Sicily, a Mediterranean crossroads luring explorers for centuries, a volcanic island so rich in natural and cultural treasures.
This sultry island in southern Italy can be so many different holidays, all in one. Beaches hide beneath towering cliffs and boutique family resorts dot quiet coastlines. Millennia of history breathe from the streets, from ancient Rome and Greece to Sicilian baroque towns.
There’s wild nature made easily accessible, like Mount Etna. And culture so easy to experience, not least with the food.
Oh, and the Mafia? Let’s look beyond stereotypes please. We’re not talking about Lucky Luciano here, we’re talking about how lucky you feel visiting Sicily. Plus The Godfather filming locations are the most touristic places in Sicily. And do you want to spend your holiday on pilgrimage to villages famous for bad guys. Sicily has so much more and the welcome is a lot warmer outside Corleone.
Sicily will trend in 2022 because it’s so many things you don’t expect it to be. This island is not like the stereotypes. Instead, it offers this superb balance between leisurely holiday vibes and a very authentic way of being.
Where To Go
Taormina is the chic resort town for high rollers seeking Sicilian dolce vita. It’s glitzy yet authentic, historic but always up with the trends. The vistas don’t lie. Views onto the sea, onto Mt Etna, or just views onto people (Taormina is brilliant for people watching). A timeless beach holiday destination.
Noto and Around
Southeastern Sicily is a baroque trail through noble villas, monasteries and palazzos. Noto is the soul of Sicilian barcocco and a great base for exploring the south. Ragusa is like one of those places from a fairytale, perched on a hill, lost in time. Ortigia is a fortress island and a lovely place to spend half a day. There are many more small destinations – try our five-day Barocco is Hot in South Sicily itinerary.
This was the largest city in the world, 2500 years. And while the Corinthian glory is somewhat faded, it’s been enhanced by dazzling baroque piazzas and golden medieval streets. You’ll find ancient Greece in a grand archeological site and modern Sicily along side streets that meet the Mediterranean. Syracuse is atmospheric and romantic, but also a great base for a family holiday.
Palermo tells a story of Europe. Byzantine mosaics, frescoed ceilings, Gothic palaces, Moorish domes: here the edge of a continent crosses paths with the rest of the world. It’s big and noisy at first, but don’t be perturbed, because Sicily rewards the explorer. So much can be uncovered, especially when you’re with the locals.
Sicily’s volcano is erupting right now, which makes it even more impressive. Etna is a destination for family adventure, with hiking, biking and taking off onto lava fields. Volcanic soils help cultivate vineyards, beech forests and black lava deserts. Rising more than 3000 metres, Etna dominates eastern Sicily and it’s hard to avoid its charms.
Sicily has its own archipelago, perfect for a few days on a yacht. Or just a day trip to an empty beach. And the Aeolian islands are only the start of the surprises here. Sicily is a destination in Europe where explorers can still discover unexplored places.
Where to Stay
Sicily has wooed visitors for 2500 years and the island’s hotel collection is as good as anywhere in Italy. You’ll find five-star resorts from recognised hotel brands, along with boutique owner-operated properties in smaller towns. Here is a small selection of our favourites.
Villa Igiea. Location, art, style, charm – Villa Igiea has so much that we love about the best Italian properties. It’s a 19th-century Sicilian palazzo recently renovated by Rocco Forte, perfectly situated in Palermo.
Both Seven Rooms Villadorata and Q92 are located inside 18th-century barocco palazzos in the small World Heritage city of Noto. Owned and operated by local Sicilian families, they are boutique options for a cultural stay.
Verdura Resort – Rocco Forte’s Verdura is the best beachfront Sicily resort. Here there’s golf, romance, space for kids and some of the most impressive facilities in Europe.
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo – This is one of Italy’s true grand dame hotels, old-fashioned, old-world, with all the charm updated by Belmond’s 21st-century amenities.
Four Seasons San Domenico Hotel – This 14th-century former monastery and convent is a couple of steps from Taormina’s mazy medieval streets.
What When to Experience
Sicily has always had a lot to experience. You can visit for the weekend to explore a corner of the island. Or perhaps stay for two weeks and combine two beachfront destinations with your family. And you’ll probably want to come back. Most people visit Sicily more than once.
So the question is not what you want to experience, but when will you experience Sicily. Because Sicily is already trending and will be one of 2022’s hottest destinations.