Sicily: which coast?

Old Mar 19th, 2017, 09:55 AM
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Sicily: which coast?

Just beginning to plan a one week vac in Sicily for June and unsure which coast to choose. Have overdosed on guide books at this point and feel even less certain.
We'd like to swim in fabulous beaches and spend time touring cities/towns/villages. Adventurous and healthy but need some suggestions in order to select which coast on which to stay.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 11:27 AM
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Pudgy, I can only speak for the eastern side, where we spent 10 days last September and we found loads to do in that time.

Best suited to your needs IMO would be the resort of Marina di Ragusa or somewhere in that area which is the western coast of the south east corner [it'll make sense if you look at a map] . Lovely long safe beach, easy to get to from Cantania airport, and lots of interesting places to visit - Ragusa itself, Modica, Noto, the villa romana Casale at Piazza Armerina, and Siracusa/Ortigia, which would also be a nice place to stay for a couple of nights en route back to the airport.

Can't go wrong, really.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 03:03 PM
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Although Sicily isn't known for its beaches, it has a few that are supposed to be nice. (I can't speak to them, as beaches aren't of particular interest to me. ;-) )

Unfortunately, as you are realizing, one week is very little for even one coast, and I'm sure you know that it will be getting HOT by June.

annhig has given you one option. Another would be one of the beaches to the west of Palermo. Or maybe Cefalu and the Aeolians....

Good luck!
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 10:24 AM
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For chilly water, go to the Messina-Catania area.
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 10:29 AM
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I can say that by September, the water on the south east corner was deliciously warm, and the air temperature wasn't bad either. [As I'm a bit of a wimp i like to be able to get out of the water and not start shivering]
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 12:39 PM
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two villas to choose from in Sicily; one near Palermo area and the other in the south east. If you had one week only and wanted great beaches, fabulous authentic towns or villages to tour, some shopping....which area would one choose?
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 12:46 PM
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South East.
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 02:10 PM
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me too - definitely the south east.
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 04:11 PM
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Your call!

FWIW, Palermo is dynamic and filled with an incredible array of stunning buildings from different eras and a bit gritty. The area has some stunning beaches and is within reasonable reach of a variety of places that could make for some great day trips.

The southeast could mean all sorts of things. Is it near Siracusa? Ortygia is a delightful place for strolling and exploring, and there, too, you would have a variety of options for day trips. Or is it nearer to Ragusa / Modica? I'm not enamored of the Baroque, and don't think that area as well suited to day trips, so that wouldn't be my choice; YMMV.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 06:47 AM
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kja - I'd agree that Ortigia isn't a suitable base for day trips due to the appalling traffic [about which we might have to agree to disagree] but Modica Bassa would work - or even Marina di Ragusa where you would have the advantage of early morning and evening swims on that glorious beach. Many places are within a hour or so's drive - Ragusa, Noto, Caltigirone, Scicli - more than enough to occupy a week.

IMO that better fits the OP's desire for a beach based holiday.

if I've misinterpreted that, and the OP would be happy with staying in Palermo and making day trips from there, including to beaches, then I agree that could be the best choice.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 05:33 PM
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It seems that I wasn’t clear, and I can understand why! My understanding, perhaps mistaken, was that the OP asked about a beach vacation at a location that affords easy access to cities/towns/villages, so I tried to provide information about what those cities/towns/villages might offer. To have been clearer, when I spoke about them, I should have said something like, “if you were to stay near X, then your day trip opportunities would include….”

IME, if one plans for parking in advance, visiting Ortygia as a day trip – even if by car – does NOT necessarily involve appalling traffic. I believe there are some public parking lots in Siracusa that are within a reasonable distance of bus stops, and of course, one could take a taxi once parked. Maybe things have changed…. I certainly agree that having a car for a stay while in Ortygia is NOT a good idea.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 10:22 PM
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kja - i think we're in agreement there! it might also be possible to drive to a railway station some distance away and do it that way.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 06:01 PM
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South east it will be. Thank you all. Flying from Italy into Sicily is next on the list. Do not ever want to fly Rynair but would be interested in your suggestions for other airlines. (Catania airport) Any car rental agencies one would recommend as we will make lots of day trips from our villa.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 01:41 AM
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we flew into Catania on Easyjet but that was from the UK. Kayak.com should show you all the carriers from your chosen Italian airport into Catania [or look at the airport website for all the routes into Catania if you can be flexible].

Actually IME Ryanair has smartened up its act recently. yes they do have strict limits on the weight of baggage but if you can put up with that it's fine.

we used an off-airport car hire co that we booked through Argus - Firefly. They pick you up just outside the arrival terminus, [under the bridge next to the Hertz office] and it's a short drive to their depot. The big advantage is that the depot is right next to the main road so it's dead easy to get out of Catania and away from the airport, rather than trying to negotiate the roads around the airport once you pick up your car and when you bring it back. We had a Fiat Punto which was ok, and there were absolutely no problems picking it up or taking it back.
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Old May 13th, 2017, 07:07 AM
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we chose a magnificent villa in southeast but decided we'll spend a few extra days before going back to Rome so we can see the north. I looked for luxury hotels in Palermo and came back with nothing! If we have only three or four days I wonder what might be the best route for us to take to drive north to Palermo area and have a few day trips. Anyone find a fabulous accomodation they'd recommend or have suggestions for the itinerary if we'd like to cram as much as we can comfortably do? We have a car; don't mind driving; we drove the Amalfi coast in Sept. and now feel invincible.
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Old May 15th, 2017, 11:34 AM
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Where is your villa, Pudgy? it might help us to know that.

in any event, there are two possible routes to Palermo [three if you were to go via Etna and Messina]

They all start in the same way [or they would if it were me]

From the SE go north to Caltagirone, [a lovely place to stop for lunch and to see the ceramic shops and the wonderful ceramic steps that take one up to the church at the top of the town] and sleep in/near Piazza Armerina in order to spend half a day visiting the Villa Casale, which is a roman villa with the most wonderful mosaics. Best time to see it is early morning when it's cooler and there should be fewer people, hence suggesting you spend the night there.

From there, it is about a 2 hour drive to Palermo via Enna - easily done after you've seen the villa.

Alternatively, from P. Armerina head west to Agrigento; again I would suggest staying overnight and seeing the temples in the morning before it gets too hot. From there it is again about 2 hours to drive to Palermo.

there are of course endless variations on these themes.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 03:15 PM
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our villa for one week is in Pozzolla. We will have between four and five days to drive north and see more sites. We will hopefully have been to Ragusa, Noto, Siracuse and Modici while in the southeast. I am interested in developing an itinerary for the rest of the time. We will have a car. We would like to see Palermo and it might make sense to fly back to Rome from that airport instead of returning to Catania. Would there be a good point to stay put and then take day trips? I am right smack in the middle of booking our trip and would love to hear from anyone with helpful suggestions asap. many thanks.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 04:49 PM
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We were in Sicily a month last year.
We flew into Catania and drove all over and flew out of Palermo.
Catania, Syracusa, Taormina, the Aeolian Islands, Capo d'orlando, Cefalu, Agrigento, San Vito lo Capo, Erice, Trapani (one of my fav with San Vito and Cefalu).
We loved the SE area and with the exception of a couple of cities on the SW area I would stay in the SE area.
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Old Jun 19th, 2017, 05:04 AM
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Pudgy, could I ask you how you found your villa in Sicily? I believe you are from Canada - as am I. I am trying to organize a trip to Sicily this September and am looking for a villa/apt close to a town but with a view. I have been trying windowsonitaly.com and summerinitaly.com, but have not had any success as of yet. Thank you!

P.S. this is a great thread...it is helping me with my trip!!!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2017, 11:45 PM
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I too am still last minute planning my towns and drive! Would love more comments about the southeast!

Can anyone tell me the cost of renting out of one airport and returning to another? I would love to rent out of Palmero and return to Trapani! I cannot seem to get any info online though -- just a note saying that there will be extra cost involved.

Which are the SW areas you recommend please? I am planning to go to Mazara del Vallo and am hoping that it is worth the drive. Has anyone been there? (I am at the low end of the budget so have to keep costs carefully in mind)

I am assuming that both Palmero and Catania can be done without a car?

Thank you!

27

Man
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