Back in the days before social media, all you needed when you returned from a holiday was a tan, a couple of souvenirs and some grainy photos to be developed at your local shop. This is no longer enough in our modern world, instead you must fill your Facebook with mouth-watering dishes and views to spark envy in the purest heart.
Luckily, Sicily is stunning. With clear waters, colourful boats and plenty of small town charm to go around. This coupled with the great climate and fantastic light quality will help your holiday snaps transcend expectations. That said, though even the quietest street corner can be worth a photo, where should you head to for the best photos of your holiday in Sicily?
This medieval city is a must visit if you are staying near the centre of Sicily. Famous for incredible mosaics and Villa Romana Casale, this is a one stop shop for history buffs. Not only that, but this quaint town is picture perfect and seeps history from its very stones.
Andrew and Julie on the Two Year Trip blog were thrilled with their impromptu trip to Villa Romana Casale:
Valle dei Templi
As a UNESCO world heritage site, it is no surprise this made it on to the list, especially as it is one of the top attraction in Sicily. The various temples are in different states of disrepair, but if you manage to get pictures at sunrise or sunset, the area is truly atmospheric.
Wendy from Wendy dot blog may have been caught out in the elements but she knows the views were worth it:
“The views from the top of the hill were amazing…Greek temples set against a rolling hillside leading to patches of farms and then on to the azure bands of the Mediterranean Sea.
We were so mesmerized by the view and the temples that we just kept snap-snap-snapping pictures, all while the sky darkened and the wind picked up. Finally, it occurred to us that perhaps we should head down off the hill and seek shelter, but it was a bit too late. Long story short, we ran down the hill in a downpour and all got soaked, but it sure was fun!”
Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and towers over the island of Sicily with brooding beauty. Due to its sheer size, you will see it in many of the stunning vistas about the island, but hiking to the summit, seeing the lava up close and measuring the height of Etna by the steps walked and aches in your legs is the only true way to appreciate it, especially if you’re visiting the North East corner of the island.
Becca from the blog Becca Garber, spoke about her recent hike through the clouds:
“A couple of weeks ago, we invited our friends the Arthurs to go on a hike on Mt Etna with us. I’ve mentioned this active local volcano before; we often see her erupting out our kitchen window! We love hiking on her slopes because the air is so much cooler and the flowers are so beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter this part of the trail would be covered in snow.”
San Vito Lo Capo
Pristine waters and dramatic cliffs make this one of Sicily’s most photogenic spots. Bordered by small mountains popular with climbers, this sheltered beach is a great place to spend a day and enjoy the incredible water that Sicily offers.
Jasmine who blogs from Questa Dolce Vita completely captures not only the beauty of the area but the charm it exudes over all who visit:
“The Italians might describe San Vito Lo Capo as a “bellezza disarmante”, a ravishing beauty, on Sicily’s northwest coast. There’s no need to even finish uttering this town’s name before someone in the room starts reminiscing dreamily about its most famous attraction: the beach. While Italy is home to a plethora of stunning coastlines and enviable waistlines, it is quite possible that the most beautiful of both the former and the latter can be found in San Vito Lo Capo. To use descriptive adjectives for the entire beach experience is difficult, it might be easier to say that if you were to be blindfolded, taken to this Sicilian town, and then asked where you are, a common response could be “Hawaii” or “somewhere in the Caribbean”. The pool-like stillness and blue-green of the water is in stark contrast to the powdery ecru-colored sand and the entire scene is made more dramatic by the stunning backdrop of Mount Monaco. An experience absolutely not to be missed by the most discerning of beach aficionados.”
If a single town could embody the heart of the Sicilian way of life, it would be Siracuse. Birth place of Archimedes and stuffed full of Greek architecture, Siracuse was once a powerful city in the Mediterranean. Now however the city meanders at its own pace and appreciates the finer things in life. Siracuse’s proximity to the sea, as well as its inhabitant’s interest in good food, means the city has a thriving market and a fantastic culinary scene. It was for this reason that the bloggers behind Plate du Jour found themselves in the city:
“Just next to the ancient ruins of the temple of Apollo, its location- Ortigia, which is the oldest part of the city, and looks a bit like Venice, all this makes this place very unusual. The truth is, you can buy there anything you want, and it’s fresh fish is straight from the sea, vegetables are straight from the field/ garden, the same for fruits, spices and wine. People here know how to eat, and what’s good for them. I agree, you see many places offering take away/fast food, but this can be also very misleading. In one of those places, just next to the food market I have had the best slice of pizza ever!”
Noto may have stairs to rival the Spanish Steps in Rome. Though a province of Siracusa, it deserves a mention all of its own for its fantastic street art. Home of an Infiorata festival, were local and foreign artists create masterpieces out of petals, this town is worth a visit for the creatively minded. Natasha von Geldern from the blog World Wandering Kiwi, enthused over her experience there:
“Noto is a jewel in eastern Sicily’s Baroque crown and its golden stone homogeneity makes it a must-stop while touring around. Wander down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, dipping in and out of side streets to see the fantastical facades
of its many palazzi. Don’t miss Caffe Sicilia for delicious gelato in creative flavours and combinations, although I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the onion salad flavour..!”
Scala Dei Turchi
Scala dei Turchi (stairs of the Turks) is one of those otherworldly views that you have to see to believe. Pristine white cliff stretching up into an endless blue sky and across into the impossibly clear ocean, only leave more incredulous than you were at the pictures. The unusual formation of marlstone creates a stairway effect or smooth ripples of rock that descend to the beach. Cassie Drake from An Architect Abroad was so enthralled by Scala dei Turchi, that she planned an entire holiday around it, though the real thing was more incredible:
“It was just how I had pictured it, but was spectacular to see in person. It was quite packed the afternoon we arrived, but I think the peppering of people only add to scenery of it, with their coloured beach attire, towels, and umbrellas popping against the white backdrop (à la Gray Malin’s photography). It also provided the perfect backdrop for a bit of a girls’ photoshoot!”
The Aeolian Islands
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, these islands have been carved by volcanic activity and some are still active. These seven islands are littered with incredible history and Greek legends, but are best appreciated by boat, to thoroughly enjoy the arresting rock formations and crystal clear seas.
Jessica Cantlin from Feed My Wanderlust was privileged enough to see the islands from the air as she took a helicopter to the area:
“Soaring over Vulcano and Lipari, we marvelled at the dramatic landscape that is distinctive of this special place. While the islands are close geographically, they are very different from one another.
Farthest west, Filicudi is small, narrow, and steep, drawing walkers and naturalists to its paths, and divers to its shores. It’s closest island neighbour, Alicudi, is even smaller, more remote, has no motor vehicles, and few residents. To the east, Salina, verdant and green, is known for its crops of capers, malvasia grapes, and slower pace of agricultural life. Vulcano, a barren island, is characterized by hot springs, mud baths, black sand beaches, and of course, its volcano.”
Though the town of Trapani has grown substantially in recent years, it still holds a medieval charm that harks back to the origin of the town. One thing that has remained unchanged is the main trade – fishing. Though the harbour now houses more than a flotilla of colourful boats, the town of Trapani makes their living from the sea. The sickle shape of the town is steeped in myths, with one referring to a tool dropped by Demeter while seeking her daughter Persephone. The second myth is more ruthless, speaking of Kronos who eviscerated his father with a sickle, which promptly fell to create Trapani. Lara from Lara’s Beauty Bible enjoyed everything the town of Trapani had to offer on a recent girls’ trip:
“Our adventure started on Friday afternoon when we met at Malta International Airport, all in beaming smiles ready to see what the weekend and Trapani had in store for us! I have only visited Sicily once before and I fell in love with the island so much that I couldn’t say no to this girls only trip.”
The town of Taormina is a perfect slice of Sicilian life. Though the town may be a bustling hub, it is filled with quiet corners to escape the heat. Alternatively get up early to wander the streets while all is peaceful and enjoy one of the most incredible sunrises. Rob from the blog Stop Having A Boring Life described Taormina as:
“Seriously, Taormina, Sicily is a premium slice from the pizza that is this planet, with extra Parmesan. Alliterations aside, this place is heavenly”