Sicily attracts a variety of visitors every year, all with very different ideas regarding what constitutes the perfect holiday. One camp might believe that lazing all day on golden sands, letting your troubles drift away on the cerulean sea, is the epitome of paradise, whilst others might prefer a spring time trek through the vibrant blooms of the wild Sicilian countryside. Others, still, might prefer a holiday centred around culture, exploring the ruins left behind by the ancient civilisations of Sicily, whilst the epicurean traveller will delight in a destination that offers an abundance of seasonal produce and lip-smacking dishes.
Sicily caters for all these groups with its vast and varied terrain and breath-taking natural beauty. However, there is one more group of travellers that might often overlook Sicily in favour of more extreme destinations – the adrenaline junkies. Sedate Sicily with its well-publicised art and culture scene and tranquil natural landscapes might not initially seem like the sort of island where you can experience active outdoors pursuits, but this destination is nothing if not versatile and there are, in fact, many unique experiences on offer guaranteed to raise the heart rate. Here are just five of our favourites…
Rafting the river in the Alcantara canyon
Formed by the foaming waters that stream from the slopes of Mount Etna and the Nebrodi Mountains, the Alcantara River cuts a deep gorge through the spectacular valley, providing the ideal conditions for conquering the rapids in a variety of methods. Experience the exhilaration of river tubing the waterfalls, descending tens of metres in a white-knuckle race or choose to take it one step further by body rafting certain areas for the ultimate white water ride.
Rock climbing in Sicily
With its mountainous terrain and craggy coastline, rock climbers can expect an adventurous range of choice from the island of Sicily. The best climbing can be found on the northern and eastern shores. San Vito Lo Capo offers hundreds of high quality single pitch sports routes, thanks to its limestone facades; the mountain of Monte Pellegrino, near Palermo, offers particularly exciting sites on its western face with stretches of untouched wall begging to be explored; the Messina region provides 11 limestone crags amongst its sea cliffs with a good variety of grades; and around the Baroque town of Ragusa you can find canyons up to 200m deep.
Mountain biking volcanoes
There are an abundance of easy mountain biking trails through the glorious countryside of Sicily, but for downhill thrills, hotfoot it to the slopes of mighty Mount Etna and the Madonies. Long, winding routes career down the mountain slopes, intersecting with electrifying single-track paths in places. You can even ride up to the cone of the main crater at a height of 3,000 metres. Hardcore mountain bikers might want to investigate the Etna Marathon, an event held every September which starts and finishes in the charming village of Milo, nestled on the eastern side of the volcano.
Diving in Sicily
Sicily’s crystalline waters invite divers to explore the mesmerising underwater kingdom below the surface. Around the notoriously beautiful Egadi Island archipelago, emerald and sapphire tones colour the water, providing an atmospheric setting for divers to indulge in their favourite past time. There are also fantastic sites located amongst the Aeollian Islands and at Taormina, San Vito Lo Capo, and the islands of Lampedusa, Ustica and Pantelleria. Water temperatures ranges from around 15 degrees celsius in winter to a balmy 25 degrees celsius in the summer months, so depending on how you handle the climate, it is possible to dive in Sicily all year round. Visibility can stretch up to 40 metres when conditions are right, providing unparalleled visuals to a vibrant world below the waves.
Sicily isn’t all sun, sand and luminous blue seas. During the winter months, the mountainous regions of Etna and Madonie Regional Park enjoy a coating of snow too, providing wonderful cross country skiing, kite skiing and snowboarding as well as a selection of runs which cater to all abilities. There are three ski resorts to choose from – Etna’s northern and southern resorts and the winter wonderland at Piano Battaglia in the Madonies which brings an element of the Swiss Alps to beautiful Sicily.
Sicily is the perfect place for new adventures. We've got a wide selection of villas from which you can explore the islands.