Wed, March 3rd, 2010 - By

Spotlight on Sicily


Sicily is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a summer holiday destination, more than likely the first thought is that of the Mafia! Not only does Sicily boast being home to the most powerful families of their time, but more importantly to some of the top ancient sites in the world.

This popular holiday destination offers a year round moderate climate, a rich architectural and historical heritage, a rugged coastline, sandy beaches and not to mention compelling natural beauty.

Where to stay

Cefalu at sundown

Cefalu at sundown

Cefalu

Cefalu is situated on the northern coast of Sicily overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, a popular tourist resort thanks to its sandy beach, picturesque harbour and an old town with many historical buildings, a maze of winding streets equipped with bustling shops and restaurants.

Places of interest include the Cathedral (Duomo) in the centre of town, Diana’s Temple (Tempio di Diana) or climb The Rock (La Rocca) for great views of the town and bay area.

Giardini Naxos

Giardini Naxos is an ideal choice for a beach holiday within easy reach of the popular Taormina. The resort mixes old and new with its characteristic fishing village and modern hotels, as well as various historic attractions, there are numerous shops, restaurants, open-air bars and late night discos.

In the Recanti area of the resort, on Saturday mornings there’s a local market selling clothes and local fruit and vegetables, and for families there’s a small funfair with trampolines and mini-golf course.

Letojanni

Once a small fishing village, Letojanni has now developed into a popular resort offering a wide range of cafes, bars and restaurants in the old town and along the seafront. More relaxed than nearby Taormina, holidays in Letojanni offer great scenery, a wide, fine-shingle beach backed by a promenade and good range of watersports.

The remains of the ancient Greek Theatre in Taormina

The remains of the ancient Greek Theatre in Taormina

Taormina & Taormina Mare

Taormina is Sicily’s most popular holiday resort; the town is set high on Monte Tauro commanding breathtaking views over two rugged bays below. Taormina Mare refers to the area which lies at sea level below the main city; accessible by a cable-car; it is a bay that consists of several picturesque beaches and rocky inlets.

There is a lot to see in the town from Roman remains, it’s most famous for its ancient Greco roman theatre to its winding streets and alleyways, where you’ll find many shops, cafes and restaurants.

Hotels here tend to be on the pricey side, but the good location and stunning views make it worth while. Taormina is particularly busy during June, July and August, so booking is essential during these months.

Things to do

Santa Lucia in Syrcuse

Santa Lucia in Syrcuse

Syracuse (or Syracusa) – Situated on the east coast, this was one of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world, with ruins that date as far back as the 6th century BC.

Mount Etna – The highest active volcano in Europe, if you’re fit and like a challenge you can climb Etna, but it is mandatory to go with a guide. For a safer and less strenuous experience take a jeep excursion to the upper regions which are covered in snow for four months of the year.

Gole dell’Alcantara – The Alcantara lava gorges is over 50m deep and the best place to experience almost freezing waters even during the high temperatures of summer.

When to go

A great place to visit at any time of year, Sicily’s sunshine hours average four to five a day in winter and up to 11 in summer. The all-year round climate makes Sicily an attractive choice for low-season holiday breaks, even winter months are mild in the coastal resorts with daytime temperatures in the low 60s (15-16ºC). Inland can be quite cold and stormy, with sufficient snow for skiing and sledging on Mt Etna in January.

July through to the first two weeks of September are the hottest months to visit, and worth bearing in mind that almost everybody in Italy goes on holiday in August, making beaches particularly crowded during this time.

Getting around

To explore and see beyond your resort, it’s recommended that you rent a car, as taxis can be expensive in Sicily. There are local buses and a ticket must be purchased before boarding. Sold at newsagents, a ticket cost approximately one euro each and are valid for 60-90 minutes from the time they are stamped, when you board the bus you must ensure to stamp your ticket in the machine provided.

Posted : Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 at 11:14
Category : Spotlight
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