Why do I love Sicily? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider visiting Sicily.
Can you think of anything better than being surrounded by the sea? Island life is perfect for an ocean lover like myself, and Sicily provides you with the perfect island conditions. Crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches.
Like most places in Italy in the summer time, the beaches are crowded. Italians love vacationing in their own country (no wonder), and the same goes for Sicily. Still, Sicily is an island, so the options are many, if you have the patience and curiosity for adventures.
I’ve explored most of the southern part of Sicily, as well as south east. I highly recommend visiting the southern tip, forming as a triangle on the map, between Siracusa and Scoglitti. Here you can find some stunning gems.
Seafood, seafood, seafood. I come from a family of the ocean, so no wonder I’ve come to love islands and their abundance of fresh seafood. The Sicilian cuisine often includes garden-fresh vegetables, coupled with pasta and freshly caught seafood from the surrounding coastlines. Some common seafood in Sicily includes tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish, sardines, and others.
I love finding a local fish market and buying fresh seafood for dinner. This is one of my main recommendations if you visit Sicily. In a country like Italy you can actually make a gourmet meal at home, if you just get the best ingredients. And the best and freshest ingredients are never far away on an island like Sicily.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, and the region is by far the largest in Italy. Sicily’s oldest inhabitants were the Sikhs, a people of Italian descent, after whom the island is named.
The history of Sicily covers the period from antiquity to the present day. If you want to experience one of the largest and most powerful cities of antiquity, you should visit Syracuse, on the south east side of Sicily. In general, the island is rich in monuments from antiquity.
Val di Noto is a historical and geographical area encompassing the south-eastern part of Sicily. It is dominated by the limestone Hyblaean plateau. Seven cities in the Val di Noto is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They represent the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe. The towns are Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, and Scicli.
As I advocate for everywhere I travel – spend time and money on accommodation. I don’t mean for the extravagance and luxury, but for the best local experience. In my experience the time you spend to find the perfect accommodation, and the money you spend, cannot compare to the experience you get in return. On the travels I take, the accommodation is not just a place for sleep, it’s a place where you can switch gears and feel like a local (at least for the time you’re there).
It is plenty of housing options when you are looking for a place to stay in Sicily, but I recommend Airbnb. As always you can find some great gems, chat with the host about everything you need before arrival and read reviews from previous visitors.
Living like a local also means you get to connect with the host and your neighbors. Like in this apartment we stayed beside an older Italian couple who had dinner parties with friends and family pretty often. It was such a lovely moment to come home from the beach and smell the neighbors amazing food preparations, and watch them set the table and make the terrance ready for their guests. Later when we had dinner on the balcony, it felt like we were out on a restaurant with the neighboring dinner party. Memorable moments.
Biologically speaking we know that the sun is absolutely vital for our survival as a species. It plays a huge role in both our physical and mental health, and the light from the sun is the main regulator for our circadian clock. Visiting an island is a great opportunity to catch both the sunrise and sunset everyday. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate, and seeing the sun rise and set are close to an everyday phenomenon, almost all year.
Seize the opportunity to catch amazing sunsets (and sunrises) when you visit Sicily. It is not just beautiful to watch, it is also very good for your overall health.
You probably heard it, the way to really bond with Italians is over really strong espresso. And Sicilians are no exception. Every morning you will see Sicilians ordering triple espressos and drink everything in one or two sips. Pretty fascinating.
Italian coffee culture is renowned, however Sicilian culture are somewhat separate from than the rest of Italy. They almost referred to themselves as distinct people. Some of it has to be about the rich history going back thousands of years, from antiquity to the present day. The Sicilian population is a mixture of numerous peoples who through the ages have settled on the island; Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards and others.
Upon visiting Sicily you will experience this unique amalgam of historic cultures and people from the styles of food to historic rituals to the way people look. It’s pretty remarkable, and absolutely one of the reasons I do love Sicily.
The fresh citrus fruits of Sicily is another thing I love about this island. In season, which is probably from early April to early October, you can get fresh citrus fruits everywhere. The lemon is well-known in Sicily, as well as limes, figs, oranges, peaches and grapefruits. If you stay in a local accommodation with garden, you will probably be able to pick your fruit straight from the tree.
If you like your sweets less citrusy and more sugary, no problem. The rich, sweet dishes of the Sicilian cuisine are probably the most well-known. Such as cannoli, a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta. Or the granita, also known as granita Siciliana, a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings.
Even though tomatoes are not a citrus fruit, I had to include it. Because this is a huge reason to visit Sicily. I think it is safe to say that Italy, especially the South of Italy, has the best tomatoes in the whole world. I actually bring several kilos of tomatoes home with me after visiting Italy, that’s how much I love them.
It’s no secret that the romantic love in South Europe is more out in the open. If you are from the Northern hemisphere like me, you know that we are more conservative when it comes to public romantic love. Probably why some of us (yes, me) appreciate the openness of romance when I visit a place like Sicily. You can see romantic love everywhere from the first love at fourteen when you bring your chosen one to the beach for a sunset picnic. Or the couple at 80 still holding hands and relaxing together at a public bench.
That’s a special thing I really love about Sicily. Feeling the romantic love around you wherever you go. I acknowledge that it can be hard if you are single and visit a romantic country like Italy, but still, it is something to be said about showing a bit more affection and romance for each other publicly. I think it makes us more joyful of life. At least it makes me smile to see love around me.
Sicily offers the perfect combination of remarkable nature with ancient history. One of the major nature attractions on the island is the Scala dei Turchi, a rocky cliff on the coast of Realmonte, southern Sicily. The Scala is formed by marl, a sedimentary rock with a characteristic white color.
Mount Etna, in Catania, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is in an almost constant state of activity and generated myths, legends and naturalistic observation from Greek, Celts and Roman classic and medieval times.
As mentioned above the seven late baroque towns of the Val di Noto is absolutely worth visiting. There are in total seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Sicily, so you will definitely have to visit the island more than once to cover them all.
What is more charming than driving around in an old Fiat 500? To me this is the definition of charming. Old Italian men still holding on to their baby from the the late 50’s.
For romantic couples who would like an easy way to get around the narrow alleys, the Vespa is an excellent choice. Navigating around some of the historical cities with a car can be brutal, and Italians are not famous for their patience in traffic. That said, the infrastructure in Sicily is very good, so exploring different cities and places are no problem.