The perfect vacation in Sicily

For many years, Sicily has been a crossroads and melting pot of Mediterranean culture. Today, the island is a fascinating rewrite, its history and rich natural wonders ensuring that there is something for everyone: the historic cities of Palermo, Catania and Syracuse; the volcanic region of Etna with its volcanic landscapes, fertile wine country and picturesque Taormina; the honey-coloured baroque towns of Ragusa, Modica and the rest of the south; the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte and Segers Tower; Roman ruins such as Piazza Armerina; sandy beaches and secret rocky coves stretching for miles. the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte and Sejes; Roman ruins such as Piazza Armerina; miles of sandy beaches and secret rocky coves. And don’t get us started on the food – from the steamed couscous of Trapani to the pastries of Noto .

As parts of the island are at the same latitude as the North African coast, Sicily’s mild climate makes it an attractive destination for most of the year: spring and autumn are invigorating, and summer is truly delightful, despite the high temperatures. Sea breezes off the coast take away the heat.

You’ll need your own transport to explore: apart from very few train routes, there are few public services. On the eastern side of the island, there’s no escaping the snow-capped silhouette of Sicily’s very active Mount Etna. Its fertile lower skirt is a patchwork of dry-stone fenced vineyards, orchards and citrus groves sloping down to the sea.

The archaeological site of Selinunte, a Greek city overthrown by Carthage around 409 BC, is in a remarkable location on the south-west coast. A visit to this collapsed ruin is best done on a guided tour.

For the more adventurous, head to the Cave di Cusa, 10 kilometres north-east of Selinunte, which is poorly signposted. This is the city’s suddenly abandoned quarry, where partially hewn and carved columns stand amidst a romantic, flower-filled landscape.

Enjoy well-prepared seafood at Marinella Selinunte’s super-friendly restaurant: the menu includes all the seafood caught from the fishing boats that morning.

The beaches of the Foce del Belice nature reserve, east of Selinunte, are a marvel – kilometres of golden sand and azure waters. Beach bars are few and far between, and there are no umbrellas or deckchairs. The further you’re prepared to walk along the coast, the fewer people you’ll encounter.

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