The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy. It has a distinct culture which includes food, music, and art. Most people associate Sicily with organized crime and not necessarily a vacation spot. Typically this is most discouraging for foreigners outside of mainland Europe because Sicily is certainly a popular vacation spot with many Italians and other Europeans. Being such a large island, planning your vacation in Sicily will require a bit of planning so you can see what you want in the time you have there. Many people make Sicily a part of a larger trip to Italy but wish they had more time on the island once they get a chance to see it. Sicily is world famous for its Greek, Roman, and Arab influence and historical ruins.
Sicily is also home to some of the top beaches in Europe. One section of the Sicily’s coastline that you’ll want to be sure to check out if you love the sun and sand is Taormina. One the western edge of the island, Taormina Sicily is very popular with vacationing Italians. You can add some adventure to your trip by hiking around the Mount Etna area, which happens to be Europes largest active volcano. The Taormina area is known for its coarse sand beaches and very active nightlife right in the small downtown. As is typical in this region, Taormina also has its share of Greek ruins and there is a large theater that is mostly intact to stop by.
Getting around Sicily is also made pretty convenient by its well laid out and fairly extensive (for an island its size) train system. You can also rent a car in Sicily and try your luck on the winding roads and highways which most drivers could probably handle its the other drivers on the road that don’t make car rental an attractive option. Stick to the rail system and you can make your way around to all of the major cities, including the capital of Sicily, Palermo. There is also an international airport in Palermo and you can also hop a ferry from Italy and other nearby Mediterranean and north Africa countries to coastal towns as well.
One of our recommended stops is at the archeological park Valle dei Templi in Agrigento. There are seven temples that have been preserved well at the site and its simply one of the most spectacular set of ruins you can find anywhere in the world. The ruins also span several civilizations themselves, including the Carthaginians and Romans. You can stroll around these temples, like the Temple of Vulcan which has seen the most wear and damage over the years but is one of the most impressive. The Temple of Vulcan was built around the year 450 BC and has been partially restored.
To get a taste of Sicilian culture (literally) you can try some of the local pastry canoli or a fruit marzipan. The island has several popular pastries and sweets as well as a traditional type of Italian pizza you should try on your visit to Sicily.