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Things to do in Syracuse

Our most recommended things to do in Syracuse

Syracuse: Boat Trip to Ortigia Island with Caves

1. Syracuse: Boat Trip to Ortigia Island with Caves

Immerse yourself in Ortigia, the historical heart of Syracuse as on this guided boat tour. Enjoy listening as your skipper tells you about geological formations and step back in time with stories and information regarding the area's rich history. Board a comfortable boat and embark on your water adventure. Glide from the bridges of Ortigia and will enter the "big port" of Syracuse where you can gaze out of the the stunning Alfeo Promenade of Ortigia. Sail outside the port to circumnavigate the entire island. Follow the coast north of Syracuse to see some naturally-formed sea caves. Cruise into the "small port" and navigate inside the Ortigia canal that divides the island from the city. Have the chance to stop and take a dip in the turquoise waters with views of the shore. Pass under the bridges to return to the starting point of the tour.

Syracuse: Ortygia Walking Tour

2. Syracuse: Ortygia Walking Tour

Embark on a walking tour crossing the picturesque streets of the old part of Syracuse and discovering the traces left by all the different people who governed Sicily. You will meet your guide at the ancient Greek Apollo Temple where you will be given a short introduction to the history of the town. After a short walk, you will reach Cathedral Square and be surprised by the magnificent bright limestone buildings: the town hall, Palazzo Beneventano, the bishop's palace, and St. Lucy's Church, but most of all the Cathedral itself. It is the only church still in use today which many years ago was a pagan temple, and you should not miss the opportunity to visit its interiors (optional visit, admission fee not included). The tour then continues to Aretusa Fountain near the sea. The myth of Aretusa was told by Ovidius and in its clear fresh water grows papyrus which was probably brought here when Archimedes lived in town. The way back leads through the Jewish Quarter to Via Maestranza, the street where the nobility of the town had their pompous homes. On Archimedes Square, the neoclassical Fountain of Diana remembers once more the glorious past of Syracuse. The tour will end at the local fish and fruit market where you can take a breath of local life, colors, and scents.

Siracusa: Ortigia Boat Tour with Marine Grotto

3. Siracusa: Ortigia Boat Tour with Marine Grotto

Embark on a boat tour of Ortigia with this tour from Siracusa. View the historic center of Siracusa from the water. Travel along the coast to admire Maniace castle and several sea caves. Push off from Siracusa and pass under the Umbertino bridge. Take in sweeping views of the entire port. Go by the luxurious yachts at Foro Italico, and catch a glimpse of a cathedral dome. Observe the legendary Arethusa fountain. Exit the port and see the immense Maniace castle. Head out to the northern coast of Syracuse. Have some fresh fruit and juice as you travel to a spot where you can get out and have a 10 minute swim. Enter Capuchin cave, Coral cave, a stalactite cave, and the heart-shaped Cave of Love. Snap souvenir photos with the heart behind you.

Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

4. Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

Explore ancient Syracuse on a 3-hour guided tour and learn about early Greek history through architecture and religious practices. The evidence of Syracuse as capital of the Mediterranean is ever-present, and seen in the glory of its Cathedral, the ancient Temple of Athena, the Greek Theater and the Roman Amphitheater. Admire the beauty of the Cathedral of Syracuse, which incorporates the pagan Temple of Athena. Learn about its various architectural styles from your guide. Continue to the Archeological Park to see the Paradise Latomia and the Ear of Dionysos. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Ionian Sea from the Greek Theater.

Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

5. Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

Learn the ancient history of Sicily on a full-day sightseeing tour that takes you to the archaeological park of Neapolis where you can visit classical monuments of Greek and Roman Syracuse at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in Catania, transfer to the ruins of Syracuse, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walk, discover many old Roman streets, as well as monuments such as the Greek Theatre, whose cavea is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks. Near the Greek Theatre, you will see the latomie, including the limestone cave known as the “Ear of Dyonisius,” as well as the Christian Church of San Nicolò ai Cordari. Admire the Amphitheatre of the Roman imperial age, and more. Then, continue to Ortygia Island to experience the historic heart of Syracuse. Located at the park’s eastern end, and separated by a narrow channel, Ortygia is filled with Greek temples, Christian churches, and Arabian streets. Visit the Arethusa fountain and Piazza del Duomo, where the baroque palaces, such as Beneventano del Bosco Palace and Senate Palace are among the most beautiful in Sicily. After lunch (own expense), go to the small town of Noto, noted for its unique style of Sicilian Baroque architecture, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Wander the open-air museum and beautiful Corso Vittorio Emanuele to admire the many palaces and churches that, grouped together, are known as the “Stone Garden.”

Syracuse: Sicilian Street Food Hands-On Cooking Class

6. Syracuse: Sicilian Street Food Hands-On Cooking Class

A real Sicilian cooking experience awaits you in Syracuse. You will participate in a cooking class and learn the tricks of the trade. In Sicily it is important to gather relatives and friends around a traditional table, elegant and full of genuine food. You too will have the opportunity to do so, enjoying, through this cooking class, a cooking service together with chef Ettore. During the Cooking Class with tasting, you will learn how to cook traditional dishes in a simple way: the warmth of Sicily will wrap you with its colors, aromas and scents of ancient flavor. You will discover how family traditions and creativity are intertwined in the creation of tasty, homemade dishes. Seasonal, first choice and always locally sourced ingredients will make your meal of unique goodness. The lunch includes two courses: the famous Sicilian arancini and for dessert the renowned cannoli, both symbols of Sicilian gastronomy. The Cooking Class will be a sensory experience, pleasant, gratifying and above all satisfying. A local wine will be selected for you, to enhance and accompany the tasting of the dishes.

Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Tour

7. Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Tour

Meet your certified guide at the entrance gate of the Neapolis Archaeological Park and visit the most important ancient Greek and Roman monuments in Syracuse. Discover the history and archaeological importance of this ancient Greek sight from your knowledgeable guide. During your walking tour, see the ancient Greek theatre, cut in the rock of the Yemenite Hill, and explore the "Latomie del Paradiso", an ancient stone quarry with beautiful local flora. Next, marvel at the legendary "Ear of Dionysius", located inside the quarries. Be amazed by this grotto famed for its shape and echoing sounds. Finish your tour with a visit to the altar of Hieron and the Roman amphitheater.

From Catania: Syracuse, Ortygia, and Noto Tour

8. From Catania: Syracuse, Ortygia, and Noto Tour

Enjoy three beautiful places in Sicily with this full-day tour from Catania. Listen to historical facts and facinating anecdotes with your audio guide as you stop at the Neapolis Archaeological Park, Ortygia, and Noto.  Meet your driver in Duomo square in the center of Catania and sit back and relax in the comfortable van on the drive to the Neapolis Archaeological Park in Syracuse. Purchase tickets to the park to admire the magnificent Greek theater, Roman Amphitheater, and stone quarries. Continue to the ancient fortified island of Ortygia. Spend some time wandering the streets to discover the mythical Fountain of Arethusa, Piazza Duomo, the fortress walls, and stunning Baroque churches and palaces. Finally, drive to the town of Noto where you can discover the Sicilian capital of Baroque architecture. Have some free time to see sights like the Fountain of Hercules, and noble palaces like Palazzo Astuto and Palazzo Trigona Cannicarao. Return to the meeting point in Catania.

Siracusa: Ortygia Island Boat Tour with Grotto Visit

9. Siracusa: Ortygia Island Boat Tour with Grotto Visit

Meet your skipper at the convenient meeting point. A boat ride around Ortigia is one of the best ways to visit this beautiful place: between the sound of the wind and the intoxicating smell of the sea you will discover one of the jewels of the Sicilian tourist panorama. Admiring Ortigia by boat will allow you to admire some of its most significant monuments and historic buildings: the Venetian Palace, the Umberto I Bridge and the Small Port, the former Bourbon Prison, the Spanish walls and the Lungomare di Levante, the Viliena Fortress, the Maniace Castle and the Fonte Aretusa. Continue with the exploration of the sea grottos (the Capuchin Latomie, the Ear of Dionysius, the Heart-Shaped Lovers', and the Holy Spirit grottos) on the north side of Syracuse, entering the caves and admiring stalactites, stalagmites, and coral formations up close. This excursion in Ortygia will also offer you the opportunity, in non-adverse weather conditions, to take a short stop for a dip, where the water is a deep blue.

Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Entrance Ticket

10. Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Entrance Ticket

The Neapolis Archaeological Park is a must-do for anyone interested in archeology and the classical world. Skip the lines with this entrance ticket and discover its many ancient wonders for yourself including the Greek theater, the Ear of Dionysius, and the Altar of Hieron II. Check out the Greek theater, one of the park's most famous attractions and a truly impressive example of classical civic architecture. Another one of the park's most iconic sites is the Ear of Dionysius, a man-made cave named by the painter Caravaggio. Continue on and discover the fascinating history of some of the park's other key sites. Visit the Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 3rd-4th century AD, the Cave of the Cordari, and the Altar of Hieron II which is dedicated to Zeus Eleutherios.

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Frequently asked questions about Syracuse

What are the best day trips and excursions from Syracuse?

The best day trips and excursions from Syracuse are:

Mount Etna

Other Sightseeing Options in Syracuse

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What people are saying about Syracuse

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,088 reviews

The trip to Ragusa, Modica and Noto was excellent… though, our guide didn’t speak much English and served more as a driver to each site than an actual guide. Some local information was provided and some rudimentary conversation was had in Italian. It would have been appreciated to have individual maps provided ahead of the drop-offs. The water bottles provided were appreciated. A little less time in Ragusa would have allowed a bit more time in Noto. The recommendation to visit the Bonajuta chocolatier in Modica was appreciated - and is highly recommended. Our ‘guide’ was an excellent driver and did make two stops so that some great panoramic photos could be taken of Ragusa and Noto. Highly recommend visiting all three towns - given our circumstances, it was the best way for us to enjoy them within our schedule. Much appreciated!

Francesco provided all of us with an excellent tour. He was very knowledgeable and prompt. The wine and food tasting was also very good. I would highly recommend.

Nando was very helpful, courteous and was an excellent guide. We got to understand Sicily better because of his explanations and knowledge.

Stephen was great! Fun boat ride and tour of the caves and around ortigia. Would definitely recommend

Overall nice trup across several beautiful cities.