Greek and Roman ruins in the enigmatic south
The south of the island features miles of empty beaches punctuated by fishing towns and backed by rich fertile agricultural land. Anyone exploring the region by car should be aware that roads are slower than on Sicily’s other coasts but, on a positive note, you will be rewarded with snapshots of picturesque hill villages and landscapes that remain essentially unchanged. Explore further to discover some of the greatest Greek archaeological treasures outside of Greece and extraordinary Roman relics.
Top beaches along the south coast include Porto Palo di Menfi and some of its neighbouring secluded coves. The beach at Eraclea Minoa is a long sweep of pine-edged sand which tends to be more popular than the town’s partially excavated ruins. Further west, the Foce del Belice nature reserve remains essentially untouched, with boardwalk paths that lead through the pinewoods and across the dunes.
The main towns along the coast are Sciacca, which has a delightful Baroque historic centre, and Agrigento. While the latter is somewhat underwhelming, the Greek ruins at the Valley of the Temples is unquestionably the region’s most impressive attraction, followed closely by the Turkish steps (La Scala dei Turchi), a dazzling white cliff-side stairway close to Agrigento.
Offshore, the Pelagie Islands, Linosa and Lampedusa, are increasingly popular with divers and snorkelers.
The further you head in towards the island’s interior, the close you will get to stepping off the tourist trail. Enna is the most noteworthy town, set amongst rolling wheat-rich plains, and the usual starting-point for visits to Piazza Armerina and the fabulous Roman mosaics at the Villa Imperiale del Casale.