Categories Italy Recent Discoveries

A Diary in Sicily: Where to Stay and Eat in Sicily

Monday, September 3, 2018
A Diary in Sicily: Where to Stay and Eat in SicilyLike2

Italy

A Diary in Sicily – Italy

Taormina and Panarea, Aeolian Islands

By Giulia & Miky from @SpagettiAirways

 

Follow their travel journey on Instagram 

“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything” Goethe.

Sicily is not a region, it’s a continent! Pristine beaches, active volcanoes, greek theatre, fish markets, baroque cathedrals, natural reserves and the tastiest Italian cuisine, all in one island. Sicily is a maze for the senses, a kaleidoscope of colors, smells, voices that will leave you mesmerized.

Taking advantage of the convenient connection with Catania we decided to pick two gems of the surroundings, Taormina and Panarea.

Taormina is a picturesque small town, one hour drive from Catania airport, idyllically perched on a rocky promontory high above the sea, this is why it’s also called “Terrazza sul Mare”. Known worldwide for its Film Festival, it’s home to the second largest Greek theatre in Sicily and it’s one of Italy’s most popular summer destination. Rent a boat to get a hint of Sicilian Dolce Vita, stroll around its alleyways to soak up the atmosphere at sunset and make sure you will indulge in a granita or two.

Panarea is a dream! Imagine white flat-roofed houses covered in bright pink bougainvilleas, tourists lolling around barefoot enjoying the quintessence of the Italian “dolce far niente” and the view of the majestic Stromboli volcano fuming in the distance. This exclusive and chic island is the smallest in the Aeolian archipelago (no cars are allowed) and it attracts VIPs and celebrities, who come in the summer for yachting breaks and romantic escapes. Rent a boat and go explore secluded rocky coves for late-afternoon swim but make sure you will be back in the island for an Aperitivo at Hotel Raya during the sunset.

WHERE TO STAY

Taormina:

Panarea:

  • Hotel Raya An icon of the entire island, this boutique hotel will make you forget any standard of luxury you have experienced before. Elegant simplicity, whitewashed walls and a majestic natural hot spring infinity pool are just few of the reasons why Raya will captivate your senses.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN TAORMINA

Taormina

  • Rent a boat from Mazzaro’ and go explore Isola Bella and the sea caves
  • Stop for lunch at Il Barcaiolo at Mazzaro beach and indulge in a glorious  raw fish plate and their signature sea urchin linguine
  • Don’t miss a visit to Taormina Greek theatre and stop for a granita at Bam Bar on the way back (their menu changes on an hourly basis, depending on the fresh fruits supplied by local farmers)
  • Stroll around the Taormina alleyways at sunset and admire beautiful Italian ladies doing their “struscio” (a walk in the main alleyway all dressed up)
  • Enjoy an Aperitivo with a Spritz and Arancini in Piazza IV Aprile
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN PANAREA (PLUS BONUS) 

Panarea

  • Wake up at sunrise to experience the beautiful view of an active volcano from your window
  • Go for a walk from Hotel Raya to Spiaggetta Zimmari and experience the lavish Mediterranean nature in every corner, stop by San Pietro Church
  • Get ready for a 45 minutes hike to reach the dreamy water of Cala Junco
  • Rent a boat and go explore the smallest island off shore Panarea like Dattilo, Basiluzzo and Lisca Bianca
  • Indulge in the best Sicilian food at Hycesia, historical and iconic restaurant of the island
  • Join a night excursion to Stromboli to see the volcano in action
  • Aperitivo with the best view is at Hotel Raya
BEFORE YOU GO
  • Public transportation is not really an option in Sicily as you won’t be able to move around and find taxi easily. We definitely recommend to rent a car at the airport. It might take some time as rental cars are always very busy there.. a good deal of patience is alway a good idea in Sicily… this island has its own rhythm, but there are always good way to kill time… Let us tell you a little secret: There’s a kiosk that serves delicious street food right in front the rental car center. 
  • Get ready to speak with your hands! English is not so common, but if you add some hand moves to your speech you’ll might have some chance to be understood 
  • Go off season… Weather will be mild from May to October… avoid July and August, way too many tourists around, everything is fully booked and over-priced
7 FOODS TO TRY IN SICILY

Gambero Rosso di Mazzara: The famous Sicilian red prawn is the champ of Sicily’s dining tables. Smooth texture  and unmistakably sweet taste, you must try it raw, better if brushed  with local citrus fruits.

 

Sea urchin linguine: another staple of the costal Sicilian cuisine. A pasta to die for with its briny ocean yet delicate taste. The tasty sauce is just made of garlic, olive oil and local fresh sea urchin pulp. Simply unique.

 

Capponata Siciliana: It’s just a side dish but you can’t miss it! A flavorsome mixture of locally sourced vegetables, celery, onion completed with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. You won’t stop ordering it.

 

Granita Siciliana: the religious ritual of Sicilian breakfast wants you  to start the day with a fresh granita accompanied with the local croissant (“brioche col tuppo”). If you want to fell local go for the almond one, the most famous and appreciated in the island.

 

Pistachio Gelato: The most prestigious  pistachio in the world is grown in the little town of Bronte. No wonder pistachio gelato in Sicily is the tastiest in the entire peninsula!

 

Pasta con le Vongole: Another masterpiece of the Mediterranean cuisine. Chose one made with the clams called “veraci”,  meaty and flavorful.

 

Cannolo Siciliano: Leaving Sicily without trying its world famous pastry is a crime. Deep fried pastry filled with sweet goat ricotta cheese and chocolate chips.. glorious!

TRAVEL TIPS ON SICILY

In Taormina, book well in advance the hotel as they fill up quite quickly especially in Mazzaró bay.

For an amazing boat trip ask for Carmelo At the Mazzaro beach. He is an experienced fisherman that will take you on an unforgettable  boat trip around the rock formation and sea caves. When aboard ask him to try his home made almond liquor.. cheers!

The only embarkation point for the aeolian islands is Milazzo. You can reach the speedboat harbor by car and leave your vehicle in one of the several private parking around the area. Costs are reasonable and there is 24hours surveillance. Don’t forget to book on-line the ferryboat at least 1 week in advance as there are few trips per day and the crowd at the port ticket office might be overwhelming

Pack lots of sunscreen. Sicily is a stone throw away from Africa and during summer the sun can get really dangerous!

Whenever you are in Sicily ask for the best seafood restaurant advices at the local fisherman harbor.. the local fishermen are always extremely helpful and they know very well to whom they sold the best catch of the day.

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Initially, I wanted to keep this picture for Christmas... but I’m not the most patient person. 
I had asked @dennisstever to help me out with an image I had in my mind. 
After couple of attempted shots, it wasn’t working out the way I imagined it would.
So we just gave up. 
I remember walking deeper in the forest then heard him scream from far: “Michelle, don’t move!” I paused and stood still. 
And he took the shot. 
What you can’t see, is that right behind me was a 6 meter drop to the frozen white lake, snow falling heavily and my heart beating a million beats per second and I was freezing!
I didn’t want to move, breathe or leave. The view from here was incredible. I tossed my baloon up in the air, and waited for it to slowly fall back to me. 
Travel and photography, always an incredible beautiful surprise and adventure. 
Thank you @dennisstever for the photo and for allowing me to put my camera down in subzero temperatures... even for a little while 💫
  • On the other side, is the best version of yourself you could possibly be. Now close your eyes and let go of everything else... only then will you understand 💫
  • I’m not incomplete. I've learnt to fill my own inner void; But I need to keep being inspired and deeply moved to continue forward. 
Our trips are a reflection of who we are. 
The people on TJD trips are a reflection on the energy we attract. Falling in love with their souls, their strength and the small gestures they do to make you feel so important in their lives. And I’ve felt it. 
When I leave a place like Finland, where I find magic, freedom and peace... my strength is put to test, my balance and my willingness to endure. Because, as someone who is always searching for balance, I find it there. Breaking my own limits, outgrowing myself to live the best way I possibly can, and not the life others expect of me. 💫❄️ #TravelwithTJD @ourfinland
  • {Here is how you can win your dream trip worth 20,000 dhs! Anywhere in the world} link in bio
It’s no secret that I, like almost everyone else, have to take a couple of extra (a thousand) shots before getting the right one. But the most difficult ones to take, are the ones with Chloè! 
I cannot get her to stay still!! This was taken 2 years ago unedited. You can see I was desperately trying to keep her still for the shot until she caved in! 
I’m posting this because I’m happy to announce my partnership with @rsainsuranceuae with our second season campaign after the success of the first award winning campaign: ‘The Unluckiest Traveler’ 
Today we launch #rsatravelphotofails - We want you to upload your worst travel photo fail, (because not everyone gets that perfect travel photo) and the winner will get a chance to win their dream vacation!!
Step 1: Upload your worst photo image
Step 2: Tag #rsatravelphotofails 
And stay tuned to see if you won your dream trip worth 20,000 Dhs!!
  • I have so much respect for the emotionally brave. The ones who put in the emotional work and take the real risks of being vulnerable and removing masks. It's easy to make chitchat, but it's hard to speak about what's really under the surface. It's easy to joke, but difficult to cry. It's easy to numb, but hard to feel. That’s what keeps me going with @travelwithtjd and the people I meet along the way. That’s who they are and I love them for it. My love to @dennisstever for taking this photo of me, even when we both knew the ice on the lake was super thin but we braved our way through it. 😊 #TravelwithTJD
  • I can’t find words to describe how I feel being back here in Finland. It’s no secret how much I love this place and how many times I keep coming back. We kicked off our @travelwithtjd trips starting right here and making new friends and sharing some great moments ♥️
  • If you think you’re having a bad day, just remember, there are people that have their ex’s name tattooed on their body... Happy Wednesday! ♥️🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Do you often have picnics?? I found this picnic basket in a store last weekend and, although I don’t do a lot of picnics in Dubai, I bought it, and decided to use it for this photo shoot and get inspired by Italy with the @theitalianwayuae project that I’m so happy to be part of once again this season! Where is your favorite place for picnics??#theitalianway
  • A beautiful day in Dubai with a little too much ice cream! I spent my last weekend with friends & family on the beach before flying back to one of my favorite place on earth to witness the polar nights!! Can you guess where I’m flying back to?
  • I had my doubts when I posted on my stories yesterday on how long many of you here were following my journey. 
The response I had was so far beyond my expectations. 
I got a little emotional when I found out that almost 80 percent of you are here from the very start, 6 years ago!
Your messages this past 24 hours left me overwhelmed with feelings. There are no words, that’s why it took me all day trying to write a caption, and I still came up with nothing’s close to how I’m feeling. 
Everyone I’ve interacted in my life has brought out a side of me, the ones who stuck, where the ones who brought out the beautiful parts of me. 
So, if you’re new or if you’re old here... all I can say is thank you for following my journey, my ups and downs and my job...but most of all, for trusting me and what I believe in.💕
  • Over the weekend I thought a lot about ‘purpose vs goals in life’ and ‘happiness’.
Do we define happiness by reaching our purpose in life or by reaching our goals? 
Either way, I think a lot of us put pressure on the word ‘purpose’ and ‘goals’ in life and forget the simplicity of being just happy. 
In reality, we don’t always get fully to where we want to be, because we always find ourselves wanting more of everything... Personally I know I want to be happy in every decision I make, in my personal and business life and it goes far beyond having body goals or couple goals. 
There are days that life beats me down, and days I feel I’m on top of the world. 
But my purpose?? I don’t know yet, and I may never know.... But that doesn’t matter, because I’m still trying to make every single day count. 
So what is more important to you? Goals, a purpose or simply reaching happiness regardless??
  • Found an oasis in the middle of the desert 🌵 
The season has started in the UAE for desert drives and camping! 
Happy Sunday everyone!