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Syracuse's beautiful 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, part of a post-earthquake, post-invasion building program amongst which you'll find many of the best places to stay in Syracuse.
What To Expect
Most of Syracuse's main sights are in the centre of the old town, which is on Ortigia Island, with the main archaeological sites about 25 minutes walk away. This island was the first place settled by the Corinthians when they landed and still has a very different feel to the rest of the city - packed with beautifully restored Baroque buildings, fine hotels (some of the best places to stay in Syracuse) and excellent restaurants you're only ever moments from a wonderful sea view. The Syracuse of the mainland was heavily bombed during WW2, so its architecture is much more modern.
What Not To Miss
- Once you've visited the cathedral, converted from an Athenian Temple - you can still see the Doric columns on the flanks - and the basilica, with its famous painting by Caravaggio, it's also worth stopping off at the smaller Sanctuary Madonna della Lacrime, famous for the Madonna statue which shed tears in 1954 and subsequently mass produced for souvenirs.
- Wherever you're walking you're bound to come across the Fonte Arethusa, the city's ancient water supply. This is where Napoleon was said to have refilled his supplies before the Battle of the Nile. Its origins have a more romantic edge, said to be a nymph, Arethusa, who's feeling the advances of a river-God towards the sea. There are some lovely fountains along the route of this spring - which again, you'll not be able to miss!
- Outside the town are the main Greek and Roman ruins, an outstanding collection which includes a vast necropolis of five thousand tombs, the foundations of a Byzantine palace and the core buildings from ancient Syracuse which was described by Cicero as 'the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all'.
- Amongst these ruins it's also worth finding the 'ruined' quarry, which has a vast chamber with chisel-marked walls - this is where the stones for this beautiful city, built several times over, were sweated out.
- The market is another sight you'll probably run into. If you want to take your stand against the mafia, buy Libera Terra products - these are the ones grown on land reclaimed from the mafia.
If you're coming in the busy summer months then be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Syracuse get quickly filled up!
The Best Places To Stay In Syracuse
- If you're looking for simple beachside elegance, Hotel Gutkowski is one of the best places to stay in Syracuse. As well as admiring the sea from the rooftop terrace, you can also admire the rooftops of the whole peninsula.
- Located on the island of Ortygia, Henry's House is a wonderfully characterful spot. With rustic, bohemian interiors featuring plenty of antiques and artwork on the walls, you'll love the feel of the place.
- If you'd prefer to stay at a B&B, L'Approdo delle Sirene is an excellent option. With just eight rooms, right by the harbour, this is a great spot for families and great value as well.
- Siracusa Resort is an incredibly stylish stay and boasts the only private beach in Syracuse! Offering a range of accommodation (including a self-catering apartment) with whitewashed walls and exposed stone work, you can also tuck into gourmet meals on the terrace each evening at sunset.
For Unique Design
- Rooms at the minimalist Caol Ishka blend designer and Baroque furniture for a unique effect, whilst there's also a pool and a restaurant serving up typically Sicilian cuisine. A relaxing hideaway.
- The 5-room Donna Coraly, set in a 13th-century fort amidst orange groves and farmland, offers chic and stylish accommodation in light hues. Go for a dip in the pool or treat yourself to a massage to truly unwind! A top stay.
For An Apartment Or Villa
If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.
- Syracuse is nicest from June to October, with the average temperature ranging between 25-30°C. Early autumn is the best time to come if you want to avoid fellow tourists but still enjoy the lovely weather.
- International visitors can fly into Catania Airport, located 62 km north. Once at the airport, take the Interbus to Syracuse.
- easyJet fly direct to Catania from Luton, with the journey taking just over 3 hours.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Syracuse
Caol Ishka 9 rooms from $170Syracuse
Cool designer minimalism just outside Ortigia and within striking distance of the best beaches. Rooms have a mixture of designer and Baroque furniture, four poster beds, mezzanine levels, exposed brick walls and oak floors. Gorgeous pool and good restaurant. Ideal for a romantic beach holiday.Beach Life - Calamosche and Balsamo in the Vendicari Nature ReserveSights nearby - Baroque towns of Noto, Ragusa, Modica and Scicli - all Unesco World Heritage sites.Great walks - Cava Grande gorge.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Recommended by - Tablet, I Escape
Siracusa Resort 11 rooms from $183Syracusa, Sicily
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.Outstanding location - Arrive by boat to really appreciate the fabulous locationViews - Lovely views over to the island of Ortigia and the Med.On the beach - The only resort in Syracuse with a private beachRestrictions on children - Adults only property. Over 14s are accepted.
Henry's House 12 rooms from $130Syracuse (Ortigia)
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.Sights nearby - The hotel is walking distance from the architectural Castello ManiaceSailing - Can be booked nearby.Full of characterViews - Great views from hotel
Hotel Gutkowski 26 rooms from $86Syracuse
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.Views - Wonderful seaviews or over the rooftops of OrtigiaValue chicRoof terraceSailing - Up the Ciane river in a gozzo (traditional sailing boat).Recommended by - I Escape, Frommers, CN Traveller
L'Approdo delle Sirene 8 rooms from $114Syracuse
Lovely beachy B&B on the seafront in Ortigia. Breezy cream rooms with splashes of colour, some with private balconies. Excellent roof top terrace overlooking the harbour. Great value, family friendly and excellent food.Views - Great views from hotelSights nearby - Unesco-listed Baroque towns.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - I Escape, Frommers