Sicily is one of the regions of Europe that seems to have an enduring allure for visitors, and it is the stunning coastline and its beautiful beaches that are at the heart of this attraction. The best beaches in Sicily range from ones with stretches of golden sand to little coves and inlets where the beach lies against a rocky coastline rising above the ocean. While many of these have become tourist favorites where there are people providing sun loungers and umbrellas on the biggest beaches, you can try to get away from the crowds and discover the best Sicilian beaches in the process.
What Makes Sicily And It’s Beaches So Special?
One of the biggest attractions of Sicily is that it ticks the boxes in several areas that people will look for in a beach holiday, namely a good infrastructure, attractive sandy beaches and a great climate. During the peak summer months the temperatures will soar and people will flock to the beaches and the warm water of the Mediterranean. If you still want plenty of sun but prefer it a little cooler, April, May and October tend to have warm temperatures and plenty of sun, while the beaches are a little quieter as well.
However, if you want a destination that offers plenty of things to do once you’ve stretched out on the beaches for a few days, Sicily has plenty of historical attractions and activities that you can enjoy as well. There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore on the island, including the stunning Valley of the Temples with its Greek architecture, while the old city of Catania with its beautiful Baroque architecture is another gem. The city of Syracuse is another listed site, along with the Necropolis of Pantalica which is a series of tombs that were dug into the limestone near the city around 3,000 years ago. And if you are into exercise in the great outdoors, hiking Mount Etna is a fabulous time.
When it comes to activities, there are certainly plenty of marine activities to enjoy around the coast, and many towns will have companies that offer fishing trips out into the Mediterranean. You can also find yachts if you enjoy sailing, and there are also a few scuba diving sites around the island, although these tend to be located on the smaller islands that are a part of
the province of Sicily, such as the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of mainland Sicily. Hiking is also a popular pursuit, with the climb up to the volcanic crater of Mount Etna being a particularly interesting walk, rising to over 3,200 meters.
If you are looking for a beach that has good access to the facilities and attractions of a city, then Mondello could be a good option as it is only a few miles away from the city of Palermo. Today the sand at Mondello is a beautiful arc that is just over the promenade from the bars, restaurants and other retailers of the town of Mondello. The town has attractive art deco architecture that is is famous for, and over the last couple of centuries transitioned from a sleepy fishing village to a bustling tourist destination. For a Palermo, Italy beach, or at least one close by, this is the best choice.
The beach will generally be quite busy throughout most of the main tourist season, and can even be busy in the shoulder season and at weekends as well. The soft white sand is covered in sun loungers and beach towels, so it is worth getting there early to get a good spot, while the waters are good for swimming without too much of a strong current generally. If you are feeling a little flush, a walk along the pier to the imposing restaurant is a great place to enjoy a meal, while also looking out over the clear waters.
When it comes to getting to Mondello, the main bus route from Palermo will usually get you to this beach town in about 25 minutes, although the service can be quite full in the peak season. The Sicilian capital has a rich history to explore, with a grand cathedral along with several impressive buildings worth seeing, while the Catacombs of Cappuccini are an interesting if a little somber place to visit.
There are plenty of accommodation options around the Mondello area, and some of the best places to stay in Sicily are in this area, including some great Palermo hotels:
Budget – B&B Great Sicily – This pleasant B&B is just a short distance from the beach, while also offering a good location for the town. There is a large swimming pool, with rooms that are simply furnished. There is free Wi-Fi, while the breakfast is varied and provided with local produce. Rooms from $45 a night.
Mid-range – B&B L’Officina di Apollo – This stylish and modern B&B has air conditioned rooms with flat screen TVs and wireless internet. Just a short walk to the beach and the town center, the breakfast here is particularly good with a nice variety of options. Rates start at $65 a night.
Luxury – Unico Boutique Hotel d’Arte – This lovely hotel is in a great location overlooking the beach, and there is a lovely deck area with sun loungers and a great swimming pool. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the food is also very good. Prices start at $175 per night.
Fontane Bianche Beach
Another of the popular Sicilian beaches is Fontane Bianche, and it is another beautiful curving arch of golden sand that can be obscured by people during the peak summer months. The waters here are crystal clear, which make it an ideal place for families looking to relax and to unwind. The clear water also makes this a nice beach for snorkeling, although you’re just as likely to spot another person in the water as you are a fish, as it is also great for swimming. While much of the beach is fringed with trees, in truth the facilities of the town aren’t very far away at all, offering bars and restaurants with a variety of different cuisines and drinks on offer.
Fontane Bianche does have its own small town, but as it is only around 15 minutes away from the city of Syracuse, it can also be easily reached from this historic city. Syracuse was once described as the greatest and most beautiful of the Greek cities, and its history can be explored by visiting the ruins of this old city, which include a Roman amphitheater, and also a Greek theatre where there are sometimes theatrical performances during the summer months. Syracuse also has a pleasant cycleway if you are looking for something a little bit more active to enjoy, which follows the coast on a disused railway line, providing some nice views over the ocean.
Here are some of the places to stay that offer a good base for those visiting Fontane Bianche beach, which has some of the best hotels in Sicily:
Budget – Casahotel Surlamer – Just a short walk from the beach, this hotel offers nicely decorated rooms with air conditioning and flat screen TV. There is a nice terrace and garden area, with an outdoor bar. Rooms start from $45.
Mid-range – White Beach BeB – Located very close to the beach, this Bed and Breakfast has been tastefully decorated, with comfortable rooms and large beds, along with air conditioning. There is also a small terrace with furniture where you can sit out to enjoy the sunshine. Rates begin at around $70 a night.
Luxury – White Bay Resort – Facing directly on to the beach at the northern tip, this luxurious hotel has spacious rooms that are wonderfully decorated, with a private balcony overlooking the beach. There is a spa in the hotel along with a pleasant swimming pool, while you can also enjoy food and drinks at the bar and restaurant. Rooms from around $135 a night.
San Vito Lo Capo Beach
The small town of San Vito Lo Capo is another of the Sicilian destinations that is found at the north western tip of Sicily. It is a place that may not be quite as developed as some of the other beach destinations, but it is still a place that has plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas to allow you to relax in comfort during your visit. The seafront area also has plenty of bars and restaurants to satisfy the appetite. As with most of the Sicilian beaches, the curve of sand is pleasant and has shallow warm waters that are great for swimming and for playing with the family.
While San Vito Lo Capo may not have the long history of some of Sicily’s bigger cities, it does have the sturdy Santuario di San Vito, a fortress that was latterly converted into a church dedicated to the town’s patron saint. If you are looking for some more outdoorsy activities, there are sailing trips that can be taken from the town’s pier, while you can also watch some of the rock climbers scampering up the cliffs near the town. Another trip worth taking is to the nearby Zingaro Nature Reserve, which has plenty of hiking trails to explore, and small coves and remote beaches that offers another perspective on the rugged Sicilian coast.
There are a lot of hotels and other accommodations if you are planning a holiday in San Vito Lo Capo:
Budget – B&B Villa Verdesca – A short drive from San Vito Lo Capo, this B&B offers a quiet place to stay in the Sicilian countryside. Rooms are comfortable with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, while the breakfast is generous and offers a good start to the day. Rooms from $35 a night.
Mid-range – Hotel Perla Gaia – This boutique hotel is tastefully decorated and is in a great location for the beach at San Vito Lo Capo. The rooms are comfortable with large beds, while the rooms are air conditioned and have free Wi-Fi. Rates start from $60 a night.
Luxury – Artemide Hotel – Just a two minute walk to the beach, this hotel has a small pool on the rooftop terrace where there is a bar, and a continental breakfast included. The rooms are comfortably furnished with large beds and spacious surroundings, while some have views over the ocean. Rooms from around $83.
Close to the southern tip of the island of Sicily, the village of Sampieri is still a sleepy fishing village, but if you like slower and less crowded areas, this might be one of the best beach towns in Sicily for you. The main historic sight in the village is the former brick factory known as the Fornace Penna, which has appeared in several television shows as a backdrop. The village itself is a short drive away from the town of Scicli and Pozzallo, but its rural nature means that those who choose to rent a vehicle will usually be able to get the best of a trip to this part of Sicily.
The village actually lies at one end of this long beach, although if you are looking for peace and quiet then you can stroll down the beach to find your own stretch of sand where you can set up. The beach here is stepped, so you can swim and paddle in the shallow waters safely, which makes it a great place to visit if you have younger children.
Because of its rural location and the fact that it hasn’t developed into a tourist resort like some beaches, you won’t find too many options when it comes to sun loungers, and there is really only one shop to pick up snacks and cold drinks. I don’t like telling people about this place, since it is one of Sicily’s secret beaches, at least in terms of tourism.
Here are a few places to stay if you are thinking of visiting the beach at Sampieri:
Mid-range – Poggio Bellavista – This pleasant B&B has rooms that nicely decorated in a rustic fashion, with air conditioning and a private terrace facing out towards the ocean. It is just a short trip to the beach, and you can rent bicycles to help get you explore as well. Rooms from $60 a night.
Mid-range – Torre Dantona Country Hotel – Set in a converted farmhouse, this hotel has rooms that are beautifully decorated in a traditional style, with rooms with air conditioning. There is a lovely swimming pool present, while it is just a short drive from the beach at Sampieri. Rates start at around $78.
Mid-range – Le Dune Hotel – Conveniently located for the beach, this recently renovated hotel has air conditioning and free Wi-Fi in the rooms. There is a pleasant restaurant with a terrace, and it is a good base for a holiday near Sampieri. Rooms from $64 a night.
The historic town of Cefalù is one of the popular destinations on the north coast of Sicily, with a beach that starts in the center of the old town, and then stretches away towards the edge of the town. Although it is one of the best beaches in Sicily, that also means it is particularly busy during the peak months, when you will find several businesses renting sun loungers and umbrellas for those looking to relax at Cefalu Beach. There are plenty of bars and restaurants along the seafront as well, while you may need to wander a little further down the beach if you are looking for a quieter area to set up your beach towel and picnic.
The historic town center is one that has been there for centuries, and gives Cefalù a sensational atmosphere, with the sun browned buildings with the red roof tiles making it a picturesque location. There is also a lovely Norman cathedral dating from the twelfth century, which has an impressive depiction of Jesus Christ on the interior roof, with the church itself being part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also several other historic churches in the town, along with the Museo Mandralisca which has a fine collection of archaeological finds looking at the history of the area.
There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs located in and around Cefalù:
Budget – B&B Villa Rosa – Just a short walk from the beach, this B&B offers pleasant rooms with air conditioning that are simply decorated. Breakfast can be served at a pleasant terrace with views over the ocean. Rooms from $50 a night.
Mid-range – Le Ginestre B&B – Located on a hill overlooking the town of Cefalù, this charming B&B has lovely gardens with a terrace giving a peaceful atmosphere. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning and a tasty breakfast. Rates start at $65 per night.
Luxury – Hotel Alberi Del Paradiso – This hotel occupies a beautiful location with views over Cefalù, with rooms that are spacious and comfortable, with flat screen TVs and balconies with lovely views over the ocean. The hotel has a lovely spa area with an outdoor pool, and even a tennis court. Rooms from $90 a night.
This picturesque little beach is one that been acclaimed the most beautiful beaches in Sicily with crystal clear waters right offshore as well. Naturally, like many beaches in Sicily it can become quite busy in the summer, so it is worth getting there early in order to get a good position on the beach if you plan to spend the day there.
The cliffs to each side of the beach help to make the water here particularly calm, and this also helps the marine life under the surface which makes it a popular location for those who are looking to do a little snorkeling during their visit.
The beach is located in the Vendicari Nature Reserve, so it does mean that you will need to bring whatever you need for the day with you, and in order to protect the area, the car park is around a kilometer from the beach. However, there is no doubt that once you have made the walk, you are rewarded with a stunning location for relaxing, swimming, and even taking a walk along the cliffs in this beautiful part of Sicily. The nearest town to the beach is Noto, which is about a 20 minute drive, and is a beautiful historic city that has some lovely places to explore, while also offering a great base for visiting Calamosche beach.
If you would like to visit Calamosche, here are a couple of options for accommodation nearby:
Budget – B&B Villa Ambra – In the town of Noto, this attractive B&B offers comfortable accommodation with pleasant air conditioned rooms. The B&B has a nice terrace, and the breakfast includes homemade pastries and fruit to start the day. Rooms from around $39.
Mid-range – Il Giardino del Barocco – Located in a historic Noto mansion decorated in the baroque style, this hotel offers grand accommodation near the city center. The rooms are tastefully furnished, with air conditioning and Wi-Fi available, while there is also a lovely garden as well. Rates start at around $65 a night.
Luxury – Tenuta Olive Alive – This hotel is located among olive groves on the fringes of Noto, with a beautiful terrace and swimming pool. The rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated, with views either towards the mountains or the ocean, with all the facilities you would expect. Rooms from around $165 per night.
Some more of the Best Beaches in Sicily to Choose From:
There are obviously even more great beaches in all parts of Sicily to choose from, so we thought we’d give you some more travel options.
This is perhaps the smallest beach in this entire article, but the ‘beautiful little island’ is so picturesque it has to make our list. Located right next to the village of Taormina in east Sicily, this is an instantly Instagrammable spot to get some sun.
Considering Taormina is one of my favorite towns in all of Sicily, this might be my personal choice for ones’ holidays in this region. It is perhaps one of the best beaches near Catania, since it is less than an hour from there by car.
Scala dei Turchi
I’m not sure that anyone would classify Scala dei Turchi as a beach, at least in a traditional sense, but it is a beautiful part of the southern coast of Sicily. The phrase translates to Stair of the Turks who, according to legend, hid out here in stormy weather.
This white cliff is located along the stretch of sea between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle and it gets it look from being made of rock of a soft limestone. Obviously, you need to be careful on the white rocks, but for those willing to venture down to the southern coast of Sicily will find this spot to be one that you’ll remember for a long time. You’ll also fill your digital card with photographs of you and your friends on the white rocks, overlooking the crystal clear blue waters.
Spiaggia dei Conigli
Spiaggia dei Conigli (Rabbit beach) is located in the island of Lampedusa. Lampedusa is the largest island of the Pelagie archipelago which is located quite a ways off the southern coast of Sicily, about halfway to Tunisia. Even though it is a very small island, you can actually fly there from a variety of airports all across Italy. Personally though, I prefer to get there by ferry, which leaves from Porto Empedocle and takes about four hours.
How To Get To Sicily And Getting Around Once You’re There
The transport links to Sicily are very good, with the main airports in Catania and Palermo servicing a range of international routes, along with regional routes to mainland Italy and the smaller islands. There are also smaller airports on the island that have flights to other airports across Italy, which will have international connections. It is also possible to reach the island by train, flowing through the mainland connection at Messina, and serving cities such as Rome, Naples and Milan. One interesting option if you are planning a twin location holiday is the ferry connection between Sicily and Malta, which is another great holiday destination.
There is an extensive bus network that connects the towns and cities on the island, and these are very competitively priced. These buses will also often have routes heading from the urban centers to the popular beaches on the island. There are also several ferries that serve the coast of the island, and also offer connections to some of the smaller islands around the Sicilian coast as well. However, if you are looking to explore some of the more remote beaches around Sicily, it is very useful to rent a car giving you the freedom to explore independently.
Food And Drink In Sicily
Sicily is famous for its excellent food, and as you would expect for an island the seafood here plays an important part with dishes such as pasta with sardines or sea urchins being dishes worth trying. Pasta alla norma is another popular dish originating in Catania, where the pasta is prepared with tomatoes, fried aubergine and grated ricotta. The island also produces a lot of fruit, while Cassata is a tasty cake worth enjoying.
Sicily also has a range of vineyards and produces some excellent wine, so it is worth seeking these out during your trip, as they make an excellent accompaniment to any meal. The island is also home of the lemon liqueur limoncello, and it is worth tasting one of the local brands. When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, the island’s production of blood oranges means that there is some great juice to be tried here as well.