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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

The 3rd stop of my Sicily trip was Palermo, the capital city of Sicily. As soon as I arrived, I was immediately captivated by the colourful streets, the bustling markets, and the rich history of the city. 

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Palermo is a vibrant and historic city with plenty to offer visitors. With a rich history, beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, and stunning coastline, Palermo is a perfect destination for a week-long trip. In this blog post, I will provide my best travel tips for spending one week in Palermo, including some of the city’s highlights and must-visit places.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

On my first day in Palermo I was lucky enough to meet Chiara. She was excited to show me the beautiful places in Palermo and around Palermo.

We started by strolling through the historic city center, taking in the stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere. We visited the Quattro Canti, also known as the Four Corners, which is the city’s central square and the meeting point of the four historic districts of Palermo. 

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

From here, we took a walk to the nearby Cathedral of Palermo, a stunning example of Sicilian Baroque architecture.

We spend some days together exploring the city and taking pictures in front of its many landmarks, such as the Cathedral of Palermo, the Palazzo dei Normanni, and the Teatro Massimo.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Top Tip: Take a photography walking tour with Chiara to discover hidden gems and local hotspots. This way, you’ll see more of the city and take better photographs.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Palermo travel guide 

Getting to Palermo

The easiest way to get to Palermo is by flying into the Falcone-Borsellino Airport. It is located around 35 kilometers west of the city. From there, you can take a taxi or the train to get to the city center. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Naples or other Italian cities, which arrive at the Port of Palermo.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Getting around Palermo

Palermo is a city that’s best explored on foot, but it also has an efficient public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and trains. Taxis are also readily available, but they can be more expensive than other forms of transportation.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

What to see and do in Palermo

Visit the Palermo Cathedral: This stunning cathedral is located in the heart of the historic center and features a mix of architectural styles, including Norman, Gothic, and Baroque.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Explore the Palazzo dei Normanni: This impressive palace was once home to Sicilian royalty and features stunning mosaics and artwork.

Take a stroll through the Quattro Canti: This famous intersection features four stunning Baroque buildings, each representing one of the four seasons.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Visit the Capuchin Catacombs: These eerie catacombs are home to thousands of mummified bodies, making for a unique and somewhat haunting experience.

Take a street food tour: Palermo is known for its delicious street food, and a guided tour is a great way to sample a variety of local specialties.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 

Visit the markets: Palermo has several vibrant markets, including the Ballarò, Capo, and Vucciria markets, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handicrafts.

Relax at Mondello Beach: This beautiful beach is located just a short drive from the city center and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Where and what to eat in Palermo

Palermo is known for its delicious cuisine, and there are plenty of options for dining out. Some of the must-try dishes include arancini, panelle, pasta alla Norma, and cannoli.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Best restaurants in Palermo

Basile antica focacceria del Massimo / Cafe del Kassaro / Bisso bistro

Where to find the best ice cream in Palermo: go to Il Signor Carbognano.

Where to find the best best cannoli in Palermo: go to I segreti del chiostro (amazing place)

For the best pizza go to Anica, Quid Gusto siciliano, Cagliostro

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 
Reasons to visit Palermo

Rich history: Palermo has a rich and fascinating history, with many ancient ruins, historic churches, and palaces that are worth exploring. The city’s diverse cultural influences – including Greek, Roman, Arab, and Norman – have all left their mark on the city’s architecture and culture.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Stunning architecture: Palermo is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in Italy, including the Palermo Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, and the Palazzo dei Normanni. These stunning buildings showcase a mix of architectural styles, including Norman, Gothic, and Baroque.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Delicious cuisine: Sicilian cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and unique ingredients, and Palermo is the perfect place to sample it. From street food to fine dining, there are plenty of options for foodies to indulge in local specialties like arancini, cannoli, and panelle.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 

Vibrant markets: Palermo is known for its vibrant markets, including the Ballarò, Capo, and Vucciria markets, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handicrafts. These markets are a great place to soak up the local atmosphere and try some of the city’s famous street food.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Beautiful beaches: Palermo is home to several beautiful beaches, including Mondello, which is just a short drive from the city center. These beaches offer a great place to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 

Cultural events: Palermo hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, art exhibitions, and theater performances. These events are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the city’s vibrant arts scene.

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat
 
Day trips from Palermo 

Mondello Beach

Chiara brought me by car to Mondello Beach, a popular destination among locals and tourists alike. The beach is famous for its clear waters, soft sand, and picturesque views of the surrounding mountains. I spent the day relaxing on the beach and taking pictures of the crystal clear water. 

Tip: To capture the perfect beach photo, wake up early in the morning or stay until sunset to get the best lighting.

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One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

Sant’Elia

Chiara also brought me to Sant’ Elia. 

Sant’Elia is a small fishing village located on the northern coast of Sicily, just a few kilometers from the town of Cefalù. Despite its small size, Sant’Elia is a hidden gem that offers visitors a glimpse into the authentic lifestyle of the locals, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds.

Sicily Travel Guide

During my visit to Sant’Elia, I was immediately struck by the stunning natural beauty of the area. The village is nestled between a rugged coastline and lush hills, offering breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The crystal-clear waters and secluded coves make it a great spot for swimming and sunbathing, while the nearby hills offer excellent hiking trails for those who love to explore.

Sicily Travel Guide

We wandered around the village and explored the narrow streets and alleys. The buildings in Sant’Elia are traditional Sicilian architecture, with colourful facades and intricate balconies. I stumbled upon a small square where locals were gathered, chatting and sipping on espresso at a local café. I felt as though I had been transported back in time, to a simpler and more peaceful way of life.

Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily Travel Guide
 

One of the highlights of my visit was the food. Sant’Elia is known for its excellent seafood, and I enjoyed a delicious lunch of freshly caught fish and homemade pasta at a local trattoria. The dishes were simple but bursting with flavour, and I could taste the freshness of the ingredients in every bite.

Sicily Travel Guide

A visit to Sant’Elia is a must for anyone traveling to Sicily. This hidden gem offers visitors a chance to experience the authentic lifestyle of the locals, away from the tourist crowds. With its stunning natural beauty, bustling fishing industry, and delicious cuisine, Sant’Elia is a true gem that should not be missed.

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Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily Travel Guide
 
Palermo 10 top tips

Here are 10 top tips to help you make the most of your visit to Palermo:

1. Visit the historic landmarks: Palermo has an abundance of historic landmarks to explore, such as the Palermo Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, and the Palazzo dei Normanni.

Sicily Travel Guide

2. Try the local cuisine: Sicilian cuisine is renowned for its delicious flavours and unique ingredients, so make sure to try dishes such as arancini, pasta alla Norma, and cannoli.

3. Take a street food tour: For an authentic taste of Palermo’s cuisine, join a street food tour to sample a variety of local specialties.

Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily Travel Guide
 

4. Explore the local markets: Palermo’s markets are a feast for the senses, with colorful displays of fresh produce, spices, and handicrafts. The most famous markets are Ballarò, Mercato del Capo, and Vucciria.

Sicily Travel Guide

5. Visit the beaches: Palermo has several beautiful beaches, such as Mondello, which is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Sicily Travel Guide

6. Take a day trip to Sant’Elia: Located just a short drive from Palermo, Sant’Elia is a hidden gem that offers visitors a glimpse into the authentic lifestyle of the locals, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds.

Sicily Travel Guide

7. Enjoy the nightlife: Palermo has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.

Sicily Travel Guide

8. Take a photography walking tour with Chiara: she will take amazing photos of you and you are going to have lots of fun together! After all, it’s great to meet a local!  

Sicily Travel Guide

9. Relax in a park: Palermo has several beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Villa Giulia and the Giardino Inglese, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Sicily Travel Guide

10. Have a drink at the Seven restaurant, the best rooftop in Palermo. 

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Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily Travel Guide
 
The famous local markets in Palermo 

Palermo is known for its delicious cuisine, so one day should be dedicated to a food tour of the city. Visit the vibrant markets where locals and visitors alike can find everything from fresh produce to unique handicrafts. Here are some of the most famous local markets in Palermo that you shouldn’t miss:

Sicily Travel Guide

Ballarò Market

Located in the heart of the historic center of Palermo, Ballarò is one of the city’s oldest and most popular markets. Start your food tour by visiting the Ballarò Market to sample some of the city’s street food, such as arancini (fried rice balls) and panelle (chickpea fritters).

Next, visit some of the city’s best restaurants to try some of its traditional dishes, such as pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines) and cannoli (a pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese). 

Here, you can find everything from fresh produce to meat, fish, and cheese, as well as clothing, souvenirs, and street food. It’s a bustling and colorful market that’s a feast for the senses.

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Sicily Travel Guide

Vucciria Market

Once the city’s main market, Vucciria is now a more touristy spot but still worth a visit. It’s known for its lively atmosphere and street food stalls, where you can sample traditional Sicilian dishes like arancine, panelle, and sfincione (a type of pizza).

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Sicily Travel Guide

Mercato del Capo

Located near the Palermo Cathedral, Mercato del Capo is a bustling market that’s popular with locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find fresh produce, meat, and fish, as well as clothing, shoes, and household items. It’s a great place to experience the vibrant and colourful atmosphere of Palermo’s markets.

No matter which market you choose to visit, be prepared for a lively and chaotic experience that’s quintessentially Palermitano.

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Sicily Travel Guide

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Sicily Travel Guide

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Sicily Travel Guide

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Sicily Travel Guide

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Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily Travel Guide
 

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Sicily Travel Guide

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

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Sicily Travel Guide

One week in Palermo: What to see, do and eat

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily

3 days in Cefalù, Sicily

A photographer’s guide to Milano

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Disclaimers: 

Photos of the city are taken and edited by me. Photos of me are taken by Mrs. Chiara Fantauzzi with my own camera and they are selected and edited by me.

This blog post is NOT sponsored. It contains affiliate links. I get a commission if you make a purchase through the links which comes at no cost to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for using my links.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Syracuse is a historic city on the southeast coast of the island. The city is home to a number of ancient ruins, such as the Greek Theater and the Ear of Dionysius, as well as the stunning Ortigia Island. 

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Ortigia is a small island located off the coast of Syracuse, in southeastern Sicily. It is often referred to as the heart of Syracuse, as it is the historic center of the city and home to some of its most important landmarks. 

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

During my visit to Sicily, I had the pleasure of spending 3 days exploring the narrow streets and stunning architecture of Ortigia.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

The first thing that struck me about Ortigia was its beauty. The island is a mix of ancient Greek and Baroque architecture, with stunning buildings, churches, and piazzas at every turn.

As I wandered through the winding streets, I came across the stunning Piazza del Duomo, with its ornate Baroque cathedral dominating the skyline. The piazza is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax and enjoy the scenery.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Is Ortigia worth visiting?

Ortigia is definitely worth visiting. It is a beautiful and historic place that has a lot to offer to visitors.

Ortigia is home to many ancient buildings and landmarks, including the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Aretusa, and the Cathedral of Syracuse. The island also has a charming old town, filled with narrow streets, historic buildings, and traditional markets.

The island is also famous for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and traditional Sicilian dishes.

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Ortigia is also home to some fascinating historical landmarks, including the Temple of Apollo, one of the oldest Greek temples in Sicily. It’s a stunning example of ancient Greek architecture, and it’s incredible to think that it has stood for over 2,500 years.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Another must-see landmark is the Fonte Aretusa, a freshwater spring that is home to a variety of wildlife, including swans and ducks. Legend has it that the nymph Aretusa transformed into the spring to escape the advances of the river god Alpheus. It’s a beautiful spot to relax and take in the scenery, and it’s a great place to escape the heat during the hot Sicilian summer.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

If you’re planning a trip to Ortigia, Sicily, and have three days to spend on the island, here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your time:

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Day 1 in Ortigia:

Start your day by exploring the historic center of Ortigia on foot. Wander through the narrow streets and alleyways, and admire the beautiful Baroque architecture and ancient landmarks such as the Cathedral of Syracuse and the Fountain of Arethusa.

Visit the Mercato di Ortigia, a vibrant and colorful market that offers a wide variety of fresh and local products. Shop for fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional Sicilian products such as olives, capers, and dried tomatoes.

In the afternoon, head to the beach and soak up some sun. Cala Rossa Beach and Fontane Bianche are both popular beaches near Ortigia.

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Day 2 in Ortigia:

Start your day with a visit to the Archaeological Park of Neapolis in Syracuse, which features ancient Greek and Roman ruins, including a Greek theater and a Roman amphitheater.
Head to the Ear of Dionysius, a unique limestone cave named after the Greek tyrant Dionysius I, located in the Archaeological Park of Neapolis.

In the afternoon, take a boat tour around Ortigia and the surrounding coastline. Admire the stunning cliffs and sea caves, and take a dip in the crystal clear waters.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at one of Ortigia’s many traditional restaurants, which serve delicious Sicilian cuisine.

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Day 3 in Ortigia:

Visit the Museum of Papyrus, located on the mainland near Syracuse, which showcases the history and production of papyrus in ancient Egypt and its influence on the Mediterranean world.

In the evening, take a sunset stroll along the Lungomare di Levante, a scenic promenade along the eastern coast of Ortigia.

This three-day itinerary will allow you to experience the best of Ortigia’s historical and cultural attractions, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and traditional markets, while also exploring the surrounding area and enjoying the natural beauty of the island.

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Top Tip:

Take a boat tour around Ortigia Island to capture stunning views of the city from the sea.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

Where to eat in Ortigia

Another highlight of my visit was the food. Ortigia is known for its excellent seafood. I had some of the best seafood dishes of my trip at a local restaurant. From fresh calamari to succulent prawns, every dish was bursting with flavor and cooked to perfection.

My favourite restaurant was Casa Trimarchi. Order caponata, baccalà, and pasta all norma. I chose this restaurant to celebrate my birthday. The ambience was warm and friendly and the service was attentive and kind.

If you are looking for vegan options, go to “MOON – Move Ortigia Out of Normality”.

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

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3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

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All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

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All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

The Cathedral of Ortigia

The Cathedral of Ortigia, also known as the Cathedral of Syracuse, is one of the most important and impressive landmarks in the historic center of Ortigia. The cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is located on the Piazza del Duomo and dates back to the 7th century.

All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

Over the centuries, the cathedral has been rebuilt and expanded several times, resulting in a beautiful mix of architectural styles. The exterior features a Baroque façade, while the interior boasts a mix of Byzantine, Norman, Gothic, and Baroque elements.

All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

The cathedral is open to visitors and offers guided tours, which provide a fascinating insight into the history and architecture of this impressive building.

Whether you’re interested in art and architecture or just want to experience the spiritual and cultural significance of this ancient landmark, the Cathedral of Ortigia is definitely worth a visit.

All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

Movies that have been filmed in Ortigia

The Piazza Duomo in Syracuse is a beautiful and historic square that plays an important role in Giuseppe Tornatore’s 2000 film “Malèna”. The film, set in a small Sicilian village during World War II, tells the story of a young boy named Renato who becomes infatuated with the beautiful Malèna, played by Monica Bellucci.

Throughout the film, the Piazza Duomo serves as a central gathering place for the villagers, and is often shown bustling with activity and life. In one memorable scene, Malèna walks through the square, causing heads to turn and tongues to wag with her stunning beauty and elegance.

The Piazza Duomo also serves as a symbol of the changing times, as the arrival of American soldiers during the war brings new energy and excitement to the village. The square becomes a hub of activity as soldiers mingle with the locals, dancing and celebrating together in the shadow of the cathedral.

All you need to go before you go to Siracuse

The Cathedral of Syracuse, which overlooks the square, also plays an important role in the film. Its grandeur and beauty serve as a counterpoint to the poverty and hardship experienced by many of the villagers, and its presence provides a sense of continuity and stability in the midst of a chaotic and uncertain time.

All you need to go before you go to Siracuse
Overall, the Piazza Duomo and the Cathedral of Syracuse provide a stunning backdrop for Tornatore’s beautiful film, capturing the essence of Sicilian village life and the power of beauty and resilience in the face of adversity.

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

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The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
 

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
 

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

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The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

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The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

3 days in Ortigia, Sicily: what to see, do and eat

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips
 

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The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

Ortigia is a beautiful and fascinating destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. It is definitely worth visiting if you are planning a trip to Sicily.

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The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

The Mercato di Ortigia

The Mercato di Ortigia is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the island.

The local market is a vibrant and colourful market that offers a wide variety of fresh and local products. It is a great place to experience the local culture and get a taste of traditional Sicilian cuisine.

The Viennese Girl: Best photography and travel tips

One of the highlights of the market is the fresh seafood section. The fishmongers offer a variety of fresh fish, including swordfish, tuna, and octopus, that are caught locally and sold the same day. Visitors can watch as the vendors clean and prepare the fish right in front of them.

The market also features a section for fruits and vegetables, where visitors can find locally grown produce such as tomatoes, eggplants, oranges, and lemons. The fruits and vegetables are freshly picked and bursting with flavor, making them a great addition to any meal.

The Mercato di Ortigia

In addition to seafood and produce, the market also offers a variety of meats, cheeses, and traditional Sicilian products such as olives, capers, and dried tomatoes. There are also stalls selling handmade pottery, textiles, and other souvenirs.

The Mercato di Ortigia is not only a great place to shop for food and souvenirs, but also a place to socialize and connect with the locals.

Visitors can chat with the vendors and learn more about the products they are selling, as well as get tips on how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes.

The Mercato di Ortigia

In conclusion, Ortigia is a small but incredibly beautiful island that should not be missed during a visit to Sicily. From its stunning architecture to its delicious food and fascinating history, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you spend a day or a week exploring Ortigia, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip to Sicily.

WHERE TO NEXT?

Discover more of my Italy guides!

3 days in Cefalù

One week in Palermo

Puglia: Things to do & places to visit 

A guide to Milano

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Disclaimer: This blog post is NOT sponsored. It contains affiliate links. I get a commission if you make a purchase through the links which comes at no cost to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for using my links. All photos are taken and edited by me.

Visit Abu Dhabi

Visit Abu Dhabi

Visit Abu Dhabi

At the end of December and all of a sudden, I received an invitation to visit Abu Dhabi. So exciting! I’ve never been to that city before. A trip to spend a few days in a warmer destination was all I needed at that moment. Therefore, I accepted the invitation, packed my things, and a few days later, I jumped on a Lufthansa flight to Abu Dhabi via Frankfurt airport.

Scroll down if you are interested in seeing my photos and reading my itinerary. Hopefully my travel tips will help you to organise your trip to Abu Dhabi.

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Visit Abu Dhabi

Visit Abu Dhabi

Are you looking for an exciting getaway? Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination for travelers of all types. From its stunning beaches and historical sites to its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Abu Dhabi has something to offer everyone. For those looking to experience the best that the city has to offer, here are the Top 9 must-visit attractions in Abu Dhabi.

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Visit Abu Dhabi
Visit Abu Dhabi
 
Visit Abu Dhabi
Visit Abu Dhabi
 

Qasr Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi

As you plan your visit to Abu Dhabi, one of the places that should be at the top of your list is Qasr Al Hosn. This is an important landmark in Abu Dhabi that has been around for over 200 years. The fortress served as the home for the ruling family and was a political center in the early days of Abu Dhabi. Today, Qasr Al Hosn is open to visitors who want to explore the rich history and culture of the city.

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Visit Abu Dhabi

Upon arrival at Qasr Al Hosn, visitors will be greeted by the impressive walls of the fortress. The exterior of the fortress has been restored to its original condition and is a beautiful sight to behold. Visitors can take a walk around the outside walls and appreciate the beautiful architecture and the attention to detail that went into its construction.

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Visit Abu Dhabi

As you enter the fortress, you’ll find yourself transported back in time to the early days of Abu Dhabi. The interiors of Qasr Al Hosn have been restored to give visitors a glimpse into the life and culture of the ruling family. The exhibits inside the fortress showcase the traditional crafts and skills of the Emiratis, and you can learn about the rich heritage and history of Abu Dhabi.

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Visit Abu Dhabi

One of the highlights of a visit to Qasr Al Hosn is the chance to explore the watchtower. The tower provides a bird’s eye view of Abu Dhabi and is a great spot to take pictures and soak up the beauty of the city.

Overall, Qasr Al Hosn is a must-visit attraction for anyone planning a trip to Abu Dhabi. It is a historical and cultural gem that provides a fascinating insight into the early days of the city. So be sure to include it on your itinerary and explore this beautiful fortress on your next trip to Abu Dhabi.

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Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

One of the most breathtaking attractions in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This magnificent mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque, is an iconic landmark of Abu Dhabi and the largest mosque in the country. It was built in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who passed away in 2004.

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Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

The Grand Mosque is a true architectural marvel, with a blend of modern and traditional Islamic styles. The mosque’s pristine white marble and gold-tipped minarets are a sight to behold, and the interior is just as impressive.

The main prayer hall is adorned with the world’s largest chandelier and boasts intricate carvings, patterns, and calligraphy on every surface. The mosque also houses one of the largest hand-knotted carpets in the world, which was made in Iran and took over a year to complete.

Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

When visiting the Grand Mosque, visitors are required to dress conservatively and cover their arms and legs. Women are required to wear a headscarf, which can be borrowed at the mosque’s entrance. Guided tours are available and provide visitors with an in-depth look at the mosque’s history, architecture, and Islamic customs and traditions.

Visiting the Grand Mosque is an awe-inspiring experience, and it’s not hard to see why it’s one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular tourist attractions. The sheer grandeur of the mosque will leave you in awe and inspire a deep appreciation for the Islamic culture and architecture.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture some incredible photos of this magnificent masterpiece.

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A GUIDE TO ABU DHABI

Wahat Al Karama

The third stop on your tour of Abu Dhabi takes you to a place that’s less about glitz and glamour and more about reflection and remembrance. Wahat Al Karama, or “Oasis of Dignity,” is a memorial dedicated to the sacrifices of the UAE’s brave soldiers who lost their lives while defending their country. The memorial features 31 huge aluminum tablets with the names of the fallen soldiers etched onto them.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Wahat Al Karama is not just a memorial, but also a cultural center and a venue for events, exhibitions, and conferences. Here, you’ll get a glimpse into the traditions and values of Emirati society, and learn more about the importance of courage, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Wahat Al Karama is a solemn and meaningful destination that provides a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It’s a reminder that while we enjoy all the benefits of a prosperous society, we should not forget the sacrifices made by those who made it all possible.

Louvre museum Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi and Kayaking at Louvre

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the city’s most stunning architectural landmarks. Designed by my favourite French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum is an oasis of calm and culture, where visitors can explore world-class art collections and exhibitions. One of the most unique things to do at the Louvre Abu Dhabi is kayaking around the museum’s lagoon, which is surrounded by lush greenery and the museum’s iconic domed roof.

Louvre museum Abu Dhabi

Kayaking at Louvre is a perfect way to experience the serenity and beauty of this breathtaking museum. Visitors can take a guided kayak tour of the lagoon and marvel at the museum’s stunning architecture from a unique perspective. It’s also a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Louvre museum Abu Dhabi

After your kayaking tour, head inside the museum and discover its impressive art collections, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet. With more than 600 pieces on display, the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection spans centuries and cultures, making it a must-visit for art lovers.

Louvre museum Abu Dhabi

Before leaving, be sure to check out the museum’s incredible gift shop, which is packed with unique souvenirs, art books, and one-of-a-kind gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. And don’t forget to take a moment to relax in the museum’s tranquil courtyard, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or snack and reflect on the beauty of your visit to this stunning city.

Louvre museum

Ferrari World (No photos from this visit)

If you’re a fan of all things fast and furious, then you absolutely cannot miss a visit to the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Located on Yas Island, Ferrari World is an indoor theme park dedicated to all things Ferrari. This attraction offers an adrenaline-packed experience for visitors of all ages.

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Louvre museum

The park boasts of the world’s fastest roller coaster – Formula Rossa, which can reach speeds of up to 240 km/h in under five seconds. You’ll feel like you’re part of a Formula 1 team as you take a spin on this record-breaking coaster. But, that’s not all, Ferrari World also has other thrilling rides like Flying Aces, Turbo Track, and Fiorano GT Challenge that are sure to leave your heart racing.

Louvre museum

Apart from the rides, you can also experience the history and legacy of Ferrari through their exhibitions and showcases. Marvel at the sleek designs of the various Ferrari models, witness their racing prowess through simulations and live shows or take part in interactive experiences.

Louvre museum

There’s also something for younger visitors, with plenty of family-friendly rides and attractions available. You can have a go at the Junior GT or take a spin on the Carousel, all while surrounded by the iconic red color of the Ferrari.

And if all that excitement has left you hungry, Ferrari World has several dining options to satisfy your cravings. From casual cafes to fine dining experiences, there’s something for everyone.

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Louvre museum

Visit The Souk Al Qaryat Al Beri (No photos from this visit)

After all the sightseeing and adventure, take some time to immerse yourself in the local culture at the Souk Al Qaryat Al Beri. This traditional Arabian marketplace offers a wide range of goods including spices, textiles, souvenirs, and more.

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Louvre museum

Stroll through the maze of narrow alleys and discover the hidden treasures in each store. The intricate woodwork, colorful lanterns, and ornate Arabic calligraphy on display make for a unique shopping experience. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of skilled artisans at work.

After browsing the shops, take a break and indulge in some delicious Arabic sweets or tea at one of the many cafes in the souk. Sit back, relax, and soak up the lively atmosphere around you.

Louvre museum

Whether you’re looking for authentic souvenirs to take home or just want to experience the traditional Arab marketplace, a visit to the Souk Al Qaryat Al Beri is a must during your Abu Dhabi trip.

Louvre museum kayaking

Louvre museum

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Louvre museum

Soul Beach

Abu Dhabi may be known for its cityscapes and man-made attractions, but it’s also home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the UAE. And one of the best places to experience this is at Soul Beach.

Soul Beach Saadiyat Island

Located on Saadiyat Island, Soul Beach boasts crystal clear waters and powdery white sand that’s perfect for a day of relaxation. With views of the Arabian Gulf and surrounded by lush vegetation, this secluded beach provides the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Soul Beach Saadiyat Island

But it’s not just the beach that makes Soul Beach special. The beach club is equipped with comfortable sun loungers, beach umbrellas, and cabanas, all set against a backdrop of stunning natural scenery. You can even enjoy a massage while taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Soul Beach Saadiyat Island

For those looking for a bit more excitement, the beach offers various water sports activities, including paddle boarding and kayaking. And if you’re feeling peckish, the beach club has an array of dining options that cater to all tastes, from light snacks to full meals.

Soul Beach Saadiyat Island

Soul Beach is the perfect way to round off your Abu Dhabi adventure. Whether you’re looking for a serene day of relaxation or an adventure-packed afternoon, this idyllic spot has something for everyone. So pack your swimsuit and head over to Soul Beach for an unforgettable experience.

Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel

WHERE TO STAY IN ABU DHABI

We stayed at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel. I would recommend this hotel because of the magnificent views over the Mangrove National Park and the amazing sea food restaurant nearby, called Flooka UAE! But remember to book a room with view to the National Park, not the other way! We unfortunately had a room overlooking the parking space and the avenue. A room with views to the National Park would have been a much better experience and a nicer memory from our stay.

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Founders' Memorial
Founders' Memorial
 
Founders Memorial

Abu Dhabi’s Founders Memorial is a monument that commemorates the UAE’s founding fathers. It’s located near the Abu Dhabi Corniche, and it’s an excellent spot to learn more about the nation’s history. The Founders Memorial features a stunning pavilion, a unique and inspiring structure that celebrates the values of the UAE’s founding fathers, including tolerance, innovation, determination, and unity.

Etihad Towers

Visitors can also enjoy the garden of the Founders Memorial, a peaceful space that boasts lush greenery, beautiful flowers, and sculptures that honor the nation’s founders. The garden also offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Arabian Gulf.

If you’re visiting Abu Dhabi, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the Founders Memorial. It’s an awe-inspiring attraction that offers insight into the UAE’s history, culture, and values. Plus, the monument and garden make for a picturesque backdrop for photos, and you’ll leave with a better understanding and appreciation for the nation’s past, present, and future.

camel in the desert

Desert Safari with Emirates Tours

The last stop in our Abu Dhabi itinerary is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have in the city – a desert safari with Emirates Tours. Take a break from the city lights and head out into the Arabian desert for an adventure of a lifetime.

Desert Safari

The tour begins with a thrilling dune bashing ride in a 4×4 vehicle, as you traverse the desert terrain with a skilled driver at the wheel. You’ll feel the adrenaline rush as you go up and down the sand dunes at high speeds, a truly exhilarating experience. Once the ride is over, you’ll head to a traditional Bedouin campsite to enjoy a variety of activities.

Desert Safari

At the campsite, you can enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner with a variety of dishes, including traditional Emirati cuisine. You can also take part in a range of activities, including camel rides, sandboarding, henna painting, and shisha smoking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try quad biking in the desert. After dinner, sit back and enjoy the entertainment, including belly dancing and Tanoura shows.

Desert Safari

As you lie under the stars, taking in the stunning views of the desert landscape, you’ll feel a sense of calm and serenity that only the desert can bring. A desert safari is an experience you’ll never forget and one that you should definitely add to your Abu Dhabi itinerary.

Emirates Tours offers a variety of desert safari packages, ranging from morning tours to overnight stays in the desert. Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Desert Safari

WHERE TO EAT IN ABU DHABI

I loved Aptitude, a restaurant which is located next to Louvre museum.

I can also highly recommend Antonia Restaurant, if you have cravings for genuine pasta, a piece of delicious pizza and Aperol Spritz.

For Mediterranean seafood lovers, I can recommend Flooka. Unfortunately I discovered this restaurant a few hours before my departure. Thus, I didn’t have the chance to have a meal there, although I would have loved to. The food smelled so good. I keep it in my mind for the next time I visit Abu Dhabi.

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Desert Safari

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Desert Safari

The trip to Abu Dhabi had been amazing and achieved its own purpose! It gave me the time I needed to breathe. It allowed me to rethink the future and dream big! I even wish it would last a little bit longer cause I feel there were more things to do and see. I can highly recommend Abu Dhabi as a travel destination to anyone like me who wish to escape the cold European weather…

Desert Safari

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*Disclaimer: This content is result of an invitation from the Official Tourism Board of Abu Dhabi  to visit Abu Dhabi.

This blog post is NOT sponsored. It contains affiliate links. I get a commission if you make a purchase through the links which comes at no cost to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for using my links. All photos are taken and edited by me.

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