Sicilian holidays are always packed full of history, culture and good old fashioned Italian hospitality. Take a car and circumnavigate from Catania to Palermo to visit UNESCO World Heritage towns like Ragusa, Siracusa and Noto. Soak up miles of white beaches, as well as the fabulous Sicilian food and wine.
Mount Etna – Take the cable car up to the top of the ‘big Mamma’ of volcanoes for jaw-dropping views, then walk the black lava moonscape! You’ll feel the heat at your feet, hear the hiss of steam and marvel at the contrasting greenery on the mountain below.
Taormina – the most dramatic resort for a Sicilian holiday, perched high upon the cliff. You will find the Teatro Greco, an impressive Greek/Roman amphitheatre, where music concerts are now held. A cobbled pedestrian street winds through Taormina, with side alleys that provide glimpses of the sea, and a cable car that takes you down to the beach.
Siracusa – one of the Ancient World’s most important cities. On the island of Ortygia, ancient Greek and Baroque architectural styles vie for your attention. Stroll along the waterfront and treat yourself to the signature scoppularicchi – a crunchy mixture of fried squid and cuttlefish. Enjoy the sounds of the Fonte Aretusa (Arethusa’s spring).
UNESCO World Heritage Sites – The Baroque, honey-coloured stone towns of Ragusa, Modica and Noto are high in the list of things to see, rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693. Young chefs and hoteliers are transforming this ‘golden triangle’ into a paradise of delights to enjoy.
Palermo – The colorful capital is a tantalising city and a treasure trove of Baroque palazzi and museums, plus a splendid collection of Arab-Norman buildings. Admire the Byzantine mosaics encrusting the Cappella Palatina, Palermo’s greatest architectural jewel. And be sure to see the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, containing the mummified bodies of 8,000 Palermitans.
Greek Temples – The Valley of the Temples at Agrigento is perhaps the most famous temple in Sicily, but Selinunte and Segesta have amazing views. The Tempio di Segesta is a spectacular sight to see at sunrise or sunset.
Islands off the Mainland – Pantelleria ‘Black Pearl’ and Panarea on the Aeolian Islands are the choice for celebrities. But Strómboli, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, is the most captivating scenery in the area. You’re lucky if you witness one of the occasional outbursts of lava from Strómboli.
Whilst visiting Noto with its baroque architecture, make the "compulsory" stop at the Bar Sicilia for some of the best gelato.
Tips from Essential Italy
Be sure to eat at Cutilisci in Catania for the best Sicilian cuisine while on your holidays. In Sicily the fish cous cous is fabulous.
Tips from Essential Italy
Once you've visited the newly cleaned mosaics at Piazza Armerina take the old road to Aidone and stop off at Al Fogher for lunch in Enna.
Tips from Italian Country Cottages
If you can get Mille e una Notte 2001 by Donna Fugata then grab it. It's one of the great recent wines from the island.
Get the best view of Modica from the baroque cathedral.
Wild unspoilt beaches are not hard to find in Sicily. Holidays near the beautiful Carratois beach, ,only 7km from Portopalo at the most southerly tip of the island, are said to be among the best beach holidays. There is a little bar to celebrate being so far removed from civilization as you watch the sun dip.
Merging culinary tastes of two continents, the Mazara del Vallo Restaurant at Antico Borgo Marinaro, Marmoreo, Mazara del Vallo is a must.
Tips from Sarah of Essential Italy
Buried under mud for hundreds of years, excavations began in 1950 to reveal the Villa Romana del Casale's Roman mosaics of stunning quality and colour. Famously depicting the world's first bikinis (long before Coco Chanel's invention in the 1950s) - the villa and its treasures are Sicily's most important Roman site.
Holidays in Sicily must absolutely include the colourful La Vucciria market in Palermo!