I do not know what time or what day it is, much less the date. This is how I would describe my holiday in Sicily with a view of Mount Etna. Carelessness, also the best vacation ever experienced in my life was just on this island. Italians say “when you visit Sicily, you have found the whole world”, make sure you are right. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, and engulfing the three seas: the Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Mediterranean Sea.

Where to begin the story of Sicily? In the pictures you can immediately see all the beauty of the island, but the atmosphere, the food, the smells, the people, cordiality, openness, hospitality, that’s what pulls you to come back for more! That’s why I went there two years in a row.

Cefalu Sicilly
Cefalu Sicilly

Selection of a good travel arrangement

“silent suffering” for years. Looking at the price at the agencies, I kept thinking it was expensive and that I’ll need a lot of money. Besides the high price arrangements, especially in August, the thing that I didn’t like about agency was also that it leads you only in one place for 10 days, which I didn’t want because I wanted to visit several cities, but not to be captured in one city

Traveling by yourselves

And then I got the idea: “Why not try to organize my trip by myself,  as I wish, I could save money and get to know the true face of the island along with the people who live there?” And so it all began….

I should mention that organizing trips by yourselves takes away a lot of time. You need to find air tickets, accommodation, organize how long you’ll stay in any city, explore the linkages between these cities (whether it is better by train or bus, what is a schedule, how much are tickets, etc.), and where is better to stay for several days, where will be enough  a day or two.

Make sure you are well informed

Sicily is so large and has so many places that can be your “base”, it’s best to get information through blogs and forums, look at the pictures and ask for advice, so you could decided according to your own preferences where you want to stay.

No one can tell you where to go, because each city has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you must ask yourself a major and basic question: What do you want from your holiday, or what kind of vacation you want?

Active or passive vacation?

Did I want a whole day on the beach or go around the cities, archaeological sites, go to Etna, to go to the beaches in national parks (to whom I’ll need a car) to go around the village and the interior of the island, to go out in the evening? All this you should solve in advance and hope you can do anything.

When to go Sicily?

Advantage of Sicily is that it is a place where you can go even if it is not summer season. Why? Because it has everything from vivid towns full of historical and ancient localities, churches, from national parks and small and tucked villages to the beautiful and varied coastline and natural Etna. In the summer it is very difficult to fit all, unless you are not going on at least 2-3 weeks and you have a car, plus the heat really makes it difficult to tour major cities and localities. Out of season it is less crowded, housing is much cheaper, and the weather is still pleasant for all-day walks.

It is the most expensive in August or the first half of August. Then the Italians go on holiday, accommodation prices are much higher, and the bigger is the crowd on the beach and on the streets. Hot Sunday is the “Settimana di Ferragosto”, in week around August 15th, that’s when almost every Italian is on vacation and many local shops will not work. Nothing is working on August 15th!

Tour of Sicily

We’ve traveled the northern part of the island, visited Palermo, Taormina, Corleone mafia village, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, indispensable Etna, the interior of the island is rich in lush vegetation. Madonie mountain is rich in forests, with many wildflowers (mostly jasmine and orchid), but also with a lot of arable land.

Cefalu Sicilly
Cefalu Sicilly

Island with rich vegetation

While traveling this part of the island we were attracted by arable land from which colorful lemons and oranges is growing. Sicily is one of the richest islands in the Mediterranean vegetation. In Sicily we ate the best peaches and nectarines, so juicy and sweet that just melt in your mouth. It is known that the Sicilians are rude and aggressive drivers, but traveling in this part of the island we had a chance to see a driver’s solidarity. Given the fact that the sharp turns, chauffeurs are honking each other, thus indicating that they come to meet and miss each other. They are very casual, and do everything slowly.

Sicilian Mafia - visiting Corleone

The family is the pillar of society. Many people holds on their families and gather at least once a week. Then they are usually making lunch, play board games or the entire families from oldest to youngest go together to the beach. The woman is extremely protected. As for the mafia should be noted that it is ubiquitous phenomenon, it adapts to every age. It seems to me there is no mafia. On the island is quiet and we did not notice anything unusual. However, in the 1980s on the streets was chaos, people were mass executed, and all lived in fear. We visited Corleone, the town where was born and raised Salvatore Toto Rina, one of the most notorious mobsters.

 

Castiglione Sicilia

Cefalu - the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea

We were placed in Cefalu, which is 70 km away from Palermo. The quickest way to arrive in Palermo is the train. The railway goes the entire length of the sea. Cefalu is known as the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea and is really vivid. The narrow cobblestone streets will best depict their way of life and fiery spirit Sicilian. The real Sicily you will see in this town, which consists of old and new work. The city is facing large sandy beach that encourages relaxation and rest. Above the town rises La Rocca wall with a fantastic view of the city. The most beautiful sunsets you'll experience in Cefalu, just need to relax and you will find everything you have ever asked for.

Sicily - Etna volcano is still alive

Most people when someone say Sicily, think about"mafia", but I always thought, "Etna." Everything that nature makes it a powerful, majestic and dangerous it can be compared with the initial or Etna, but it can´t be compared with anything. Old beauty causes admiration, and awe. When we arrived at Etna, my enthusiasm had no end. I was happy as if I won the Mont Everest. Come to Sicily, and not to climb the Etna it’s really a sin. Walking on the edges of the crater on a loose black earth, while the wind whip across the face i a real experience and then you just want to jump and scream for joy, because dreams become reality. The volcano, which is still alive, this unpredictable giant existed before us and will continue to spit lava long after us. It is this strength and power that is breathtaking.

 

Sicily - Etna volcano

Palermo and Taormina

The famous destinations in this part of the island are the cities of Palermo and Taormina. Palermo is the capital of Sicily and the fifth largest city in Italy. Not as colorful as Cefalu, but has impressive Massimo Theater, on whose steps he filmed the famous scene from the movie The Godfather Part III. If you are staying in Palermo, the nearest city with a long sandy beach is Mondello. The beach is beautiful, with white sand and turquoise sea.

Ion beauty Taormina provides a unique view of Europe's largest volcano Etna. The streets with floral balconies, street musicians, pastry shops, many shops and restaurants contribute to the beauty of Taormina, huddled together on a cliff above the sea. The most important monument of the Greek Theater from 3 centuries BC in which today hosts theater performances and film festivals.

The reason to come back

Sicily is known for its richness and medley gastronomic and culinary specialties. Believe me, whatever the reason made you visit to this diverse island, you will not remain indifferent. I'll be back again, but the second time I’ll go on the south side of the island, because Sicily has much more to offer.

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