Explore why Sicily is a must for your travelwishlist
Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, is just southwest of the "toe" of Italy's "boot." Its rich history is reflected in sites like the Valley of the Temples and in the Byzantine mosaics at the Cappella Palatina. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes. Add gorgeous beaches, delicious food & wine and Sicily has to be on your travelwishlist!
1. AEOLIAN ISLANDS
The Aeolian Islands, sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group after their largest island, are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. There are seven significant islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea, and a set of minor islands and rocks.
Castelmola is a comune in the Province of Messina, located about 170 kilometres east of Palermo and about 40 kilometres southwest of Messina. This small village above Taormina is one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily.
The ancient port city of Catania is located at the foot of Mt. Etna, an active volcano with trails leading up to the summit. The city's wide central square, Piazza del Duomo, features the Fontana dell'Elefante statue and Catania Cathedral. In the southwest corner of the square, La Pescheria weekday fish market is surrounded by seafood restaurants.
Cefalù is a charming city one hour from Palermo and offers a well-preserved medieval cathedral, gorgeous old town, stunning beaches and loads more.
5. FAVIGNANA ISLANDS
Favignana (Sicilian: Faugnana) is a comune including three islands (Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo) of the Aegadian. It is situated approximately 18 kilometres (11 miles) west of the coast of Sicily, between Trapani and Marsala.
The harbour city of Messina in northeast Sicily is separated from mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina. It is famous for its Norman Cathedral, with its Gothic portal, 15th-century windows and an astronomical clock on the bell tower.
7. MOUNT ETNA
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast between the cities of Messina and Catania. It is one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe, and the tallest peak in Italy south of the Alps with a current height (July 2021) of 3,357 m (11,014 ft), though this varies with summit eruptions.
The capital city of Sicily, Palermo, is over 2 700 years old and noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The historic city of Syracuse is famous for its rich Greek and Roman history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the pre-eminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.
Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast near Mount Etna. The town is renowned for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theatre still used today.
11. VALLEY OF TEMPLES
The Valle dei Templi is an archaeological site in Agrigento (ancient Greek Akragas). It is one of the most outstanding examples of Magna Graecia art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily.
12. ZINGARO NATURE RESERVE
Riserva naturale dello zingaro was the first natural reserve set up in Sicily in May 1981. It stretches along some seven kilometres of unspoilt coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare and its mountain chain, the setting of steep cliffs and little bays.
Arancini are Italian rice balls that are stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried, and are a staple of Sicilian cuisine; they are similar to kibbeh of the Levantine cuisine.
Cannoli are Italian pastries consisting of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta—a staple of Sicilian cuisine. They range in size from 9 to 20 centimetres. In mainland Italy, they are commonly known as cannoli siciliani.
Sarde a beccafico are butterflied sardines stuffed with a mix of breadcrumbs, pine nuts, raisins and herbs, then rolled up and baked in between fresh bay leaves.
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi, and islands of Procida, Ischia, and Capri. It is also produced in Abruzzo, Basilicata, Apulia, Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France, and the Maltese island of Gozo. In northern Italy, the liqueur is often referred to instead as limoncino.
Sicily is Italy’s largest wine region at 242,000 vineyard acres (98,000 hectares). Wine grapes have been in Sicily for nearly 3,000 years. Julius Caesar was said to have enjoyed Sicilian wines, particularly Mamertino. There are 23 DOCs and 1 DOCG in Sicily (Italy's highest quality wine designations). Over 30% of Sicily's vineyards are organic.
SLEEP AT TONNARA DI SCIACCA
Until 1954 it was the factory for catching and processing tuna. Today it is a small and elegant tourist complex by the sea. Here is the second life of the Tonnara di Sciacca, an authentic place made of history and traditions where you can now spend a relaxing stay a stone's throw from the beach. The fishermen's warehouses used by Rais and his crew have been transformed into comfortable apartments immersed in the green of Mediterranean plants.
PLAY AT SICILY GRAND TOUR
Sicily Grand Tour offers a private hire car with driver . Their services include shuttles from and to all Sicily airports, ports and train stations, private tours, excursions, shore tours, wedding cars with driver and much more. You can choose a classic tour or an adventurous off the beaten track one. Join them for a daily tour or a shore excursion from Catania and Messina seaport to Mount Etna or Taormina.
PLAY AT TOUR OF SICILY
Make your Sicily Travel plans with Tour of Sicily for Exclusive One Day Tour Packages. They are a great way to see the most important Sicilian Highlights in one day.
WHEN TO GO: March through June and October are ideal, with few crowds, lots of festivals, and mild weather. July and August are hot and can be crowded — especially at beaches and resorts. September is the busiest (and most expensive) month.
HOW TO GET THERE:
BY PLANE: There are three airports on the island, Falcone Borsellino in Palermo (32 km from the city), Fontanarossa in Catania (7 km from the city, good if traveling to eastern Sicily), and Vincenzo Florio in Trapani Birgi (15 km from Trapani and Marsala, the gateways to Western Sicily)
BY BOAT: Take the ferry with your car on board from San Giovasnni in Calabria and disembark in Messina or take an hydrofoil from Naples or Livorno
HOW TO GET AROUND: By car to truly experience the whole island