With mountains, nature reserves and over 1000 km of coastline, there is a huge range of sports and activities on offer in Sicily. All you need to do is decide whether you want to be on land, in the air or in the water.
Principle areas for bird watching are the Vendicari Nature Reserve, south of Syracuse, where the coastal marshland welcomes annually an extraordinary range of migratory birds including flamingos, herons and pink gulls. Monte Pellegrino, to the west of Palermo, is visited by buzzards, peregrine falcons, kestrels and owls and the Bosco di Ficuzza, to the south of Palermo, is also a big centre for bird watching. Find out more about bird watching activities and events in Sicilyfrom LIPU.
There are excellent opportunities for diving all round Sicily and particularly on its offshore islands. Top spot goes to Ustica, the Egadi and Aeolian islands. The marine reserve around Ustica (accessible via ferry or hydrofoil fromPalermo) is a protected area and offers some stunning diving. Equipment rental and diving courses are available in all locations.
Several cliff faces have been established for climbing. The best known is at San Vito lo Capo, home to the annual October climbing festival, although there are other opportunities around Palermo, Taormina, Ragusa and Syracuse.
There are several 18-hole golf courses with greens that extend between forests of oak and hazelnut trees, vineyards and citrus groves and each with spectacular views. On the east side of the island, there is the Picciolo Golf Club, on the northern side of Mount Etna, and the stunning Donnafugata club, with two 18-hole championship courses, near Ragusa. The Rocco Forte Golf Club in Verdura is close to Sciacca and Agrigento on the south coast.
A holiday in Sicily in the spring or autumn offers superb opportunities for hiking. The three largest parks, Etna, the Madonie and the Nebrodi mountains feature spectacular scenery and graded walking tracks and guided tours are generally available at weekends. Highly recommended is a guided walk through the 10km long gorge at the Cava d’Ispica with its remarkable catacombs and burial chambers.
The Madonie Mountains is a popular region for horse riding with excursions organised by several Agriturismi such as the Azienda Agricola Monaco di Mezzo.
Not for the faint-hearted, paragliding is available from the high mountain ranges of the north, in the Nebrodi and close to Palermo at Piana degli Albanesi. Visit our collection of villas for air-based adventures.
Hire your own boat or pick up a private skippered boat at Palermo, Trapani, Castellammare del Golfo or the east coast and explore the coastline from the water.
The west and south coasts of Sicily are the best spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing, and particularly at San Vito Lo Capo, Favignana, Torre Granitola, Triscina (Selinunte), Torre di Gaffe (Licata), Capo Passero (southeast) and Marsala and Mothia (southwest). On the north coast, surfing is popular at Capo d’Orlando.
Skiing takes place on Mount Etna and in the Madonie Mountains, with ski lifts and ski schools available in both locations. Etna Sud (1800m) is the main centre on Mount Etna. Activity in the Madonie is concentrated in Piano Battaglia (1650m). Cross country skiing takes place on the high altitude slopes (Sentiero d’Italia) in the Nebrodi and Madonie mountain ranges.