The best things to do after dinner in Sicily include taking in the sights, vibes, and unique flavours on the largest island in the Mediterranean. Sicily’s nightlife is particularly energised in its biggest cities. Both Palermo and Catania have a lively bar scene, but there are great places to hang out over a glass of wine in towns and villages across the island.

    Elegant champagnerias (champagne bars), fancy cocktail bars, and trendy music venues suit any mood. Those into the local culture and history will be keen to step foot in Sicily’s splendid opera houses with excellent acoustics that enables them to attract world-class musicians and performers. Whatever way you choose to spend your evening on the island, this guide shows you some great ideas on where to go in Sicily after sunset.

    1

    Sunset cruise from Porto de Catania

    Take to the water for an evening tour

    A sunset cruise is one of the best ways to begin a Sicilian evening. As locals start pounding the pavements of Catania for their passeggiata (leisurely walk), you can savour an Aperol Spritz from a sailing boat as you watch the sky redden. In summer, take a dip in the warm water. If you prefer to stay dry, enjoy the soft breeze on your face as you enjoy the area’s breathtaking volcanic coastal scenery.

    Sometimes, after a while out on your cruise from Porto de Catania, wild dolphins swim alongside the boat. So it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled just in case you spot a pod of these inquisitive marine mammals.

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    2

    Palermo street food tour

    Foodie walking tours with an English-speaking guide

    A Palermo street food tour provides a great opportunity to get acquainted with traditional Sicilian light bites. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, you’ll explore the alleys and backstreets around the port and the vibrant open-air street food market of La Vucciria, a popular evening destination in the city.

    Try typical dishes such as panelle (chickpea fritters) served with a drizzle of lemon juice, crocchè (potato croquettes) and rascatura, which is a hybrid of the 2. Round off with a brioche con gelato, or the local version of an ice cream sandwich. Tours run most evenings at 6.30 pm except on Tuesdays, with the meeting point at Teatro Massimo.

    Location: Teatro Massimo, Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy

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    3

    Bottiglieria del Massimo Champagneria

    Grab a glass of fizz at this iconic Palermo bar

    Bottiglieria del Massimo Champagneria opened in 1968 and it has been a popular place for pre- and post-theatre drinks ever since. It owes this to its convenient location close to Teatro Massimo.

    The bar’s reputation for bubbles took off in the late 1980s when owner Luigi Corrente noted the growing trend for fizz and created a champagne bar on the premise. A few years later, Al Pacino was in town to film The Godfather Part III. He came here after filming wrapped for the day to drink dry martinis and chew the fat late into the night.

    Location: Via Salvatore Spinuzza, 59, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 2 am

    Phone: +39 09 133 5730

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    4

    Teatro Massimo

    Catch a performance at this Palermo opera house

    Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy. Giovan Basile started construction in the 19th century, with his son Ernesto completing the project after his death. At the time it opened, it was the 3rd-largest in Europe after Paris and Vienna.

    You can take a guided tour of the building during the day, but you get to connect with its soul once night falls in Palermo. Its excellent acoustics have attracted the biggest names in the business, including Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas, who’ve both trodden the boards of this venerated stage.

    Location: Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy

    Phone: +39 09 1605 3521

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    5

    Teatro Massimo Bellini

    Indulge a passion for opera in Catania

    Teatro Massimo Bellini opened in 1890 with a performance of Norma, the work of local composer Vincenzo Bellini who lent the place his name. Built in Sicilian Baroque style, it has an ornate marble foyer and a lavish interior with a magnificent painted ceiling depicting scenes from some of Bellini’s operas.

    Today, Teatro Massimo Bellini stages world-renowned ballet performances, operas, and classical music concerts. While it's smaller in capacity than Teatro Massimo in Palermo, it nevertheless has excellent acoustics that compares favourably to its rival.

    Location: Via Giuseppe Perrotta, 12, 95131 Catania CT, Italy

    Phone: +39 09 5730 6111

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    6

    Civico Maltato

    The spot for craft beer in Syracuse

    Civico Maltato is a craft beer hall in Syracuse, which is quite a rare beast for a Sicilian town that’s known for its ancient ruins. Opened in 2013, it has since gone from strength to strength, building a solid and loyal local following.

    You can choose from a good selection of bottles from around the world as well as 10 artisan beers on tap. Breweries like Lombardy-based Brewfist and Birrificio Rurale supply pilseners, ales, stouts, and IPAs to Civico Maltato. Bartenders are passionate and enthusiastic, happy to help anyone who needs an expert suggestion to get them started.

    Location: Via G. Battista, Via G. B. Perasso, 9, 96100 Syracuse SR, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 6 pm to 1 am (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 35 1683 8485

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    7

    Barcollo

    Sip cocktails in an intimate Syracuse courtyard

    Barcollo is a chic cocktail bar in Ortigia, with a curious name that translates to “I stagger”. In summer, the intimate, tree-filled courtyard beside this centuries-old palazzo is lit by candlelight, ideal for a sultry evening out.

    When the weather’s a little colder, heaters might tempt you to stay outdoors. The exposed stone of its vaulted ceilings and contemporary statement lighting create a sophisticated atmosphere if you choose to unwind inside Barcollo. Talented mixologists can create something a little more unusual for adventurous drinkers.

    Location: Via Pompeo Picherali, 10, 96100 Syracuse SR, Italy

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 7 pm to 2 am (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +39 09 3124 580

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    8

    BOATS

    An Ortigia cocktail bar with a hip clientele

    BOATS is a hip cocktail bar on Syracuse’s island of Ortigia, right in front of the ancient Temple of Apollo. This bar’s name stands for “based on a true story”. There’s just a hint of a nautical theme, evident in the portholes decorating the bar and the distressed timber on its walls. 

    A varied tapas menu, featuring bruschetta, tacos, and Sicilian caponata will keep any hunger pangs at bay as you work your way through the extensive and imaginative cocktail list.

    Location: Via dell'Apollonion, 5, 96100 Syracuse SR, Italy

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 6.30 pm to 2 am (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +39 33 9111 0294

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    9

    Qvivi Bar Musica

    Listen to live music at this popular Palermo venue

    Qvivi Bar Musica is a Palermo pub that regularly draws a crowd with its live music nights. You can expect to see patrons spilling out onto the pavement most evenings. Conveniently located on busy Piazza Rivoluzione, this lively bar is all about the music.

    The clues are all around you – a saxophone hangs above the bar, violins dangle from the ceiling, and an eclectic collection of guitars adorn the walls. Qvivi Bar Musica is a reliable place to hang out if you want to catch performances by great local bands in Palermo. 

    Location: Piazza Rivoluzione, 5, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 6 pm to 2.30 am (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +39 32 9627 3392

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    10

    Banacher Discoteca

    Dance until the early hours at this lively Castello nightclub

    Banacher Discoteca is close to the city of Catania in Aci Castello, but draws revellers from across the island. Founder Enzo Aronica has managed to create a spectacular club that channels an Ibiza vibe. Poolside palms and statement LED lighting all turn this fashionable outdoor venue into a tropical oasis.

    Banacher Discoteca hosts multiple dancefloors and talented DJs whose playlists get everyone on their feet. If you’re looking for a place to pull an all-nighter, grab a cocktail and enjoy the party atmosphere until the sun comes up.

    Location: Via Vampolieri, 2, 95021 Aci Castello CT, Italy

    Open: Wednesday and Friday–Sunday from 6 pm to 4.30 am (closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays)

    Phone: +39 09 527 1257

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    Julia Hammond | Contributing Writer

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