With over 1,000 kilometres of coastline, Sicily is home to many beautiful beaches. Large, sweeping sandy beaches with sunbeds and facilities are great for a family holiday, gently shelving with clear blue water. Giardini Naxos has a superb beach as has the Mondello near Palermo. Sicily has an amazing 17 Blue Flag beaches. For the more adventurous, Sicily has numerous smaller hidden coves and tiny beaches – perfect to hide away and escape the crowds.
There is so much to do and see whilst visiting Sicily, with plenty of activities on offer. There are hiking routes all over the island and this is a great way to explore and experience Sicily’s countryside and natural beauty. Horse riding is also popular. For keen golfers, Sicily has five golf facilities ranging in size, all with immaculate greens. Watersports are also high on the activities list, with kitesurfing being popular in the west of the island and diving and snorkelling in the north and east.
Seven small islands make up this idyllic archipelago located off the northern coast of Sicily. These volcanic islands include the Lipari and Stromboli can be reached by either boat or hydrofoil from Sicily. The rugged and wild coastlines are out of this world and these islands boast some of the clearest waters in Europe. The island of Lipari boasts the largest town, other islands have small populations who enjoy a basic lifestyle.
Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe at 3,329 metres tall and currently the most active in the world. No holiday to Sicily is complete without visiting this stunning natural phenomenon. A cable car takes visitors up to the first station at around 2,500 metres, from here there is an option to either continue on foot to the summit area, which is no mean feat, or hop in to a 4x4 jeep. Lava flows and old craters scatter the area, there is even a lava cave to visit. The city of Catania is at the foot of Mount Etna and is a great place visit while in the area. Known as the ‘Black City’ due to many of its buildings being built using lava stone. The cathedral, Duomo di Catania and the Piazza are delightful with stunning Baroque architecture.
The capital of Sicily, this stunning city is steeped in history and culture. Situated on the north coast of the island the city has Spanish, Arab and Norman influences. On the outskirts of the city is the Royal Palace, also known as the Norman Palace, an extraordinary building which houses the renowned Palatine Chapel that is filled with golden mosaics on the walls and ceiling – it is a sight to behold. The Palermo Cathedral is a considerable architectural presence and stunning both inside and out. It is possible to climb the cathedral roofs to get a great birds eye view of this majestic city. Palermo is bustling and full of atmosphere, a visit to the Quattro Canti (four corners) crossroads will establish this. In the heart of the city where two main roads cross, these four intricate and symmetrical buildings add a sense of calm and beauty.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Sicily’ on the east coast, Taormina is a super place for a holiday with it all. Largely perched on the top of the cliff, the views over Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea are second to none. Taormina has a pedestrianised centre and is very easy to explore on foot. The main street of Corso Umberto weaves through the city centre and is adorned with shops, boutiques, jewellery and souvenirs along with cafes which are great for people watching. A visit to Villa Comunale brings peace and quiet. This large public garden in the city has beautifully kept grounds with lush trees and beautiful flowers. And then there is the beach to enjoy. At the bottom of the cliff lies a stunning cove and lovely sandy beach overlooking the tiny island Isola Bella. One of the most photographed scenes of Sicily with a pretty pebble beach and crystal-clear waters, it’s easy to see why.
Sicilians are passionate about food and are renowned for enjoying long, leisurely lunches with family and friends. Although also popular, especially in Palermo, is Sicilian street food. Freshly made and with tasty and simple ingredients, food stalls are scattered around the city. Arancini are small, bite sized rice balls which are deep fried until crisp and golden. Usually filled with a little meat sauce in the middle, but as time’s evolved, different savoury and sweet fillings are often on the menu. Panelle Siciliane is also popular street food which is chickpea fritters and often served warm in fresh bread. Visitors are spoilt for choice with a huge variety of restaurants catering to every taste and budget. Seafood is fresh and plentiful on this island and restaurants will offer the catch of the day. Of course, a squeeze of Sicilian lemon will compliment any dish.
Sicily enjoys a Mediterranean climate but its rugged, mountainous terrains provide regional variations in climate. For the most part, Sicily summers arte hot and dry while the winters are warm but rainfall is more frequent.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.
The currency in Sicily is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken in Sicily is Italian.