The intensity that a trip to Sicily can offer is unique, an ideal destination 12 months a year.
Mistakenly considered mainly a summer destination, because one automatically thinks that all an island has to offer is the sea, Sicily offers much more than beaches, presenting itself as an excellent compromised example between art, history, culture, sea and food.
Its 1000km of coastline, so different from each other, cannot but help to think of this island as an excellent summer destination or just perfect almost all year round, even when the water is still too cold or the weather is not ideal for bathing.
The surrounding nature makes its marvelous beaches, romantic and poetic, like Scopello or the Isola Bella, or those more particular like La Scala dei Turchi (Turkish Steps) or the black beaches of Linosa.
The selection is limited to 10, although I do feel doing a great wrong to the island seeing the high number of beaches and bays it offers, the book 150+ beaches in Sicily describes a good 150, easy to understand how the selection, personal, must have been arduous.
I am often asked which my favorite ones are.
So I have compiled a ranking of the most beautiful beaches and coves of Sicily completing this selection with advice on where to stay and, in some cases, how to get there, to help you draw up your next vacations in the land of the oranges, pistachio and some of the most suggestive beaches in the world!
To better enjoy the Sicilian beaches the right months are those from June until late September, I could dare to push the season until October if not the early days of November
It's not all about sea
To face a trip to Sicily means plunging yourself in an environment where the Sea is only just one of the attractions that the island has to offer. In Sicily, even when it rains or is cold, things to do are not lacking.
If you travel in Sicily and do not gain a few pounds, even if only in 7 days, something has got to have gone wrong. Whether it's about street food, pizza, pasta, fish, meat, or vegetables, Sicily is told at the table.
Sicily is definitely cheaper than the Italian cities of art or other Italian regions. Just avoid the high season and take some simple precautions, a trip to this region can be surprisingly economical for the excellent quality.
Too crowded in high season
If you do not love crowds and crowded beaches then avoid in particular the month of August when, along with you, there will be thousands of people on the same beach. Which worsens the smaller this is.
Mondello beach, just like the one at Isola Bella, which is microscopic, becomes almost unbearable because of the crowds during the summer months.
Sicily is big and varied, even just following the itinerary of the beaches, that is, the one following, two weeks will not be enough to visit them all and, it would also be a shame to restrict the trip just to these (if you go to the Turk steps it would be a shame to miss out the Valley of the Temples, if you go to Taormina it would be a shame to miss out the Greek theater etc, etc)
Lack of public transportation
This is the sore point of the island, the lack of scarcity of public transport. In truth, there are both buses and trains to reach these beaches, some but not all, but the times dilate compared to the possibility of having one’s own car. The reason why I always heartily recommend to travel with one’s own means rather than getting lost in the streets and stations.
The beaches of Sicily as its sea are so different that it is difficult, and it would also be, unfair to rank them.
Each of the mentioned beaches is different from the other, which is why I have made the decision to list them according to a counterclockwise travel itinerary, leaving the islands to the last.
The ranking does not do them justice but above all, given the variety, it would be difficult to say which one is more beautiful than the other.
I start with Palermo to follow the coast passing through Trapani, Agrigento, Ragusa, Syracuse and Messina.
This is the most famous beach and once also quite chic of Palermo. In the low season it is a dream, I do not recommend to come here in August when it is too crowded and you cannot enjoy this wonderful little corner that until the end of June can give the best of itself.
It is not uncommon cases when, during the peak of the season, this same beach you see in the picture, becomes instead a cluster of tourists, dirt, and chaos.
The photos I took one day in mid-May, is as Mondello appears beyond the two months of the summer crowd.
If you are not boarded directly in Mondello, and if you have a car, I recommend you to stay here rather than in Palermo center, and if you do not have a car, this beach can be reached by bus from Palermo.
The transportation company of Palermo is the AMAT, active lines are the following:
LINEA 806 - POLITEAMA - MONDELLO
LINEA 677 - STADIO - MONDELLO
LINEA 544 - PIAZZALE GIOTTO - MONDELLO
LINEA 603 - STADIO - MONDELLO
LINEA 936 - SFERRACAVALLO - MONDELLO
LINEA 645 - STADIO - PARTANNA
LINEA 615 - STADIO - MARINELLA
To check routes and timetables Timetable and routes
The ideal to escape from the heat but above all from the chaos of Palermo, would be to stay directly in Mondello, but compared to the capital, this coastal town, known to have been in the past the beach of the wealthy of Palermo nobility, is certainly less economical than Palermo.
I have therefore selected two options for Palermo, in areas from which it is easy to take the bus to Mondello, and one in Mondello for those who prefer to pay more, but get to the beach on foot.
A short distance from the beach of Mondello the reserve of San Gallo can be reached by foot and it is a great alternative to the more easily accessible crowded beach, especially during July and August.
The beaches are small and not very sandy but the sea is crystal and clear.
As you continue on your walk, the number of tourists decreases, and the place becomes increasingly wild and silent. In this reserve, there is also a nudist beach.
A very beautiful reserve for those who want to combine lovely walks in typical Sicilian nature and bathing in clean coves of extremely blue water.
How to get to San Gallo Reserve
From Mondello you can walk or. You pay a toll of € 0.50 if you are on foot.
The coves and the beaches are within walking distance, the farther you go, the least people you will meet. For your lodgings I recommend staying in Mondello, the reserve is within easy walking distance from the town.
The Reserve is visited exclusively on foot because nothing must disturb the approximately 40 species of birds that nest in this area, of which Bonelli's eagle, the buzzard, the peregrine falcon, the kestrel.
For those who cannot, or will not, visit the reserve on foot, a valid alternative is to hire a dinghy or to take an excursion with the boats that leave from San Vito Lo Capo, which will also allow you to reach the most beautiful bays, including those that cannot be reached on foot.
Among the most beautiful bays I would like to mention: Cala Tonnarella dell'Uzzo (also the easiest to reach and therefore more crowded), Cala Torre dell'Uzzo, Cala Marinella, Cala Beretta, Cala della Disa, Cala del Varo, Cala della Capreria, Cala Mazzo di Sciacca.
Together with them I add Scopello too, which is near the Reserve, famous for its Faraglioni (steep rock towers) and the tuna fishery.
The bases for visiting these two destinations are three: Scopello, Castellammare del Golfo, or San Vito Lo Capo. For the same costs (which in this case are not cheap anyway), I think the choice of sleeping in Scopello is interesting given the opportunity to stay in some house in the neighborhood, or San Vito Lo Capo which is, in turn, located in one of the most beautiful bays of Sicily.
In all cases, a car is required.
A unique and beautiful location, a chalky white rock that plunges into the blue sea.
The scala (steps) is a cliff formed of marl, sedimentary rock of calcareous and clayey nature, which gives it a very white color. A unique place in the world of incredible beauty and grandeur.
The name, Scala dei Turchi (Turkish Steps), is referred to the pirate raids, by the Arab population generally called the Turks, who, according to legend, moored their vessels in the waters of the Scala (Steps).
Moored in front of the steps, from here they climbed up to plunder the villages.
To reach it, we need to park at the Bay of the Turks Lido and walk down to the beach, after a few hundred meters you will reach the glittering steps.
The extreme point of Sicily is located at the island of currents, a short distance away, though, is the beautiful beach of Portopalo Capopassero whose secrets lie a little distance from the main beach.
Just follow the coast to the left, towards the castle that is now a hotel, to find the locals’ beach with a crystalline sea and beautiful coves.
This area is rocky, I recommend wearing rubber shoes to enter the water.
A few kilometers away I recommend not to miss out Marzamemi, the sea is definitely not one of the best but the village has been re-evaluated and is now an alternative corner in an ancient Sicily thanks to the colorful bars that brighten up the streets.
It is worth coming here for an aperitif after swimming in the beautiful waters of Portopalo.
Taormina does not really represent Sicily, but it highlights the glamorous and elegant side of it, having always been a destination for elite tourism thanks to its charming location and unique historical findings, to name one for all, the Roman Greek theater.
It also offers one of the beaches most beautiful among all the rest - Isola Bella.
Uncomfortable because of the sharp rocks Isola Bella is a protected park where you can do great snorkeling and diving today thanks to the work of re-evaluation carried out in recent years.
The thin strip of sand that connects the mainland with the small islet at low tide is the free beach, the coast is instead reserved for private lidos and restaurants. Advisable to wear plastic shoes to enter the water.
For those who want to try another very nice beach, but very very crowded in July and August, then I recommend visiting the nearby Mazzaro, "my beach" and in general, that of the people of Taormina, it is the meeting place for the locals who cannot give up a flawless tan.
DO NOT MISS THIS - Suggested activities
In particular, for those who visit Taormina in July or August, when the beaches are too crowded, I heartily recommend to take part in the boat tours that will allow snorkeling or you can arrange a trip out with a fisherman and go fishing.
For the scuba divers, IsolaBella is definitely one of the most important and beautiful places of Sicily in which to dive, departures are from the island of Mazzarò and take up half a day, for 2 dives.
It is not only one of the most beautiful beaches of Sicily, but is in the top 10 of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the island of rabbits is amicably called the tropics of Italy.
I do not think that we need to explain why just a photo is enough.
This area of Lampedusa is now a protected park, you park on the road and then begin a walk of about 15 minutes to reach the beach of rabbits, in front of us the island of rabbits and on the left hand instead - laTabaccara, known for the optical phenomenon of flying boats.
Lampedusa is all about the sea and even in this case, unjust of me to mention the most popular, which is why you should read the post Guide to the Pelagie islands, Lampedusa and Linosa to not miss the other coves and beaches of the farthest island of all.
Perhaps among all the islands of Sicily, the Egadis are my favorite, the reasons why are many and although I like them all three, also because they are incredibly different amongst themselves, the most beautiful cove with the most incredible water continues to be Cala Rossa , in Favignana.
It is unfair not to mention the sea of Levanzo and Marettimo, which is why I advise to stay at least 3 nights and enjoy some days in the other two islands too.
But having to mention only one cove then my preference goes to Cala Rossa, which is a beauty among the beauties.
Linosa is considered the black pearl of the Mediterranean, a volcanic island less known than its antagonist, Lampedusa, but which offers excellent beaches and natural pools for swimming.
The beaches are black, of volcanic rock, my beach, rocky, preferred, is represented by the Faraglioni, that encircle in a crown a piece of sea creating a wonderful place to swim in peace.
his was a venture, Linosa is tiny and virtually nobody offers online accommodations. Here everything works in the old-fashioned way, or rather by calling the phone or asking once you arrive.
After hours of research, empty calls and interesting acquaintances in Lampedusa, the case wanted me to find accommodations offered by Ms. Anna.
Studios at €30 per night (for more information) www.linosavacanze.it.)
The same prices are offered by Mr Fiorello, who also organizes tours of the island by car or by boat and taxi services. He can be contacted by phone at the following numbers (calls rather than sending messages): +39 3387324866 and +39 3496866849 .
The Sicilian islands offer unrivaled seas, and, unlike the other locations, where the context is sure to make of these beaches excellent venues, in this case we are talking about pure beauty of the sea.
A bit like when we think of the Caribbean Sea or the Indian Ocean.
There are no palm trees and coconuts but the islands offer excellent depths and stunning coves. Having to pick one then my preference goes to Pollara, Salina Island, place known for the film Il Postino, thanks to its phenomenal location as an amphitheater on a cliff.
On the north side, you can see the Balate, warehouses, and shelters built in the tuff on a promontory, while from the beach you see the Perciato, a natural arch, and the faraglione (steep rock), prehistoric volcanic conduit.
The sunset from this beach is one of the most beautiful of the Aeolian Islands.
Aeolian Islands saling and mini-cruises
Aeolian islands on sailing boat and mini-cruises
My advice when it comes to the Aeolian Islands is travel them on a sailing boat, option loved by us locals.
To find a charter, I recommend SailSquare, if you click on this link I will give you €25 on the first booking, if you are not yet registered.
Alternatively, if you have little time, only one day available, I recommend taking part in the mini cruises that are organized from Taormina or Milazzo.