10 THINGS TO DO IN SICILY
Sicilian Mafia, amazing swimming sites and largest island of Mediterranean Sea.... I could only think of these three things when someone says Sicily before I visited it... But after my visit, my notion of Sicily completely changed... For sure, it is a great place for "Sea, Sun and Fun" holiday but at the same time there are so many things to do ... and so much fun to have... So I prepared "Top 10 Things to do in Sicily" for you.. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...
1-) Visit Egadi Islands
My favorite activity in Sicily was to visit Egadi Islands which are located few miles off the coast of Trapani. With a small population of 5000 citizens, the Egadis boast a long history and yet have somehow remained largely unchanged over the years. Islands offer a great deal of charm and diversity, it is still possible to find isolated bays and caves and deserted mountain paths that can take you through time into authentic Italian environment.
2-) Watch Traditional "Opera dei Pupi"
Puppet theatre is one of the most exciting and oldest traditions of Sicily. In traditional plays, puppets are conducted to do theatrical representations of Frankish romantic poems such as Song of Roland or Orlando Furioso. The Sicilian marionette theater Opera dei Pupi was proclaimed in 2001 and inscribed in 2008 in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. You can search for schedules of upcoming shows from this website.
The show is so much fun but I have to confess I loved the puppets even more than the show. I think they are the most unique thing to buy from Sicily. If you have time you can also attend puppet making courses.
2-) See Finest Traditional Ceramics at Santa Maria Del Monte
Sicily is really famous for local Caltagirone’s ceramics. It originates from the city of Caltagirone and is very admired for quality and creativity. In fact, you can admire this craftsmanship by visiting famous local landmark – the monumental Santa Maria del Monte. This staircase is famous for 142 steps that are all decorated with hand-painted ceramic tiles, using traditional colors, shapes and patterns of the region.
4-) Wine & Dine Sicilian Style
It is impossible to leave Italy without trying tempting national cuisine. Sicily can offer you several pleasant tasting opportunities as well. For instance, the winery of Pantelleria, located in Khamma district, welcomes wine-lovers throughout the summer time. Visitors can experience guided visits through the wine cellar, the Zibibbo vineyards and the Pantellerian Garden.
Additionally, you can take a trip to the beautiful city of Calatafimi Segesta where you can taste the most traditional Sicilian food in the region. Foods like cucciddati, u’cunzato bread, cassatelle, cannoli, sfince can be best tasted here as they are still prepared according to ancient recipe. If you cant make it to Calatafimi Segesta, make sure to try Granita, Cannoli, Cassata or Pasta di mandorle in one of the local restaurants anywhere in Sicily.
5-) Visit Valley of The Temples
One of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions is without a doubt the Valley of the Temples, just outside the city of Agrigento. This splendid archeological park consists of eight temples, and various other remains, built between 510BC and 430BC. Valley of the Temples is a must-visit destination for all admirers of vast European history and heritage.
6-) Cool Down at Alcantara’s Caves
The Alcantara Caves is a very special place located on the north slopes of Mount Etna. The locals know this place well, as it is a great spot to cool off during the long, hot Sicilian summers. With significant popularity among locals and low interest from travelers, you are bound to be surrounded by an authentic atmosphere of the region.
7-) Attend Etna Excursions
Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and it is located on the Island of Sicily. Volcano has not erupted for several million years and it remains to be fairly tempting. One of my favorite things to do in Sicily was to visit giant Etna and surrounding villages which produce delicious wine. To combine both experiences, I took one of the combined tours of Mount etna and Wine tasting tours. Altogether, that was a great experience.
8-) See Saltspans Glitter at Saline of Trapani
If you hate being a "tourist", you should definitely visit Saline of Trapani, a nature's paradise. It is a perfect place for unconventional Italian landscapes. In this place, the best attraction is Riserva Naturale Saline di Trapani e Paceco which is natural salt reserve by the sea. There is the cutest old salt mill by the sea. When sun hits sea and the salt, the view is incredible.
Additionally, cuisine here is different from traditional Sicily as it is influenced by Arab Culture. I don't know about you but I love a good cultural mix when it comes to food !
9-) Discover Taormina
Taormina is Sicily's most popular summer destination and it is unashamedly touristy. Here you can spot celebrities, holidaying high rollers strolling through the streets lined with high-end designer shops. If you don't like these kind of scenes, you should know probably it is not for you. However I have to say, no visit to Sicily is complete without seeing Taormina. The town remains an achingly beautiful location with gorgeous medieval churches, a stunning Greek theatre and sweeping views over the Gulf of Naxos and Mount Etna.
Additionally, ....Godfather asks us to be there, you know :) Many Scenes of Godfather was filmed in here. If you are a movie buff like me, you can take one of the guided tours for Godfather movie locations.
10-) Bonus: Sea , Sun and Fun..
Sicily is a famous Italian destination for perfect beach holidays with its astonishing coasts. If you ask Italians most beautiful beach of Italy ( not only Sicily) is located at coastal town in San Vito Lo Capo. If you want to just chill out couple of days at the beach, San Vito Lo Capo is definitely place to be.
Another way to satisfy your inner sea, sun, fun freak is to take a yacht trip around Lipari Island. Lipari is the largest of a chain of islands in a volcanic archipelago, whereas a boat trip next to it will leave you plenty of thrilling picturesque memories. Also, it is a perfect opportunity to enjoy a private swim in the sea without the crowds of tourists.