Sicily’s coastlines are among the world’s most gorgeous and the island’s beaches are definitely worth a visit this summer. Or, rather, any summer for that matter.
Home to Mount Etna, Valley of the Temples, stunning Baroque architecture, brilliant ancient ruins, delicious pasta alla norma and those ever so gratifying cannolis: Sicily is teeming with treasures. It is undeniable, however, that the sea and summer tend to be the first things that come to mind when one thinks of this island. This isn’t surprising as Sicily’s shores are not only among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean but the whole world. Although a road trip is a great way to discover the island, the sweltering heat of cities like Palermo, Siracusa, Noto and Taormina render a beach day practically compulsory when visiting on the island during the summer.
Practically every mile of the island’s dreamy coast is swim-break worthy, so here we recommend seven of our favorite beaches in Sicily.
1. San Vito lo Capo
The “Santa Monica” of northwest Sicily, San Vito lo Capo is known for its basketball courts and cloisters as well as for being an optimal backdrop for a snack or aperitif overlooking the sea. Monte Monaco protrudes over San Vito lo Capo’s white sand beach and shallow clear aquamarine water, which, to Americans, might bear more of a resemblance to the Caribbean than L.A.
2. Vendicari Nature Reserve
Seven kilometers of a breathtaking coastline–both rocky and sandy–comprise the Vendicari Nature Reserve. Vendicari beach is one of the Reserve’s most charming with fine sand and azure water set against the old-school backdrop of fishermen’s houses and the remains of an old tuna trap.
3. Torre Salsa Nature Reserve
This unspoiled territory is characterized by cliffs, dunes, wild beaches, natural terraces dug from streams, and the rocky peaks of Mount Stella, Mount Cupolone and Mount Eremita. Torre Salsa, an old watchtower, looks over the reserve, an oasis of the WWF surrounded by a grove of Aleppo pine trees.
4. Eraclea Minoa
The legends of Heracles, to whom the city was dedicated, and Cretan king Minos intertwine on Heraclea Minoa. It’s said that Minos pursued the inventor Daedalus to give him an exemplary punishment for having helped Theseus and Ariadne to find their way out of the labyrinth. The beach of Eraclea Minoa in southern Sicily has fine white sand, crystal clear turquoise sea, and rich marine fauna that never fails to amaze snorkelers and divers. Not far from the beach, the archaeological remains of Eraclea Minoa tell of the ancient splendor of this Greek city.
5. Capo d’Orlando
Capo d’Orlando, a legendary town said to have been founded by Agatirso during the Trojan War lays under a lighthouse. The town was later dedicated to the paladin Orlando, who apparently stopped there on his way to the Holy Land. Characterized by golden sand and gorgeous blue water, Capo d’Orlando boasts an exquisite view of the Aeolian Islands, particularly of Salina.
This “island” of Syracuse is surrounded by spectacular blue water along a rocky indented coastline that is perfect for adventure lovers, who can easily pass an entire day at the beach diving and swimming. The island offers plenty to see such as Maniace Castle a thirteenth-century citadel. From 25-29 July, Ortigia Sound System takes place. This year’s line-up of the highly anticipated summer festival includes artists such as James Holden, Suzanne Kraft and many others.
According to legend, Cefalù was initially populated by Giants. Its coat of arms depicts the city’s characteristic elements: the blue sea, three silverfish and a golden apple that represents the generosity of the earth. A true gem, Cefalù’s two beaches include the Lungomare, the main beach that extends from the old town all the way to the country. The other–believe it or not–is even more impressive: a small bay near the pier beside the walls of the old fishermen’s houses.