Located along the southern shore of Sicily, Agrigento was well placed to become a powerhouse and with that fiercely fought for! During the 4th and 5th centuries BC, Agrigento became one of the most populous cities in the world and a key city for Greek expansion. Built along a ridge that offered natural fortifications, the city grew and some of the most fantastic temples the world had ever seen were built. Coming to the city today is more than just a visit to some ruins but a visit through the ages of Sicilian conquest.
Things to do
While Agrigento doesn't need much time to explore, it shouldn't be left off your Sicilian adventure. Surrounded by well-restored temples and churches, the city seems to be plucked out of a history book. Facing southwest also offers up some of the island's best sunsets!
Valle Dei Templi
The Valley of the Temples was once the major thoroughfare of the city and a key piece of the Greek and later the Roman empires. Although most of the temples have been destroyed by war, earthquakes, or even for building materials, extensive reconstructions over centuries have brought them back to life. Get up close and personal to the largest Greek temple ever at the Temple of Olympian Zeus or be brought back in time while checking out the amazingly intact Temple of Concordia. While tours can be found which take you from central Agrigento to the valley, there is also a convenient bus that goes right past. There is a relative lack of signage so rent the audio guide from the ticket booth to find out all the stories!
Wander Through Old Town
Though it may not be as big or beautiful as Rome's city centre, the old town of Agrigento still has numerous sights to see. Dotting the cobblestone street of Via Atenea there are half millennia-old churches, fountains that provided drinking water long ago, and the occasional palace. As some of these sights can be tough to see, join THIS tour to get a proper understanding of the unique elements of the city.
Where to Stay
The main tourist section of Agrigento is relatively small so it's hard to choose a bad location as long as you can still walk to Via Atenea. The main bus station and train stations are also located pretty much right in central town making it quick and convenient for heading out on a day trip or to continue your Sicilian Adventure. While there are some larger chains the city is also filled with boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts. How can you go wrong with a place like THIS or THIS.
As an alternative, the coast is just a few minutes away with small towns making for the perfect seaside escape. If you allow for a day of exploring the Valley of the Temples and central Agrigento, then staying in a town surrounding Agrigento is a great option! Scala Di Turchi Resort is just beside Scalia di Turk making it an ideal spot to stay if you don't want the hustle and bustle of Agrigento!
How to get there and around
Agrigento is along the south-central edge of Sicily so is well accessed from many of the major spots on the island. Roughly an hour north is one of central Sicily's largest rail junctions. If you are coming from Palermo in the northwest or Catania to the east, Caltanissetta Xirbi is likely the spot you will change trains. Traveling the last 90 minutes takes you up and over some stunning landscapes and ends up at Agrigento's main train station which looks towards the rolling hills that divide you and the ocean. If you are coming from any of the smaller towns or cities, there is a decent network of busses that depart from the main bus station at Piazzale Rosselli. This is also where you can grab a bus out to Scalia Di Turk or the Valley of the Temples.
Scalia Di Turk
Just 45 minutes on the bus from town is a sight like no other. Soft white limestone has slowly been eroded by water and wind over centuries creating a sweeping natural staircase. The smooth stone steps jut out from two amazing beaches which add to the perfect place to relax for an evening. Thanks to the southwestern facing cliffs, the sunsets are ideal!
Scooter Along The Coast Line
If you have ever been on a scooter or motorbike, you know how nice it is to have the wind in your hair and cruise across the beautiful countryside. If you rent a scooter from the edge of Agrigento, it is easy to spend a day or two winding down the stunning Mediterranean coastline popping into cute towns for an expresso or pasta. If that seems a bit too hectic, you can also stay inland and cruise the rolling hills and mountain vistas!