Sicily.. Warm temperatures, outstanding countrysides, marvelous food and many more have started my instant romance that evolved into a pationate relation with the island. So on October 6th 2016, we landed in Palermo. Generally, you can find quite good deals for flights to Sicily (Warsaw-Trapani-90euro,Warsaw-Catania-60euro), if you book in advance. Well… this time we didn’t :/ We had to buy tickets around 2 weeks before departure, which basically broke our budget (Warsaw-Palermo via Rome 200euro). From Palermo, we rented a car(150euro/8days) and headed towards Tarmina. I already mentioned it in my previous article, but Sicily has 4 international airports, so take it in into account when planning your journey. Obviously… We didn’t… So after over a 3 hour drive we arrived to our first destination.
We spent very little time on the island this time, but below I list 7 best things to do or visit on Sicily from our journey (to be continued in when we come back to Sicily in May 2017).
1. Taormina- city center
Honestly, I didn’t intend to visit Taormina at first, we had a completely different itinerary in our heads. But when I met up with a friend who happens to work in a travel agency(Hi Kasia 🙂 ) and told her we were going to Sicily, who immediately was like: WOW, I always wanted to go! Taormina has been my dream for such a long time, we thought it was worth reconsidering.
We were right. The city center is undoubtedly beautiful, with the old, restored buildings along the main pedestrian road. Unfortunatelly crowdy, even outside of the high season, it gives you similar experience, as at the resorts in other tourist destinations, such as the Canary Island etc. Turning into any of the small, meandring streets will take you to a completely different climat. Small, charming cafes and restaurants, hidden local shops and tipical sicilian architecture make this place worth visiting.
And the food is delicious. Local Cannoli, Arancine, different sorts of focaccia, biscuits with almonds(paste di mandorla) and marzepan everywhere! I mean everywhere. It’s like the art here. You can find fruit, vegetables, even a chicken (!!!) made of marzepan. And it tastes as it looks! It’s delicious.
2. Taormina beach
Getting to the beach from the city center is not that obvious. Taormina is situated on the rock above the see level. There are basically 2 ways to get to the beach (there is also a car, but we’re not mentioning it here): you can walk down the really long stairs or take a cable train. The stairs start right next to the view point heading to the beach. You can find the station of the cable train right next to the gate to the city center.
The beach itself is not big, but amazingly beautiful. I mean really… The place is extremely romantic and idyllic. Right in the middle you can find a thin path leading to La Isola Bella (the beautiful island), with a botanical garden (the entrence costs around 4 euro). The only inconvenienve of the place is the entrance to the water. The stones next to the shore are extremely slippery and it can be kind of hard, especially to get out of water.
3. The Mount Etna
Our absolute number one on the western half of the island! While visiting any of the cities on that shore, this outstanding mountain is impossible to be overlooked. Like a sole emperor of the land, she mounts over the villas, raising fascination and terror in the same time. I’ve been observing the news for quite a few years, and the capricious queen is far from calming down.
There are basically two paths to get to the summit, from the south (argualbly the easier one) and from the north. We took the latter. Quite honestly, it’s definitely a trekking worth taking, as the way up is a monotonous, but easy 10km hike. And the views are breathtaking. Just remember to check the weather forecast and take some war clothing even in the summer, as, at that altitude, the conditions change drastically and completely unexpectedly.
If you’re not really into trekking, there is always an easier option to get to the top. For aound 20euro, the jeeps can take you all the way up to 2900 metres.
4. San Vito lo Capo
When you google : the best beach on Sicily, the San Vito lo Capo beach is always the leader. Sandy, vast beach is definitely the most comfortable and spacious on the entire island. Quite surprisingly, the city is not immensly popular, so, even during the highest season, it’s nothing like Taormina.
The city itself offers you the sufficient tourist infrastructure to enjoy the pleasent and comfortable stay in the much more local environment. And the location is amazing. When you look back from the beach or almost any placeof the city, you see the Monte Monaco mountain secludidng the small town from the outer world.
5. A stroll to el Bahira beach.
From the other part of the city, reight behind the port, you can take a long walk towards the el Bahira camping site and the sourounding valley. This place was the major reason of my first infatuation with Sicily! I dreamt the sight even long after coming back.
The path leads between the shore and the long, couple-kilometer long climbing wall, which is absolutely marvelous. Just don’t recomend running it at night. Trust me, we tried and it doesn’t end up well 😉
6. Zingaro National Park
7 km from San Cito lo Capo, there is a small national park, Zingaro. Despite its size, the park is worth visiting. Small paths, hidden marvelous beaches, huge caves and the nature attracts the visitors.
We only took a couple of hours trip, but could easily spend there much more time.
Take your bathing suit, as the small, secluded bays are outstanding.
One of the main attractions of the eastern part of Sicily, Erice is located high above the sea level, on a steep rock and can be seen from almost 40km (especially at night from San Vito). Though it doesn’t seem to be far away, be careful with plannig a bicycle trip, as the way up can defeat even really tough players.
The city itself is sourounded by the city wall and kept in the ancient climate. It’s big enough to let you wander around and get easily lost in the web of small streets and paths between the buildings. The small cafes, pastry shops, restaurants can be found every now and then in the corners. It’s mythical climat can be appreciated especially in the evening when the fog covers the city.
One advice, definitely take some warm clothing, as the difference of temperature between the sealevel and Erice will strike you!
These are only a few of numerous attractions that Sicily has to offer. So, if you even consider going, or don’t consider yet but may change your mind, don’t hasitate a minute! The best recomendation I think would be that we bought our tickets for the next trip there, as soon as we got back home 🙂