There are some things in life that I thought I need to do once, one of these things is a trip through Sicily.
We startet our tour driving from Catania Airport to Taormina.
Taormina is a small village up the mountains close to the volcano Etna. To our expectation, it is very touristic and did´t transport the authentic, italian charm that we hoped to find. We didn’t really see any italians there besides a few shop assistance and restaurant staff. We stayed 2 nights which was one night to long, as you have seen everything within 1 hour. I would recommend, if you feel like having the experience to yourself, to drive through and continue to Etnea and do both in a one day trip.
If you decide to stay overnight in Taormina, an apperitivo at Hotel Metropole is quiet nice. Unfortunatelly I have no restaurant recommendation, as everything we tried, had nothing to do with the lovely food we are used from tuscany, piedmont, campania, umbria, veneto, south tirol or calabria.
For those who like to enjoy the night a little longer, Taormina has surpriseingly a wonderful bar you shouldn’t miss:
2. Stop Etna Volcano
the Etna is the highest still active volcano of europe. As we arrived by car at the base station, there were stunning green grass spots on the black volcano ash, two craters which were easy to access and to walk around and on them. This experience was free of charge.
As we thought, we would only come here once a lifetime, we decided to book the trip to the top with the cablecar and than continue in an excursion vehicle to the top in a guided tour (obligatory). This was 62€ per person.
As we arrived on the top, we saw, that there is nothing to see. Furthermore it was freezing cold, foggy and snowing in june. This experiance lasted 10 minutes, than we got accompanied back to the cablecar to go back down.
The stop at the base (where the carpark is and the cablecar starts) is the nicest thing you can experience and see there.
3. Stop Sirakusa
There is only one hotel which has a private beach and a public beach club ( sunbed cover charge 35€ for two persons) with a charming restaurant: hotel musciara
www.sirakusaresort.it €€€ but definitelly worth a visit.
If you are looking for a romantic hideaway in the natural reserve outside Sirakusa centre, you can enjoy authentic sicilian dining in lemon and orange plantages, golfing, walking, horse riding, tennis, quad and many more at www.villadeipapiri.it
4. drive through Modica and Ragusa towards Palermo
The drive over the sicilian island toward Modica and Ragusa was lovely. In june everything is colored in a rich green tone, blossomed rhododendron bushes are on the highway all the way over the island. Pink bougainvillea beautify the whole island. The landscape is covered with rich lemon and olive trees, caper bushes are everywhere. Unfortunately we did´t have enough time to take on walks, but that for sure this will be the most beautiful and relaxing thing to do on the sicilian island.
www.walksicily.de (the blog is in english and german) here you find the nicest walks and everything about the fauna in Siciliy.
The drive took us a whole day. First stop at Unesco world heritage old town of Modica. Modica is situated in the dramatic landscape of Monte Iblei and has two grand baroque cathedrals after a remarkable number of other churches, where a long stairway leaders from one to another. The baroque city buildings are emblazoned with dramatic decorated balconies. second stop at Ragusa Ibla. Ragusa is one of Sicilys most picturesque towns. please consult www.italyheaven.co.uk for further information
After our sightseeing program we continued our 2 hour drive towards Palermo. Finally arrived at hour charming boutique hotel: www.palazzobrunaccini.it every room in this establishment is a suite on two open levels. It is located in the old town where black, yellow, brown and white, live together peacefully. Here you can find all kind of graphities decorating houses and facades. About 100 meters away just opened an modern and extraordinary bed&breakfast www.aquarooms.it with each whirlpool bathtubs, wooden floors and also situated on two open levels.
from Palermo we drove to Milazzo and parked our car at garagedelleisole.it (10€per day with shuttle service to the port) and took the ferry to Panarea.
Panarea is a very small island with only a few streets, do to the size of the island there is no normal traffic, the transportation works via golfcarts around the island. Even taxis and the police use golfcarts as their transportation. The houses on this island are all build in the same style and it does remind a lot of greek islands, as mostly everything is held in white and blue.
Back in the days, Panarea was a hideaway for celebrities, and 13 years ago on my first visit, we rocked on one of the most beautiful terraces in the world together with Naomi Campbell, Dona Karan and Bette Midler, at Raya Restaurant www.hotelraya.it. Raya has now changed the concept and is offering organic homemade camut pasta, operated on the principals of Steiner school, using Demeter products, while the DJ is playing soft electronic tunes and a highly elegant crowed is enjoying the view over the delightful blue waters and the sight on smoking Stromboli volcano.
The other lovely restaurant with an patisseur, creating your own desert just on time before your eyes, a wine cellar with 1200 labels, devine seafood which is a definite must visit on Panarea is Hycesia www.hycesia.it
Maybe it was do to preseason in june, but the island was quite tranquil, restaurants and bars were rarely booked, but we heard that the 2 party month are just july and august. Besides some walks aver the island there is also not so much to do, as the only white sandy beach has been flushed away a few years ago, and so now there is basically no real beach to go to and to swim, besides in your hotel pool.
Hotel La Piazza has the most beautyful pool deck located on the Caletta bay and offers unequalled, breathtaking views, surrounded by the typical vegetation of the Aeolian islands. The restaurant overlooking the pool and the mediterranean, will let you enjoy typical sicilian pasta and seafood dishes: www.hotelpiazza.it
If you like to go on a boat, you definitely should rent a wooden fisher boat made in Panarea (50€ a day) or a dinghy (100€ per day with a 40ps engine) to take a turn around the island. For those who don´t like swimming in dark open water (like me :-)) there aren´t any turquoise bays around so you might want to take a book, some food and sunscreen to enjoy the tranquility, sunbathing on your boat.
After a sunny day, the perfect harmonized sundowner you will also find at Banacalii lounge bar at hotel Lisca Bianca. This hotel doesn´t have a pool, but for the younger crowed who enjoys long party nights, your beautiful rooms with private terraces and amazing gardens are just a step away. www.liscabianca.it
Shopaholics ! definitely check out amazing bohemian style boutique Buganville !!!