If you’ve missed out on a summer holiday, a quick September getaway may be just what you need to get through the winter. Pack your bags for a 4 or 5 day break in Sicily and combine a few days of sunshine with some fascinating city sightseeing. These are our top 5 picks.
An east coast stay means there are plenty of towns to choose from. From your base at Terrazza sul Mare, start with the least well-known, Acireale, where fine baroque buildings line the streets of the old town and spectacular views of Mount Etna are on tap at the Villa Belvedere public gardens. Continue on to Catania, Sicily’s bustling second city. Attractions include a relatively compact UNESCO-listed historic centre, large baroque piazzas and some impressive churches and palazzi but there’s also a lively fish market and the very ornate Teatro Massimo Bellini.
Glitzier and endlessly photogenic, Taormina is, for many, the jewel in Sicily’s crown. Visit the Greek amphitheatre and stroll past the boutiques on the the Corso Umberto, topped and tailed by the Piazza del Duomo and the Palazzo Corvaja.
With enough sights to fill several days, Syracuse offers a more traditional city break. Spend a day at the vast archaeological park, visit the Duomo and leave plenty of time to wander through the city’s maze of narrow lanes. Stop by the excellent food market at Via de Benedictis. When you need some downtime, admire the view from the rooftop terrace at Casa a Ortigia in the city’s historic centre, or pop across the road to the public sunbathing platform for a dip in the sea.
Cefalù’s beach and medieval town centre are significantly quieter in September, making it easier to sightsee at leisure. Highlights include the spectacular UNESCO Norman cathedral and, overlooking the town, La Rocca and the remains of the Temple of Diana. Explore beyond Cefalù, driving up into the pretty hilltop towns of Castelbuono and Isnello in the Madonie mountains. Need some time to just chill? Villa Carlotta is a seafront villa with a small pool and rooftop heated jacuzzi.
Nothing quite prepares you for the extraordinary town of Ragusa Ibla, a hotchpotch collection of crumbling houses and churches, with elaborately carved balconies and facades, that appear to tumble down the steep hillside. Stay in the heart of the town at Piazza Duomo 36 and look out from your balcony directly on to the Duomo. Spend your days wandering exploring the lanes and alleyways or visit the nearby baroque towns of Scicli and Modica.
Add a touch of indulgence to your city break by staying just outside Palermo city centre at a beachfront villa with a pool. Just 10 minutes from Palermo airport, Villa Stella is ideally placed for visiting the city whilst still having time to relax on the beach. Other local attractions include the magnificent Norman cathedral of Monreale and the Greek ruins at Segesta. Visit the medieval hilltop town of Erice and the pedestrianised old town at Trapani.