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Sicily is a beautiful, sun-drenched island located in the Mediterranean Sea. With stunningly picturesque coastlines, breathtaking mountain views, and rolling countryside, Sicily is unsurprisingly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. Here are just some of the most beautiful places in Sicily that you need to visit on your next trip!
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A perfect Sicilian town, which offers incredible historical landmarks, unforgettable gastronomy, and beach options, exists – Taormina.
Located on the east coast of Sicily just an hourlong drive from Catania, Taormina cannot be left out, whether you prefer sightseeing, eating well, or just chilling on a beach. There are just so many diverse things to do in Taormina that you need at least a day to properly enjoy it. While Taormina can be visited on a day trip, staying at least a night or two is recommended.
The ancient Greek Theater is Taormina’s top landmark. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC, the Romans later reworked it. The theater’s history is rich and so are the views from there. Down below, you’ll be amazed by the blue waters of the Ionian Sea, while in the distance the almighty Mount Etna will either show herself fully or cover up shyly with smoke.
It’s easy to walk around Taormina – just follow the main boulevard of Corso Umberto all the way between the Gates of Porta Messina and Porta Catania. You’ll find ancient palaces and churches, as well as colorful residential houses, restaurants, and shops.
A short cable car ride down takes you to Taormina’s beaches with each being unique in its own way. E.g. Isola Bella beach has a small island of the same name, which you can explore for a small fee.
To spend the night, consider staying at a high-rated B&B a’ Coffa right at the Corso Umberto.
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Mount Stromboli gives its name to the beautiful Stromboli island, one of the smallest of the Aeolian Archipelago, north of Sicily. You can reach the island via hydrofoil from Milazzo (about one hour’s drive from Catania) or from one of the other Aeolian Islands.
The village in Stromboli (also named Stromboli!) is gorgeous, entirely white, and really tiny: no more than 450 people live on the island on a regular basis, often facing adverse weather conditions during the winter months, when strong winds blow and make connections to mainland Sicily impossible. This makes Stromboli even more fascinating.
The highlight of visiting Stromboli is hiking the volcano, one of the most active in the world. Guided hikes to the crater of Mount Stromboli depart every afternoon (departure times vary depending on the season) from the village, typically in time to get to the peak for sunset and admire the archipelago in all its glory. Once up, you will first hear explosions coming from the crater (they sound like thunder) and eventually you will also be able to see lava as it spouts from the crater.
You descend after it gets dark – so you need to bring a flash or headlight for the hike.
Hiking Mount Stromboli is typically safe – but you need a guide for that. Only local guides are trained to follow the best route depending on the activity of the volcano. The hike can be challenging if you are not fit – it’s entirely uphill on the way to the crater, and on mostly sandy terrain.
You need to be dressed appropriately for the hike: wear proper hiking boots or shoes, a sweatshirt, and a wind jacket as it can be windy and chilly at the top, and an extra t-shirt to get changed if needed. Carry enough water and a snack for the hike.
The price of the guided hike is in the range of €45.
You can visit Stromboli on day trips from mainland Sicily, but to make the most of it and fully enjoy the hike, consider spending at least one night there. The best place to stay in the modest but comfortable Miramare Hotel, which has spacious rooms with a terrace overlooking the sea.
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Favignana is one of the stunning Aegadian Islands located right off the coast of Sicily. Although the island remains a bit under the radar, the beautiful Favignana beaches attract an increasing number of visitors yearly. With thin white and golden sand and clear turquoise water, the island’s beaches are also known for being surrounded by uniquely carved rock formations and offering stunning eroded landscapes. Favignana is the perfect place for visitors looking to relax on the beach, go snorkeling, or take beautiful photos.
Favignana is also unique in the way it welcomes visitors. To reach the island, you will need to take a ferry from Trapani or Marsala and then take the bus to your final destination. The number of cars on the island is limited, especially in the summer, meaning tourists are not usually allowed to bring one. No worries though, as the island is small and can be visited by foot, bus or bicycle.
Depending on the type of traveler you are, it is recommended to stay between three and seven days on the island. During your trip, don’t forget to take a day cruise to one of the neighboring islands. Also, keep your eyes open as you might be able to spot wild dolphins on your way!
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If looking for a beautiful place in Sicily on the Northern coast, find yourself getting inspired by Cefalu. Located only 1 hour away from Palermo, it’s the perfect play to fly in and visit for an Italian visit to the island. If you have a full weekend spare, it’s the perfect amount of time to visit Cefalu.
While exploring the old town of Cefalu, stroll the alleyways and side streets for beautiful Italian vibes. There are many little restaurants to stop at for a coffee or a bite to eat. The old town area is also the place you can find the main cathedral and cloister, which is absolutely stunning to visit. Take your time to enjoy yourself before strolling to the scenic viewpoint at the end of the pier. Here it’s a beautiful spot for a photo of Cefalu.
For more explorations, a visit to the castle is a fun activity. It’s easy to hike up with some sneakers, but not for those in flip-flops. For only 5 EUR you can enter the grounds and Rocca city park, which is well worth a visit during your stay. The view from the very top is astonishing on a clear day, where you can spot lots of locals enjoying the water below.
There are hotels in the area, but a recommendation is to sleep at one of the many private rentals you can book instead. A personal highlight is to stay at the holiday home that you can find called ‘A window on the sea Cefalu’. It’s within a short 5-minute drive from the Cefalu center and perfectly close to a private beach for a restful afternoon.
Castellammare del Golfo
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Castellammare del Golfo is a gorgeous seaside town located one hour west of Palermo. Centered around their marina, the town is filled with artisanal shops, quaint restaurants, gardens, cafés, and even a castle! If you are headed to Sicily, Castellammare del Golfo is definitely worth a visit!
For a small town, there is plenty to do in Castellammare. In fact, 2 or 3 days would be enough to experience many of the best attractions and beauty of what this town has to offer.
From relaxing at one of several beautiful beaches to doing some sightseeing, shopping, enjoying the nightlife, or just soaking in the culture on a stroll around town, there are plenty of great options to choose from.
And one of the best ways to see the town is to take a short drive up to the Belvedere. There, you will have an absolutely jaw-dropping view of the town. Not only is it a photographer’s dream, but you will also find a really nice restaurant tucked into the hillside.
But a definite must-do in Castellammare is to visit Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve. This nature lover’s dream features 7 km of rocky cliffs, blue-green water, natural caves, and grottos for swimming. Enjoy the incredible natural vistas as you hike, swim, or just relax in the sun.
If you are looking to do a little shopping, head to the Quattro Canti and Corso Garibaldi. This cobblestone pedestrian-only area is very picturesque, with gorgeous views of the marina and castle from the central gardens. Home to quaint little boutiques, restaurants, and shops filled with unique locally made goods, this is where you will also find Gelateria Vernaci – the best gelato in Sicily!
For an incredible dinner, head down to the marina, where you will find some excellent seafood restaurants. Many of the restaurants feature open-air dining, with freshly caught seafood and unbelievable sunset views.
The Valley of the Temples
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The Valley of the Temples is a fascinating archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily, right outside the town of Agrigento. It is one of the most famous attractions on the island and a must-visit place on every Sicily itinerary. What makes this UNESCO-listed site so special is the fact that it’s considered one of the most outstanding examples of Doric-style architecture on the planet.
The valley is home to the remains of seven ancient Greek temples constructed between 600 BC and 400 BC. The most impressive of them is the Temple of Concordia which features a remarkably well-preserved facade with huge columns. Other highlights in the valley include the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Heracles, and the wonderful Kolymbethra Garden full of fragrant citrus trees.
Since the site covers a whopping 1,300 hectares, you can expect to spend at least three hours here. This will allow you to explore the main attractions of the park without having to rush.
The entrance fee to the valley is 10 euros for adults whereas everyone below the age of 18 can get in for free.
For a unique stay near the Valley of the Temples, spend a night at B&B La Dolce Vita in the center of Agrigento. This boutique hotel is set in a charming historical building and offers stunning rooms with Baroque-style decor.
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Mt. Etna is probably the most iconic place in Sicily. It dominates the landscape of Eastern Sicily, and there’s no better image of Sicily than one with Mt. Etna smoking in the background.
The volcano has a large influence on the islander’s life. As deadly as any volcano, Mt. Etna is also a source of life and wealth. The soil on Mt. Etna’s slopes is rich and perfect for anything from vines to fruits and vegetables.
A visit to Mt. Etna is one of the must-have experiences in Sicily. You can drive or take the AST bus from Catania to Rifugio Sapienza. Check the bus schedule, and don’t miss the ride back.
From the refuge, you can hike around Silvestri Craters and enjoy some of the best views in Sicily. There is also a cable that will take you to the peak. In winter, you can ski on Mt.Etna, then get back to shore and enjoy the Mediterranean temperatures. Just remember that the refuge is at about 2000 meters of altitude, and the peak is more than 3000 meters above sea level. Dress accordingly, even in summer.
Plan to spend a couple of hours from the time you get to the refuge and more if you want to go up to the peak.
Book your stay at Plaza Hotel Catania to enjoy both the city and an easy trip to beautiful Mt. Etna.
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One of the most beautiful places in Sicily is the city of Catania. After Palermo, Catania is the largest city in Sicily and throughout history, it was an important city for Italy in terms of culture and art.
There are many things to do and see in Catania. For example, it is great to explore the city center of Catania. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can find a lot of examples of baroque architecture. For example, a place where you can see this is Piazza del Duomo.
Furthermore, next to the city you can find Mount Etna, which is one of the largest active volcanoes in Europe. It is possible to do a tour to the volcano.
Also, going to Castello Ursino is a great idea. This is a medieval royal castle that dates back to the 13th century and that is now a museum.
Another great place to visit is Villa Bellini, which is a large beautiful park with beautiful plants, flowers, statues, fountains, and more. The Teatro Romano de Catania is a unique sight as well. This is a Roman theater that is more than 2,000 years old.
Spending 3 or 4 days in the city allows you to see many sights in the city and have a great time.
San Vito Lo Capo
If you find yourself in Sicily, be sure to make a stop in San Vito Lo Capo. This quaint seaside town is home to crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and plenty of sun. In fact, it’s famous for the beautiful beach overlooked by Mount Monaco.
In addition, San Vito Lo Capo is a great base for exploring the surrounding area. Just a short drive away are the ruins of the ancient city of Segesta, the picturesque town of Trapani, and the dramatic mountain scenery of the Orientata dello Zingaro nature reserve.
So whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore Sicily’s rich history and natural beauty, be sure to add San Vito Lo Capo to your list of must-see destinations.
Travel tips and tricks:
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- Go beyond the resort – I’m all about making the most of my trips, and GetYourGuide.com has been a lifesaver for booking unforgettable tours and day trips. It’s the most hassle-free way to dive into the local culture and explore the hidden gems in every new place.
- Hit the road with DiscoverCars.com – There’s no better way to explore your destination than by car! Renting a vehicle has never been easier, and with their competitive prices, you’ll have the freedom to create your own adventures.
I highly recommend trying these tools for yourself – not only will you save money, but you’ll also create memories that last a lifetime. Happy travels!