For a city break, Sicily can be a nice choice. With the beautiful landscapes, beaches with crystal clear water and amazing ancient town! Sicily’s most famous landmark is the amazing Mount Etna, which happens to be the tallest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world.
Our mistake was that we didn’t plan well in advanced the itinerary and we had a surprise with the size of the island. Actually, Sicily is not that small and you have to remember that.. it is quite big (hence why it is the largest of the Mediterranean islands!).
Travel throw the island
The best way to travel is to rent a car. We booked our car through rentalcars.com and had no problems whatsoever. The roads are pretty good. There are toll roads so always be sure to keep some loose change on you (Euros) so you can pay the toll at the exit.
You can also rent electric scooters in Palermo or Catania and I totally advise you to do it. It will save a lot of time to visit the city and, you will have a lot of fun 🙂
Taormina is one of my favorite parts of the island, the Sicilian “Dolce Vita”: enjoy the shopping on the Corso Umberto in the morning, and go to the beautiful Isola Bella beach in the afternoon. The beach is a rocky one (as a lot of beaches are in Italy and Croatia), but that means the water is perfectly clear. You can get lost at the coffee shops next to the sea while listening to jazz music.
Be carrefour where you park your car as after we had lunch and a nice walk, we were unable to find our car and that’s because the authorities picked up our car. We had to take a taxi 20 km from the city and pay a fine of 50 EUR in order to be able to take back the car.
Here you will find a sandy beach, a beautiful sandy beach. They are all part of a ‘resort’ style, so you will have to pay a fee to enter their area which has umbrella’s, chairs, etc.
The historical center of the city is amazing. Try to and discover the Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral, the fish market. You should also try the small local shops that offer so many hand made souvenirs.
Mount Etna is a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013 for its “exceptional level of volcanic activity” as well as global scientific, cultural and educational importance. You should definitely try to visit the vulcano.
Etna formed about 35,000 years ago. The first recorded eruption was in 1500 BC, and it has continued to erupt regularly since then. Legend says that the ancient Greeks (who controlled the island at that time) believed that the volcano was the home of the famous legendary one-eyed monster – the Cyclops. You can find the featured in Homer’s Odyssey.
Mount Etna is the highlight of the Etna National Park where you can hike with some beautiful views next to you. You can choose from for all levels as it offers many different trails. And my biggest surprise was to find out that Etna offers snow-covered slopes in winter that offer two of Sicily’s three ski resorts. From November to March you can ski the slopes of the volcano one day and enjoy the beach the next! 🙂
In Palermo, I found a mix of fascinating influences of the many occupiers the city had. You will fall in love with the amazing food, so many friendly locals, and a cultural and religious history that goes for millennia. Please, don’t miss the local and colorful markets (the three main markets are: Ballaro’, Capo, and Vucciria). Best places in town:
- The Norman Palace (one of the best surviving Byzantine works of art and architecture in Europe)
- Palermo Cathedral (Inside the cathedral are several royal tombs like Roger II, founder of the Kingdom of Italy)
- The historical center (try the Palermo street food: panelle– fritters with chickpea flour, potato croquettes known as crochet, or fried rice balls called aracine)
- Monreale cathedral (40 mins from the city center)