Ivan and I visited Sicily July 2018. Planning the trip, we had a big list of places that we wanted to visit. We stayed in a beautiful hotel overlooking the main city. The room was quite spacious but not very well ventilated. Similar to our New York hotel Most nights, we had to sleep with the balcony door open.
A fair word of warning before you travel to Sicily, avoid the summer season as the heat was unbearable, I am talking highs of 40C on some days. Also, if possible, learn some Italian words, at the very least the basic “how are you”, “Thank you” and “how to ask for directions”. You will find some Sicilians that do speak English but as you would have guessed, most people speak Italian. You will enjoy your trip a lot more if you are able to converse with the natives.
Even though we had one week in Sicily, we only spent 5 days exploring the island. We spent the other days in the hotel resting up and being lazy from all the walking. Of all the places we visited in Sicily, Taormina was my favourite.
We booked our hotel in Catania. We woke up early the next day with so much excitement and took a walk through the city centre. In the centre of it all stands the stunning Piazza del Duomo. You can’t miss this; it is signified by the big elephant. There is also the Catania Cathedral behind the elephant. Being a small town, you only need a day to cover all the tourist attractions in this town. The food was not so bad although we spent most of the time having ice cream and snacks. We had some pizza in a nearby restaurant, but I was not impressed.
We had planned to go to the beach on the second day on the island, but we kept putting it off. Why? Because we are somewhat lazy tourists. We took the train to Taormina from Catania on the fourth day; we could see the Etna Volcano through the train windows. This was our second trip down. The first time, we just explored the town and walked through the Villa Comunale public garden.
We walked to the beach through some narrow streets. We were completely unprepared for beach day. We only had one beach towel between us, sunscreen, our swimming trunks and no sandals. Like I said, lazy tourists! Ivan seemed to enjoy his swim in the sea, but I only dipped myself in the salty goodness for a few minutes. My hair was so sticky from the salt and my whole body was itchy afterwards. Not fun! Nonetheless, we salvaged the rest of the day with a plate of what the Sicilians would refer to as a “hot dog” and chips, but I think it resembled a sausage wrapped in a poorly baked slice of bread. At the time, I was too hungry to judge the appearance of this questionable food. It was delicious though. Afterwards, we took a stroll around the town. It was then that we realised we should have booked the hotel in this Taormina. It was beautiful compared to Catania.
This was our chance to soak in the last strokes of sun before going home. We left Catania quite early since it took us about 1:30- 2 hours to get to Syracuse. We explored most of the town on foot. It was interesting to see how many orange trees grew on the streets. Syracuse is full of beautiful beaches and unfortunately for us, we had only had our beach day.
Again, we took the train to Messina. We had an interesting time getting from and to Catania on the train. We spent the day walking around the town, taking pictures and videos of people fishing. We enjoyed some delicious ice cream which we gulped down like our life depended on it. It was melting due to the heat. If you happen to go and buy ice cream, be careful because it is very addictive. There were some good-looking yachts and a large beautiful outdoor aquarium with various colourful fish.
If you are ever planning a trip to Sicily, check out the Lonely Planet. They have great information as well as great deals.