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While the more glamorous aspects of the northern coast of Sicily such as the clubs, bars and vacation beaches are popular throughout the Mediterranean region, this area has a rich history still evidenced by ancient ruins, castles and monuments.
North Coast Sicily Weather: July and August are the warmest months with daytime temperatures averaging 29 degrees C, or 84 degrees F. From December through February, the coldest months, daytime temperatures remain agreeable at 14 degrees C, or 57 degrees F, ideal for enjoying the many seasonal festivities.
Regional Cuisine of the North Coast of Sicily: Wheat, tomatoes, artichokes and olive oil in dishes combining Spanish, Greek and Arab influences
Regional Wine of the North Coast of Sicily: Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Bianco, COS Pithos, Cottanera Etna Rosso, Manenti Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Things to Do on the North Coast of Sicily: Santo Stefano di Camastra, Palazzo Adriano, Aeolian Islands, Nebrodi Mountain Park and Corleone
Where is the North Coast of Sicily? Sicily is found in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea extending from the tip of the Apennine peninsula and separated by the Strait of Messina. The northern coast is accessed by the Tyrrhenian Sea just west of Tunisia.
What really stands out when reflecting on my visit to the northern coast of Sicily is its people and culture.
In Sicily, I experienced an active volcano, beautiful beaches, centuries-old villages and marketplaces, and the charming, culturally rich city of Palermo. The island quickly became one of my favorites places to visit in this part of the Mediterranean region. While Palermo is the most modern city in Sicily, two mountain ranges and several small villages offer a taste of ancient Sicily similar to what has greeted generations of visitors to the northern part of this autonomous region of Italy.
When I visited, the small neighborhood cafes offered plenty of regional delights with some of the meals served up personally by the owners. Hiking high in the hills of the Sicilian Apennines presented a unique view of cascading mountains and rolling hills cradled by the sea.
Because Palermo is the largest city in the Mediterranean and likely to be the place where you’ll be staying in the region, it’s a common starting point for local explorations. From there, the Catacombs of the Cappuccini to the west offer a glimpse into the region’s prehistoric era. The Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Polermo is another point of interest located in the heart of the city.
Whether you’re visiting local beaches, outdoor markets or cultural attractions such as local opera houses, the best way to get around while exploring is to either arrange for hotel transportation or rent a car in Palermo for more independent exploring. In addition, the network of buses throughout Sicily is extensive and relatively inexpensive.
Fun Facts: Sicily has an association with marionettes and puppet theater dating back to the 15th century.
Local Dish: Food enjoyed on the northern coast of Sicily is mostly local and seasonal. Regional dishes include spaghetti ai ricci prepared with sea urchin, manicotti and pasta con le sarde made with sardines.
Local Day Trips: In Mondello, you’ll find seaside villas reflecting local culture, a thriving beach, busy clubs and a mix of popular bars and restaurants. The region around the village of Corleone is where you’ll find many of the region’s small villages virtually unchanged by time. The coastal route west of Palermo is home to picturesque nature parks.
If you prefer to get a more regional feel of life on the northern coast of Sicily, skip the big name hotels and consider a bed and breakfast or small inn; these establishments often offer personal attention from the owners. Many of these individuals are more than willing to point out "unofficial" attractions such as the local pizza culture and neighborhood haunts not typically explored by crowds of tourists.
Staying in smaller accommodations will give you more of a chance to learn the language. Larger hotels may have bilingual staff or on-site translators, but if you really want to dive into the Sicilian culture, mingling with the locals is the best way to pick up some Italian as you travel.
Main points of interest
Sicily – North Coast
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