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Friday, February 25, 2011

The 5 Best Beaches on Sicily

Giardini Naxos, Sicily at sunriseImage via Wikipedia
Author: Rodney Ritchie

Sicily's beaches are renowned as some of Italy's best, with transparent blue-green waters, long sandy beaches and nearby picturesque villages. While everyone has his own opinion about which beach should make the top five, here are five of the most popular and possibly the best Sicily has to offer, and certainly worth a visit on your holiday.

Mondello Lido

Near the small fishing village of Mondello on the Mediterranean Sea, is Mondello Lido, just nine kilometres from Sicily's vibrant capital Palermo. Its wide, white sandy beach runs for 2 kilometres from Monte Pellegrino to Monte Gallo. Mondello's bars, cafés, nightclubs and hotels line the shore. In the evenings, join the locals in the seaside restaurants featuring fresh seafood -delicious mussels, clams, and octopus - and afterwards take a stroll along the waterfront.

Be sure to spend some time in Palermo to visit the graceful pallazzos, especially the Palazzo dei Normanni, with its Baroque architecture. You will enjoy the busy street life and the colourful markets around Piazza San Domenico, Here you can check out the elegant shops, and dine in some of Sicily's best restaurants. You might also like to visit the creepy catacombs, then hire a car for a trip to the splendid Monreale Cathedral and the popular little seaside town of Cefalù.


Popular with locals looking to escape the summer heat, Lido di Mortelle, on the northeast tip of the island, 12km north of Messina, has several excellent beaches. Lido dei Tirreno is perfect for children, but there are many smaller beaches where you'll find some peace and quiet.

Messina, the third largest city in Sicily with a population of 250,000, fronts the shallow and narrow Messina Straight, that connects the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west with the Ionian Sea in the east. Attractions include the National Museum of Messina, the rebuilt Norman Cathedral, and the Gothic Church of Santa Maria Alemanna.

Spiaggia Sabbie Nere

This out-of-the-way, black-sands beach, on the island of Vulcano, is the finest of its kind in the Aeolian Islands, which surround Sicily. The island is best reached on a boat excursion, and activities here include a 3-hour hike to the top of the Gran Cratere, which last erupted in 1890. The views from the top are stunning.

Lido Mazzarò

Near the busy resort town of Taormina, and reached by a 15-minute cable-car ride down the hill, is the popular Lido Mazzarò. Bars and restaurants line this sandy beach, which has long been a haunt of the rich and famous. All types of water sports and beach activities are on hand.

Be sure to visit the sea caves of Grotta Azzurra, and Isola Bella, the small island reached by a narrow strip of sand. Once a medieval town, Taormina's quaint streets and laneways are packed with boutiques, art and craft shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.


Also down the hill from Taormina, Giardini-Naxos is a sophisticated beach resort, with its delightful old town, lively seafront promenade, and bustling Cape Schiso harbour area. The fine, sandy beaches, which front excellent waters for swimming, are within an easy walk, and there is a good selection of water sports available. There are many bars, and the restaurants offer delicious seafood. Take the walk to Alcantara Gorge, just a few kilometres inland, for some dramatic scenery.
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About the Author

Rod Ritchie, a travel writer and editor, writes for many publishers including AA Publishing and Fodors. Cottages to Castles offer a range of high quality self-catering holiday villas in Sicily. Visit Cottages to Castles for a selection of quality Sicily villa rentals.
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