Our special places
We design holidays tailored to your priorities. Please contact us to discuss any destination.
Everyone returns to Sicily because there is too much history, too much culture, too much of a contrast between beauty and post war development, to take in on one visit. The succession of invaders have all left their mark on both the landscape and the cuisine.
Romantic Taormina makes a good base for experiencing many of these highlights with its cliff top Greek amphitheatre and elegant palazzos. Heading west from this seaside gem past rumbling Mount Etna one reaches Villa Romana del Casale with its astonishing collection of Roman mosaics. Not many visitors stop to explore the pretty countryside around this site but those who do are rewarded with a string of delightful medieval hilltop towns.
The island’s capital, Palermo, has to be the most exciting and atmospheric city in Italy. It is also the gateway to western Sicily with its distinct landscape and culture, and a coast of great beaches and congenial port towns.
For walkers, nature lovers and beachcombers, the Zingaro Nature Reserve near the seaside resort of Scopello offers wonderful vistas, peaceful beaches and an array of wildlife. For a more lively beach experience San Vito Lo Capo is hard to beat, a justly popular spot with Italians come August and well worth a visit in September for its couscous festival. Further south and west, the medieval hilltop town of Erice, set high above Trapani, offers a breezy respite from the summer heat.
On the other side of the island, south east Sicily rewards visitors with a particularly dense offering of towns and cities to explore ranging from Syracuse’s enchanting gem of Ortigia Island to the string of baroque towns including Noto and Ragusa which vie with each other architecturally and gastronomically. Lovely beaches make this an excellent family destination too, not least the Vendicari Nature Reserve which also offers great bird watching in the autumn.
For ancient Greek history, Sicily takes some beating. Syracuse has a spectacular archaeological site rich in Greek and Roman remains whilst Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples has some of the best preserved Greek architecture outside of Greece itself. Add to this the beautifully positioned Selinunte on the south west coast and the imposing temple at nearby Segesta plus many other ancient cities to explore and visitors could easily base a whole holiday around the Greek history of Sicily.
To the north of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands offer a peaceful retreat from the excesses of mainland Sicily. Both Lipari and Salina give one the chance to spend a few days in a charming harbour town and to visit the other Aeolian Islands. Lipari is the largest of the Aeolians but is still a small community and maintains its island charm. Salina is more intimate still with a number of small villages around the island to visit, and some highly acclaimed restaurants.
Located deep in the interior of central Sicily, the Masseria Mandrascate, owned and run by the delightful Rosita Prato and her family, offers a wonderful base from which to explore this little-visited but fascinating area of the island. A recent addition to the Real Holidays portfolio, we are sure this will become a firm favourite with our clients!
The Hotel Villa Meligunis is just up the hill from the centre of the town of Lipari close to the port. Lipari is the largest and in our opinion the most interesting of the Aeolian Islands, and the town provides a very good base for exploring the rest of the island.