Browsing through Instagram to get inspiration for your next escape? Has anyone told you about spectacular Sicily adventure experiences? You may well be thinking you need to travel over at least 5,000 miles in order to go anywhere truly spectacular. However, rest assured you can find unique holidays in Europe that will rival Thailand, New Zealand or any other trendy, long-distance vacation spots.
Our favorite rugged destination is right in the heart of the Med, and is home to Europe’s only continuously erupting volcano – amongst other breathtaking attractions. Where else could it be but Sicily? Adventure holidays here allow you to experience something truly different without trekking halfway around the world, which is why they are gaining popularity with the world’s travel elite. Discover just five of our favorite things to do there below.
Sicily Adventure Escapes: Five Unmissable Experiences
Take a Sunrise Hike Amongst Steaming Fumaroles
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian islands, but that doesn’t mean its attractions are any more mainstream. In fact, Sicily adventure holidays don’t get much more rugged than hiking the 26km path from Terme di San Calogero to the Kaolin Quarry at Bagnosecco, where the fumaroles have stained the rocks orange, blue and purple, the steam arising from the volcanos giving the island an otherworldly feel. Looking for a way to celebrate your excursion? Lipari’s Spiaggia Bianca beach parties are the place to let your hair down, taking you from midnight to dawn in the clink of an Aperol spritz.
Dance Barefoot in Italy’s Most Exclusive Nightclub
Why so exclusive, you ask? Well, the glamorous Hotel Raya that hosts the nightclub is located on the secluded island of Panarea, which is pretty much only accessible by yacht charter. Its privacy has made it a haven for the superrich, who can party the night away under the Aeolian sky, untroubled by the touristy crowds encountered in parts of the mainland. Favored by illustrious Italian designers like Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana, this island is not just about the nightlife, with stunning whitewashed buildings and olive groves characterizing idyllic island life at its best.
Panarea’s beauty is protected by its ban on streetlights and cars, meaning the night’s stars dazzle and electric carts are the transport de jour. While we know this isn’t an option for everyone, it is a truly incredible experience for those who can afford it.
Explore Renaissance Splendour in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The original Catania may have been devastated by an earthquake in 1693, but the regal city built in its place is very much worthy of its second coming. Renowned architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini was instrumental in rebuilding Catania to what we know it as today, making the innovative decision to use lava from Mount Etna’s 1669 eruption as his building material. Just a few remnants of the old city are left today, but with such beautiful buildings left in its place, it is hard to complain.
Tour the Duomo (cathedral) and take in lava apses from the original construction in the 11th century and a stunning cherub entablature designed by Vaccarini. Wander the Via Crociferi and appreciate the elegant 18th-century architecture – seen as the pinnacle of baroque excellence. Catania is the Sicily adventure that won’t stop giving, with over 20 points of historical interest dotted across this fairly small city. Plus, Mount Etna’s snow-covered peaks twinkle from above all year round, providing an extra level of wonder.
Breakaway from Society and Enjoy the Simple Pleasures
Another one that is best visited by Mediterranean yacht charter due to its rustic, cut-off-from-the-outside-world charms is the tiny island of Filicudi, the place to come to get away from it all. Here, nature is wild and unspoiled, making its reefs perfect for snorkeling. Dive to underwater wrecks, discover the island’s secret sea grotto and visit one of the oldest prehistoric settlements of the Aeolian archipelago – the neolithic village of Capo Graziano. Relish in having the beach completely to yourself as you soak up the sun with a good book. Figs and capers grow in abundance, forming a significant role in the local cuisine; sample delicacies such as Fusili of the Aeolian Islands and bask in the friendliness of the Filicudian people – this is one place you’ll never want to leave.
Visit Europe’s Only Continuously Erupting Volcano
Stromboli is dramatic landscapes, traditional Sicilian cuisine and sunset escapades. A postcard-perfect example of a volcano, with its symmetrical stance and plumes of smoke billowing out of the top, Stromboli’s ashy peak is a vision you’ll never forget. Take in the views from a restaurant terrace as you feast on bottarga fish roe – the caviar of the south – and quaff wine from a local vineyard, or take a three-hour hike to the summit as day turns to dusk to appreciate this lava-spitting natural wonder close up.
From dancing barefoot in Italy’s most exclusive nightclub to exploring Baroque history in a city made of lava, Sicily adventure escapes provide countless opportunities to experience something new. When it comes to planning your next unique holiday, Europe has everything you need.