Sicily is almost a country of its own. A part of Italy, sure, but at the same time so special. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean and it is surrounded by several smaller islands and island groups: the Egadis Islands, the Aeolian Islands, the Pelagians, Ustica and Pantelleria. In Sicily there is, to use a cliché, something for everyone. Here there is a big city pulse, volcanoes, areas of great archaeological interest, fantastic beaches and good food. Sicily also has a mild climate all year round and it is possible to swim well into autumn.
Palermo – an exciting mix of cultures
The capital is Palermo, a city of rough charm, which is well worth a visit. Anyone interested in history has a lot to learn here. The many different peoples who passed through Sicily have left their mark in architecture and art. Visit, for example, the Palazzo dei Normanni, in Arabic-Norman style. There are incredible mosaics here. Nearby is the church of San Cataldo, with its beautiful Arabic domes.
Also don’t miss going to the market in Palermo, here you can find the food market Vucciria and the market in Ballarò, where there are also clothes. The markets offer excellent street food, for example panelle, a type of fritters made from chickpea flour.
Nice seaside resorts on the north coast
Not too far east from Palermo is Cefalù, a charming seaside resort that many have discovered. If you go west instead, you come to Castellamare del Golfo, which has both a nice city center and lovely beaches. The Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro nature reserve is also right next door, between Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo. Here are some of Sicily’s finest beaches.
From Trapani on the western tip of the island you can take a boat to the Egadi Islands; Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo. Perfect if you are looking for calm sunny days with swimming and snorkeling.
More history and active volcano
That said, anyone interested in history will not be disappointed during a trip to Sicily. A definite destination to learn more about the island’s fascinating past is the Archaeological Park of Syracuse and Neapolis, the most important archaeological site in Sicily.
Sicily is also home to Europe’s highest active volcano – Etna, approximately 3,350 meters high. The volcano’s strange lunar landscape is exciting to visit. Other volcanoes in Sicily are Stromboli and Vulcano.