Day Trips and Tours from Syracuse

Day Trips and Tours from Syracuse

On the southeastern coast of Sicily, you’ll find the storied streets of Syracuse, a city that echoes through the ages — hailing from a time when it was considered one of the most important settlements in the ancient world.

Syracuse gave us theater, the water pump and the brilliant mind of Archimedes, arguably its most famous son. But long after the joyful cry of “Eureka” echoed down its alleyways, travelers still journey to this historic city. In fact, with the numerous archeological sites strewn throughout the region, more visitors are using Syracuse as a base from which to explore Sicily.

Apart from the temples and ancient complexes located in Syracuse itself, the ancient city is near a number of fascinating destinations. This makes it the perfect location for day trips from Syracuse, allowing you to explore enigmatic historical sites, before continuing your journey.


The stunning city of Modica is located southwest of Syracuse, and you’ll enjoy an hour-long journey through the island’s striking interior. Modica dates back to 1300 BC, making it Syracuse’s senior by an astounding 600 years.

Embark on a day trip to Modica from Syracuse to discover the influential settlement's long history, with the imposingly perched Castle of the Counts serving as a defensive bulwark. Given its importance in the region, it’s been richly adorned throughout the ages and Modica’s streets are filled with beautiful baroque buildings. The most noticeable of these is San Giorgio Cathedral — a UNESCO World Heritage Site that perfectly encapsulates the intricate splendor that Sicilian Baroque architecture is famous for.

Modica’s real headliner, however, won’t be found in the fascinating facades and towering columns and arches, but rather in small inconspicuous shops. Modica’s chocolate is celebrated throughout the world, dating back to when the city was part of the Spanish Empire. The techniques used to craft the indulgent treat are as close to the original Aztec method as you’ll find outside the Americas — making Modica the perfect destination for a food tour or a chocolate tasting.


Located a 30-minute drive north of Modica, you’ll find the hilltop city of Ragusa, an unmissable stop during a Syracuse day trip. The city is perched on a ridge and is surrounded by two verdant valleys, making it a strong contender for Sicily’s most scenic city.

However, beauty was not always associated with the streets of Ragusa, especially following the desolation wrought by the earthquake of 1693. Destruction gave way to reinvention, as is often the case, and from the city’s rubble rose new and beautiful buildings. The style, Sicilian Baroque, soon spread throughout the island, but its birthplace remains the crested fastness of Ragusa.

Apart from walking tours in Ragusa’s upper and lower districts, visitors may also enjoy food tours and cooking classes to experience the city’s culinary heritage. Whatever you choose, a day trip to Ragusa from Syracuse is a journey into the essence of Sicilian life.

Valley of the Temples

Syracuse is no slouch when it comes to ancient archeological sites and museums, with the city home to the Neapolis Archeological Park and the Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi.

While these two sites can keep inquisitive visitors busy for hours on end, even they pale when compared to the Valley of the Temples. Located roughly in the middle of Sicily’s southwestern shore, this vast archeological complex is a must-visit during a day trip from Syracuse.

Spanning well over 500 hectares, it’s the largest archeological complex in Europe and one of the most important sites in the world — offering visitors an unequaled glimpse into the ancient world of Magna Grecia.

The park is home to seven distinct temples, all in varying states of ruin, with the famous Temple of Concordia the best preserved. When planning a day trip to the Valley of the Temples from Syracuse, allocate around 2 to 3 hours to fully immerse in the wonders of the site. It's a perfect excursion to complement a day spent delving into the archaeological exhibits in Syracuse, either as a prelude or a finale to your cultural itinerary.