For a cultural getaway in the lush olive groves of the Mediterranean, a holiday to Sicily is second to none. This ruggedly beautiful island is the biggest in the Mediterranean Sea, but retains a warm and friendly charm, plus an untouched landscape of tiny medieval villages, magnificent Roman and Greek ruins and olive groves as far as the eye can see. This dramatic countryside features several volcanoes including the mammoth Mount Edna, Europe’s tallest volcano. Here you can take a cable car to the top or even take part in trekking if you’re feeling brave. Back in the towns and cities there’s even more variation and starting with the capital of Palermo, you can stroll through cobblestoned streets lined with ancient churches and vine-covered villas, and shop at vibrant markets for everything from vintage clothing to fresh olive oils.
Next up is the pretty seaside resort of Cefalu, where you’ll find some of Sicily’s best beaches, fascinating historic streets and a thriving nightlife scene complete with fine restaurants, family-run bars and sophisticated clubs - this sleepy fishing town really comes alive after sundown. The jewel of Sicily, however, would have to be the beautiful Taormina, where you’ll find the famous Greek amphitheatre as well as a stunning cathedral and breath-taking views out across the Mediterranean. Just a few minutes’ drive from Taormina you’ll also find the resort town of Giardini Naxos, a favourite with families for its lovely beaches and child-friendly activities.
Upcoming flights to Sicily
Back on the slopes of Mount Edna is the pretty village of Santa Venerina, known as a ‘City of Wine’. You’ve probably guessed by its nickname but Santa Venerina’s vineyards are some of the best on the island and wine lovers will be in their element with the choices available. There’s also limoncello, grappa and an assortment of locally made cakes and biscuits to try here. Back towards the cities is cosmopolitan Catania, the second largest city in Sicily.
Here you’ll find an abundance of historic sites like the stunning Catania Cathedral and the fascinating Aci Castle. Like much of Italy, there’s many places to wine and dine here too, and there’s always an event or festival to attend during the summer season. A holiday to Sicily combines the magic of the Mediterranean, fine food and wine, history and nature into one delicious and heart-warming package that the whole family will enjoy.
Top 5 things to do in Sicily
See the ruins of Agrigento
Visit pretty Agrigento for a whole host of incredible historic ruins. Known as the Valley of the Temples, this area is home to the enormous Greek temple of Tempio della Concordia. Take a stroll through the ancient sites or visit at night time for a spectacular light show.
Relax on Lampedusa’s beaches
The huge golden stretch of sand at Spiaggia dei Conigli is one of Sicily’s best kept secrets. Relax on the soft sands or take a dip in the warm waters. The sea here is perfect for snorkelling and many different kinds of fish can be encountered beneath the bright blue waves.
Trek up Mount Etna
If you’re feeling brave, tackle Europe’s tallest volcano, Mount Etna. Hike or take a bus up part of the way then catch the cable car almost to the peak of this magnificent natural wonder. On a clear day you can see across the whole of Sicily from the top.
Explore Taormina’s amphitheatre
Walk in the footsteps of gladiators at this incredible Greek amphitheatre. Once a grand and opulent structure, the site is now just crumbling ruins but still just as impressive. Surrounded by the lush olive groves of Taormina, this is one landmark you’ll want to bring your camera for.
Go wine tasting in Santa Venerina
This sleepy little town nestles on the lower slopes of Mount Edna and is known for its fantastic vineyards and homemade produce. Taste delicious Italian wines while you admire the scenery or try some locally made limoncello or grappa for a real authentic Italian experience.
10 facts about Sicily
Spanning around 10,000 squared miles, Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicilians love their beaches and with 600 miles of coastline to choose from, it’s little wonder that their national sport is cliff diving!
The capital, Palermo, was described as ‘Europe’s street food capital’ by Forbes magazine for its many high quality food vendors selling Italian delicacies.
The Monreale cathedral is known as one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the whole world. It was built in 1174 by William II.
Ice cream for breakfast is a thing in Sicily. Granita is a type of sorbet eaten with a freshly baked brioche roll first thing in the morning.
Ortygia is an island off Syracuse connected by two bridges. This pretty resort is home to many popular bars, shops and restaurants.
The Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and was featured in The Godfather, Part Three.
The sprawling city of Syracuse was once the biggest ancient Greek city in the entire world.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been for over 3,000 years. Many people still trek up its slopes though.
While Sicily is part of Italy, actually only 30% of locals speak Italian. The other 70% speak Sicilian, which strangely, is not hugely like Italian!