Welcome to Sicily! Not just another island, but a planet on its own. A wide and various territory including mountains, plains, sea, different kinds of weather, different populations and dialects, it takes a whole life to really know it in detail! It is impossible to write down a list without forgetting something special or interesting. In order to discover Sicily you must LIVE in Sicily! As far as we can, here we suggest at least eight things to do when you come on vacation on this island. Follow us!
Beaches in Sicily
Many of you come to Sicily with the aim of getting tanned and have nice swimming. That is true, the sea is the main character of the Sicilian scenery since it surrounds it and gives it the most beautuful beaches in Europe. Every tourist’s dream is Taormina and its beaches of Mazzarò, Isola Bella, Giardini Naxos.
But the coast from Taormina to Nizza di Sicilia, driving along Letojanni and Roccalumera is another wonderful place to see. If you can, do not miss the beaches of Plemmirio near Syracuse, those of “Inspector Montalbano” in Puntasecca and Marina di Ragusa. Westward, you find the beautiful Realmonte beach (Agrigento) at the foot of the white Scala dei Turchi cliffs and then the Riserva dello Zingaro in San Vito Lo Capo (Trapani).
If you are not looking for special places, relax yourself on the lovely beaches between Milazzo and Cefalù especially focusing on Capo d’Orlando’s. The minor islands around Sicily also have spectacular beaches: the black sands of Vulcano, Salina or Stromboli; the wild bays of Favignana; the Conigli beach in Lampedusa.
Diving and Surfing in the Sicilian Sea
For those who love to live the sea intensely, we recommend coming to Sicily to do water sports like scuba diving, especially in the unique seabeds of Aci Trezza, Ustica or the Egadi Islands. For those who love surfing, instead, in Sicily you have to focus on the Palermitan beach of Mondello, the Playa of Catania but also in Marina di Ragusa. Windsurfing, on the other hand, can be practiced anywhere, but especially in the Messina area, on the coasts facing the Strait.
Two Special Rivers for Rafting
If you are reckless and love nature at the same time, try rafting – that is canoeing on turbulent water streams – even in Sicily. You can do it on the Alcantara river, crossing unique landscapes like its famous Gorges between Messina and Catania districts. But you can also do rafting in Palermo, in the Madonie Regional Park, descending the restless river Pollina from Gole di Tiberio down for 8 kilometers to the bridge of the highway.
Trekking and Mountain Biking on the Volcanoes
Sicily is rich in hills and mountains, so trekking is a popular sport as well as mountain biking. You can do it anywhere, along the Alcantara Gorges, on the Peloritani range, along the paths of the Nebrodi and the Madonie mountains.
But we recommend the thrill of walking on the steep and stony sides of the volcanoes. Climbing to the top of Mount Etna, on foot or by mountain bike, or trekking on Mount Stromboli, or climbing to the highest point on the island of Vulcano are emotions that no other place can give you.
Cities of Art and History
Every village, every corner of the field, every stone in Sicily hides history and art. Knowing everything is impossible during a holiday of a few days. The suggestion is to plan at least three trips to Sicily to allow you slow and attentive visits to the most beautiful cities of art: Palermo, with its Arab-Norman architectures included into the UN world heritage, Catania and its baroque of black lava stone, the festive baroque of Acireale, of Noto, of Syracuse and the golden splendor of Ragusa, Scicli and Modica.
And again: the medieval charme of Enna, the one recovered from the Messina earthquake with the triumph of the New Gothic and Art Nuveau styles. The ancient ruins (Hypogeum of Catania, Archaeological Park of Syracuse, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta, Pantalica, Ispica) and the modern ones (Burri’s concrete Cretto, the very new and charming Andromeda Theater of Santo Stefano Quisquina).
Traditions and Feasts
If you are in Sicily and you have the opportunity to do so, do not miss a feast of the Patron Saint, a festival, an event linked to tradition. There are, in the summer but not only, numerous folk festivals that colour countries and towns but sometimes also the ports of the island.
Among the most beautiful ones, we remind you of: the Mysteries of Trapani, a Good Friday procession connected to the majestic sculpted scenes about the Passion of Christ; the Rites of the Holy Week in Enna, with a procession of the confraternities connected to the Dead Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows; the St.Agatha Feast on February 5th, in the historic centre of Catania; the Carnival that is celebrated in Sicily in Acireale, in Misterbianco and in Sciacca;
the Breads of St.Joseph in Leonforte (Enna) where an entire town is decorated with bread shapes that are then offered for the taste; St. Sebastian in Palazzolo Acreide; the Feast of Wheat in Raddusa; the Living Nativity of Castanea delle Furie (Messina) where the whole village is transformed into scenery and characters of the birth of Jesus.
Skiing in Sicily
Believe it or not, even in Sicily comes the cold season and snows above a certain height. You can ski very well at Piano Battaglia on the Madonie range and on Mount Etna. Skiing or snowboarding on Etna, however, has something special: you might find yourself skiing on the snow while the volcano expels columns of ash, or maybe try your skills among the lava boulders that emerge from the white mantle. Whether it is the southern flank (Rifugio Sapienza) or the north side (Piano Provenzana), skiing on an active volcano with a view of the entire eastern coast at your feet is something to experience.
The Movida, what to do at night
For the youngest, Sicily is anything but boring. If you are looking for evening entertainment, discos, alternative restaurants, live music, pubs, your destination will surely be the historic centre of Catania. In the part between the Bellini Theater and Cathedral Square, the city is full of life and events for the under-35s.
It competes only with the nightlife of Giardini Naxos and the coast of Taormina, where some of the best discotheques of the island (Marabu, Taitu, La Giara, Panasia Beach) are located. The largest disco in Sicily and the most famous is the Koala Maxi that animates the night life of the Ragusan beaches.
The nightlife of Palermo instead lives between Piazza Caracciolo and Via Roma, through Via Maqueda. The Samanà Club disco is the largest and most frequented in western Sicily. If you want to try a crazy experience, however, taste the nightlife of the island of Panarea, the Aeolian Islands. You will not regret it.