*This post is brought to you by our partner LuxuryRetreats.com*
For more Italy content that I wrote for Forbes, be sure to check out my Travel Guide to Prosecco Wine Country or the perfect luxury weekend in Florence, Italy.
Summer is almost here and you know what that means? Summer vacation! As you know, one of my favorite destinations in the world is Italy! A couple summers ago I was sent by Rail Europe to share my experience with my fantabulous readers. Fast forward a couple years later and I am dying to go back. One place that stuck close to my heart after a brief visit was Sicily. Sicily is the toe in the “boot” that is Italy. So whether you’re looking for a Five Star hotel, B&B or Sicily vacation rentals, pack your bags and check out these top five things to do in Sicily.
Did you know that Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and home to Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna? It’s also home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites. That’s a whole lot all in one place! But this vacation destination is so much more. The unique cuisine and sandy beaches make Sicily a memorable vacation spot. I would also be remiss not to mention Sicily’s enchanting landscapes ranging from beautiful beaches to charming towns.
1. Valley of Temples
The city of Agrigento was a city of great importance in Ancient Greece, and the archaeological remnants of its gloried past that make the town a popular travel destination. The Doric temples face the sea and are well preserved and breathtaking.
2. Mount Etna
Mount Etna stands at about 11,000 feet tall, towering over the east coast of Sicily. The volcano still erupts but tourists keep on coming. During the winter, visitors come to Etna to ski on its snowy slopes. In summer months, adventurous travelers climb up the mountain. Visitors can also drive up to the Volcanic Observatory station or up to the main crater.
Taormina is one of the most picturesque places to stop in Siciliy. It’s perched atop a cliff near Mount Etna. This adorable resort town (also a popular cruise destination) hosts scenic beaches and also the Teatro Greco.
4. Aeolian Islands
These islands are just off the shores of Siciliy and a very popular tourist destination. This archipelago is composed of seven islands that are the result of volcanic activity. Adventurous travelers can always be found here trying to hike these active volcanoes. Not us though! Too scary! haha. Luckily these islands are home to some of the most gorgeous beaches and luxury resorts. And don’t even get us started on the thermal wateres on these islands.
Palermo is Sicily’s capital and it’s been around for nearly 3,000 years. Nicknamed the “city of delights,” this city is chocked full of stunning architecture and lovely gardens. Many tourists come to shop till they drop in the bustling street markets. And don’t forget about the museums and plenty of history. The Catacombe dei Cappuccini lies under a monastery and features nearly 10,000 crypts. Very cool…if you’re into that sort of thing.
Even though we are just naming five of the top attractions in Sicily, there are so many more that I must mention just briefly. Siracusa (sound familiar, New Yorkers?) is supposed to be a really cool city as well. This city is mentioned in the Bible (I’m told). It’s supposed to be filled with interesting history and is home to one of the oldest Greek theaters in the world. And finally, Tindari, home to the famous Sanctuary of the Black Madonna looks very interesting as well. This town is located in the province of Messina and is truly a place of pilgrimage for many visitors.
Another hotspot I would love to visit is the town of Erice, which overlooks Trapani down below. The views here just look incredible. It’s also supposed to have cooler weather here so you can escape the Italian sun a bit. The castle here is also so picturesque and lovely. And finally there are the cities on the southeastern portion of Sicily, which are often referred to as the late Baroque towns of the Noto Valley: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli. You simply must come here in the spring! Also recently added by Unesco!
We simply adore Italy. Especially in the summertime. It’s just a magical trip and Sicily is one of our favorite destinations. Sicily has so many things to do. We can’t even come close to explaining all of them. And we must also say that probably our favorite Sicilian activity is of course eating…followed by a close second of just relaxing. We have really wanted to return again since we have visited too many years ago at this point.
Who’s coming with us!?