Sicily is a very versatile island and offers so many different activities for every kind of traveller. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from. There are so many nature reserves and mountains for hiking. There are loads of cultural sites to discover. And not to forget about the romantic Italian towns with its small alleys, the delicious food and the great wines. But what exceeded all this and is definitely the highlight of Sicily are the volcanos to discover in Sicily or the Aeolian islands around. I’m gonna show you my personal favourite places in Sicily.
I didn’t see everything on the island yet, I definitely want to come back and discover all the corners I couldn’t manage so far. So if there is an outstanding place missing in this blog post where I should definitely go, let me know!
Favourite places in Sicily: Authentic Sicilian town of Taormina
Taormina is very beautiful romantic Italian town tucked in the hills in the east of Sicily. It is characterized by this little alley, charming cafés and beautiful sea views which makes the island so lovely. You can easily spend some days in Taormina strolling around in the town, one of my favourite places in Sicily.
The highlight is definitely the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, which was placed high up the mountain with a great view at Mount Etna as well as the sea. The theatre was build in the 3rd century and the remaining are still very stunning. The view at Etna served as natural scenery for touching tragedies as well as comedies. Later the theatre was used for bloody gladiator fights by the Greeks the Greeks. Nowadays the great acoustic of the theatre is used for hosting the festival Taormina Arte. The Ancient Greek Theater of Taormina is the second biggest antique theatre in Sicily after Siracusa.
Another must-see spot in Taormina is the little beach Isola Bella.
Not because of the beach itself. It is actually not really recommendable because it is very small, consists of big, uncomfortable stones rather than sand and is full of umbrellas and sun loungers. Go there in the early morning. Because later all tourists of Taormina will try to fit there. Anyways, the reason why this place is so popular among tourists is the little island tucked just in front of the beach with a little path connecting it to the mainland.
The island belonged to Florence Trevelyan, an English gardener, who grew exotic plants there. In 1990 the island was then bought by the state of Sicily which declared it to a natural reserve. I could spot a beautiful villa on the island and am wondering to whom it belongs. Or if someone lives there or if it is even possible to rent it? A research on the internet told me that this island was built by the Bosurgi family, one of the various owners of the island, and was used as event location and meeting point for artists before the island was declared a natural reserve. So, unfortunately, it is not possible to rent this outstanding location anymore. Otherwise, it would for sure also belong to my favourite places in Sicily.
Favourite places in Sicily: Lovely beach town of Cefalu
Little alleys, fancy wine bars, lively beach promenade – how does that sound to you? Cefalu is a lively beach town. It is divided into a new part and the medieval old quarter which is characterized by little alleys and stairs, small souvenir shops, little wine bars and plenty of fancy places to enjoy your dinner. The town is quite compact you can almost walk everywhere by foot. The beach is just in front of the old quarter, with sand and gently sloping down.
Favourite places in Sicily: Remote natural park Riserva dei Laghetti di Marinello
Are you seeking a lonely spot at a wide beach off the path? Then this is your place to go. This natural reserve is located in the north of Sicily at the coast of Tindari, around 30 kilometres from Milazzo. It is basically a huge headland of sand stretching along the coast into the sea. It covers 400 hectares and is the perfect get-away if you are seeking a calm spot to relax. Just head all the way along the headland and while in the beginning, you will have to share the beach with other people, in the end, you will definitely be alone. But be aware that it is super exhausting and hot to walk all the way. You will be rewarded with peace and silence though!
One of the best beaches in Sicily – San Vito Lo Capo
This is one of the prettiest beaches in Sicily! San Vito Lo Capo is surrounded by a natural reserve, the beach is white and sandy and the water is crystal blue. Nevertheless it is a quite touristy place and not as charming as other Sicilian towns, like Cefalu or Taormina. Best is to avoid high season between mid of June and beginning of September when the town is crowded of tourists.
Observe volcanic eruptions at Stromboli
Stromboli is not in Sicily but is one of the Aeolian islands in the north of Sicily. That is why I only mention it now. Why do I mention it at all when it is not part of Sicily? Because Stromboli offers the most exciting adventures there is around Sicily. Stromboli is an active volcano and it is very common to spot eruptions there. You can hike up with a guide and observe this magical natural wonder:
If you are doubting weather you should hike up the Etna or Stromboli, take Stromboli! Seriously! Etna might me interesting as well due to big craters and caves which were formed by lava or the altitude of almost 3000 meters above sea level or the breathtaking view from the top. But Stromboli offers the real volcanic experience including lava eruptions. Plus you’ll see the same volcanic landscape as of at Mount Etna and you can climb up Stromboli from the foot to the peak and enjoy a beautiful sunset. Read more about the Stromboli sunset hike here. I recommend to read about the current volcanic activities and possibility to climb Stromboli on the internet before heading there as the eruptions vary throughout the year.
The green volcanic island Salina
This volcanic island is part of the Aeolian islands as well, like Stromboli. Salina is considered as the green island because its volcanic soil is very fertile and that is what makes the island so lovely. The whole island is covered by mediterranean vegetation consisting of ferns, prickly pear cactus, olive trees, caper trees and vineyards.
But that is not all which this island offers, just my personal favourite places in Sicly. Compared to Sicily itself it is very calm, even feels a bit remote which makes it a perfect spot to relax. A pretty place to go is Malfa, a town in the north, tucked in the hills with a great view at Stromboli and Panarea and a pretty hotel called, Hotel Ravesi. But also adventurous people will be rewarded here, as you can hike up Monte Fossa, a not active, very green volcano. Read more about the hike of Monte Fossa here.