Zipping, sipping and zooming around Sicily
Staring out the window over a snow covered Mt Etna, I was so excited to be arriving in Sicily!
We picked up a car from the airport and drove south towards our first stop, Syracuse. We were actually staying on the island of Ortigia for 2 nights and had been given a hot tip about leaving the car in a small car park just by the bridge as you drive over. Sure enough it was easy to find, and we were only a short walk from the beautifully restored 15th-century building which was to be our accommodation for the next 2 nights. Ortigia lends itself so well to what is quintessential on any European holiday, and that is strolling, eating and drinking! We asked the concierge for their favourite place to watch the sunset and ventured off to find the aptly named, Sunset bar. There we enjoyed delicious antipasti whilst sipping on our first refreshing Aperol Spritz, now I know I’m on holiday in Sicily! The next 48 hours was spent sightseeing, wandering, eating and enjoying the slow pace of the historical and picturesque town.
Our third day and we set off to explore the famous towns of Noto and Ragusa. They are both as stunning on the drive towards them as they are in walking around them and winding your way through the narrow old streets. They were both well worth the visit and we enjoyed fantastic coffee and food in Ragusa before heading on to our next stop, Agrigento! We arrived in time for an evening stroll and dinner and then awoke early to tour the ancient ruins and learn about the history of what was once one of the richest and most famous of the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia. It was easy to picture what life and the landscape surrounding would have been like, as a lot of it remained unchanged! A 1 hour drive took us to our lunch stop, the town of Sciaccia. We walked around and explored before settling in to a traditional taverna for an amazing local experience of unsurpassed hospitality and food. We must have sat for hours and enjoyed the many courses and company of the other patrons and owners, a typical lunch for them but so special for us. Another hour on the road and we arrived at our next stop, Marsala. It’s a very small town which was easy to navigate on foot and offered a pleasant stroll and soon enough we were introduced to some Marsala wine, ‘the best in Sicily’!
The next day we set out after breakfast for a short 30 minute drive to Trapani where we dropped off the car and set sail for the island of Favignana. The afternoon was spent zipping around the island on electronic bikes stopping for swimming breaks, walks and of course aperitivos. I could have spent a week exploring and enjoying the freedom of the bikes, as the island trails are all so accessible and easy to navigate and it’s sleepy relaxed vibe ensures you couldn’t be more relaxed. You were reminded of being on a Greek island, with a beautiful whitewashed main square with restaurants and bars in every direction, this was a place I could set up in for a while! *To read more about my experience of Favignana click here“*
The next day we climbed the Castle of Santa Caterina which dominates the island and can be seen from almost anywhere. We rode our bikes as high as we could and then set out to hike to the top for the best views of the area.
Sad to leave we took the ferry back to Trapani to pick up the car and then head on to Sirignano Wine Resort around 45 minutes away. We had the gorgeous resort almost to ourselves but it had clearly hosted an abundance of weddings and had a great Tuscan feel to it. We were spoilt with amazing food, great wines and were made to feel right at home for our stay.
With our longest drive ahead of us today we headed off to the far East of the island to our last stop of Taormina. The drive was around 4 hours so we broke it up with a stop in Palermo and Cefalu. We were so glad to have seen the hustle and bustle of Palermo, it had so much character and charm and was clearly somewhere we could have savoured for days. Cefalu is almost halfway across the northern coast and made for a great lunch stop, with Sicilians lining the beach and lapping up the afternoon sun. Driving on towards the East was a beautiful coastal drive and after passing Messina all of a sudden we could see mainland Italy! It seemed surreal to think that we could have almost continued to Rome if we had wanted to!
Arriving in Taormina and we could see why this was such a popular tourist spot. It’s stunning outlook over the sea below and Mt Etna in the background makes it feel as though you’re on a movie set. The old town draws you in as you get lost amongst its winding streets and the hardest part of your day is the decision of which amazing eatery to try next!
There is no doubt that Sicily is a fantastic destination and has so much to offer, I would recommend a visit to anyone!
To discover more about Sicily, click here