7 good reasons to visit Sicily
There are 7 top things to do on your holiday in Sicily…
- The first one is that Sicily is suitable for different types of tourism
- The second one is the beauty of its sea and beaches, the favourite destination for those who want to relax and get some tan
- The third one is the Mediterranean climate
- The fourth one is the charm of its cities
- The fifth one is its culture
- The sixth one is the naturalistic heritage. If you are a “tourism and nature” type of visitor, in Sicily you will certainly not miss the opportunity to go on excursions by sea and by land
- The seventh and final reason is the amazing Sicilian cuisine.
A diverse territory, ideal for all types of tourism
The varied landscapes of Sicily are ideal for different types of tourism, which is not necessarily true of other destinations.
There are obviously other islands in the world with breath-taking beaches, but maybe there is nothing or little worth visiting. Is it raining? The holiday’s over!
Fortunately, this is not a problem in Sicily. With the diversity and variety of the Sicilian landscapes, you can combine different types of tourism. This is the top reason for choosing Sicily as your holiday destination in 2018.
With a coastline 1,152 km long, you can be sure that Sicily has no shortage of beaches. They are varied and wonderful. These beaches, with golden or white sand, are ideal for anyone looking for total relaxation and for families with children. The pebble beaches and cliffs are perfect for diving, snorkelling and fishing. There are beaches with facilities, which are easily reachable by car or on foot. However, there are also several less well-known pristine wild beaches.
Many Sicilian beaches are simply wonderful: for instance, the Spiaggia dei Conigli (Rabbit Beach) in Lampedusa, is rated one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe.
In Sicily itself, Giardini Naxos, located near Taormina along the eastern coast of the island, is a favourite destination for national and international tourism.
Along the southern coast near Syracuse, Fontane Bianche, beach is among the most beautiful on the island. Going further south, we recommend the seafront promenade of Marina di Ragusa and the nearby Vendicari nature reserve. Other famous beaches are Scala dei Turchi, near Agrigento, and Cefalù and San Vito Lo Capo.
Are you looking for the ideal beach for your holiday? Read our guide to the beaches of Sicily.
The Mediterranean climate
The Sicilian climate is typically Mediterranean. Even in April, the temperature often reaches 26°C. You can bathe in late summer, in September and October, as the water temperature is still pleasantly warm.
City tourism: discover the Sicilian cities
Starting from Palermo, passing through Syracuse to reach Ragusa. The Sicilian experience begins in its cities. A short journey through the pulsating heart of Sicily.
The soul of Sicily lies in its coastal cities. Don’t miss them if you’re into history and architecture or want to discover the character of the Sicilian people.
Taormina – This is one of the most-visited tourist destinations on the island. Famous for its Greek theatre, wonderful coast, Giardini Naxos, and typical bars and restaurants, in 2006 UNESCO declared Taormina and Isola Bella a World Heritage Site.
Catania – Catania, Sicily’s second city by number of inhabitants, lies at the foot of the volcano Etna, which is one of the most active in Europe and the world. Since 2014 there have been a number of spectacular eruptions, most recently on 28 February 2017. Fortunately, expert volcanologists do not regard these natural events as very dangerous. The atmosphere in Catania is very lively, so much so that people say that Catania is not made for sleeping. The whole area surrounding Piazza del Teatro, in the old town, is stunningly beautiful. Catania fish market is among the most traditional places in the city. It is well worth a visit!
Siracusa – Cicero described Syracuse as the most beautiful city in Magna Graecia. In 2005 UNESCO endorsed his opinion by declaring the city and the Necropolis of Pantalica a World Heritage Site. The top 10 things to do in Syracuse undoubtedly include a walk through the streets of the old town of Ortigia.
Ragusa – The Baroque city of Ragusa is definitely worth a visit. Its wonderful old town, Ragusa Ibla, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (Val di Noto). Marina di Ragusa , with its seafront, is a very popular and well-organized seaside destination.
Agrigento – In ancient times Agrigento was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean. The Valley of the Temples is still a vivid reminder of the influence of Greek civilization in Sicily.
Trapani – The old town of Trapani is an architectural gem, and so is the nearby mountain village of Erice. But be warned: in Erice you may find fog even in August!
Palermo – You just have to visit the historic buildings of the Sicilian capital, especially the Palazzo dei Normanni and the Cathedral, if you are in Palermo. We also recommend taking a walk in the “Quattro Canti” district (Alberghiera, Capo, Cala and Kalsa). Since this area of the city is always exposed to the sun, it is also called the theatre of the sun. Palermo is a fascinating and lively city, especially in summer when it hosts several events.
Cultural tourism: World Heritage Sites in Sicily (UNESCO)
Baroque art, Roman buildings, cathedrals and Greek theatres. Sicily is a World Heritage Site. Take UNESCO’s word for it!
Several UNESCO awards attest to the historic and cultural importance of Sicily. There follows a list of the cultural and natural World Heritage Sites in Sicily.
- Val di Noto: The Val di Noto covers an area of south-eastern Sicily, consisting of seven cities: Ragusa Ibla, Noto, Modica, Palazzolo Acreide, Caltagirone, Scicli, Catania and Militello Val di Catania. In 2002 UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage Site for its artistic value, representing Baroque art in Europe.
- The Valley of the Temples (Agrigento): The Valley of the Temples is an open-air museum under the Sicilian sky. A leap into a very ancient past, when the Mediterranean Sea was Greek, centuries before the advent of Christianity. The most important building in this archaeological area, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 1997, is the famous Tempio della Concordia.
- Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale: UNESCO’s award attests to the Arab conquest of Sicily (827-902 A.D.) and the Norman domination (1061-1198 A.D.). Several buildings of Palermo are World Heritage Sites: Palazzo dei Normanni (Royal Palace), the cathedral, the churches of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio and San Cataldo, the Castello della Zisa. The Arab domination was a milestone in the historical development of Palermo, which became the island’s the capital in that period.
- The Necropolis of Syracuse: Syracuse and the necropolis of Pantalica was declared a World Heritage Site in 2005. It is not only an archaeological area of undoubted historical interest, but also a little natural paradise. If you visit the necropolis on a sweltering Sicilian summer day, you can cool down by taking a swim in its beautiful little lake.
- Villa Romana del Casale: the villa is located inland, between Caltagirone and Caltanissetta. It is famous for its mosaics, still in perfect condition, depicting various scenes of life in Roman times: not only hunting scenes, but also the famous mosaic of the “Bikini Girls”.
Excursions and natural tourism
Are you keen on adventure and nature? Then Sicily is the perfect destination for your holiday. The island boasts two UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites:
- The first site is the Aeolian Islands, also known as the Lipari Islands. There are seven of them: Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea. The archipelago is a paradise for lovers of the sea and snorkelling. One of the most famous Aeolian beaches is Ficogrande on Stromboli, with its unique black volcanic sand. Stromboli will enchant trekkers and sea-lovers alike. You can take a spectacular hike up to the volcano crater www.scalatastromboli.it.
- The second Natural Heritage Site in Sicily is Mount Etna. The highest volcano in Europe is as active today as never before. The area surrounding the volcano is a wide nature reserve of 59,000 hectares. There are a many hiking routes and trails. The most adventurous ones lead up to the mouth of the volcano crater. The panoramic view from here is breath-taking. The Mount Etna nature reserve is a spectacle of rare beauty. Don’t miss it! Go Etna/
Do you like the crystal-clear and uncontaminated sea? Then we suggest you to visit:
- The Sicilian Islands, especially the Egadi Islands, the Pelagie Islands (Lampedusa and Linosa), Pantelleria and Ustica.
- The nature reserves, especially Lo Zingaro, near San Vito Lo Capo, and Vendicari, close to Syracuse.
Sicilian cuisine is typically Mediterranean. Since it is a favourite with tourists, it might well persuade you to spend your holiday here.
Typical Sicilian produce includes olives, citrus fruit, especially oranges and lemons, pistachios, almonds, figs and mint. We grow several Mediterranean spices too, of course.
Sicilian culinary specialties
Our traditional cuisine boasts many specialties. In first place, if you’re on holiday, must come ice cream, which was apparently invented by the Arabs when they ruled Sicily. It is said that they mixed snow from Etna with sugar and local fruit. The word “sorbetto”, meaning “sorbet”, probably comes from the Arabic “sherbet”.
The “granita” is another speciality to help you handle the Sicilian summer heat. The most famous regional dessert is definitely the Sicilian cassata, however.
Other Sicilian culinary specialties are Couscous, Arancini and Ricotta, just to name a few. There are different typical wines, but the most famous is the Nero d’Avola. There are also fortified wines, such as Zibibbo and Marsala.