Sicily’s beaches are amongst the best in the Mediterranean, a wonderful collection of powder-soft stretches of sand and pebbly coves with translucent sea. Away from the busier beaches, the coastline is punctuated by untamed nature reserves with sand dunes and hideaway bays barely touched by tourism. Before you pick your holiday villa in the sun, get the lowdown on some of Sicily’s top beaches.
Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve
Offering wonderful coastal walks and picture-perfect coves, Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve lies to the west of the island, bookmarked by Scopello to the south and San Vito Lo Capo to the north. Dramatic seascapes and excellent hiking trails are always a winning combination but the main attraction is the small pebbly beaches and the crystal clear water that borders the reserve.
Fontane Bianche and Arenella beaches
While there are several places to soak up the sun in Syracuse, the best beaches in the area are to the south of the city at Arenella and, a little further away, at 15km from Syracuse, Fontane Bianche. Both beaches are excellent options for families with soft sand, transparent sea and the option of lido-style facilities.
Calamosche and the Vendicari Nature Reserve
The soft white crescent of sand at Calamosche beach in south east Sicily is strikingly beautiful and, outside of the month of August, remarkably peaceful – largely due to the lack of facilities, sun loungers or shade. Accessed to the most beautiful beaches via a 20-minute walk through the Vendicari Nature Reserve, with its 8kms of golden sand dunes and hidden bays, Calamosche is the Reserve’s most popular beach. There are three entrances to the park from the Noto-Pachino road.
Foce del Belice
The two-mile stretch of sand that borders the Foce del Belice nature reserve is similarly unspoilt. Boardwalk paths lead through pinewoods and across the dunes to the beach which can also be accessed from La Pineta restaurant to the west of the reserve or from the resort of Porto Palo, to the east.
Choose from several beaches at Cefalù, one of Sicily’s best-known coastal resorts. The vast expanse of golden sand on the main Lungomare beach is the most popular with families, thanks to its facilities and its safe, shallow water. To the west of Cefalù, the sandy Mazzaforno beach comprises a main beach, equipped with umbrellas and bars, and several smaller beaches amongst the surrounding rocks.
Just outside Cefalù, Caldura beach is best for exploring and snorkelling and is accessed via a flight of steps. Alternatively, the two shingle beaches at Sant’Ambrogio, around 5km from Cefalù, provide a much quieter option for anyone looking for a quiet spot to read and swim.
The 1.5km strip of white sand at Mondello is much loved by Palermitans thanks to its Liberty-style waterfront villas and grand Art Nouveau pier. Overlooked by pastel-coloured changing cabins, the beach gets very busy at weekends but still provides a wonderful respite from a busy sightseeing schedule and a great insight into beach life Sicilian-style.