In spite of its dubious mafia connections Sicily is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination with more and more visitors discovering the alluring Italian island each year. It’s a traditional and rustic place with a rich culture and a heady mix of architecture, arts, cuisine, literature, music and history. Sicily is where you can spend your time sitting on beaches, visiting archaeological sites or just kicking back and sampling some of the locally produced wine. To help you escape the crowds and find your own slice of unspoilt Sicilian heaven, here are the best unspoilt places to visit in Sicily for travel snobs…
Known for its eclectic mix of carnivals, thermal spas and fishing, you’ll find this beautiful commune nestled on the southwestern coast. The town climbs up the surrounding cliff affording beautiful views of the glistening Mediterranean Sea below. Still not yet discovered by the tourist masses, it’s a relatively untouched place with gorgeous beaches and picturesque traditional houses. If you visit at the beginning of Lent (February) you’ll get to experience carnival tine where the locals gather together, make floats and have a whole lot of fun.
Cala Dogana, Levanzo, Sicily
Levanzo is the smallest of the three main Aegadian Islands which are located just west of the island of Sicily. They’re worth the extra effort to get to as just at the entrance to the valley (which runs south-north through the island) you’ll find this beautiful harbour village that seems to be trapped in time. Here crisp white houses are surrounded by clear glistening waters and gently bobbing boats – a place where the traditional way of life is still very much preserved.
Foce del Belice
Located on the south-west coast of Sicily, this is one of the quietest and most unspoilt stretches of coastline on the island. Meaning ‘mouth of the river’ its tranquility is probably to its protected nature reserve status. Visit for complete isolation away from the summer crowds and to spot the wildlife which lives in the surrounding dunes and pinewoods.
Famous for its sweet dessert wines, Marsala is an attractive coastal town in western Sicily. It has ancient origins and is blessed with beautifully preserved baroque architecture, elegant piazzas, marbled streets, some fine restaurants and shops and an excellent archaeological museum. Make sure you include a visit to their famous wineries and if you have time, take a food tour as it’s an excellent way to sample the local cuisine.
This is a picturesque ancient fishing village located on the southern tip of Sicily. Its gorgeous sun-drenched sandy beaches are worth the visit alone but it’s also a timeless place where they still continue in their tradition of preparing seafood delicacies (such as dried tuna roe salamis). It’s also a largely unspoiled place with lush green surroundings and a pleasant fresh breeze.
This was once a powerful metropolis and although its heyday is long gone it has retained its ability to awe. History oozes from every pore of this UNESCO listed city and the area is strewn with impressive examples of its Greek cultural past including ruins of amphitheaters and architecture. Also visit for its beautiful piazzas, cathedral and long wide streets which are perfect for romantic evening strolls.
Arguably the prettiest seaside village in Sicily, this harbour-side commune is nestled in the south-east of Sicily and is a beautiful place to visit. Fishing is still its main industry and the locals continue to process seafood delicacies such as dried tuna roe, tuna salamis and marinated anchovies. There’s a picturesque old centre which dates back to the mid-18th century and a very attractive Piazza. On the south side is where you’ll find working harbour with its fleet of colourful bobbing wooden boats.
Where to Stay
For the ultimate romantic Sicilian escape try what the Guardian called the ‘tower of love’ – a fairytale-esque tower for two complete with arched windows and a crenelated tower. Badia Tower It’s located 2km away from Marsala town in the privately-owned Badia Estate surrounded by towering palms, brightly-colored oleanders and scented Mediterranean gardens. Inside expect terracotta tiling, white-washed walls and attractive blue furnishings.
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Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam