Sicily is Italy's largest and southernmost region. Even if you have already been to continental Italy, having arrived on the island, you will understand that this is a completely different country. After the fast pace of life in the northern part of the country, in Sicily you will feel a real sweet life - dolce vita and dolce far niente - sweet idleness. No one is in a hurry, everyone is relaxed and enjoying life. Read the article from our Izhevsk friends Ekaterina and Sergey.
Old men in Palermo
I have already been to Sicily twice and I am sure that I will come again! Our first trip was devoted almost entirely to Sicily, not counting three days in Malta. For the second time, a couple of nights in Sicily entered our route throughout Italy. When we were planning to go to Sicily in 2014, did we think to go on our own or take a package tour? But we did not find cheap flights to Catania or Palermo, and hotels were expensive. Therefore, we took a two-week tour, which consisted of a flight from Moscow to Catania and back, a transfer to the hotel and accommodation at a 3 * hotel with breakfast in Giardini Naxos. The cost of the tour for two in 2014 amounted to 80 thousand rubles.
You can learn more about Italy and other countries, as well as details about Sicily, on our website DarsiTravel.ru
How to get to Sicily
By plane. In Sicily, there are two major international airports - Palermo and Catania; recently, Trapani Airport has also begun to accept flights from low-cost European airlines.
On a ferryboat. Ferries run from mainland Italy, Tunisia and Malta to Sicily. List of ferry companies: Grandi navi veloci, Grimaldi lines, Liberty lines, Siremar, Tirrenia, Virtu ferries.
By bus. Intercity bus services to Sicily are carried out by the following transport companies: Salemi, SAIS.
By train. Trains run from Rome to Palermo and Syracuse. Italian Railways
By private car. You can come to Sicily by car, but they also get to the island by ferry.
The Italians themselves prefer to spend their holidays without leaving Italy, they go to the sea and try to get to the islands - Sicily and Sardinia. I can confirm that the best clear sea and clean sandy beaches, among all that I visited in Italy, were in Sicily.
Beach in Cefalu
The island is washed by three whole seas - the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian and Ionian. We stayed at two beach resorts that I can safely recommend to you - these are Giardini Naxos and Cefalu.
Beach in Giardini Naxos
Transport in Sicily
For a detailed acquaintance with the island, you can rent a car. But traveling by public transport, you can see a lot. We traveled through Sicily by bus and train. For example, in Giardini Naxos, we specifically chose a hotel near a bus stop and traveled by bus and train almost the entire eastern part of the island and even visited Palermo.
Bus in Sicily
List of bus companies in Sicily
Salemi - Flights from Palermo to Marsala, Trapani Airport, Campobello, Castelvetrano, Mazara, Salemi.
SAIS - connects Palermo, Messina, Catania and other cities of Sicily.
Giuntabus Trasporti - buses from Messina to Catania, Reggio Calabria, Milazzo.
AST - urban and intercity routes in Sicily.
Etna Transporti and Interbus Sicilia - routes in Sicily, including from Taormina.
By train in Sicily
Trains here are not as fast as in mainland Italy, there are no high-speed trains at all. Nevertheless, you can make some trips on the train. Railways connect all the major cities of Sicily. The timetable can be viewed on the website of Italian railways.
Cities and sights of Sicily
The capital of the island, respectively, a large city, and not for beach holidays. But for the purpose of the excursion, it is worth coming here to see with your own eyes this city of contrasts, founded by the Phoenicians, later conquered by the Romans, Saracens and Normans. We really liked the Palermo Botanical Garden, where it is nice to stroll on a hot day. It works from 9 to 17, the ticket costs 5 euros. Entrance to the park is free:
Palermo Botanical Garden
Nearby is a very beautiful park Villa Giulia:
Park Villa Giulia in Palermo
When in Palermo, be sure to try the swordfish or pesce spada in Italian.
Swordfish or pesce spada in Italian
In Palermo, you can wander through the streets of the old city and see many attractions.
Piazza Pretoria in Palermo (Piazza Pretoria) is one of the oldest squares in the city.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Palermo
Norman (royal) palace in Palermo
The city closest to mainland Italy is where ferries with trains and buses from Calabria arrive here. Sicily and mainland Italy are separated by the Strait of Messina, where, according to legend, the famous monsters Scylla and Charybdis lived. The city was badly damaged during the earthquake of 1908, and now we can already see it restored. The Golden Madonna meets the ships arriving at the port of Messina, and on the other side of the strait Calabria is already visible. Be sure to go to the observation deck next to the Temple of the King of Heaven:
Observation deck next to the Temple of the King of Heaven in Messina
Messina's main attraction is Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo). Here is the Cathedral (Duomo di Messina).
Messina. Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo). Cathedral (Duomo di Messina)
Nearby is a bell tower, on the walls of which there is a unique clockwork made in Strasbourg in 1733. In front of the cathedral is the Fountain of Orion (Fontana di Orione).
Messina. Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo). Fountain of Orion (Fontana di Orione)
A city located right at the foot of Mount Etna. This dangerous neighborhood has brought misfortune more than once. But the city, like a phoenix rebelled from the lava. Here you can see many dark buildings built of black volcanic stone. The symbol of the city is this black elephant:
Black elephant - a symbol of Catania
Catania is a major transport hub with an international airport. You can fly here from Russia or fly to Malta. From here it is convenient to take a trip around the island by bus. The main cathedral of Catania is dedicated to the patroness of the city - St. Agatha.
The main cathedral of Catania is dedicated to the patroness of the city - St. Agatha
Ursino Fortress (Castello Ursino) - a medieval fortress surrounded by a moat, was built in the 13th century on a rocky peak directly above the sea. However, after the strong eruption of 1669 and the devastating earthquake of 1693, the landscape changed beyond recognition, the sea was gone.
Fortress Ursino (Castello Ursino) in Catania
Villa Bellini is one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Catania, retaining its appearance from the 18th century.
Villa Bellini - one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Catania
This city was one of the first Greek colonies in eastern Sicily. Subsequently - the largest and richest city on the island, and in relation to the III century BC. e. - also the largest city of antiquity by area. The ruins of the ancient city - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ruins of the ancient city of Syracuse - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
And in Syracuse they shot the famous film "Malena" by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was across the square next to the Cathedral that the beautiful Monica Bellucci walked.
Beach resort located near Taormina. There are many hotels here. We stayed here for two weeks at the Alexander Hotel. We went to the beach at the neighboring Hilton Hotel, and also visited its restaurant and spa.
The town of Giardini Naxos itself is very cozy, there are many restaurants, cafes and shops.
Giardini Naxos. Promenade
Many call this city the most beautiful city of Sicily. He is really beautiful!
Be sure to go to Taormina's city park. The entrance is free.
Taormina City Park
Above Taormina is Castelmola - a very picturesque town with stunning views of Etna and the sea coast.
The Botanical and Geological Park "Gole dell'Alcantara" is a deep cleft in the rocks and cliffs, formed as a result of repeated eruptions of the volcano Etna and located near Taormina. A cold river flows along the bottom of the gorge.
Sicily. Botanical and geological park "Gole dell'Alcantara"
This city is part of Borghi più beli d'Italia - the most beautiful cities in Italy. We stayed here at the Mediterraneo Hotel near the train station. We liked the beach and the sea in Cefalu the most on our trip to Italy - sand, clear water and picturesque houses in the background. Of course, during the holiday season there is a wild number of tourists, and Italians prefer to lie on the beach in the heat. We could only be here until noon and in the evening after 17, when there was no longer a crowd and the sun was not so hot.
The most beautiful mountain views open from the cliff of La Rocca. On the mountain is a natural park and the ruins of the fortress. Entrance there is paid - 4 euros.
You can learn more about Italy and other countries, as well as in detail about Sicily, on our website DarsiTravel.ru