While it can be tempting to spend the entire vacation in Sicily on one of the island's beautiful beaches, there is much more to be discovered in this island, the biggest on the Mediterranean sea.
Whether it's a beautiful Protected park on an active volcano, a city rich in culture or an archaeological site of immense historical importance, there are countless things to do in Sicily without going to the beach. We have compiled a list of five locations that we believe deserve a place on your holiday itinerary while in Sicily.
And we suggest some activities that you can in order to discover Sicily off the beaten path.
Panoramic view from Castelmola in the Gulf of Giardini Naxos and Taormina with Mount Etna in the background.
Trekking excursions on the Etna volcano.
With its 3340 meters Etna is the highest active volcano on the European continent, its frequent eruptions throughout history have changed, sometimes even profoundly the surrounding landscape. This wonderful volcano, enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage sites, has large expanses of pines and birches forests and countless craters that can be visited with trekkings with difficulty levels from the easiest to the most arduous. The summit craters are active and eruptions are frequent (last December 2018 ) nevertheless, given the effusive nature of the volcano with low intensity explosions, it is possible to reach the top of the volcano with summit treks that will let those who decide to venture so far discover, alien landscapes made of lava deserts, fumaroles and expanses of yellow sulphur oxide. Another popular way to discover the wild nature of the volcano is riding a mountain bike through woods and single trails.
Moments of fun during a Body Rafting excursion to the Alcantara Gorges.
This lush valley that stretches from the town of Randazzo at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level and reaches the beaches of Giardini Naxos and San Marco is a magical place to be discovered by mountain bike. The most famous place in this Sicilian valley is the botanical and geological park of the Alcantara gorges, a basaltic canyon with black walls up to thirty meters high, where a crystalline river flows, and where you can practice activities such as bodyrafting, canyoning or even river trekking.
The valley offers much more, visiting hill-side villages like Castiglione di Sicilia, Motta Camastra, Malvagna or Randazzo with a Trekking will will make you discover Sicily far from the mass tourist routes. In the Valley, indigenous wines of unquestionable quality are produced and a visit to one of the many wineries for a wine tasting is a valid alternative to get to know this part of the island.
View of the Mother Church of Savoca.
This mountain range that lies in the province of Messina extends for about sixty five kilometres from Capo Peloro to the Nebrodi Mountains range, it borders Etna in the south-west and the Strait of Messina in the east. The Peloritans preserve some of the most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes of Sicily and are far from the most popular routes from mass tourism. Visiting the Agrò valley on foot getting to know the villages immersed in the green hills for a wine tasting or tasting the food produced by the farmers in a completely natural and genuine way, will introduce you to a Sicily made up of friendly peasants and mountain communities rich in history and ancient traditions.
The Isola Bella marine park
View of the Isola Bella of Taormina.
Undoubtedly the stretch of sea that goes from the bay of Giardini Naxos with the imposing and majestic Etna in the background, the marine park of the Bella island, the bay of Mazzarò and the bay of the mermaids are one of the most picturesque coastal landscapes of the whole of Sicily.
Discovering this stretch of coast with a boat tour, is a cheap and at the same time pleasant way to get the best of the marine park, since the boats that leave from the pier of Naxos do stop for a swim, and a drink is usually included in the cost of the excursion. For the more sporty one kayak tours are available, while both diving and snorkeling tours will give you the opportunity to discover the underwater wonders of the marine park. During high season (July and August) Isola Bella tends to be stormed by a multitude of tourists.
The wine district
Wine tastings and gourmet products.
The Sicilian vineyards are among the oldest in the world, the cultivation of this plant began with the arrival of the Greeks on the island around the 7th century. B.C. The vineyards around Etna, in the Alcantara valley and on the Peloritani offer excellent wine that can be discovered with food and wine tours. The native red wines of this part of the island are the nerello mascalese and the capuccio, while from the cataract and the caricante two white wines of unquestionable quality are obtained. The small village of Roccafiorita perched on the Peloritani Mountains has some family-run wineries where tastings of excellent quality wines and food can be made.