It’s volcanic, mountainous landscapes and ancient culture make Sicily one of Italy’s most fascinating and glorious regions. While a popular tourist destination, the area still presents many exciting hidden gems to discover on an authentic Sicilian adventure. From the vibrant towns and cities to the protected Aeolian Islands, here we share with you the regions most treasured secrets.

Enna

For a city experience that’s off the beaten track, a stay in Enna is a must. Positioned centrally on the island, Enna enjoys magnificent views of Mount Etna and, at 3,054 ft above sea level, it is the highest provincial capital in Italy. Enna has enjoyed prosperous times throughout history resulting in a variety of architecture including Italy’s much-loved Baroque style. Sights worth seeing include the Lombardy castle, a sprawling fortress, parts of which date back to before the first millennium. Another is the cathedral, described as a fantastic example of a baroque religious building and features many decadent works of art.

view of the town of Enna in Sicily

© Leandro Neumann Ciuffo under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Modica

Another lesser travelled urban destination, the town of Modica is most famous for its local chocolate, which is still made in the town and exported all over the world. The basic recipe is still made in the traditional way, and it said to be from the Aztec era. Plant lovers rejoice as this sweet treat is also vegan, you can read more about Plant-Based Sicilian Dishes in our journal. Don’t just go for the food; the town is also rich in intricate buildings and art.

Erice

For mountain climbs and some of the most spectacular viewpoints in Italy, the small town of Erice sits around 2,460 ft above sea level and overlooks the city of Trapani. The two places are linked via a cable car which in itself is a fantastic opportunity to gaze over the verdant landscapes and enjoy a moment of peace and tranquillity. It is said that the town takes its name from the Greek hero Eryx who was the son of Poseidon. Perched effortlessly on the mountain is Venus Castle, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus where worshippers once travelled to pay tribute to the famous goddess.

view of italian castle ruins

Gole dell’Alcantara

For the explorers, the naturally carved valley of the river Alcantara is a beautiful place to spend a day hiking and swimming. You can choose to take a guided walk through the gorge, where they will lend you rubber boots and take you through the crystalline waters. Alternatively, for more confident hikers, you can go it alone and while away spend a perfect day soaking up the Italian sunshine and dipping your feet in the fresh water. The walks offer an Instagrammable opportunity to show off your wonderful adventures.

rocks water ravine in Sicily

© Alessialeanza under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Salina

For a truly tranquil experience, head to the island of Salina, one of the seven islets that make up the UNESCO protected Aeolian islands, part of the Sicily region. The islands were listed under UNESCO World Heritage for providing ‘an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena’. The fertile, volcanic soil of Salina supports over 400 different species of fauna, including premium olives and capers. The island is also famous for its production of world-acclaimed white wine Malvasia.

Noto Antica

A beautiful gem if you are staying in the city of Noto, a scenic hill road leads travellers to the sandstone ruins of Noto Antica. The ruins of the castle date back to the 5th century, a stroll through its ancient walls give an insight into the lives of those who lived there long ago. The city of Noto itself is also a spectacle. Famously damaged by an earthquake in the 1660s, many original buildings were destroyed. The city bounced back and was extensively and sympathetically rebuilt.

To celebrate Sicily’s vibrant culture and natural gifts, we have designed exclusive retreats to provide our guests with a truly authentic and unique Sicilian experience. At Balance Holidays, we set ourselves apart with our personalised service, allowing us to tailor each experience individually. Visit our website for yoga retreats in Sicily and lifestyle retreats throughout Europe.