Lovely, welcoming bargainous B&B (45-90 euro per night) clinging to the hillside above Taormina. Huge balconies overlooking the bay and Giardini-Naxos. Reward yourself after climbing back up the hill after dinner with a bottle of wine and fireworks; more often than not there is of course Etna or be there on 8 September when man-made fireworks are let off all evening to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
West of Palermo on Sicily’s northern coast, picturesque Scopello is the ideal place to soak up the atmosphere of Sicilian village life. Enjoy the evening sun in the fairy lit walled square, surrounded by olive trees. Visit the beautiful ‘tonnara scopello’ set on the edge of the turquoise sea in an isolated bay covered with fragrant oleanders. The more energetic can walk in the stunning Lo Zingaro nature reserve or explore the rugged coastline by boat.
BB22 is centrally located: close to main roads and two bus stations. The setting is intimate and the breakfast room is charming. The decor is very Elle Decor.
Taormina, like the rest of Sicily, is unreal whether you're looking at it from a five-star perspective or sleeping in a makeshift tent on the beach... or relaxing on your hotel's own private beach, which I must say was definitely the feature that won me over about the Mazzaro Sea Palace.
Of course that isn't its only outstanding feature, just one of many in a structure that compliments the natural beauty and tranquility of the surrounding area so completely that de-stressing is actually possible here (but contrary to popular belief I DO manage to get quite a bit done on these business trips).
Not to mention that the staff is again kind and happy to arrange massages and such for guests, which is a perfect end to a hard day's work or even just walking around taking in all the breathtaking scenery. The staff is also really great about organizing outdoor activities, which made me incredibly happy since lovely as my room was, Taormina is not a place to enjoy indoors by any means. It's a sparklingly hypnotic gem and as always, I can't wait to go back.
Thanks Mazzaro Sea Palace for being the icing on top of my last stay!
Via Nazionale, 147 - Taormina Mare (ME)
And they did prove themselves to be 3 times lucky:
CiaoRental is an Italian website for holiday rentals. It has many vacation homes listed by owners in many places in Sicily. If you plan to rent homes to visit Sicily and other Italian regions you can find a home along your travel route.
We've just returned from four nights at this apartment in Castellammare del Golfo, and had a wonderful time. The owners are incredibly helpful, the view from the terrace is spectacular, and the town is perfectly positioned for exploring the beautiful north-west of the island. It's also very reasonably priced, and our favourite feature was the outdoor kitchen on the terrace. A great find.
Castellammare del Golfo
This agritourism (organic farm) is convenient for the Villa del Casale mosaics and other sites. The dinner is fantastic, mainly beautiful fresh produce off the farm. We stayed three nights and had antipasti misto, pasta then a meat dish and salad, followed by dessert and fruit, plus wine. The cooking is extremely high quality. Breakfast included fresh figs straight off the tree. The drawback is that the beautiful swimming pool is open to the local teenagers in the afternoons and there's loud pop/disco music until six! Dinner (including wine) bed and breakfast cost 55 Euros each.
Just outside Piazza Armerina on the road to Caltigirone
We found this quiet oasis, close to Ognina, that provided us with an ideal base for visiting Siracusa, the surrounding countryside and beaches. We thoroughly enjoyed the large beautiful garden (including a massive swimming pool) and the relaxed atmosphere - much appreciated after a hard day's sightseeing! The family were delightful and the breakfasts excellent.
Before going to Sicily I was surfing the net and I found out this directory full of hotel websites. They are arranged into different categories, even if some of them are empty, it is clear and you find what you need immediately.
I would recomend this site for who don't like to deal with middle men, but want to contact the hotel directly.
That's Amore B&B is situated only 5km distance from the motorway exit of Giardini Naxos (if you are travelling from Catania e/o Messina), 9 Km from Taormina, 7 Km from the Alcantara Gorges, 28 Km from the northern side of Etna and 50 Km from Catania airport.
The river Alcantara marks the boundary between the Provinces of Messina and Catania. The Greeks called the river Akesines, the Arabs Al-cuantara (the bridge).
Along 48 Km (30 miles) of its length it brushes up against the territory of Randazzo and flows on towards the coast, separating the volcano Mt.Etna from the mountains to the north.
The spectacular gorges were created by the erosion and cooling of the lava flowing from the crater of Mount Dolce, between Linguaglossa and Randazzo, on the Etna massif.
The gorges show the inner part of the flow with the splendid, columnar fissures of magma rapidly cooled by the gushing water.
More than 20m (57 ft) deep the gorges have bizzarre basalt prisms dotted here and there with cool spontaneous vegetation.
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For a slice of unpolished Sicily, catch the hydrofoil from Trapani to the Egadi, a mini-archipelago off the north-west coast. We stayed on Marettimo, the smallest and most remote. There are walking trails across the island but the real joy is in the simple pleasures — sunning yourself on an empty, rocky beach, ordering a brioche con gelato in La Scaletta, the local ice-cream parlour, watching the fishing boats offload their catch on to wooden trolleys to be sold through the village.
When you arrive at Marettimo’s tiny harbour you’ll be greeted by locals offering rooms in fishermen’s houses. To guarantee a bed for the night — and more space — book into the Residence, the island’s only hotel. May and September are sleepy; in July and August the Italians pile over.
Okay, I'm going to be totally perverse here by suggesting a place that isn't in Sicily. Vulcano is actually one of the Aeolian Islands just north of Sicily (others include Stromboli and Lipari) and is quite unlike anywhere else I've visited. The name's a bit of a giveaway (Vulcano/volcano geddit), as these islands are all volcanic (and there's Etna on mainland Sicily of course. Vulcano itself has (apparently) Italy's largest 'non submarine' volcanoes, there are little 'fumaroles' spouting steam, the beach has black sand - unbelievable - and there are thermal spas and mud baths. A bit like Iceland with hot weather we reckoned. Stayed at a very nice modern hotel on the Gulf of Ponente.
Want a taste of Aeolian island luxury, but can't afford the prices over on Panarea? Located on nearby Salina, the lushest Aeolian island in the archipeligo, Signum makes for a deeply relaxing, stylish retreat. After a short hop on the hydrofoil from Milazzo, and a thrilling cliff-edge bus ride to the village of Malfa, drag your suitcase down a winding footpath past traditional white washed houses to a cacti-filled, antiques laden reception.
All the components of a trendy boutique hotel are in place: myriad balconies with splendid sea views, (modest) horizon pool, and vine covered terrace where you can feast on terrific local seafood by candlelight. And don't miss the cute pebble beach, backed by crumbling fishermen's huts.
Hotel Signum, Via Scalo 15
Tel: 0039 090 984 4222
I've not done the whole villa thing before but with 6 of us on holiday this worked out at about £100/person for the week. Italian Breaks is run by Cristina, a Sicilian ex-pat, so just about every nook and cranny on the island is covered and we had the best value for money holiday for a long time. Recommended!
Tel: 020 8666 0407
This is a hotel almost in the centre of Palermo. It is in a traditional old Sicilian building and has large rooms, some with balconies overlooking the street. The staff are friendly and efficient, and the breakfast buffet is pretty reasonable.
Via Roma 72, Palermo 90133
Opposite modern Ragusa, Ragusa Ibla is a baroque jewel and the best centre to explore south-east Sicily, the least spoiled corner of the island.
This B&B has beautiful rooms, a splendid terrace and a very kind hostess. Go off season, there is no stinting on central heating!
Chiasso Guerra 13, Ragusa Ibla.
Tel: +39 0932621809 (Italian only).
Difficult to find without asking. Parking may be available, but do not risk narrow streets with a car larger than a Ford Focus, for ex..
A low-key, seafront hotel with high ceilings and a lovely terrace. Food is served by students at a local catering college and can be al fresco, weather permitting.
The village of Leni is pretty tiny, but if you're here to hike or stroll, it's a great family-run base. Rinella, where the ferries dock is not too far either. Try to bag a more spacious room on the ground floor. Doubles from 80 euros a night.
An agriturismo and working vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna with comfortable, stylish rooms. Run by the noble family of the Baron Scammacca del Murgo - the hosts are full of character!
The estate produces very drinkable red and sparkling wines - tastings and tours available - and you can really taste the volcanic minerals in the red wine.
The Villa Gaia Hotel is situated in the historic center of Taormina, just 30 meters from the Duomo, and offers a magnificent view of the crystal-clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea! I've been here with my wife and had a very pleasent stay.
I've just come back from an (all too) brief stay at this hotel in Taormina, Sicily. It's nestled on the side of Monte Tauro so all the rooms have balconies with spectacular views along the coastline. The room was very luxurious, with flooring made from volcanic rock from mount Etna!
I booked through Perfect Places - www.perfectplacesoline.co.uk or 08703 331771 and flew to Catania from Gatwick with BA.
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