I have travelled throughout the World and stayed in some pretty awesome locations, I have stayed in hostels throughout South America and seen sights galore, I have stayed in luxury hotels throughout the Pacific and I have visited the large majority of Africa. My favorite country however is Italy and in particular, the small island of Sicily and I want to tell you why this year is a great year to visit the beautiful island. Sicily vacation rentals, like many European nations are incredibly abundant and give you the perfect place to enjoy this Mediterranean island in style and if you have never been then 2017 is the perfect year to make your first trip.
I have been back to Sicily four times since my very first trip there and despite the many countries and destinations that I have visited, there is something that I find truly magical about Sicily and here are my 9 reasons why I think that you would love it too.
I consider myself something of a foodie and one factor that I always use to measure how much I love a country is in the food choices that are available to me. Italian cuisine is by far and away my favorite style of cooking and Sicily is without question the best place to find it. On the island you will find some of the finest seafood in the country and whilst the island does offer Italian-style cooking, you will also find local delights. Some of my favorite Sicilian dishes are the eggplant stew and the swordfish rolls, high in flavor and packed with herby Italian tastes.
It’s not possible to create a list such as this without mentioning one of the finest Sicilian exports, their wine. The home of Marsala wine and the delightful Nero d’Avola, Sicilian wines have a truly individual taste and flavor. Many of grapes come the slopes of the incredible Mount Etna and the wine-growers are forced to brave high altitudes, cold temperatures and the occasional volcanic eruption in order to make the perfect bottle of wine.
This impending volcano in Sicily is a truly magnificent place to visit and is actually the tallest, active volcano in Europe. Tourists can take on the mission of hiking up this hot, ashy mountain but it is not a climb for the faint of heart, a far more relaxing option is to take a cable car to the halfway point and then jump in a jeep which will take you to its peak. The views from the op of the volcano are simply breathtaking.
Sicily has a very strong, Ancient Greek heritage as well as its strong Italian culture and this can be best seen in thorns which still occupy much of the island. If you only visit one place then go to the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which offers some of the finest and best preserved Ancient Greek architecture anywhere in the World.
Let’s not forget that this is an island that sits in the heart of the Mediterranean and as such, there is are some outstanding beaches across the region. The best part about the beaches in Sicily is that they are, in my experience, very rarely over crowded, this is because they are so plentiful and the level of tourism is relatively low.
It’s pretty rare that I put an individual food on a list of why you should visit somewhere but if you have tried Cannoli then you will understand why. If you haven’t, this is a sweet pastry which is made with a sweet shell and stuffed with sweet ricotta, you can find them throughout the island, especially in the quaint little Italian coffee shops which you will find and they are the perfect treat for a mid-morning snack.
Throughout the island you will see some of the most stunning views that the Mediterranean has to offer. Whether you are standing atop Mount Etna, sat on the cliff overlooking the shore or even sat on a hilltop overlooking the rugged coastline, you will be treated to some of what are in my opinion, the finest views in the World.
It feels like there is always a party, event or festival taking place in Sicily and I have visited at various times of the year and felt the same. As you can imagine, the large majority of these events feature lots of local cuisine, a great deal of dancing and plenty of wine. I have been fortunate enough to be able to join in some of the festivals that have taken place on the island and there truly isn’t a more beautiful place in the World that I can imagine to hold a party.
Back to Nature
Around the foothills of Mount Etna and in the ancient city of Syracuse there is a groundswell of agritourism as more and more tourists look to get back in touch with nature. Agriculture plays a massive part in Sicilian life and many of the farms offer hidden away bed and breakfasts and quaint farmhouses where tourists can stay and relax in the most beautiful of natural surroundings.
If you want to enjoy the very best of Italy and the Mediterranean then I cannot recommend Sicily enough, it offers tourists one of the most beautiful locations in Europe and once you have been, trust me, you will want to go back time and time again.