SECRETS OF SICILY
TOP 5 towns to visit
We've chosen five of our favourite Sicilian towns from our ten day road trip around the island. While each town boasts the same rustic charm as many throughout Italy, we're hoping that this photo diary provides a little glimpse into the unique character of each location. We embarked on this trip with a loose itinerary, allowing us to spend a little more time in the places we fell in love with! It goes without saying that hiring a car is an absolute must, provided you're willing to take on Italy's narrow streets and high-speed highways!
Our third destination was Realmonte, located two hours drive south of Sicily's capital city, Palermo. We stayed by the beach at B&B Mammaliturchi and each morning woke up to the mouthwatering scents of an all-Italian breakfast (ie. carbs, carbs and more carbs!). After breakfast most mornings we meandered down to the local beach, Majata, and to our surprise were treated to affordable sun chairs and umbrellas to lounge on. Not to mention the beach bar providing bottomless cocktails - it really was as good as it sounds!
On the coastline of Realmonte, you'll come across (and be initially blinded by) the iconic Scala Dei Turchi, made of limestone and white marble. Translating to 'Stairs of the Turks', this natural phenomenon is notably similar to Turkey's Pamukkale - one of our ultimate bucket list destinations - so naturally we had to spend some quality time here!
2. GIARDINI NAXOS, MESSINA
After a few hours conquering the highways, where you'll feel like you’re on the set of The Fast and the Furious, we arrived at our second destination and our charming seaside Airbnb, Nina Bed & Breakfast. We happily spent a couple of days here, although it also makes for the perfect pit stop if you're on the road. The quaint town is the spiritual home of 'Gelato Messina', one of our favourite gelato stores in Australia! We recommend venturing to Naxos' esplanade and indulging in your body weight worth of pizza and pasta at Ristorante Pizzeria La Vela - some of the best in town! If you're anything like us, we'd also suggest grabbing a bottle of local wine and preparing a cheese board to enjoy a sunset picnic by the sea.
Cefalu was our first stop, home to a picturesque coastline that was something out of a dream. The narrow streets of the bustling Old Town kept us occupied for hours, as we explored endless nooks and crannies - perfect for all travel taste buds! Diving into the Italian culture, we made an effort to try out a new cafe or restaurant each day, even if we couldn't decipher the extensive menus. If you're looking for a waterfront restaurant with delicious beverages, we suggest heading to FoodSicily - or if you're on the more indulgent side, Cortile Pepe is our pick! Our favourite attraction was the town's Duomo, a must see 12th Century Cathedral. This spectacular landmark is adjacent to several other historic and rustic buildings that spill out onto the golden stretch of sand. This makes for some perfect postcard material!
4. ISOLA DI FAVIGNANA
A short hydrofoil ride from Palermo, this island just off the coastline is more beautiful than we imagined. Before even exploring the magnificent coastal sights, we fell in love with the town of Faviganana, the last stop of our road trip! We recommend renting bikes from the main square (approx. €5 - €8 per day) so that you can pedal your way to the beaches via local estates and villas. After a few wrong turns and many laughs, we eventually reached our destination at Cala Rossa. As we dipped our toes in the sparkling blue water and glimpsed the Isle of Levanzo in the distance, we were at a loss for words!
Cala Azzura is another must visit destination nearby the town of Favignana. It’s a spectacular spot but be sure you don’t forget to stop for some refreshments at the nearby cafe, Bar Cala Azzura, as it’s quite a trip back to town (even by bike)!
The beautiful town of Taormina was our final stop on the mainland before we ventured to Isola Di Favignana. One of our favourite things about this centuries-old town was learning about it's history after exploring the (somewhat intact) amphitheatre! After a delightful morning spent in town, we made our way to picture perfect Isola Bella Beach. We'd highly recommend catching the cable car that runs from the peak of the mountain down to this beach as it provides some insane vantages. Once you've arrived, we'd recommend embarking on a short walk from Isola Bella Beach to the more protected Baia di Mazzaro Beach. Once you've arrived, hiring a sun bed is an absolute must!