Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, offering beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, delicious cuisine, and fascinating history. The island’s rich and varied past has left a fascinating legacy of wonderful archaeological sites and majestic buildings, whilst Sicily’s most famous natural wonder – Mount Etna, has left a mark all of its own in the distinctive volcanic landscape that surrounds it. The people of Sicily are warm and friendly in nature and a villa holiday is a great way to meet the locals and experience the Sicilian way of life first-hand. You will also find plenty of opportunities to soak up the intriguing culture of the island by attending one of the many colourful festivals that take place throughout the year. Whether its culture, cuisine, countryside – or simply beautiful beaches you’re looking for - Sicily offers plenty for everyone.
Sicily - Natural beauty matched only by unique culture
Pristine beaches and brooding volcanic landscapes surround our villas in Sicily, making a dramatic first impression that the island more than lives up to. Ancient history still bubbles beneath the surface, while many cultures have left their own invisible mark for you to experience.
The cuisine of Sicily is Italian in style, with distinct Greek and Arabic influences gained throughout the island’s history. Fish, olives and broad beans offer hints of Greece – particularly on the east coast that borders the Ionian Sea, whilst the use of apricots, rice, saffron, couscous, sugar and citrus offers comparisons with North African cuisine. Some of the best known Sicilian dishes include arancine (fried rice balls filled with meat), couscous al pesce (couscous with seafood), and caponata (a salad with aubergines, olives, capers, and celery). Sicily is also particularly well known for its excellent desserts that include Cannoli (pastry desserts filled with ricotta and sugar filling), Frutta di Martorana (marzipan and almond fruit shapes), and of course, gelato. All of this can be enjoyed with a delicious glass of the excellent Sicilian wine – the island has more vineyards than any other part of Italy.
All over Sicily you will find historical sites that hint towards the island’s rich and diverse past. Evidence of Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Catalan, and Greek influences – to name just a few – are still visible in abundance across Sicily. The island’s strategic position on the Mediterranean trade routes has been coveted by many different rulers over time. Some of the fascinating sights to see include the Greco-Roman amphitheatre in Taormina on the east coast of Sicily, the Baroque architecture of beautiful Catania, and the many historic sites of ancient Siracusa. These include the temple of Apollo, temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman amphitheatre, and the 7th Century cathedral (which actually stands on the remains of a much older building!). Wherever you go in Sicily, you’ll find a wealth of sites where you can delve into the rich and varied past of this captivating island.
Sicily has a diverse coastline of fantastic sand and pebble beaches, interspersed with sections of dramatic cliff face and undulating rocky coastline. Even in summer months, it is possible to find quieter beaches in certain areas of the island, with plenty of room to relax. Bustling coastal holiday resorts mix with larger ports, and tiny, tranquil fishing villages. A great selection of both sand and pebble beaches are to be found on the east coast around Catania and Siracusa, whilst there are many popular pebble beaches around the resort of Taormina. Facing across the water to the Aeolian Islands, not far from the port of Messina, you’ll find a number of great sandy beaches. Further along the north coast, the resort of Cefalu also has a wonderful, long sandy beach.
Sicily Local Charm
Sicilians are a welcoming and friendly people who are proud of the island’s rich cultural heritage. A huge amount of festivals and events take place throughout the year, where locals and visitors alike can really feel part of the community and soak up some of the Sicilian traditions. Towns and villages large and small each have a patron saint, celebrated in varying different ways each year, with events such as processions and fireworks. Good Friday sees atmospheric masked processions that take place all over Sicily. The island also has a great number of food festivals celebrating the delicious local produce grown in different areas – giving you the opportunity to enjoy some of the typical Sicilian specialities. Outdoor music events are popular during summer months, including the wonderful Greek theatre productions that take place in the Greco-Roman amphitheatre at Siracusa.
Sicily Holidays - Points of Interest
Visit Mount Etna - Europe's highest volcano, and home to the Greek god of fire, Vulcan, and the Cyclops from Greek mythology.
Spend a day in Taormina shopping for trinkets, and enjoy a lunch at one of the many renowned restaurants or pavement cafés. Whilst there, visit the Museo archeologico di Taormina.
Take the hydrofoil from Palermo to Ustica and enjoy the crystal clear, turquoise waters from a glass bottom boat.
Take a stroll through the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento - a UNESCO site and home to a parade of ancient Greek temples dating back to the 5th Century.
The pride of Sicily's south-west coast, Trapani has been restored over the last few years to its original architectural splendour with many central streets, squares and boulevards being pedestrianised.
Modica is characterised by its beautiful architecture including churches, palaces, and beautiful 18th century baroque style buildings offering the perfect place for a leisurely stroll under the warm sunshine.
Enjoy a relaxing cultural break in the historic town of Patti. Imagine beautiful beaches, backed by rocky cliffs and you’ll have an idea of what the scene is like here –one of the most attractive in Sicily.
If you're having trouble finding the ideal villa, we're here to help. You'll need somewhere that really feels like your home from home. Where everything is taken care of, so your only worries are which beach or sun lounger you’ll choose today. We've put together some of our top picks, so the villa of your dreams could be just a few clicks away.
James Recommends - Sicily villas
Need some inspiration to help choose your perfect villa? Looking for a pool with a view, a villa in the centre of the action, or a property that sleeps a large group? James can recommend villas to suit you. Browse through our villas that have that specific something you're looking for.
Let's face it, when it comes to reviews you want to hear from straight from the holidaymaker's mouth! They're the ones who've been there, done that and swam in their own private pool. That's why we use independent review service Reevoo – giving you the good and the bad from genuine James Villas' customers. Honesty is the best policy after all…
Sicily reviews verified by reevoo
Sights / Places to go
Scores 8.3 out of 10based on 32 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
10 out of 10
Stoke on Trent Large older family holiday
Locals in Camastra and especially Naro (ice bar) so warm and welcoming made to feel special,
Nothing really, does really depend on what you are looking for, no good for people looking for a party place but for a taste of real Sicily its superb. A little remote from main tourist attractions Etna etc, but they are worth the drive.
Confirmed stay: 21 September 2019 Published on: 22 September 2019 3 out of 10
This country is not aligned in our tastes and preferences, but may well suit others. We would seriously recommend checking out value for money.
Confirmed stay: 17 September 2019 Published on: 18 September 2019 9 out of 10
Westcliff on Sea Couple
Beautiful scenery of tiny secluded bays and rugged mountains. Wonderful fresh fruit and veg, seafood and meat to barbeque with a glass of wine. Fascinating places to visit like Mozia (Isola San Panteleo), the salt pans and wineries at Marsala, Erice mountain village (by cable car from Trapani), Segesta and Selinunte archaeology parks etc. One of the best Mediterranean places we have visited.
Eating out is relatively expensive. Not really bad but you need to be aware: roads are good but it's a big island so don't underestimate how long it will take to get around. Many beaches and swimming places charge for parking and then again for entry (can be €15+ for 2 in total) so be aware.
Confirmed stay: 14 September 2019 Published on: 15 September 2019 9 out of 10
Family (the eldest child is at school)
Cleanliness of sea and land
Confirmed stay: 31 August 2019 Published on: 01 September 2019 10 out of 10
Family (the eldest child is at school)
Erice and Trapani were particular highlights although Marsala is also very beautiful.
Could look a bit grubby in places, lots of litter and unattended cats and dogs.
Confirmed stay: 24 August 2019 Published on: 26 August 2019 10 out of 10
Family (the eldest child is at school)
Food, weather, history
Confirmed stay: 17 August 2019 Published on: 22 August 2019 9 out of 10
COULSDON Family (the eldest child is at school)
Scopello town has a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere for a meal out, or a quiet drink, either in the busy square or at a restaurant or bar overlooking the sea. There are a few stalls/shops selling hand-crafted jewellery or other tourist-aimed goods but otherwise "night life" is a very enjoyable case of sitting back with an ice-cream, a ricotta cake and coffee or a glass of masala and people-watching. The area around the villa is not built up, but if you want zero development, you can walk into the national park and its beaches, as we did one day.
Italian drivers are risk-taking, erratic and pushy, compared with France or UK (where we have lived). You really do need to have your wits about you.
Confirmed stay: 17 August 2019 Published on: 18 August 2019 10 out of 10
Plymouth Family with teenager
Take a boat trip from Castellammare into the nature reserve. And taking a food tour of Palermo - park at the airport and take the train in.
The pool was not as big as I had hoped for but was still lovely.
Confirmed stay: 10 August 2019 Published on: 15 August 2019 8 out of 10
Nottingham Family with 2 Adult
Erice, Segesta & Castellammare were all really good to visit. Castellammare harbour was fantastic at night, restaurants, bars etc. We hired a boat for half a day - great way to see the coves, coast line and the stunning mountains. We also took a trip over to Catania & Mt Etna - outstanding.
Not a lot of interest on the island. Was expecting it to give us more to explore and do - so that was a disappointment. Sea was very calm - very little water sports.
Confirmed stay: 10 August 2019 Published on: 11 August 2019 8 out of 10
Wirral Family (the eldest child is at school)
Camastra is a pretty rural location. There is a small supermarket/corner shop here and a couple of restaurants, but you are not far from other larger towns for shopping. Site seeing is a little challenging due to distances and the nerve fraying standard of driving. Valley of the Temples is worthwhile and Scala dei Turchi beach is a must.
The driving is probably the worst I've seen so far worldwide! Speed limits are purely optional and you may as well double them! Blind overtakes on bends and dangerous tailgating are routine and you really need your wits about you. Road surfaces are also occasionally awful and dangerous. You need to be prepared.
Confirmed stay: 10 August 2019 Published on: 11 August 2019
Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.
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