Discover some of Sicily’s lesser-known sights
If you’ve holidayed in Sicily in the past, you’ll know just how many extraordinary sights and experiences are lurking round each and every corner. Few other Mediterranean islands manage to pack in quite so much in the way of architecture, nature, history and culture. Marvel at the Byzantine treasures of Palermo and the baroque architecture of the southeast, then feast your eyes on the smouldering backdrop of Mount Etna or the blinding white steps of the Scala dei Turchi. The truth is, Sicily never fails to dazzle.
But if you’re on a second or third trip to Sicily, rest assured there’s still plenty to see! In fact, the big plus if you’re visiting again is that rather than going back to the more popular attractions, you can concentrate on some of the slightly off-the-beaten track spots which are commonly overlooked by tourists.
Swap the Valley of the Temples for Selinunte
If ancient architecture is your thing, there’s more to Sicily than the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Selinunte, one of Sicily’s most impressive ancient sites, is set in the southwest of Sicily, close to the sea and within easy reach of Dedalo, a 4-bedroom sea-facing villa. The huge archaeological park incorporates the ruins of eight temples, an acropolis and ancient town walls. If you have time, squeeze in a trip to the nearby Cave di Cusa, the quarries used by the ancient Greeks for sourcing the stone required for the construction of the temples.
Greek drama in Sicily
Sicily’s ancient theatres, and particularly those in Taormina and Syracuse, are hugely impressive but, as an alternative, Greek drama aficionados will love the well-preserved 4th Century BC theatre at Tindari in northeast Sicily. You might even catch a performance of a Greek play! Beyond the theatre, explore original Greek walls, Roman baths and mosaics and be sure to visit the Byzantine Black Madonna statue behind the altar in the Santuario di Tindari. Visit our full collection of villas near Tindari.
Swap the beach for natural springs
Given the selection available, there’s little danger of getting bored with the beach in Sicily. Choose from long sweeping stretches of powder-soft sand, pretty rocky bays and some super-scenic horseshoe-shaped sandy coves. But if you fancy a day away from the beach, without forgoing being by the water, the Cavagrande del Cassibile nature reserve in southeast Sicily is well worth a trip. Follow the path through the 10km long limestone canyon, past flowering oleanders and aromatic herbs, down to the cool sparkling freshwater pools and waterfalls. Villa Lo Scoglio is a 2-bedroom sea-facing villa close by.
Swap Syracuse for Scicli
Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Taormina need little introduction. But what about Sicily’s smaller towns and villages? In the southeast, swap Syracuse for Scicli, set amongst dramatic scenery and home to some of the island’s most exquisite Baroque architecture. For an even greater contrast, swap the hectic streets of Catania for the calm of Caltagirone, home to Sicilian ceramics, Baroque buildings and the impressive Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte steps.
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage site
Sicily is home to a grand total of 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, with the best-known being the Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, Mount Etna, and Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
Another option is the Villa Romana del Casale, hidden away in the heart of the island at Piazza Armerina, and home to some of the finest examples of Roman mosaics. The most famous of the tableaux is the bikini-clad girls but the mosaics display a wide range of subjects and scenes. The UNESCO Heritage site and former hunting lodge dates back to the middle of the 4th Century AD.