Sicily's Secret Coastal Getaways

by Christopher Atwood

On rainy days like today, I imagine myself on a beach in Sicily. In my daydream, I can smell the fresh sea breeze. Sun is glinting off of the sapphire-blue Mediterranean. And, nearby, a Sicilian fisherman casts his net from a rowboat .

In Sicily, sun worshippers might:

* savor a private boat cruise around the isle of Favignana

* reach quiet coves at an untouched nature preserve

* bask on the white cliffs of the Scala dei Turchi beach

As the Mediterranean's largest island, Sicily is awash in a stunning coastline.

Download Savoring Sicily Trip

Simply put, Sicily is paradiso for lovers of sea and sun. Keep reading below to discover our 5 Favorite Sicilian shores:

Scala dei Turchi Sicily

Picking one beach in Sicily is like picking a favorite Italian dish. How do you choose just one? Sicily teems with inviting coastline. Just a half hour’s drive from ancient Greek ruins, the Scala dei Turchi is unlike any beach in Italy. Wind-carved cliffs bleed into a sea the color of the sky here.

INSIDER TIP: Up-scale accommodations can be found in the nearby town of Agrigento — also home to the spectacular Greek ruins of the Valley of the Temples.

Favignana Sicily

Sicily boasts isles of its own -- including the jaw-dropping Egadi chain. Not far from the town of Trapani lie the three islands that comprise the Egadi archipelago: Favignana, Levanzo, and Marittimo. Favignana is the largest and most tourist-friendly--reachable by private boat or the hydrofoil from Marsala or Trapani. Favignana's most famous beach is called the Cala Rossa, whose electric-blue waters lure Italians and foreigners alike.

INSIDER TIPVisitors to Favignana can enjoy a guided bike ride along the coast, stopping to swim. Busier beaches can be avoided by hiring a private boat captain for the day -- you'll drop anchor to swim in gulfs reachable only by ships.

Lo Zingaro Preserve

Sicily's northwest coast boasts the Zingaro Preserve -- Sicily's first protected nature area. Stretching between San Vito Lo Capo to Scopello, the reserve spans over 7 kilometers of shoreline. Here, visitors will find an enchanting mix of pocket-sized coves, pristine beaches, and rugged cliffs. Hiking trails crisscross Lo Zingaro -- offering uninterrupted views of the sea and native wildflowers.

INSIDER TIPBefore entering the park, stop for lunch in the adjacent town of San Vito Lo Capo. Be sure to order the local speciality: seafood couscous. As an added bonus, the park entrance in San Vito Lo Capo is less busy than the one found in Scopello.

Calamosche Sicily

Locals in-the-know head to the Vendicari Nature Preserve -- near the baroque town of Noto -- for a sandy bay. Inside the park, you'll find the Calamosche beach — marked by a wooden sign. Shielded from the sea currents by rocky headlands, Calamosche consistently boasts calm seas that are ideal for snorkeling.

INSIDER TIPAfter parking near Calamosche, you'll need to walk 3/4 mile to the beach. Your efforts are amply rewarded by this natural paradise -- scarcely known to tourists.

Mondello Sicily

After enjoying the hubbub of Palermo, you can recharge by the sea. Residents of Palermo often flock to Mondello for a bit of salt air and sun. Easily reached from Palermo, Mondello hosts a long, sandy beach. Along the beach, you'll find scrumptious restaurants that overlook the tranquil turquoise waters.

INSIDER TIPBetween May and September, you should plan to visit Mondello on a weekday if you like your coastline minus the crowds.

Who's ready to dive into Sicily with us? Click below to download our sample Sicily itinerary -- featuring the Sicilian gems Italians love.

Download Savory Sicily Trip

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