Attractions Nearby Sicily, Day Trips and Excursions
Sicily is surrounded by islands, some of which have tourist facilities and can be visited as day trips. The Aeolian Islands (Lipari Islands) boast particularly impressive attractions and are just a short boat ride away, while the Ustica Island is a must for scuba divers.
Other attractions easily accessible on day trips include the beaches and delightful harbour of Sciacca in the south, along with the Ficuzza royal hunting lodge to the south of Palermo. In addition, the Ortygia Island, lying off Syracuse, makes for a popular excursion from Sicily and suits those based in the east.
For getting away and for a further slice of the region's history, the Aeolian Islands, also known as the Lipari Islands, are a notable choice. This sizeable group of islands lies just off the north-east coast of Sicily and is readily accessible by ferry from Milazzo. The three main islands are Vulcano (named after the god, Vulcan) - good for hiking, Lipari - the largest of the Aeolians with the best facilities, and Panarea. The latter has the finest scenery and beaches. The island of Salina also deserves a mention and is known for is salt lake, Roman tombs and summer Caper Festival.
Ortygia Island, Syracuse
Address: Syracuse, Sicily, Italy, IT
Ortygia Island is an extension of Syracuse in the Sicilian south-east and is linked to the mainland by bridge. The island is loaded with sights and attractions, including the Temple of Apollo in Pancali Square, Sicily's oldest Classical Greek site. There is also a fine cathedral in nearby Piazza Duomo, as well as an 11th-century castle. In addition, the Ortygia Island has decent shopping in craft shops and boutiques, together with a ton of cafés and restaurants.
Island of Ustica
Address: Ustica, Sicily, Italy, IT
This little island lies off the northern coast of Sicily from Palermo and comes with spectacular scenery, both on land and in the water. The ancient volcanic island is a national marine park featuring petrified black lava and divinely clear, blue waters. Ustica is especially popular with divers for its submerged ancient city of Osteodes with all its treasures. Easy to reach, many tourists choose to travel to Ustica overnight, allowing a full day for sightseeing.
Island of Isola Bella
Another popular island excursion within easy reach of Sicily, Isola Bella lies close to Taormina and was actually private property until 1990. Now serving as an important nature reserve, Isola Bella is actually managed by the World Wild Fund for Nature and does permit tourists. Many day trippers come hear to sunbathe on the rocky beach and to simply enjoy the scenic views.
Sciacca is a less-visited seaside town in the west of Sicily, where it is known for its position across an eye-catching hillside. It sits midway between Agrigento and Marsala, and comes with a fascinating harbour and far less crowded beaches. Those near the town are really stunning and are home to top resorts with a number of popular attractions, such as a thermal spa complex.
Island of Lampedusa
The charming Mediterranean island of Lampedusa (Isola di Lampedusa) lies within the region of Sicily and is the biggest of the Pelagie Islands, even though it is only approximately 11 km / 7 miles in length. Located just over 200 km / 124 miles to the south of Sicily and a mere 112 km / 70 miles to the east of Tunisia, Lampedusa is actually Italy's most southerly destination. There are many attractions on the little known travel destination of Lampedusa, such as a crowd-free port town and numerous beaches. Many people choose to sightsee by hiring a moped for the day, heading to the beaches of Cala Creta (Clay Cove) and Cala Conigli (Rabbit Cove), the latter of which is something of a nature reserve and is actually one of Italy's only egg-laying areas for loggerhead turtles. Other good beaches include Cala Francese, Cala Pisana and La Guitgia.
This royal hunting lodge in central Sicily is known for its forested setting and backdrop of mountains, and makes for a good stop-off between Palermo and the south coast. It lies within the township of Corleone - of 'The Godfather' fame - and is close to great trekking opportunities. Ficuzza Palace and the lake are particular highlights, as well as the vast Ficuzza Woods (Bosco della Ficuzza) nature reserve, which is rich in native flora and fauna.
Open hours: daily
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