Sicily was out next stop this spring, there are many flights options into Catania or Palermo from the USA and Europe, either airport is perfect for a land trip or to start your yacht charter Sicily.
The island is not huge but does take a good week if not more to explore. We arrived in Catania and picked up our rental car, navigating our way out of the city we drove up the coast road dotted with tiny picturesque villages and small ports and marinas.
Sicily is full of oranges, lemons and olives orchards and a fresh squeezed orange juice is a must every day you are there whether on a yacht charter Sicily or a land tour.
Our 1st stop was Taormina, a hill top village approximately 100km north or Catania, we wound our way up hairpin bends to the lovely village with beautiful views along the coast in both directions.
It boasts a beautiful Greek Amphi-threater, the small narrow streets of the old town are filled with wonderful restaurants, Galateria’s and designer boutiques. There are wonderful gardens just outside the old town with ruins and beautiful visas of Mount Etna and the coastline. There is a decent Marina and good anchorages down on the coast making visits by yacht easy when doing a sailing boat charter Sicily or Catamaran charter Sicily. Especially if you anchor, bring the dinghy ashore and walk to the Funicular, which takes you right into the village, at 8 Euro return it departs every 15 minutes from morning to midnight.
The next day offered clear skys and perfect views of Mount Etna, so off we went to explore, good maps and good roads were easy to navigate and the snowy peaks in the bright sunlight meant we stopped every few miles for photos as the volcano grew closer. Once we reached the highest point on the north side, we wound around to the southern edge where many tours start and a cable car can take you to the top of the active crater. A moon like landscape emerges from the pine forests and the old lava flows are easily visible on all sides, its rugged terrain and good shoes are a must if you want to walk or trek up the face on one of the many trials. Good guides are plentiful and it makes a great day trip.
From the base of Taormina, when you come down on the Funicular is the beautiful little island of Isola Bella also known as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea. Once privately owned by a famous Italian actor, but now a national treasure. Again a good but small Marina is close by for your yacht charter Sicilly, larger yachts have sheltered anchorages and the island is well worth exploring. From the mainland you roll up your pants and wade across a short coarse-way knee deep in the fresh Mediterranean sea. We explored the many small trails which connect the islands once beautiful but now deserted villa with cleaver stone work look out positions, lovely vegetation and some amazing stone doors caught our eye, a charming spot to spend the afternoon.
Cefalu the 11th century Medieval village was our next stop, picture perfect, the small streets and houses all look out over the Tyrrhenian Sea with rocky cliffs and small restaurant patios perched over the rocky water front, a must for an aperitif or dinner. The whole Village is overlooked by the dramatic back drop of La Rocca (the Rock) with fortress and gardens atop a steep 1hr uphill climb, take a bottle of water you will need it! but well worth getting to the top for the fabulous views.
Working our way north-west to Milazzo the kick of port for your sailing charter Sicily to explore the Aeolian Islands of Lipari, Panarea, Stromboli, Salina. This port and marina are much larger and would make a great starting point for any yacht charter, being only about a hour and a half drive from Palermo. There is the small old port filled with local wooden sardine fishing boats, great for photography and an attractive old town. Four to five days is the best option to visit the beautiful and rugged Aeolian islands and if you are lucky Stromboli with give you a great firework display at night.
Our final day in Sicily was spent driving the 60 kilometers to Polermo, a large port with marina, a good starting place for your Sicily yacht charter. After we dropped our rental car at the airport, it was Sunday and the town office was closed, we took a taxi down to the Ferry port where we were taking the overnight ferry to Naples. However we were a few hours early and our taxi driver suggested that if we had not seen the sights of Palermo we should do that, so we stuck a deal and Dario our taxi driver gave us a fabulous tour of the cities many historic sights. We stopped to take photos everywhere we went while he looked after out luggage and we felt very safe in his good-humored company.
When I told him in my bad Italian that I had not yet eaten a Galato – ice cream he looked at us in great surprise and asked if we would like to.. how could we say no! We then drove to the most amazing out of the way Galateria I have ever seen, not a tourist hang out at all. We took a number at the door and waited out turn, decisions were very hard to make and we tasted may varieties before deciding. The Italians were mostly eating their ice cream in a sweet brioche bread, like a sandwich, but we opted for the cone instead, watching out weight LOL… and it was well worth it, the dark chocolate and fresh strawberry was a delight after they had filled my cone with liquid white chocolate! Dario had the ice cream brioche sandwich and my companion had coffee and a mixture, which looked like caramel and pistachio, we never found out exactly what it was but it was delicious.
Dario then took us to the ferry dock but would not leave until he had checked our tickets and delivered us to the right ferry and made sure your bags would be carried onboard for us, what a gentleman, we enjoyed his smiley Sicilian character and had a wonderful tour and local experience with him.
We both decided that Palermo was not the dangerous place people say it is, as long as you get an official taxi and do not venture into areas that do not look inviting.
We sadly said good bye to Sicily knowing it would make the perfect place for a sailboat charter Sicily, a catamaran charter Sicily or a motor yacht charter. Our overnight ferry was taking us to Naples and the Amalfi coast… our next blog.
Nicholson Yacht Charters & Services have some wonderful yachts to offer along with great itineraries for yacht charter Sicily, if you would like more information please do not hesitate in giving us a call or sending an email.
You can also visit our Sicily & The Aeolian Islands’ destination page for your further information.
For any yacht charter or yachting enquiry please do not hesitate to contact us:
Nicholson Yacht Charter & Services
Antigua: +1 268 460 1530
GSM: +1 268 720 6750
Stanley's Tavern, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda, West Indies