Sicily - island full of history

If you look at the map, Sicily resembles a soccer ball that is about to be kicked by the italian boot of the famous Squadra Azzura ;)
The sun almost always shines on this Mediterranean island and there is a lot to do for tourists - from beautiful beaches and water fun, through countless historical places with forges to a hike to Mount Etna. Someone may be tempted to visit Sicily by films about the local La Cosa Nostra mafia, which until relatively recently practically controlled the entire island.

Airports – this largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (25,703 km²) has 4 international airports + 2 local ones. The internationals are Catania (CTA), Palermo (PMO), Trapani (TPS) and Comis (CIY)

Transport around the island - I recommend renting a car right at the airport, as it will be difficult to get around Sicily without it. The locals don't really respect the pavements - they use them to park motorbikes and scooters and drive everywhere. The whole family is often transported on 1 scooter. The buses run occasionally, but they don't stop when they're full.

An island full of history - it is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea at an important crossroad between Europe, Africa and Asia. Practically all ancient cultures took turns in Sicily - from the Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans to Arabs or Normans.

Archaeological excavations in Catania
Archaeological excavations in Catania

Where to stay - Taormina - one of the most popular resorts on the island, nicknamed the Monte Carlo of Italy. An exceptional location on a rock by the sea, wonderful views of both the sea and Mount Etna, and preserved historical monuments directly invite you to visit.

View of Etna - Sicily
View of Etna

Catania - if you don't want to stay far from the airport and you like to combine lounging on the beach with sightseeing, Catania is the place for you. The city beaches pleasantly surprised us. Catania belongs to the area called Val di Noto, which is well known as the site of late Baroque cities, rebuilt after a devastating earthquake at the end of the 17th century.

Tipical restaurants in Noto area - Sicily
Tipical restaurants in Noto area

Palermo - I personally did not like it. Here you will find dilapidated dirty houses and beautifully restored churches right next to each other. It is a place of contrasts. And also the seat of the Sicilian mafia… 

Palermo - Sicily

Cefalú – history meets natural beauty here. The old town lies under the 270 meter high limestone cliff of La Rocca! After visiting the fort or historical monuments, you can relax on the sandy beaches.

Beach in Cefalú - overcrowded
Beach in Cefalú

Realmonte - this town is decorated by one of the most beautiful beaches - the Scala dei Turchi, the Turkish Steps - this snow-white cliff is like from another world, like a piece of ice from Antarctica... Looking at it in a hot summer is refreshing ;) Why is it called the Turkish Steps? Because it is said that Turkish pirates once had their base here...  A short distance from Realmonte is Agrigento and the amazing place full of history of the Valley of the Temples Valle dei Templi.

Realmonte - Turkish steps - westsouth of Silily
Turkish steps

Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe. It measures a respectable 3,357 m and you can climb it or be taken up by cable line. Most visitors do not miss this trip. When it's clear, you'll enjoy wonderful views. If you go with small children, I recommend going organized with an agency that will give you helmets with a flashlight and take you as well to a cave. Children will enjoy it with a light on their head ;) If you go alone or the children are older, you can walk up the crumbling lava, which is quite physically demanding, especially for heavier weights...

Views from Etna - Sicily
Views from Etna

The local specialties - Granita ice chips - in the past was made from Etna ice
- Arancini – rice balls filled with meat
- Cannoli – filled tubes
- be sure to taste the delicious dense Sicilian wine

Fish market in Syracuse - Sicily
Fish market in Syracuse

Active tourism - Zingaro National Park - the oldest and certainly one of the most beautiful parks in Sicily, designed only for hiking, can be found on the northwest coast. A path leading through almost untouched nature will lead you to several beautiful beaches. The route is not long - 7 km there and 7 km back, but thanks to swimming you can easily spend the whole day here. Don't forget to take water and a snack - nothing can be bought along the way. There is an entrance fee of EUR 5.

Zingaro national park - Sicily
Zingaro national park

Summary - a beautiful sunny island full of sights and beautiful beaches beckons to visit from early spring to late autumn.

Personal experiences - I'll never forget how we set off on foot with a stroller to the nearby beach in Catania - after all, it's not that far and they have sidewalks. But the sidewalks, occupied by parked scooters and motorbikes, quickly led us astray. When a man on a scooter passed us with a baby in his arms and a three-year-old son behind him, we waved at a taxi instead...



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