Sicily holiday highlights

Visit the gorgeous beaches of Isola Bella and San Vito lo Capo, head to the countryside for a taste of unique wines in sprawling vineyards, detour to Piazza Armenia for extraordinary Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale and day trip to the archaeological parks of Agrigento and Selinunte for UNESCO World Heritage Site Valley of Temples and the crumbling ruins of an ancient Greek city.

The elegant town of Taormina is perched high above the Ionian Sea and in sight of Mount Etna buzzes with intimate piazzas, chic boutiques, street cafés and restaurants. It historic centre has a beautiful open-air Greco-Roman amphitheatre with events taking place throughout the summer months. Sitting in its shadow is the charming water’s edge village of Taormina Mare home to picturesque pebble beaches, coves and rocky inlets. It’s a bit of a trek between the two but thankfully there’s a funicular to whisk you up or down the hillside.

The city of Syracuse, on the southeast coast, is steeped in history dating back nearly 3,000 years. Admire the city's famous baroque architecture, visit the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis for remains of a 5th-Century Greek theatre and a Roman amphitheatre, and cross the bridge to the tiny island of Ortigia following a maze of alleys to ancient monuments and temples, a 13th-century castle and the 7th-Century Duomo di Ortigia – the oldest church in Europe.

Experience seaside charm and mouth watering Sicilian food in Cefalù where an alluring combination of sandy beaches, fantastic shops, fine seafood restaurants and historic treasures await. The 12th-Century cathedral is dominated by two Norman towers and the city's winding medieval streets are a joy to explore. Climb La Rocca, a limestone cliff for spectacular sweeping views over Cefalù.

Where is Sicily
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, separated from the ‘toe’ of mainland Italy by a strait that’s just 1.9 miles wide.

Getting around
Hiring a car is the best option for exploring the length and breadth of this beautiful island, giving you the option to discover beaches, countryside, ancient ruins and spectacular coastline on your own schedule. The train and bus networks on Sicily are not as easy to navigate as they are on mainland Italy, but it is still possible to travel from town to village with a little research. The major bus lines are SAIS, Interbus and AST, but bear in mind that on this laidback island they don’t always run to time. Blue buses run between cities and orange buses provide a local service.

Food & drink
Expect arancini and timballini pasta street food style on-the-go, catch-of-the-day grilled on the barbecue at beachside cafés, aperitivo in elegant piazzas and decadent fine dining in lavish restaurants. There are Greek, Arab and Spanish influences everywhere you go from a fertile land of countryside produce and fresh from the sea delights. The seafood is stupendous – red shrimp, tuna, swordfish and anchovies – and pastas are seasoned with garlic, herbs, capers and seeds. The wine scene is on the rise with innovative delights producing fantastic whites and bold reds. Try granita e brioche for breakfast, pasta allo scoglio for lunch and cassata for dessert. There’s also a wealth of fine dining as creative chefs take over the island – we recommend a trip to the town of Noto for a true Sicilian culinary adventure.

Sicily key facts

Time difference

GMT +1 hour

Currency

Euro

Flying time to destination

3 hours to Catania or Palermo

Language

Italian

Sicily good to know

Etiquette

A tourist tax applies to all hotels in Sicily and is only payable locally.