Explore Sicily This Summer

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, known for its exquisite cuisine, sleepy Italian charm and beautiful wildlife, and with more and more direct air routes to the main cities now operating from the UK, travelling to Sicily is easy. Sicily is home to a plethora of beautiful cities, many featuring Baroque architecture freely flirting with Greek and Roman influences and all worth exploring. The cities of Siracusa, Catania and Ragusa are all within close proximity to each other and you’ll find that navigating the rest of the island is a breeze.

Sicily’s capital is Palermo and is usually the first port of call for many visitors. The architecture here is a little dishevelled in places, not too dissimilar to Venice in the old city (without the canals), and the streets are often full of locals and somewhat chaotic with mopeds speeding down quaint cobbled back alleys. There are plenty of markets in the city where you can get a taste of authentic Sicilian life and grab a bite to eat – remember Sicilian food is considered to be some of the tastiest in the world and the markets are a great place to try it. While you’re in Palermo we suggest a visit to the Norman monastery of Monreale that can be easily reached as it’s on the outskirts of the town. If you enjoy exploring the historical side of the island then head to the ancient city of Akragas and visit the oldest remaining temple in Sicily: Temple of Concordia Agrigento. The temple was built by the greeks somewhere around 440BC and is considered to be one of the finest examples of ancient Greek architecture in the world. Next you could visit the ancient Siracusa city which was founded in 734 BC by the Greeks and is a hotbed of amphitheatres and impressive architecture. If you don’t have much time there – visit the ruins of the Temple of Athena, and Ortigia – the historical centre of the city.

Sicily is home to some 620 miles of coastline or 931 miles if you include the smaller islands around the mainland, though the Aeolian islands are the place to go if you feel like heading to the beach. This volcanic archipelago is a picturesque haven of rugged coastline, thermal resorts and water sports – a perfect place to unwind after you’re done exploring the cities. Back on the mainland – a visit to Etna, located on the east coast of Sicily is a must. Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and a visit to the volcano will open up exquisite view out across the entirety of the Eastern part of the island. After that you can explore the enchanting landscapes that are to be found all over the island – charming in their simplicity yet beautiful and wild.

Sicily is a must visit for 2014 – you’ll find no shortage of attractions: with the rustic charm of the countryside and the ancient cultures clashing in the major cities taking the centre stage. The climate is fantastic, with year round sun while in Spring time it is as if the entire island is in full bloom, and the food? The food is simply divine – dominated by seafood and Arab influences and perfectly complimented by the local wines.