For a splendid vacation in the heart of the Mediterranean, whether you are an art lover, a historian, a food connoisseur, or a nature and sports enthusiast – Sicily is definitely the place to be. This is not only due to its long and rich history imbued with the spirit of over two millennia of cross-cultural interaction (which makes Sicily a melting pot of diversity), the many UNESCO-protected natural reserves around the island and its Aeolian and Egadian archipelagos, the fantastic sun-filled beaches with crystal blue waters, and the rich diversity of its ecological habitats. It is also the perfect holiday spot for families looking for a relaxing (and at the same time educational) vacation while the children play on the beach or by the ruins of ancient medieval castles and Greco-Roman temples.
While there is a wide choice of accommodation, many tourists are now finding that vacation rentals or villas, such as those found on Wishsicily.com can fulfil all their expectations of a true Sicilian experience, and at excellent prices. Rather than staying at a touristy motel, they can now have all the luxuries of home at their fingertips (including swimming pool, BBQ, garden, and direct beach access), and at times even spend less because they can rent luxury villas Sicily directly from the local owners. They can also bring friends along and share the budget for a large place with extra luxuries, giving them the opportunity to experience the fully local, Sicilian folklore.
More importantly, vacation rentals are available all over Sicily and also include its surrounding islands; which is why a trip to the exotic Aeolian island of Stromboli would be a must – allowing you to revel in the majesty of the volcanic landscape and watch the lava ‘fireworks’ displays or to enjoy the ancient mud-baths of the Volcano—considered by the women of ancient Greece and Rome as the most therapeutic for health in general and (especially) for cosmetic purposes.
Sicily is truly the ‘jewel of the Mediterranean,’ and tourists world-wide flock by the thousands every year to admire the island’s ancient marvels of Greek, Roman, Arabic and Northern European architecture, while also taking advantage of the cultural and folkloristic events held in all the various parts of the island that give Sicily it’s multi-cultural character—including the mixture of different customs inherited from the civilizations that settled there or occupied the area over the course of its long history and mythology. Taking a trip down history lane among the quiet solitude of the baroque medieval villages in the Val di Noto for example (the towns of Ragusa, Scicli, and Noto especially), means literally stepping back into the ancient past and is one of the top choices for families looking to relax and hike through another era of history.
The long 160 km stretch of the coastline that makes up Agrigento and runs along the South Western part of Sicily has the most enviable beaches in the Mediterranean, and the San Leone beach is praised as a fantastic place for families. Water and beach sports of all kinds—including Kite Flying and local art festivals—offer high-octane excitement, or just plain relaxation and sun-bathing. The famous Valley of the Temples is a marvel for adults and children of all ages and the principal attraction of Agrigento. These hold ancient treasures like the 5th Century B.C. Temple of Olympian Zeus, of Hercules, of Juno, and many more – most of which remain perfectly preserved and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Aside from the majestic Etna volcano, which has a totally unique mixture of different natural habitats due to the volcanic formation and activity present all around the island (and which provides some spectacular hikes around its fuming craters), there are also some beautiful and peaceful places of absolute charm, such as the Zingaro Reserve. This place is not widely frequented by tourists and is an absolute natural haven filled with hundreds of rare species of flora and fauna that you will easily spot as you walk along its small sun-filled golden beach or bathe in its pristine waters.
Images of Sicily from Shutterstock
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