The Christmas season is a fun time to be in Italy, as it’s a major holiday on the Italian calendar. Each part of the country has its own twists on celebrations, including Sicily. What makes visiting Sicily at Christmastime especially nice is not just the festivities but also the fact that the weather is usually milder on the island than it is further north in the Italian mainland.
Catania, on the eastern coast of Sicily, has been destroyed several times since it was first founded. The culprit hasn’t been marauding invaders, however – it’s been geologic features of the island itself. Specifically, Catania has been leveled by earthquakes and eruptions of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, which rises just next to Catania itself. The city hasn’t been destroyed in several hundred years now, thankfully, and Mount Etna is seen more as a tourist attraction than an everyday threat.
Messina serves as the gateway city to Sicily from the Italian mainland, sitting as it does just across the Straits of Messina from the Calabria region. But Messina is one of the largest cities in Italy, and has enough attractions to keep most people entertained for at least a couple of days. If you want to get off the regular tourist trail a bit, let everyone else pour further into Sicily from the port in Messina – you can stick around and see the sights.
You might expect that Taormina, one of Sicily’s premier beach resort towns for more than 100 years, would be right on the water. Instead, the town is situated on a hill overlooking the water. Luckily, there’s the Funivia – a cable car that will get you back and forth between the town and the beach with ease.
Palermo has plenty of sights that you’d expect to find in an Italian city – historic buildings, beautiful churches, art-filled museums. But every city has its quirky sights, too, and Palermo is no exception. Only Palermo takes “weird” to a whole new (and, some might say, dark) level.
The island of Sicily is, like any island with a warm Mediterranean climate should be, a popular destination during the summer months when Italians and other Europeans head for the beach. But Sicily is arguably more pleasant in the autumn, when the unbearable heat has subsided and most of the vacationers have gone back up north.
The city Agrigento on the island of Sicily is located on the southern coast, so you might think its popularity is due to its beaches. Instead, the main attractions are historic in nature – the spectacular Ancient Greek temples in what’s known as the “Valley of the Temples” just outside the city.
Since most travelers in Italy don’t venture south of Rome, Sicily is often considered very foreign territory. Unfortunately, much of what we know of Sicily comes from movies and TV shows that portray the island in a fairly unflattering light. Sicily is a perfectly safe place to spend your entire vacation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things you shouldn’t do in Sicily to help make sure your trip is the best that it can be.
To hear the Sicilian town of Taormina described as a popular seaside resort, you might think that’s a relatively recent thing. Things that are popular, after all, tend to come and go quickly. Taormina isn’t like that – it’s been drawing sun-seeking tourists in droves for more than 100 years.
Surrounded as it is by water and sitting in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has plenty of great beaches to choose from. Even with so many idyllic stretches of sand, however, there are some beaches that are more favored than others. If you’ve got the time to hop from one beautiful beach to the next – and you’ve got a car to aid you in getting there – then here are the best beaches to visit in Sicily.