Guido and I have been in a relationship now for nearly 4.5 months. Since our first date we both understood from each other that we have a passion for travelling and exploring new places. From getting to know each other on the Caribbean islands, we set our course towards the Mediterranean islands: Sicily.
Also known by its ancient name as Trinacria, is located South of the Italian Boot and is the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea. Sicily is the closest Italian island to mainland separated by the Strait of Messina. The island is surrounded by smaller islands known as: Aeolian Islands (North), Ustica (North-West), Egadi (West) and Pelagie Islands and Pantelleria (South-West). All of the offers a unique scenery! Sicily is mainly characterized by its landmark: Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe (3329m/10922ft) and most active of the world.
The history of Sicily dates back to 12 000 BC, influenced by Phoenician and Greek colonies and frequently changed hands after the fall of the Roman Empire (5th century AD.) Nowadays the island treasures archeological sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte that tells the story of ancient Trinacria.
Nature and Climate
The geomorphology of the island consists of all, mountains, hill and above all the sea. As marine biologists we are crazy about the sea and a must for us. The Mediterranean Sea is known for its incredible bright blue colors (nearly like the Caribbean, crystal-clear water (nutrient poor) and the beauty of its seabeds.
Sicily’s climate is typical Mediterranean, hot dry summers and mild winters. On any average day, the temperature may rise up to 44 oC. For our trip, our weather app from iOS showed that it would be between 20 (in the night) and 30 oC during the day.
That being said altogether, these characteristics made us choose for Sicily. Before Guido left for his internship research project to Mauritania (West-Africa) and the Caribbean, I began planning the roadtrip. This was my first roadtrip and I had to idea where to begin. As a guide I used Lonely Planet’s book of Italy where a roadtrip of a week was already shown. We planned for a holiday of 13 days, so I extended the Lonely Planet’s example with other sightseeing points in between cities.
Here is an example of nearly all the points where we have stopped for a break or stayed for 1 to 2 nights. Sicily is divided in 9 provinces: Palermo (capital), Agrigento, Catania, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Ragusa, Syracuse and Trapani. For our planning we visited 6 out of the 9 in which Caltanissetta and Enna were excluded. Our trip started in Catania (see Fiat500 icon on the Western side of the island) and ended at the same place (finish flag).
Flight & Car
Guido and I chose to plan our holiday just before the official summer holiday dates here in The Netherlands. This made the tickets fairly cheaper, about €294 (incl. extra suitcase). We flew with Transavia which is, to my opinion, good for a low-cost airline. Transavia allows you to bring cabin bags up to 7-8kg per person which are included in the price. With an extra charge (approximately €25) you are allowed to bring a suitcase up to 15kg. Guido and I decided to add an extra suitcase, since we would stay for nearly 2 weeks on the island with a hot climate and the need for extra change of clothes. We both took our backpacks, a small cabin bag and a suitcase. The cabin bag was checked in at the counter together with the suitcase without extra charge (good service!).
We booked a car from Sicily By Car through Rentalcars.com. We chose an automatic car with class A (Volkswagen UP or similar). We got a Fiat500 which was actually perfect for us 2 and it even fit 2 more people in the back with backpacks and all of our luggage. For the 11 days we paid approximately €500 including full coverage but excluding the extra driver of €48.
B&B, hotels and apartments
Before we left for our journey, we pre-booked a Bed and Breakfasts. We booked a B&B for the day we arrived in Sicily since we would arrive fairly late at night (+/- 22:00). For our first night in Catania we booked for a stay at B&B Welcome Home Apartment (€37 for 2 persons incl. breakfast). The B&B was very close to the central station, clean and with friendly owners. However, the owners did not speak English very well. But this makes the trip more fun to our opinion, it is a challenge and you also have a different experience. The B&B is located close to the central station for the buses and trains. This is a great place if you would like to stay a little away from the historical center but close to all means of transportation to get around the the whole city.
With all this information Guido and I were ready to travel! Off to the Sicilian sun we were!
Look forward to the start of our adventure in my next post: “Taormina and Mount Etna: the city on top of Monte Tauro and the most active volcano of the world“