One month land-bound Part 2: Road-Tripping Through Sicily and Exploring the Aegadian Islands

In the first part of this story, I recall the first week of my month-long stint on land.

During that week I road-tripped from Switzerland to Germany, through Italy and Austria.

I managed to see friends, meet clients, and attend the annual TCC meeting in Nuremberg; all this before going home to see my family for the last time in 2020. To be honest, I feel the highlight of that journey was driving on some of the world’s best mountain passes, truly world-class driving.🤩

Traveling to Italy in the middle of the Pandemic…

To begin this leg of the journey, I flew from Dusseldorf to Sicily, and once again, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. At that time, I was allowed in with no issues, and now, much like the rest of Europe, full lockdowns are fully in place.

During my time in Italy, I still managed to have two very nice weeks traveling through Sicily, Lampedusa, and Sardegna – all during COVID times. And as you can probably guess, it was actually great!

Especially because these destinations were some of the last missing regions in the Mediterranean for me, well, not anymore.😉 Today, I’m still missing a few Greek Islands and some in France, but other than that, I’ve pretty much covered all of the Mediterranean.

As mentioned above, arriving in Sicily was very easy. I simply downloaded their Corona app and I was good to go.

Sardegna however, had implemented a COVID test requirement, and up until the last minute, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to visit. Luckily, this COVID requirement was nulled by the Italian central government just in time for me to head there. But more on that later.

Let’s start with Sicily and the surrounding islands. In one week, I managed to road-trip most of the coast, some of the mountains of the interior, and also squeeze in two-day trips to the Aegadian and the Aeolian Islands.

For my time in Sicily, I stuck to my M.O. and opted for a convertible yet again. This time, however, it was a Mini Cooper – in true Italian Job style.

Exploring Sicily now with a Mini convertible. Well-suited for parking in these very old towns.

If you’ve driven in Italy, you know these cars are perfect to navigate the narrow streets and parking, which are especially a nuisance in Sicily.

Driving through Syracuse, Agrigento, Modica, and Ragusa

The road trip started at Catania airport, the second largest airport in Sicily. Catania is an ancient port city, and it sits at the foot of Mount Etna.

I was in the area briefly and quickly left Etna behind. I would come back and conquer Etna on my final day; but to start the trip, I was eager to get going and explore the province of Syracuse, which located in the southeast of Sicily.

On my way to Syracuse

In case you don’t already know, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and is officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

I drove pretty much straight to the historic city of Syracuse and arrived at night. I walked around a bit and liked what I saw.

This guy is partly responsible for my “Heuereka” Event – I was glad to visit his hometown.

After walking around and enjoying all the sights beautifully lit up, I turned in early. Already the next morning I was to drive further down to the southern coast of the island, making my way to Agrigento.

On my drive to the coast, I made various stops at a few old Norman towns such as the ancient cities of Modica and Ragusa; which were quite interesting to visit.


Discovered the Sicilian Baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa

Both of these towns were endowed with very unique architecture and very novel settings; a spectacular mix of narrow streets, steep winding steps, old churches, and fantastic views.

Eventually, I continued down the coast to a port called Porto di Pozzallo. This is where one would catch the ferry to Malta.

Gela Sicilia – Not very far from Malta. 😍

After this town, I continued on to Agrigento; a hilltop city on the south coast of Sicily, famous for its Greek Valley of Temples. As you can imagine, the city has a lot of really old Greek temples all around.

Valle Dei Templi Agrigento

The Greek temples of Sicilia

I toured the grounds and enjoyed the sights. That evening, I stayed at a nice hotel in a watchtower with a fantastic view of the temples. That evening I enjoyed a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and the next day I continued along the coast to Marsala.


Onwards to Carleone and Marsala for some mafioso sightings and wine

On the way to Marsala, I made a stop at Heraclea Minoa, a small town with some stunning sheer white cliffs that drop to the ocean. The spot is called Capo Bianco, and it’s totally worth the visit.

Capo Bianco – Beautiful Coast

I hiked around the cliffs and the beach for about an hour and from there I drove to the interior of the island. I took some mountain roads to a town called Corleone.

This town is very famous because of its ties to the Italian Mafia. Some very famous mafiosos are from there, and no, this information is not coming solely from the God Father trilogy.

Either way, I wanted to see the town and have a picture with the town entry sign. Basically, see what all the fuzz was about. And to be honest, I came, I saw, I continued cruising.

Tracing the Mafia to the interior of Sicily

I stayed in the interior for a bit longer before finally making my way to Marsala, a town famous for their sweet, sweet wine (which I’m quite fond of) and for their delicious Marsala sauce. The sauce itself is made out of the sweet wine and it’s positively delicious, especially with a nice steak.

The road trip there was quite nice, I made a few stops to take in the views and snap some pictures along the way. Check it out:

I had a really nice evening once I arrived in Marsala, it’s a pretty nice town. After walking through the area for a bit, I enjoyed some nice marsala sauce and marsala wine before going to bed. I was very excited about my boat trip the next day.

Tasting some nice Marsala wines in its home town

Day trip to the Aegadian Islands!

The Aegadian Islands are a group of five small mountainous islands just off the coast of Sicily near Trapani and Marsala. The boat I booked was leaving from Trapani, so in the morning I had to first drive from Marsala to Trapani, which was about 30-minutes driving.

The boat left pretty soon after I arrived in Trapani, and we got to see 2-3 islands with some bathing stops in between. I swam a lot, learned some history, and took some photos.


We saw some of Levanzo and Favignana, which are the smallest of the three main Aegadi Islands. All in all, there was nothing super noteworthy from this day, just a typical tourist boat adventure. Oh, and it was a tiny, tiny boat!

Levanzo, looks like in Greece!

Up Next: Trapani and Palermo

After the boat tour, we got back to Trapani in the evening. I had a nice walk around town, enjoying my daily ice-cream (yes, that definitely became a thing). It was almost sunset when I began the drive up a hill near Trapani.

That road led me to this little settlement at the top of the hill just as the sunset was peaking. As you go down on the other side, you get to enjoy stunning views of the coast.

Trapani Sunset

From there, you can see as far as the Algerian and Tunisian coasts. I really enjoyed the views, my surroundings, and driving along this road in my little coop-convertible.

Erice – Seeing Tunisia from Sicily at sunset – did not think that’s possible.

After enjoying the views, I drove all the way down on the other side of the road and eventually got on the highway; I took straight to Palermo, the capital city of Sicily.

To be honest, I would have really preferred to go somewhere else, or even stay in the area I was at a little longer. Sadly, I had a nice hotel booked in Palermo, so on I went.

All roads lead to Palermo…

I was pleased to see that the city of Palermo was quite lively, I was actually able to find food without any trouble at 11 pm, even during corona times.

I only go to explore the town at night and a little bit the next morning, but I still managed to go to a few sights and the big cathedral that evening. The next morning I continued to my next destination.

Palermo by night. And finally, a place where it is not only completely possible to eat dinner at 11 pm – it is actually quite normal… 🙂

Palermo Cathedral

Teatro Massimo Palermo – Good morning Palermo!

Why was I moving so quickly you may ask? I was moving rather quickly because a) I had a lot of things planned – as always. And b) one of the most important items on the schedule actually: I was scheduled to be meeting up with my boat on the north coast of the island very soon. 😍

One day to cover two national parks and half of the island… almost

The next day I covered a lot of ground and drove A LOT. Mainly because I wanted to make it to my destination on time in order to see my boat sailing by that very same evening.

I got on the road early and the first stop was a town called Cefalu, a coastal city on the north shore of Sicily. The place is a very popular tourist spot with a famous vacation resort.


The town has some massive houses and a really big rock right in the middle. I explored the village for a bit and continued to the national park that sits right behind it: Parco delle Madonie.

This national park has really high mountains. The area also has a ski resort during the winter, one of the few resorts in Sicily located outside of the Etna Region.

Parco delle Madonie

On this trajectory, the cherry on top was the really nice mountain drive I got to do with my convertible. Steep, narrow, curvy roads with little traffic, just the way I like them.

Along the way, I visited a few more parks; Parco dei Nebrodi was very nice to go through. At one point, I got close to Etna, finally getting a nice view of the Etna mountains. I caught a glimpse of the peak and continued through Nebrodi to the north coast.

And finally the Etna

In between parks, I also made stops in various small settlements. There are lots of old medieval settlements sprinkled all along the hills in this region.

As ships passing in the night…

The next stop was Capo d’Orlando, this is where I was to meet the Staatenlos. On the last bit, however, Google Maps sent me on some really bad and narrow roads. At one point, on the most narrow part of the road another car came and it was almost impossible to pass; somehow we made it and I managed to arrive at the coast just in time to see the Staatenlos sail by.

Capo d’Orlando is basically a cape – one of the northernmost parts of Sicily. The town has this really nice beach and that’s where I waited for the Staatenloss to make its appearance just as the sun was about to set.

If you’re an avid follower, you’ll know what the Staatenlos was up to since I left Montenegro. The important information for this post is that thanks to COVID, they were not able to declare entry into Sicily. Because they were coming straight from Montenegro (risk country), they needed to quarantine for two weeks before being allowed to enter Italy. Sadly, they had only been at sea for one week. Alas, they were not able to meet me onshore.

I still managed to watch them sail by, I got to wave and shout hello like a little kid. In return, they flew the drone to shore to see me and take some pictures. Even though I couldn’t get on board and they couldn’t come to shore, the whole experience was still awesome, catching my boat and my crew right in the middle of their journey to Mallorca – just as two ships passing in the night…

Capo d’Orlando – Checking if everything is OK with the “Staatenlos”. They passed 1/4 mile from the beach to exchange greetings. Was great to see my boat and the crew – because of COVID rules they were not allowed into Italy, but no one can prohibit transiting along the coast. 😉

At this point, they were just about midway on their journey to Mallorca. Well, halfway in distance, in time it actually took them much longer thanks to the storms they encountered along the way. If you want the full scoop on that, simply click here.

More adventures to come…

After they passed by, the sun was already beginning to set and that was my cue to continue on. I got on the road and made it all the way to the town of Milazzo that same night.

It was an easy drive since Milazzo is just a little further to the northeast of Capo d’Orlando. From the port in Milazzo, you can catch the boats to the Aeolian Islands.

The following morning, I had my second tour booked, but I’ll tell you all about that story and recap the rest of my time in Sicily in my next post. Spoiler Alert: Another active volcano sighting and I finally get to visit Mount Etna before jet-setting to Lampedusa. 😍