Sicily Regional Guide: Part 1

Summers in Sicily are hot and the weather stays pleasantly warm throughout the winter…

Read Part 2 of this series here

Stromboli Volcano, Sicily, Italy, Europe

This favourable climate attracts not only peak-season holiday-makers but also those looking for some winter sunshine. Serving these sun-seekers are several Blue Flag beaches, as well as numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites for excursions away from the beach, and of course Etna and Stromboli, the island’s famous volcanos.

Once relatively inaccessible (though not, it would seem, to the Greeks, Arabs, Normans and Spanish, all of whom have left their mark) Sicily is now well-served by international airports at Palermo, Catania and Comiso.

Northern Sicily

From Palermo going east to Milazzo is the Tyrrhenian coast, which is packed with popular holiday resorts and beaches. The most popular of them all is Cefalù, a seaside town with medieval streets and a long, sandy beach. Inland from here you’ll find it rather less touristy, with mountain villages and parks.

Taxi for tourists parked near the Cathedral of Palermo.

Taormina Greek Amphitheatre

Taormina and the northeast encompasses the Ionian coast between the Straits of Messina and Catania, and is the most popular tourist area on the island. It is also home to Europe’s largest active volcano, Etna. Taormina is Sicily’s best-known resort, offering a place to stay for every budget. It is also now world famous for its film festival and has a number of other cultural events throughout the year.

Southeastern Sicily

The southeast corner of Sicily has scenic countryside, stunning beaches, and is largely unspoilt. Syracuse is an elegant, ancient city fusing Greek design and 18th-century baroque architecture. Further south is dazzling Noto, rebuilt in the early 18th century after a devastating earthquake.

An array of local ceramics in Noto

People of various ages walking and sitting in the centre of Syracuse

Further inland, Ragusa is a charming provincial town. Its neighbour Modica has top food, stunning architecture and delicious chocolate to offer. The Riserva Naturale Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari, a protected stretch of coastal salt marshes, is a haven for rare birds.

Tourism here has also recently benefitted from the popular Montalbano books and TV series.