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Best family hotels in Sicily: find beach, pool and Mount Etna stays

Fancy exploring heavenly Sicily? Dive right in and find the best family hotels in Sicily and child-friendly stays on this beautiful island.

By Louise Baty | Last updated Feb 16, 2024

Family hotels in Sicily

Aaah, Sicily -  the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, home to iconic Mount Etna and the city of Palermo along with some of the finest golden beaches in Europe. Not quite sure where Sicily actually is? Grab a map and you’ll find the island in the shape of a loosely triangular ‘football’ being kicked by the toe of that famous Italian ‘boot’.

Italians are famously welcoming to families and Sicilians are no exception, with babies and young children treated as demigods here - yes, even when they have a tantrum halfway through their spaghetti bolognese. So it’s no wonder that this intriguing and beautiful island is a favourite with well-travelled Mumsnetters, who rate Sicily for family holidays.

When discussing the finer details of booking a holiday to Sicily, parents who’ve been there highlight the sheer size of the island - there are six main airports for starters -  and “recommend staying in more than one place to see all the things you want to see.”, with this Mumsnetter enthusing: “We had one of our best holidays ever in Sicily - I'd go back in a heartbeat. First things first - it's MASSIVE. It's the largest island in the Med. I wouldn't entertain the idea of trying to 'do' the whole island. Choose a chunk of it and focus on that.” 

One word of caution, according to Mumsnetters who’ve holidayed on the island: be patient because: “It takes a long time to get anywhere in Sicily - the roads aren't great. And it's a massive island too. A beautiful one though - I can't wait to go back!” 

To help you find the best family hotel in Sicily, we’ve collated a list of child-friendly hotels in areas of the island where Mumsnetters have recommended staying to get the most out of your trip. There’s no doubt about it, Mumsnetters have travelled extensively in Sicily - and have also then come back to the Mumsnet forums to impart their knowledge to other parents. With over 10 million users on our forums each month, that’s an awful lot of child-focused wisdom.

From the best family hotels in Sicily for babies and toddlers to the best Sicily hotels for teenagers, we think there’s a great range of family hotels in our round-up to choose for your family holiday to Sicily.

What are the best family hotels in Sicily?

  1. Best overall family hotel in Sicily: UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia 

  2. Best budget family hotel in Sicily: Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme

  3. Best family hotel by the beach in Sicily: Hotel Kalura

  4. Best family hotel with swimming pool in Sicily: Hotel Ariston and Palazzo Santa Caterina

  5. Best family hotel near Mount Etna: Il Giardino di Agata

1. Best overall family hotel in Sicily: UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia

UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia

UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia | Check availability

“Look at Giardini Naxos. It's well placed for what you want to see & seems to fit the bill.” handbagsatdawn33

The location of this picturesque family-friendly hotel is pretty much perfect. Nestled in the stunning village of Giardini Naxos overlooking the Mediterranean, UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia has its very own private beach available to guests between May and September. You’ll only be a few miles from the buzzy town of Taormina with its historic cathedral and ancient theatre along with oodles of restaurants, boutiques bars and beautiful beaches.

If you’re looking for a small family-run affair, this hotel isn’t it. Based in expansive grounds,  UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia boasts bars, restaurants, a boutique and ATM, a tennis court, a fitness centre and four swimming pools (one is Olympic size if you feel like being active on your holiday). All rooms are air-conditioned and also have satellite TV, minibar, and bathroom with hairdryer and free toiletries. If you choose a small villa, you’ll have use of your own patio or terrace.

During summer months, there’s an entertainment programme for adults and children and accommodation can be booked on a half board or full board option so you can enjoy the Sicilian dishes on offer.

  • Nearest airport: Catania Fontanarossa Airport (25.9 miles)

2. Best budget family hotel in Sicily: Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme

Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme

Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme | Check availability

“For the 'earthquake' towns in the south (Noto etc) I'd stay somewhere near there - Modica is an amazing place to stay, and a good base for exploring.” ReviewingTheSituation

Housed in a recently refurbished 18th-century building in the centre of buzzing Modica is this family-run B&B. Modica - one of eight UNESCO Heritage ‘Val di Noto’ towns in southern Sicily - was severely damaged by catastrophic earthquakes in 1169 and 1693 but remnants of mediaeval ruins remain to be seen.

Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme sits opposite the town’s historic Saint George’s Cathedral. Some rooms have cathedral views, as does the living room where daily breakfast is served. For other meals, you’ll be spoilt for choice with child-friendly restaurants on the doorstep. Did we mention the best chocolate in Italy comes from Modica? <drools>

Reviewers rate this B&B’s charming accomodation at a great price. If you’re after minimalism, look elsewhere - the building is furnished with Sicilian antiques and more than its share of chintz. That said, there’s free wifi and air con throughout and rooms boast flat-screen TVs and private shower rooms. The downsides? There’s no pool or facilities you’ll find at the likes of UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia  and the coastline is 10 miles away. There’s no parking at the B&B either. But when you want to venture further afield, the bus stop to the airport and surrounding areas is a short walk away.

  • Nearest airport: Comiso Airport (12.5 miles)

3. Best family hotel by the beach in Sicily: Hotel Kalura

Hotel Kalura | Check availability

“Cefalu!!! Wonderful beach - my daughter took wonderful pictures in October. Close to town.” cinders15

“Another vote for Cefalu. Gorgeous, gorgeous place, wonderful feel to the old town, really nice beach, and the rock and its castle and ancient remains are amazing.” FermatsTheorem

If nothing but the beach will do, you couldn’t choose a lovelier spot than this scenic hotel - just over a mile from Cefalù in the north of the island. The hotel offers panoramic views of Caldura Bay and Rocca of Cefalù. The city is known for its 12 century Norman cathedral.

At Hotel Kalura, guests can enjoy access to a wonderful private beach and make use of the swimming platform, pool, scuba diving school and tennis court. There’s an on-site shop and a restaurant serving local dishes and a choice of - get this - 100 Sicilian wines. Yes, please.

Each room has a balcony, most with sea views along with air con, satellite TV, minibar and free wifi. If you’d rather visit outside the peak summer season, you can enjoy walking and cycling tours (bikes are available to rent). Other classes - available from March to November - include art, photography and yoga. Guests can make use of the hotel’s free parking and when it’s time to explore or move on, you’re only a short drive from the A20 toll motorway which connects the city of Palermo to Messina.

  • Nearest airport: Palermo Aiport (50 miles)

4. Best family hotel with swimming pool in Sicily: Hotel Ariston and Palazzo Santa Caterina

Hotel Ariston and Palazzo Santa Caterina

Hotel Ariston and Palazzo Santa Caterina | Check availability

“We found that by staying in Taormina we got the best of it (buzzy, glamorous, great choice of restaurants/shops/ice cream Parlours) but could avoid the cruise ship crowds by doing our exploring in the morning before they arrived or late afternoon after they'd gone - that worked well to avoid the heat too.” VikingNorthUtsire

Taormina is a popular tourist town overlooking Sicily’s stunning Ionian coast and the Peloritan Mountains. It also offers fabulous views of Mount Etna. Historically important, the town boasts well preserved churches and other ancient buildings. For centuries, it was a powerful trade centre and welcomed aristocrats, writers and artists each summer too. It’s still a chic destination, with plenty of high-end restaurants ad designer boutiques but it’s also welcoming to families and makes an ideal base during your Sicily trip.

Our overall best Sicily family hotel UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia is in the area but Hotel Ariston and Palazzo Santa Caterina, which is located near Taormina's ancient Greek theatre, offers easier access to the buzz of the town. Taormina gets very busy and crowded  - especially in peak season -  you can easily nip in and out of the town’s historic centre from this well-placed hotel and retire to your air conditioned room if it all gets too much. Most rooms have a balcony so you can make the most of those stunning views.

This large hotel boasts a swimming pool, two restaurants and a bar. Evening entertainment comes in the form of live piano performances and dancing. You’re within easy reach of the cable car to the beach and for trips further afield, the main bus terminal is nearby.

  • Nearest airport: Reggio di Calabria Airport Tito Minniti (24.9 miles)

5. Best family hotel near Mount Etna: Il Giardino di Agata

Il Giardino di Agata

Il Giardino di Agata | Check availability

“Near Etna, we stayed in a lovely town called Mascalucia (or something very similar to that) - it was brilliantly placed for seeing Etna, and not touristy at all.” ReviewingTheSituation

The world-famous active volcano, Mount Etna, lies between Sicily's east coast cities of Messina and Catania. Etna is on most people’s ‘must see’ list when they visit Sicily and if you want to tick it off yours then it’s wise to book accommodation nearby. That way, you’ll find it easier to book Etna jeep tours or walking treks.

Il Giardino di Agata is a stylish bed and breakfast in Mascalucia - approximately half an hour’s drive from Etna - with accommodation set in lovely gardens. If you want the beach within walking distance, you’re out of luck here as it’s over 12 miles away. However, there’s an outdoor pool onsite along with a sun terrace, kids’ playground, bar, lounge, barbecue facilities and free parking.

Each room is kitted out with patio, air con, wifi, flat-screen TV and private bathroom. While continental breakfast is served daily at the bed and breakfast, you can self-cater during your stay as each room houses a microwave, kettle, fridge and minibar.

  • Nearest airport: Catania Fontanarossa (9.3 miles)

6. Best family hotel in Palermo: Mamamia al Teatro Biondo

Mamamia al Teatro Biondo

Mamamia al Teatro Biondo | Check availability

”Palermo is beautiful a real town but with everything walking distance and without the tourism of Rome etc.” TeddingtonTrashbag

Sicily’s vibrant capital city, Palermo, is home to over 600,000 residents. There’s much to keep you and your family busy here, from the buzzing street markets to fascinating historical sites such as the ninth century royal palace, Palazzo dei Normanni.

Mamamia al Teatro Biondo is a short stroll from Palermo Centrale Train Station and tourist hot spots including the 12th-century Palermo Cathedral, Vucciria Market and also the Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele opera house.

Each chic room at Mamamia al Teatro Biondo features a private ensuite bathroom, TV and coffee maker along with a shared terrace. The hotel serves breakfast daily to guests and there’s the opportunity to self-cater in the  communal kitchen. Reviewers praise this city centre bolthole for its super stylish, luxurious decor and proximity to all the main attractions.

  • Nearest airport: Falcone-Borsellino Airport (19.3 miles)

7. Best family hotel in Syracuse: Hotel Posta

Hotel Posta

Hotel Posta | Check availability

“Syracuse was my absolute stand out favourite. We stayed in the old Greek part, Ortigia which was beautiful - do a Google! The town is made of marble and glows pink at sunset and dawn. It’s popular with French and Italian tourists but not many Brits.” SJaneS49 

Down on the south eastern side of the island is magical Syracuse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in Greek and Roman history and the birthplace of eminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. Combine your stay in Syracuse with a trip to The Necropolis of Pantalica - a fascinating collection of cemeteries with rock-cut chamber tombs.

Hotel Posta is situated on the tiny island of Ortigia, also known as the Città Vecchia (Old City) and the historical centre of Syracuse. The hotel has captivating views, with many bedrooms overlooking the port although you may not want your pre-schoolers pootling around on those balconies. Rooms located right up in the attic probably won’t be ideal for families but ground floor rooms are accessible and first floor rooms are served by a lift. Each room has a bathroom, satellite TV and minibar. There’s no hotel pool but there are five beaches within walking distance.

The hotel is rated for being clean, welcoming and unpretentious. When it comes to zipping around the main sights, such as the cathedral, market and Fonte Aretusa fountain, Hotel Posta’s central location can’t be beaten. It’s also near the bus station when you want to travel further. Reviewers leave glowing reports of the delicious continental breakfast and half and full-board options are available at one of the hotel's partner restaurants, which serve typical Sicilian dishes.

  • Nearest airport: Catania Fontanarossa Airport (30.9 miles)

8. Best family hotel in Agrigento: Agriturismo Passo dei Brigant

Agriturismo Passo dei Brigant

Agriturismo Passo dei Brigant | Check availability

“Agrigento….has amazing temples with stunning views. Worth a visit if you like that sort of thing, but hard to get to as the roads across the middle are terrible!” Readysetcake

A hilltop city on Sicily's southwest shore, Agrigento is famed for the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas in the Valley of the Temples. If you’re into Ancient Greece and Rome you’ll also want to factor in a visit to the Museo Archeologico Regionale 'Pietro Griffo'. There’s plenty for beach lovers too - to the west of the city is Scala dei Turchi, a stepped white cliff overlooking golden sands and rolling waves.

Agriturismo Passo dei Brigant is a short drive from both the Valley of the Temples and Scala dei Turchi. It’s certainly a scenic, restful base to retreat back to after a day of sunbathing or sightseeing.  Offering a restaurant and shared, furnished terrace, the hotel’s unfussy rustic rooms are set in a renovated Sicilian baglio (farm) building.

Each room has air conditioning, flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Some include a balcony. Reviewers praise the hotel for serving traditional, home cooked Sicilian food in clean and pleasant surroundings. For proximity to both the Valley of the Temples and the Scala dei Turchi, this welcoming hotel can’t be beaten. However some families may be disappointed that while the shared gardens are very inviting, there is no playground for kids and no swimming pool.

  • Nearest airport: Comiso Airport (61.2 miles)

9. Best family hotel in San Vito lo Copo: Hotel Achibea

Hotel Achibea

Hotel Achibea | Check availability

“San Vito lo Copo was a lovely beach side town.” IngridTails

Stunning gardens, pool and terrace? Check. On site restaurant serving delicious Sicilian dishes? Check. Beaches and a nature reserve nearby along with breathtaking mountain views? Check and check!

Family-friendly Hotel Achibea in Castelluzzo - five miles from San Vito lo Copo in the north east of the island - certainly ticks a lot of Sicilian holiday boxes. It is situated on the slope of Mount Passo del Lupo, part of the Zingaro Nature Reserve which stretches 6 miles along the coast between Scopello and San Vito lo Capo. This area is ideal for truly getting away from it all. Nature lovers can spot rare plants along with 39 bird species which nest here, including Peregrine Falcon.

The hotel itself is set within expansive gardens and has an outdoor pool, terrace, bar and table tennis. The restaurant serves a daily breakfast buffet along with traditional Sicilian specialities at other times of day. Hotel Achibea offers rooms overlooking the mountains or pool. All rooms have air con, a TV, safe and desk and some also have a balcony. The nearest beach is less than a mile away.

  • Nearest airport: Trapani Airport (18.9 miles)

10. Best family hotel in Sicily by the sea: Villa Giulia - Sicilian Luxury Garden

Villa Giulia - Sicilian Luxury Garden

Villa Giulia - Sicilian Luxury Garden | Check availability

“There’s a little village called Punta Secca which is beautiful and the setting for the Montalbano show. A restaurant called Enzo A Mare is my favourite. Great seafood and the tables are set out on a veranda in the waves.” Palegreenstars

Located in the tiny, quaint fishing village of Punta Secca, Villa Giulia - Sicilian Luxury Garden provides bed and breakfast accommodation, serving a daily continental breakfast. The hotel has a picturesque setting, featuring a swimming pool, shared lounge and views of the gorgeous garden. Each accommodation unit has its own patio, air con, flat-screen TV and  bathroom along with a microwave, fridge and kettle so you can enjoy the flexibility of self-catering for you and your family.

There are five beaches within easy reach and you’ll find the nearest - Caucana-Casuzze - less than a mile away. If you’d rather explore the area on two wheels, there’s a bicycle rental service at the property.

Punta Secca is very quiet but there’s enough ‘sightseeing’ to keep little ones happy including a small port and harbour, a 16th century watchtower and a lighthouse. An interesting bit of TV trivia is that the town is the setting for the fictional ‘Marinella’ in the cult series Inspector Montalbano.

  • Nearest airport: Comiso Airport (14.7 miles)

Why you should choose Sicily for your next family holiday

Officially referred to as Regione Siciliana, Sicily is resolutely Italian - but is set apart, both geographically and, to a certain extent, culturally. Divided from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina to the north east, the island is undeniably huge at 9,927 square miles. For context, Wales measures just over 8000 square miles. With 5 million inhabitants, Sicily has a strong identity, history and atmosphere of its very own. It’s also famously welcoming to tourists and especially to families with young kids (although it’s probably best not to delve too deeply into the tales of the fabled and much feared Cosa Nostra…).

History buffs will be wowed by the island’s complicated past - it has both Ancient Greek and Roman heritage. To get a real sense of the island’s history, a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valley of the Temples is a must. The area houses a jaw dropping cluster of ancient classical architecture including the necropolis and temples of the gods. Elsewhere on the island of Sicily you’ll find the well preserved sites of the Roman Amphitheatre of Catania and the Greek Theatre of Syracuse along with a multitude of centuries old cathedrals, piazzas and other relics.

Food wise, if you love Italian cooking, you’ll be happy here. Sicily offers the sort of staple pasta dishes you and your kids will recognise such as lasagne and tomato penne with prawns and meatballs. The island is also home to other culinary delights such as creamy cannoli pastries, artichokes, Gambero red prawns and chocolate made in the town of Modica.

Sunseekers will find their spiritual home on this island of stunning beaches and will love exploring the rugged terrain of the northern coastline and the soft sands of the southern ‘spiagge’ (that’s beaches in Italian fyi).

Where is good for a family holiday in Sicily?

The island of Sicily is so large and wide-ranging in sights and activities, there’s no simple answer to this question. But going by Mumsnetter tips and advice on our talk forums, Hotel Kalura in the northern coastal destination of Cefalù is ideal. The hotel offers a private beach, on-site bar and restaurant and panoramic views along with easy access to the city’s culture and historic sites including its 12 century Norman cathedral.

Where should I stay in Sicily with kids?

A great place to add to your Sicily list of holiday destinations is the capital city of Palermo. You and your kids will be kept busy visiting busy street markets and historial sights.

Mamamia al Teatro Biondo is located conveniently centrally within the city so you and your children can walk - or travel by buggy - to most tourist hot spots with ease.

Where can kids go in Sicily?

Kids are welcome throughout Sicily. A great budget hotel for families with kids is Palazzo Il Cavaliere B&B De Charme, located in the centre of the vibrant Modica beside the town’s cathedral.

Is Sicily family-friendly?

Like much of Italy, Sicily is a good family holiday destination. The island offers many options for families with babies and toddlers. Little ones are genuinely welcomed in hotels, restaurants and shops and there’s also enough culture and history to interest older kids.

Is Sicily a good family holiday destination?

Sicily is a great destination for families. Mumsnetters praise San Vito lo Copo as a lovely beach side town which is located within a nature reserve. Hotel Achibea - five miles from San Vito lo Copo - offers a swimming pool, table tennis and beautiful views for families who want to get away from it all during their Sicily adventure.

Where in Sicily is best for a family holiday?

The best overall place for a family holiday in Sicily, according to Mumsnetter recommendations, is the pretty village of Giardini Naxos overlooking the Mediterranean. A few miles from Taormina with its history and culture is UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia, which offers family-friendly accomodation and entertainment along with its own private beach.

Where can I get cheap flights to Sicily?

There are plenty of options for finding cheap flights to Sicily and offers a wide variety of choices from UK airports.

Do I need to hire a car in Sicily?

As Sicily is such a large island, and you’re likely to want to travel around during your trip in order to pack in your sightseeing and beach visits, you’ll need to factor in transport. It’s not necessary to hire a care because public transport is good across the island, especially by bus. However, it’s important to plan your itinerary with care and work out how you’ll travel from one location to the next, especially if you are planning on staying in more than one hotel in Sicily.

When is the best time to go to Sicily?

The summer months in Sicily are perfect for sunbathing but popular tourist destinations and sightseeing spots can get hot and overcrowded, especially in September which is the busiest month.

If you’re not confined to school holidays, think about booking between March and June or in October. These times of year are less crowded and the weather is mild for sightseeing and travelling around. By travelling out of peak season you may also nab yourself a cheap deal on flights and hotels.

How we chose our recommendations

All the recommendations for the best areas for finding family hotels in Sicily came courtesy of Mumsnetters. We reckon that when you’re looking to book a family-friendly hotel for you and your kids on your next holiday, it’s invaluable to get pointers from other parents who’ve already stayed there. That’s where the Mumsnetters on our talk boards come in. We’re pretty sure that, between them, they’ve explored every area - and many of the kid-friendly hotels - on the island of Sicily.

To compile our list of family hotels in Sicily, we studied discussions about Sicilian family holidays on the Mumsnet forums to find out which areas parents had visited and enjoyed for holidays with babies, toddlers or teens. We cross checked these recommendations with consumer sites to see which areas and hotels in Sicily were reviewed and rated.

Finally, we collated all that information and compared them to other online reviews to see which were the top choices and which received positive recommendations. We then cross-referenced our findings to select the best hotels in Sicily for families in various areas and to suit various budgets.

Why you should trust us

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