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Trip Report Winter in Sicily

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Since I don’t like the cold winters in Germany, I decided to spend 10 days in Sicily during February. While there were only 2 degree Celcius at home, I have spent 10 beautiful days with up to 20 degrees Celcius. One of the main reasons why I decided to go to Sicily in winter was to hike on the Etna by snow. I have been several times to Sicily but only in summer (during May to August) but my trip in winter was a special experience.

In February the island is less crowded, you have an awesome view of the snowy volcano and the almond trees are in bloom. I definitely recommend to visit Sicily in winter, because the island has so much more to offer than just lovely beaches. The only negative thing is that in the very touristy places such as Taormina, a lot of places are closed during winter.
My flight arrived in Palermo. From Palermo I travelled to Taormina, Catania, Noto, Marzamemi, Ragusa Ibla and Agrigento and then back to Palermo.
Here are the Top 3 of the most special experiences of my trip:

1. Day Trip to Mount Etna
The highlight of the trip was the excursion to Mount Etna. As soon as I arrived in Taormina, I started looking for companies that offer excursions to Mount Etna. I decided for Etna People, because in my opinion they offer the best value-for-money.
The next morning I got picked up in front of my B&B by the guide Paolo. While driving the guide, who is studying geology, gave us a lot of information about Mount Etna, the vegetation and past erruptions, which was really interesting. The group was small, beside me just 3 other participants and Paolo took a lot of time to answer all our questions and share his passion about the Etna with us.
The hike was spectacular. We were walking for about 1,5 hours on fields of lava and ash, we even walked on the top of an extinct crater. During the hike we had a lot of stopps, so it was not exhausting. Afterwards we visited a lava cave, equipped with torches and helmets. We had lunch in a really nice wine cellar on the Etna and got to try three differents wines. The food was delicious: We had appetizers and Pasta alla Norma (pasta with aubergines, tomatoes and ricotta cheese). In the afternoon we visited the Alcantara gorges.

2. Terrazza su Noto
Noto is a beautiful little city, famous for its baroque architecture and listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. A highlight was the stay in the Bed and Breakfast “Terrazza su Noto”, which offers a breathtaking view from its roof terrace. You can overlook the city, see the cathedral of Noto and the ocean. The next morning we had a nice breakfast with Crossaints, Cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice and the great view, while the sun was shining.

3. Valley of the Temples and Scala dei Turchi
While the Valley of the Temples and the Scala dei Turchi are very crowded during summer time, there are not many tourists in winter. I would recommend to visit the Valley of the Temples in the evening. It is a great place to watch the sunset and the temples look beautiful with the light of the setting sun. The Valley is open until 8 pm so we stayed until darkness to see the illuminated temples and the lights of the city of Agrigento.
The next morning we visited the Scala dei Turchi. We took a walk along the nice sandy beach and climed the “stairs”. Then we had a picknic on the white rocks, looking on the sea. We were the only people there, which would have been unimaginable in summer.

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