You should have seen face of Sicilian guy, I said I wasn’t too impressed about Sicily and most probably wouldn’t go back. I must admit, that probably I was in the wrong places and time (and he confirmed it) as all I remember was enormous crowds and endless drive to the beach.
We traveled from one side of the island to other, starting at the kingdom of Sicily Palermo and finishing in the most influential city in ancient times Syracuse – the 2700 year old city which is based on the island, rich in Greek culture and amazing architecture.
Palermo welcomed me as a true tourist by ripping 70 eur for a taxi drive from airport to the city. Besides that, Palermo is great for day excursion, but it is NOT a base for summer holidays, while there are lot of things to do in the city, it is a very dirty and scary during the night and the fabulous Sicily beaches are anywhere else than here.
The closest to Palermo and the nicest on this side is Mondello beach, just 20 minutes away, it is the place locals go for a swim on Sunday, which was the same day we were there. Have a look at the beach, it truly deserves the “most crowded” beach title. If I could close my eyes and image it empty, I could see a tropical color sea with white sand blending together Monte Gallo and Monte Pellegrino in a picture perfect scenery.
Castellmare del Golfo
Our next target was Scopello beach, a wild part of the Zingaro nature reserves with breathtaking sea stacks and grottoes in the hard limestone cliffs. More than 45 minute drive from Palermo, we arrived at a very steep cliffs which revealed a tiny pebbly beach at the bottom which seamed like 20 minute climb (in 35 C direct sun), a group decision was made, that as beautiful as the sea stacks looked, they were not worth a climb. We therefore compromised to rather average Castellmare del Golfo long sandy beach with warm relaxing waters.
I wish we have taken time and driven to San Vito Lo Capo, but that’s almost 2 hours away from Palermo, which is quite a drive for a day.
Unknown pebbly beach
Our last attempt to find great Sicilian beaches on Palermo side was driving towards Cefalu beach. Without satnav our patience dried out in 30 minutes and we decided to be adventurous by taking the first exit on a way and finding this pebbly beach with picturesque view towards the little village. The greatest beauty of this beach is its emptiness, but you can also understand why.
Crossing the island takes you just 2 hours and you are at the Etna mountain, Catania and the beautiful Syracuse. We arrived exhausted from the heat, dropped our bags at the Syracuse and went for the first beach we could find on the way. This is what we got. Crowded, but water was unbelievably refreshing.
The true place to be on this side of the island is Fontane Biachi, the truly white beach with amazing color water and spectacular sea stacks. Entertainment of the day: rent a pedal boat and go for diving from the cliffs. Come back in the evening when beach club turn into a real tuc-tuc place.
Even further south we found this lovely seaside resort in Nota village. Full of daytime activities like zumba on the beach, volleyball and watersports, it was again crowdy (I’m repeating this too often, but it was).
1. Don’t go in August, there are too many people on this tiny island.
2. Try to discover other traditional beach destinations like – Messina, Taormina, Cefalu, San vito la Capo or Agrigento lime cliffs.
Or if you want to find where these beaches are located, check map below: