If sandy beaches, dinky hilltop towns and timeworn cities get your vote, book a holiday to Sicily – the biggest island in the Med is a master of all trades.
The biggest island in the Med
Granted, Sicily may be shaped like a triangle, but this Italian island – the Mediterranean’s biggest – has more than 3 sides to it. Take its history, for starters. Over the centuries the ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans have all put their 10 cents into the place, so a visit here is like stepping straight into the pages of a history book.
Taormina and Cefalu
Taormina is a case in point. This hillside town on the island's east coast is home to a Greek theatre, an Arabian necropolis, and an Anglican church. It's a similar story in Cefalu on the north coast. In this seaside city, a Norman cathedral wrestles with a ruined Saracen castle for attention. And sandy stretches like Lungomare Beach make this place just as popular with sun-worshippers as history buffs.
Giardini Naxos and Letojanni
Speaking of beaches, Sicily's got some prime stretches up its sleeve. Head for the island's east coast and dinky fishing villages like Giardini Naxos and Letojanni are the ones to watch. Giardini Naxos is set in a sheltered bay, and its curve of sand and shingle and sprinkling of pensions and pizzerias makes it popular with holidaying locals. Letojanni, a little further up the coast, is as quiet as they come – you certainly won’t be fighting for elbow room on the wide, shingle beach here.
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Cefalu gets an A star for geography. Set on Sicily’s northern coast, it fits in nicely between big-city Messina and the capital Palermo. The top location doesn’t stop there, either. The resort’s Medieval old town is backdropped by the Madonie Mountains and edged with a rocky coastline that hides a streak of golden sand.
Cut Taormina and it bleeds Italy’s trademark green, white and red. Everything about his hilltop town’s in keeping with the country’s trademark features – from the frozen-in time architecture to the scattering of church-lined piazzas. It’s draped across the steep slopes of Sicily’s eastern edge, and feels like the island’s version of the Amalfi Coast. There’s even a volcano on the horizon to complete the look.
On the east side of Sicily, 5 kilometres south of the Medieval town of Taormina, the jagged edges of volcanic rock give way to Giardini Naxos. This star of the shoreline has grown from a sleepy fishing village to a thriving resort that still draws on its laid-back charm. And location wise it couldn’t be better – the place sits in a picturesque bay overlooked by Mount Etna.
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