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Holidays in Sicily: what do I need to know before I go?

One of the wonderful things about Italy is just how different each of its regions are, and this is absolutely the case with Sicily – don't dismiss it because you think you've already seen Italy! Nestled between mainland Italy and Tunisia, this enchanting Mediterranean island, offers its own unique blend of Western and Eastern, European and North African influences. The island boasts a vibrant tapestry of culture and heritage that sets it apart. Sicily's architectural wonders, shaped by centuries of Arab, Greek, Roman, Norman and Italian influences, tell stories of its rich past. Whether you're wandering through the bustling streets of the capital, Palermo, or exploring the ancient Greek remnants in Syracuse, each corner unveils a different chapter of this island's fascinating tale, visible in its art, architecture, and culinary traditions. Sicily is a very diverse island, and there is so much to see and do that planning a trip to Sicily can take time and you won't be able to fit everything into one visit, this guide aims to equip you with some essential insights to plan a perfect luxury hotel in Sicily. Unravel the nuances of Sicilian cuisine, renowned for its delectable arancini, fresh seafood, and sumptuous cannoli. Discover the island's natural wonders, from the majestic Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, to pristine beaches lapped by crystal-clear waters. And gain some insights on transportation, luxury accommodations, and hidden gems off the beaten path, to make your stay extraordinary.

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What to do and see in beautiful Sicily?

Breathtaking nature

In Sicily, volcano, beach, sea and green landscapes come together. Discover these three facets of the island by plunging into the heart of Sicilian nature.

  • Mt. Etna
    Prepare for an awe-inspiring adventure at Mount Etna, one of the world's most active and formidable volcanoes and Europe's largest. Towering majestically at 3,350 meters, it not only commands the landscape but profoundly influences the lives of those residing in its shadow. The locals are intimately connected to this colossal crater, as it bestows marvels upon them. The volcanic sand's rich minerals possess an unparalleled ability to transform the soil into a fertile haven, nurturing abundant plant life across Sicilian terrain. As you commence your ascent, you'll traverse pleasant landscapes until reaching 1000 meters, where the real challenge begins. Pause at the Silvestri Crater, an inactive marvel open for exploration, before reaching the Sapienza refuge at 1910 meters. Here, you'll find all the essential gear to equip yourself for the unforgettable journey ahead, because as you draw nearer to the summit, the slopes become increasingly steep. Get ready to conquer the heights and experience Sicily's unparalleled natural wonder in all its grandeur.

 

The best beaches of Sicily

In Sicily, the beaches are clearly the jewel of the island. Here are some of them not to miss:

  • The beach of San Vito Lo Capo is located at the tip of Capo San Vito. Crystal clear waters line the crescent moon-shaped sandy beach. Everything is overlooked by the amazing Monte Monaco.
  • The beaches of Stromboli, and in particular that of Forgia Vecchia, are stunning. The latter is made up of superb black pebbles located at the foot of a slope of the volcano where a verdant nature has settled. Enough to make you want to dive into the blue waters!
  • The Spiaggia dei Conigli, also known as the Rabbit Beach, is certainly one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea. It is also part of a nature reserve. One of a kind, it is one of the reasons people flock to the island of Lampedusa.

 

Diving in Sicily

Dive into the allure of the big blue right where the iconic scenes from Luc Besson's film, Le Grand Bleu, were captured - the stunning waters of Sicily. If you didn't already know, Sicilian waters set the stage for this cinematic masterpiece, inviting you to explore its depths just like the characters in the movie. Join the ranks of countless divers flocking to dive centres in Sicily and its surrounding islands. Don't miss the wonders waiting beneath:

  • Isola Bella, ideal for discovering the bay of the Blue Grotto.
  • Secca Del Bagno, one of the most beautiful sites in the Aeolian Islands.
  • Secca Della Colombara suitable for all levels.
  • Orca Diving Ustica to discover Italy’s first marine park.
  • Posidonia Blu Diving Center to discover the Egadi Islands.

Sicily welcomes divers all year round, offering invigorating cold waters at around 15 degrees Celsius in winter and a blissful 25 degrees in summer. So, gear up and immerse yourself in the magic of Sicilian diving – an adventure awaiting your exploration!

 

Charming towns and cities

Embark on a captivating journey through Sicily, where the natural beauty of its landscapes is only matched by the charm of its cities. Let the secrets of Palermo, Taormina, Catania, and Syracuse unfold before you, revealing the heart and soul of this remarkable island.

  • Palermo, the capital of Sicily
    Prepare to shatter stereotypes and embark on an extraordinary expedition through the heart of Palermo, the enchanting capital of Sicily. Nestled on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Palermo is a city of captivating contrasts, promising a journey of unparalleled beauty and diversity. It's a vibrant tapestry woven by the hands of Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, and Spaniards, each leaving their indelible mark on this UNESCO-listed city, hailed as the Capital of Culture in 2018. Begin your adventure in the historic centre, where ancient monuments, some weathered and others meticulously preserved, whisper tales of centuries gone by. Traverse the grandeur of palaces like the Palazzo dei Normanni, its foundations rooted in the 9th century. Wander through religious sanctuaries, including the Saint John of the Hermits Church and the Palatine Chapel, before finding yourself in the bustling Piazza Pretoria and the artistic haven of Piazza Bellini. Amidst these historic wonders, don't overlook Palermo's treasure troves – its museums and art galleries – nestled within the charming alleys, waiting to unveil artistic marvels and historical riches. Palermo invites you to explore its soul, where every corner tells a story, and every step is a journey through time and culture.
  • Catania, at the foot of Etna
    Nestled at the foot of the majestic Mount Etna, Catania beckons with an ancient allure that dances harmoniously with the rumbling rhythms of the volcano. Since its inception in 729 BC, this city has thrived amidst the fertile plains, evolving into the vibrant economic heartbeat of the island. Its rich historical tapestry, adorned with ancient ruins, churches, and opulent Baroque palaces, earned it the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a captivating stroll along Viale Vittorio Emanuele II, immersing yourself in the city's past, where every step echoes with centuries of history. Explore the enchanting Via Crociferi, adorned with exquisite Baroque remnants, and follow the winding path of Via Etna, leading you to the iconic Piazza del Duomo. Here, marvel at the famous cathedral, the graceful Elephant Fountain, and the remarkable Greco-Roman theatre. Catania, a city entwined with both ancient splendour and natural marvels, invites you to delve into its captivating heritage, promising a journey that transcends time.

  • Syracuse, and its ancient ruins
    A maritime gem nestled along the scenic Ionian coast, is a harmonious blend of modern elegance and ancient splendour, earning its rightful place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Steeped in rich history, this city exudes an air of tranquillity, inviting you to explore its treasures at your own pace. The heart of Syracuse lies within the charming confines of Ortigia, a small island separated from the city by the picturesque Darsena canal. As you wander through its winding alleys, the city's predominant medieval and baroque influences come to life. From the majestic Piazza del Duomo to the grandeur of the Benevento Palace and the enchanting Aretusa Fountain, every corner resonates with the mythological aura of ancient Syracuse, once a pivotal city in antiquity. Delve into its storied past, where Greek relics bear testament to its historical significance. Embrace the captivating allure of Syracuse, where time stands still, and history awaits your exploration.

  • Taormina, and its ancient theatre
    Lying beneath the awe-inspiring presence of Mount Etna, Taormina stands proudly as a medieval town offering one of Sicily's most breathtaking panoramas. Positioned 200 meters above the sea, it's rightly dubbed the "balcony of the Mediterranean," providing unparalleled views of the vast azure waters. Your journey begins at the ancient theatre, a marvel crafted by the Greeks and later enhanced by the Romans, offering a splendid vantage point with Etna's grandeur in the backdrop. If you're lucky enough to visit during summer, Taormina unveils its cultural treasures through international events like the Taormina Film Fest and Taormina Arte. Take a leisurely walk along Corso Umberto, delving into the heart of the historic quarter, and venture into the hinterlands, perhaps exploring the medieval charm of Castemola village. End your adventure on the sublime coast, savouring the beauty of the seafront. Taormina is not just a destination; it's an invitation to witness nature's grandeur and cultural richness, a haven where history and scenic marvels converge.

 

When to visit to Sicily?

Discover the captivating rhythm of Sicily's climate, a symphony of seasons offering diverse experiences throughout the year. In the long Mediterranean summer, the island is kissed by the sirocco, a Saharan wind bringing intense heat and a mesmerizing touch of desert sands. Embrace this period for exhilarating mountain hikes and vibrant festivals in Taormina, Palermo, or Piazza Armerina. Follow the Sicilian way and seek refuge indoors between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., when the sun's fervor peaks.

For a cheap Sicilian adventure, opt for the enchanting intermediate seasons, spanning from April to June and September to October. During these periods, Sicily graces you with delightful weather, perfect for scenic hikes. Spring paints the landscapes in lush green hues, guiding your way with the fragrant aroma of blooming flowers. Plan ahead if you're travelling during Easter week, as demand surges during this vibrant period.

Venturing into the island during the low season, from November to March, rewards you with a mild winter experience. The temperatures hover around 10 degrees, and the sun generously bestows its warmth, interrupted sporadically by light rains between late October and March's end. While the coastal areas enjoy this pleasant chill, the mountains, especially Etna and the Madonie and Nebrodi massifs, might be graced by snow-covered peaks, creating a picturesque winter wonderland. It's the ideal time to explore Sicily at your own pace, soaking in its serene ambiance and taking advantage of the most enticing rates, making your journey both memorable and economical.

 

What to eat in Sicily?

Indulge your taste buds in the diverse and exquisite flavors of Sicily's gastronomy, offering a delectable answer to the question of what to do in this splendid island. Sicilian cuisine, while sharing the renowned pizzas and pastas of Italy, boasts its own unique culinary heritage, blending a myriad of influences. Immerse yourself in the coastal delights of fish and seafood, with fish couscous reigning supreme along the west coast and in Catania. Experience meats infused with tantalizing spicy sauces, served alongside perfectly cooked pasta, rice, or vegetables. As you delve into the dessert realm, Arabic influences weave their magic, giving rise to heavenly creations made with almonds and candied citrus fruits. Savour the iconic cannolis, delicate cylinders of puff pastry filled with creamy goodness, and relish the authentic Italian gelato, a frozen delight that will surely sweeten your Sicilian escapade. Prepare for a gastronomic adventure that tantalizes your palate and unveils the rich tapestry of Sicily's culinary treasures.

 

Where to stay in Sicily?

Congratulations on choosing Sicily as your next destination! Now, the real adventure begins: finding the perfect hotel for your dream getaway. With the myriad of options available on VeryChic private sales, your Sicilian escape is about to reach new heights. Whether you crave the opulence of a luxurious beachfront resort where the sound of waves lulls you to sleep, or the cozy charm of a boutique hotel tucked in the heart of historic Sicilian streets, your ideal retreat awaits.

  • All-Inclusive Sicilian Indulgence: Experience Sicily's culinary delights without leaving your address, ensuring a carefree weekend or extended stay filled with gastronomic delights.
  • Hotel Costanza Sicily: Explore a luxurious five-star haven strategically located near the Egadi archipelago. Enjoy a balcony with picturesque countryside views, and unwind in an intimate spa atmosphere, all designed to enhance your Sicilian escape.
  • Seaside Retreat: Choose a beachfront hotel to revel in Sicily's magnificent coastline. Dive into the azure waters, soak up the sun on sandy beaches, and unwind before venturing into the island's heart.
  • Historical Exploration in Syracuse: Opt for a hotel in Syracuse, offering a prime location between the sea and ancient ruins. Discover the city's rich heritage, exploring its historic center on the captivating small island of Ortigia.

 

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