farms, wineries, and archeological sites.
The best thing to do is study a map and read through travel blogs before coming. Depending on your interests, you can find an itinerary for that, whether “that” is ruins, beaches, food, the Godfather movies, or anything else.
When is the best time to visit Sicily?
Sicily’s high season is summer (tons of tourists, foreign and domestic), while its low season is winter (rough, cold Mediterranean weather makes it less appealing).
The best times to go are spring and fall, when the weather is mild and there are far fewer tourists around. You’ll enjoy better prices, more spacious experiences at the popular sites, and lovely breezes off the sea.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$100 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,400 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$100 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$200 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$5,100|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Sicily is around $5,100 for two people. For its culture, food, beautiful arid landscape, and friendly hospitality, that’s basically a steal.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Sicily has to offer. Happy travels!