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Syracuse

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About Syracuse

Syracuse's mesmerising architecture is a constant reminder that, in its heyday, this city was the largest in the ancient world. Ancient Greek ruins make a spectacular backdrop for orange groves, medieval lanes run between Baroque piazzas, and it’s all part of a post-earthquake, post-invasion building programme that’s also behind some of the best places to stay in Syracuse today. Some of our favourite hotels are in converted palazzos and villas, but we have also picked out a small, stylish beach resort, and several properties on the island of Ortigia.

Ortigia island is the most historic part of Syracuse, where you’ll find the oldest buildings, the best sea views, and the fanciest hotels and restaurants. Mainland Syracuse was quite heavily bombed during WW2, so its architecture is far more modern. If you’re here for the culture, you’ll be kept busy — there’s the cathedral, converted from an Athenian Temple; and the basilica, with its famous painting by Caravaggio; the Sanctuary Madonna della Lacrime, famous for the Madonna statue which shed tears in 1954 and was subsequently mass produced for souvenirs; and the many fountains of the Forte Arethusa, the city’s ancient water supply. Outside town are the main Greek and Roman ruins, an outstanding collection which includes a vast necropolis of five thousand tombs, and the foundations of a Byzantine palace.

Syracuse also has a fantastic array of markets — there are markets each morning near the entrance to the island, selling rare, locally produced cheese and cured meats, wine, fruit, vegetables and fish. Ortigia’s narrow streets are lined with restaurants, cafes and trattoria — we recommend those along the western side if you’re looking for somewhere to have an aperitif or early supper in the sunshine.

There are a good range of beaches nearby too, but you'll have to travel at least 15 minutes to reach them!

The best places to stay in Syracuse tend to be extremely busy during the peak summer months. So if you plan to visit in July or August, do your homework and book well ahead to avoid disappointment.

The Best Places to Stay in Syracuse

For a Special Occasion

  • The Ortea Palace is in a gorgeous early 1900s-built building in a plum spot, right on the harbour wall in central Syracuse — it was originally the Syracuse Post Office. Its 75 rooms snd suites offer classical style, with plenty of marble, fine linens and huge windows overlooking the water. There’s an excellent range of rooms, from beautifully lit doubles with white-on-white decoration, to the Tower Suite, which has panoramic sea views from its multiple bay windows and two balconies. The Ortea Palace’s spa is excellent, and the restaurant is too, offering fantastic Sicilian cuisine and a varied breakfast buffet.

For Families

  • The Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel is certainly full of charm! It’s set just back from the sea, a pleasing blend of period and contemporary features and comforts — think parquet and tile floors, plenty of exposed stone and marble, ornate beamed ceilings, and a pretty courtyard with a fountain. The most impressive suites have private roof terraces and hot tubs. The Sicilian restaurant is one to remember. Despite the air of romance, this is a great option for families, with spacious suites designed with kids in mind, some of which can sleep up to six.

For Romantics

  • The Siracusa Resort is a small and stylish resort, with just eleven rooms, one suite, and three self-catering apartments, and the only private stretch of beach in Syracuse. The decor is chic, with charming, traditional elements, like arched doorways, beautiful tiled floors and exposed stone in pale shades. The restaurant is excellent, and serves meals on a terrace overlooking the sea where possible — including gourmet suppers and buffet breakfasts. And there’s complimentary canoe and bike hire if you want to do a bit of exploring on land or sea.

For the Views

  • Henry's House is one of the most uniquely historic hotels on our list of the best places to stay in Syracuse. It's very much a family affair, and its 12 rooms and suites are eclectically decorated with a colourful, bohemian eye and plenty of good taste. Expect contemporary and modern art, and incredible sea views. As well as the rooms, Henry’s House has a rabbit warren of corridors, leading to terraces, siting rooms, a breakfast room and the roof terrace.

For Great Value

  • The Hotel Gutkowski is an unfussy Ortigia villa turned waterside hotel, with 26 simple rooms — the best with French windows and wonderful sea views. As well as admiring the sea from the rooftop terrace, you can also admire the rooftops of the whole peninsula.

For a Private apartment or private villa

  • If you're travelling as a family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • The closest international airport to Syracuse is Catania Airport, which is about 50 minutes' drive away, or about an hour by bus.
  • If you want to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • Sicily, unlike some Italian destinations, remains open all year round. That doesn’t mean it’s equally nice all year round, it’s definitely chilly in winter. Spring, or March through June, is one of our favourite times to visit Sicily, because the weather is sunny and mild, and the festival and events calendar is packed with activity leading up to Easter. July and August are properly hot, and the Mediterranean beaches and beach resorts are busy, and can be expensive, but the visitors tail off in September, though the sea is still warm and pleasant. The Scirocco winds bring a good amount of rainfall to Syracuse in September. October is a good pick if you’re planning to visit the museums and palaces, and admire the architecture. We also recommend September and October, and April and May, as the best times to visit for a walking holiday.

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Best Hotels in Syracuse

  • Hotel Gutkowski Syracuse 26 rooms from £69

    Views  -  Wonderful seaviews or over the rooftops of Ortigia
    Value chic
    Roof terrace
    Sailing  -  Up the Ciane river in a gozzo (traditional sailing boat).
    Air conditioningPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Frommers, CN Traveller

    Beachy minimalism on Ortigia's peninsula with fabulous sea views from the terrace. White washed walls, dashes of sea blue, black and white chequered floors, and elegant beds. A great value choice for families or romantic breaks by the sea. See More

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  • Henry's House Syracuse (Ortigia) 12 rooms from £100

    Sights nearby  -  The hotel is walking distance from the architectural Castello Maniace
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Air conditioningViewsParkingNo pets

    This unique property is located on the architecturally famous island of Ortygia. All rooms are decorated in a bohemian style with wrought iron beds, fabulous antique furniture, art work and sea views. A typical Italian breakfast can be enjoyed on the sun terrace. Local cafés are walking distance. See More

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  • Siracusa Resort Syracusa, Sicily 11 rooms from £139

    Outstanding location  -  Arrive by boat to really appreciate the fabulous location
    Views  -  Lovely views over to the island of Ortigia and the Med.
    On the beach  -  The only resort in Syracuse with a private beach
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only property. Over 14s are accepted.
    Air conditioningRestaurantViewsParkingNo pets

    Stylish small resort with the only private beach in Syracuse. Eleven rooms, one suite and three apartments for the more independent minded. Chic interiors with natural elements: exposed stone work, white washed walls and fine fabrics. A grown up beach retreat a stone's throw from Ortigia. See More

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  • Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel Syracuse (Ortigia) 54 rooms from £255

    City Style  -  Located in a heritage building in the centre of the ancient town of Syracuse, this hotel has plenty of Sicilian style
    Foodies  -  Foodies will swoon at the hotel's traditional Sicilian restaurant and the plethora of other restaurants nearby
    Families  -  The family suites at this hotel are designed with kids in mind, making this a great option for families
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Cathedral of Syracuse, an ancient Catholic church which was originally a Greek doric temple
    Air conditioningRestaurantPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    This charming hotel is located in Siracusa, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rooms have a blend of modern and period furnishings and retain lots of the building's original features. The best suites have a private roof terrace and hot tub. Dine at the cosy hotel restaurant; a stylish seaside stay. See More

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  • Ortea Palace Syracuse (Ortigia) 75 rooms from £267

    Foodies  -  Foodies will delight in the Sicilian cuisine on offer at the hotel's Incanto restaurant, plus the varied breakfast buffet
    Spa breaks  -  With an endless number of first-class spa facilities, choose this hotel for your perfect spa break
    City Style  -  Located in the heart of historic Syracuse, this heritage hotel has plenty of local charm
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Syracuse Cathedral, a historic Catholic church built in the 7th century with an imposing baroque facade
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    This luxury hotel is housed in a 1920s building in the historic centre of Syracuse. Rooms are elegantly furnished in a regal palette; the stand-out Tower Suite offers panoramic sea views from its bay windows and two balconies. Be sure to book in at the indulgent hotel spa; a decadent seaside stay. See More

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