Sicily has a spirit unlike any other island – it is a natural survivor and, more to the point, a survivor of nature. Ravaged by phenomenal abuse from its world-famous Mount Etna and heavy external attack from foreign invasion for more than 2,500 years, Sicily has not only triumphed in preserving many of its historic and architectural treasures, but also its considerable natural beauty.

Take a walk through the narrow winding backstreets of the lofty coastal town of Taormina, stopping at one of the tiny restaurants where tables laze under the shade of a tree to enjoy a glass of chilled wine. On the northern coast, Palermo offers privileged views of the ancient domes, majestic baroque church towers and towering mountains as you arrive in the port. Way down the east coast, Syracuse boasts the Temple of Athena and just down the main street is the Fountain of Arethusa where you can sip on the fresh water that has burbled up since ancient times. Set beside the dominating Mount Etna, the second-largest city in in Sicily, Catania, is home to the magnificent Palazzo Biscari, fantastic gelaterias and the beautiful La Playa beach.

A bastion of ancient glory, the best way to view such disparity is to cruise from one coastal town to the next, then wander wherever the mood takes you, twisting through narrow streets, sauntering along wide roads, opening out onto vast piazzas and discovering one minute a crumbling Gothic church, the next minute an elegant boutique lined with the latest designer collections.

  • Anchor on the north side of Panarea and bath in the crystal clear waters whilst children can explore the nearby rocks.
  • Anchor in the bay of Taormina and spend a morning on the beach, followed by lunch in the San Domenico Palace hotel in the Piazza.

Don't Miss

  • If you visit in May or June you can enjoy the festival at the Greek theatre – one of the largest in existence and the site of classical dramas and comedies acted out in Ancient Greek with the backdrop of the city and sea.
  • Bathe in the mud baths and hot springs of the volcanic island of Vulcano.