Sicily may not be the first island that springs to mind when it’s time to book your timeshare escape. But this beautiful and vibrant isle – the largest in the Mediterranean – boasts superb cuisine and an ambiance all its own.
There’s plenty to see and do, from sampling sweet pastries in the baroque, elegant little town of Noto (rebuilt after an earthquake) to the amazing Greek amphitheatre in Syracuse.
Here are our picks of what to do on this enchanting island with a touch of ancient Greek flavour:
1) Marvel at the ancient sites of Agrigento, Segesta and Selinunte.
2) Attend a performance at the Greek Amphitheatre in Siracusa
3) Visit the Infiorata (carpet of flowers) celebrations in Noto in May
4) Head to the World Heritage Site of Val di Noto towns to take in the breathtaking views.
5) Put your feet up with a good book, cocktail in hand, on one of the (many) spectacular beaches.
6) Film buffs should check out the setting for the Montalbano films.
7) Be sure to try the delicious local arancini (Italian rice balls) – they’re addictive!
8) Breathe in the heady scent of orange blossom and buy some zagara cologne as a souvenir scent.
9) Try something truly local and take a bite of a Sicilian ‘vanilla orange’.
10)Hop on a bus and ride along the edge of the Stretto at Messina for some truly beautiful views.
11) Pick up some bargains and local produce at Modica and Catania – Modica has its own chocolate festival (see no. 14!) and the local markets offer wonderful vegetables, fruits, hams and cheeses.
12) Visit Bellini’s house in Catania.
13) Head to the bustling, busy capital of Palermo to view the pretty Norman and Arabic architecture.
14) Watch Modican chocolate being made by ancient Aztec methods at Bonajuto in the town’s Corso Umberto. The texture is quite different to the chocolate we’re used to.
15) Sicily boasts some of the world’s most delicious gelatos – coffee, chocolate, pistachio, caramel, lemon…go on, try them all during your stay.
16) Hike up to see the famous volcano of Etna – and stop off to buy some local honey on the way.
17) The Autumn is the perfect time to sample the local nutritious prickly pears. You can even pick up some prickly pear liqueur (in Morocco the seeds are crushed to make prickly pear beauty oil).
18) Take a cable car up to Taormina and take in some of the most breathtaking views across the island.
19) Sit in one of the many traditional restaurants along the coast and sample some of the freshest fish in the Med.
20) Take a swim to Isola Bella, a small island near Taormina. Also known as the Pearl of Ionian Sea, it’s a truly breathtaking site.