Take a trip to Sicily
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. It has all the advantages of a successful trip: exceptionally beautiful landscapes, coasts lined with creeks and beaches of fine sand and turquoise water. Its historical culture is very rich with baroque temples and old Roman cities, like the famous sites of Selinunte or Agrigento, which are perhaps the best preserved Greek ruins in the world. Climb to the top of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. For hiking of all kinds, there are many natural parks between the sea and the mountains, such as the sublime Zingaro reserve. Don’t forget to come and lose yourself in its legendary cities, such as Palermo, which is so lively and welcoming, and serene Syracuse, which contains a multitude of splendors.
Tour guides in Sicily
Five ideas for guided tours in Sicily
The highest still active volcano in Europe is in Sicily. From the top of its 3500 meters, Etna dominates the whole peninsula. Its creation is dated at more than 500,000 years and its last eruption took place in 2016. To get there, you take the road from Catania to the village of Nicolosi. Then you go in the direction of the volcano, and after an hour’s drive you reach the ski slopes near the Sapienza refuge. At this point, you can start the hike accompanied by a Sicilian tourist guide, following the path parallel to the slopes, or you can take the funicular up to the Funivia Terminal, at 2,500 meters. You will pass through lunar landscapes of lava flows that will lead you to the Torre del Filosofo refuge, at 3,000 meters above sea level. From here, you can discover the view of the three main craters, including the most important one, Bocca Nuova, characterized by its sulfur fumes. You can reach it by walking around the mountain, and at the top the panoramic view is absolutely fantastic. The hike is perfectly accessible for anyone with a normal physical condition, except in winter when the climbing is a bit more perilous.
Located in the north of Sicily, Cefalu is one of the most famous seaside resorts of the island. The whole universe of Cefalù makes it a privileged base for tourists, with its fishermen’s harbor with multicolored boats and its city center with small medieval style streets, including the Corso Ruggero shopping street and a splendid cathedral, the Duomo, with very diverse styles (Norman, Arab, Byzantine and Romanesque…), which marks the richness of the exchanges that took place in the region. Not far from there, near the Renaissance Martino palace, you can reach the old medieval wash house, via a steep path lined with pine trees. Climb up the rocky cliff of the Parco della Rocca, which offers the ruins of an old castle and a magnificent view. You will also come to Cefalù to swim on its many beaches. The most urban one is called Porta Pescara, but it is at the Lido that you will meet the most people and party day and night. To find peace and quiet, escape a few kilometers to the pebble beach of Caldura, or to the large beach of Capo Raya for surfing and sailing enthusiasts.
The natural reserve of Zingaro
A trip to the Zingaro nature reserve is not to be missed. This park, which runs along the coast for 7 kilometers, is located in the Gulf of Castellammare, between San Vito Lo Capo to the north and Scopello to the south. It offers countless opportunities for hiking in nature between the wild coast and the seaside. The place has remained authentic and the only houses are a few rural farms. The area is not accessible by car, which makes it a privileged place. Take the paths that will take you from cove to cove, with beautiful views and passing through the charming villages of Scardina and Cusenza. The Zingaro Park offers all the escape one could dream of, with a large number of plant species and a large number of emblematic birds such as the Peregrine Falcon or Bonelli’s Eagle.
Syracuse remains a city apart that has kept its poetry and its charm. A real open-air museum, the city was founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC. It was then in turn the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Aragonese and finally Italian civilizations that settled there. For this reason, there are countless traces of their passage, especially on the island of Ortigia (Ortygia Island). This miraculous marbled site is in the historical center. It can be reached via the Darsena canal. The temple of Apollo and the daily market next to it are worth a visit, as well as the Aretusa fountain, the Piazza del Duomo that surrounds it and the Castello Maniace with its beautiful panorama. Get lost in the narrow streets of Syracuse to discover a quiet life where every walk is an enchantment.
Near the modern city, visit the archaeological park of Neapolis with its Roman amphitheater, its huge theater, or the altar of Hieron which was used for animal sacrifices.
The city of Taormina is a wonder of Sicily. Perched on top of a 200-meter-high cliff on the edge of Mount Tauros, it is located an hour’s drive from Catania and Messina. Start by exploring the pedestrianized city between the two historic gates along the popular shopping avenue, Corso Umberto. Don’t hesitate to get lost in the small adjacent streets to admire every house facade, every square, and the numerous frescoes. Via a stretch of sand accessible on foot despite the tides, you can reach the beautiful beach of ‘Isola Bella (beautiful island) surrounded by vegetation. To rest after long walks through the flowery alleys, stop at the Gardens of the Villa Communale, below the well-preserved Greek amphitheater. The Park is home to all kinds of vegetation, fountains, outdoor sculptures, all in wide paths along the edge of the cliff with the sea below. These gardens offer a space of serenity, far from the bustle of the city. If Taormina is a real jewel of Sicily, try to visit it outside the tourist season, you will be quieter and above all you will be able to better appreciate the place.