With the popularity of HBO’s White Lotus, Sicily has been put on the map with a bang. And rightfully so! Italy’s southernmost island has pleasant temperatures most of the year, incredibly charming villages and towns that photograph well, the people are hot tempered and the coastline gorgeous. We rarely saw so many north American tourists outside of the big cities like Rome or Milan, and they all came for Taormina and Noto. Not entirely surprising considering how pretty they were shot!
Since we happened to be in Sicily at the time of White Lotus’ airing, we decided to go have a look for ourselves. Continue reading to find out all about the Noto sights and best things to do!
What to see in Noto Sicily
How to get to Noto?
The most likely scenario is you coming from either Palermo or Catania, the two largest cities in Sicily. The train from Catania to Noto takes about two hours, but funnily enough you’re quicker by bus; an hour and a half. Check the trains here and the buses here. Rented a car? The drive takes about one hour.
It will take a lot longer from Palermo, but Noto is fun enough to spend the night, so take that into consideration! The drive to Noto will take you 4 hours, public transport will cost you anywhere between 6 and 8 hours.
The best way to see Noto is just to go walk around. The centre is not very big, and by walking you will automatically pass the most important sights and attractions. The narrow streets and squares are excellent for good picture taking and endlessly cute. Don’t forget to walk up behind the cathedral to see another neighbourhood and for a view over the city.
We’re in Italy, and naturally it’s full of churches and palazzi! Noto is famous for its baroque churches and all of them are wort it. Entering Noto through Porta Reale and walking onto Corso Vittorio Emanuele, you will the cathedral on your right. If you don’t have time to visit all of them; we liked these the best:
- Noto Cattedrale. 18th century baroque and quite impressive
- Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso. The exterior is beautiful, and on the roof (€2 access) you will stand next to the clock tower and have a great view over Noto
- Chiesa di Santa Chiara. Another gem. You can access the roof here also, but inside the church you will find beautiful sculptures and ceilings.
- Nicolaci Palazzo. Once the home of one of the richest families in Noto, is still in good state due to the money still being in the family, unlike most other palazzi in the city
- Palazzo Castelluccio. It’s privately owner, and restored in 2011. Not the cheapest one to visit, but if you’re only going to see one palazzo, make it this one.
- Palazzo Ducezio. It also houses the city hall, so you will get 2 for the price of 1, even though the city hall is much less interesting!
Looking for the palazzo where Daphne and Harper stayed in the third episode? That wasn’t actually in Noto, but in Palermo. Check it out here.
Italy’s best ice cream
Every self respecting Italian ice cream maker will say that they make the best ice cream, but insiders will tell you the best ice cream of Noto, Sicily and Italy is to be found at Caffe Sicilia. But, there is no arguing over taste, so we have listed a few of our favourites!
What is Sicily without wine? There are a lot of wine farms in southern Sicily, but you can do a tour in Val di Noto from Noto and get to know the local wines. Visit on orchard, have a couple of glasses and enjoy the sunshine on your face!
Visit Noto’s beaches
There are two beaches not far from Noto; Eloro Beach and Calamosche Beach. Especially the latter is pretty; the sandy beach is situated between the rocks. Due to its sheltered postion the water is always still and clear. Eloro Beach is the most popular with locals as well as tourists, and is only an easy 10 minutes from Noto. Parking is paid, but there are changing rooms and toilets.
What to see in Noto Sicily; eating, drinking & sleeping
Where to eat and drink in Noto
- Pizzeria Casamatta for good Italian pizza.
- Il Brillo Parlante for fine dining with local products and wines
- Arancina Planet for the traditional Sicilian arancini! Favourite: arancina con pistacchio
- Sabinirica for nice platters and great sandwiches
- RitroVino a must for wine lovers!
No doubt the food is an attraction on its own, so make sure you have ample time to enjoy.
Where to sleep in Noto
You won’t find any big hotel chains here, and that’s a good thing! There are so many great boutique hotels to choose from.
Il Giardino del Barocco → lies in the centre of Noto. The common areas are classically Italian, and there is a garden. The room are standard, but not expensive. For €60 you’ve got yourself a room with breakfast!
B&B Palazzo Tasca → Also situated in the city centre, and affordable too, with romantic rooms and a good breakfast. The perfect base for a full day.
Villa Rosaria → It’s a 10 minute stroll from the city centre, but you will get a swimming pool in return! From the balcony you’ll have a view over the city.
Here we have it! All of the Noto sights and attractions to make for a perfect trip. Have we missed anything? Let us know!
→ Never been to Sicily and not sure where to start? Check out this beginners guide to Sicily.