BEACH LIFE IN SICILY
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is a maritime realm with endless beaches and bathing spots. The extensive and varied coastline offers guests plenty of choice, whether you want to relax and soak up the sun, play sport or actively explore the island. The coast near Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, between Agrigento and Sciacca, has several long and beautiful sandy beaches protected by dunes and cliffs. Many are still relatively unknown. One of the area’s natural highlights is the incredible La Scala dei Turchi near Realmonte, a lunarwhite rock formation that erosion has shaped into a monumental staircase leading into the sea. It can be reached via paths cut into the rock, and has two beaches surrounding it, which are ideal for a picnic.
Another unusual beach is Eraclea Minoa, about 5km long, which is surrounded by dunes and protected by a thick forest. Nearby are the ruins of a Greek-Roman city called Eraclea, dating from the 4th century BC, which includes the remains of an amphitheatre. Named after the ancient watchtower that stands guard from a clifftop, Torre Salsa, between Siculiana Marina and Eraclea Minoa, is a nature reserve where chalk cliffs alternate with long sandy beaches. And in the nature reserve between Marinella di Selinunte and Porto Palo, amber-coloured sand dunes are shifted and reshaped by the wind.
At the tip of a promontory on the northern coast of west Sicily, San Vito Lo Capo is a popular resort during the summer, not least because of its long, sandy beach and crystalclear waters. San Vito lo Capo is a great destination for a family day out, and can be combined with a visit to the beautiful Zingaro nature reserve, west of Palermo. This stretches for 7km, and features sheer cliffs, pebbled coves and lovely beaches, along with a dazzling variety of bird, animal and plant life. Stop off for some lunch in Scopello, a charming fishing village known for the Faraglioni rock stacks out to sea.
Mondello is the main seaside resort for Palermo, and became fashionable in the 19th century, when the Art Nouveau pier was built. Surrounded by the Monte Pellegrino and Monte Gallo hills, life in Mondello is focused around the beach. During the summer, boat regattas and other sporting competitions are held here. An hours drive east from Palermo, Cefalù is a small town with a big personality. Guests should spend the morning exploring the medieval streets and Norman cathedral, then head to the sandy beach in the afternoon.
The ancient town of Taormina is one of Sicily’s most fascinating places, with a history linked to the sea. For a clear view of its position on the island, head to the famous Teatro Greco, built in the 3rd century BC and still hosting performances. You can seeMount Etna from here, and the glittering Mediterranean. You can reach the sea via Taormina’s cable-car, which takes passengers down to the beach resorts on the coast. The Island Beaches are accessible by hydrofoil and ferry. Sicily’s many islands offer numerous quiet beaches, which you may find you have all to yourself.