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Favorite Sicilian beach town?

I’ve been to Italy but never Sicily. RS has sparked our interest, and I’m searching for a beach town in the spirit of “cinque Terre”. What I mean by that is: rental units near the coast, close proximity to beach / natural coastline, and variety of places to hike & explore.

We are a family of 4. Two teenage kids and we are all healthy & active. No mobility issues to deal with.

I’m in the early planning not tied down to any one specific arrival location. Will most likely fly in to a “big” city from Rome via local airline like Ryan Air, etc. would prefer to connect to said village by train but would consider car rental.

So my question is, do you have a favorite Sicilian beach town that would compare to a Cinque Terre-like experience?

Posted by
1971 posts

I hope someone chimes in with Cefalu. Looks fabulous. Probably heading there on my next trip, April 2020.

Posted by
97 posts

I was in Cefalu once and it was beautiful. After a few hours on the beach, we walked all over town. It is a nice little town with a lot of history. I have not been to the Cinque Terre.

Posted by
2064 posts

Also really enjoyed Cefalu. The old town is very historical and fun to walk around. There are many good restaurants and snack places. The beach is beautiful and sandy. We stayed at the Tourist Hotel Cefalu which was dated but quiet and right on the beach. We loved the balcony and hearing the waves at night.

Posted by
403 posts

Another vote for Cefalú - I've stayed there twice, the second time for two weeks. As stated, it has a lovely historical centre, a good beach, great restaurants and several pleasant walks (La Rocca - the large rock/hill that looms over the town - is climable via steps and has superb views across the town and , on a good day, across to some of the Aeolian Islands.

It is easily accessible by train from Palermo - and the train also gives options in terms of travelling to places like Agrigento or up to Milazzo (the main prt for the fast ferries to the Islands - particularly Volcano and Lipari)

The major negative (which may not effect you if you are happy to use public transport) is the expense and difficulty of finding parking in the town.

Posted by
11294 posts

I can't speak to beaches, but here are some notes on flying to Sicily.

Palermo is the larger city, but Catania has the larger airport, with more flight options. However, from Rome, both have frequent flights every day on multiple airlines. Check Skyscanner to see all your options:

Then, click through to look at each airlines' website, to see all the rules for that particular fare. Alitalia regular fares include more than a "budget" carrier, so it can be cheaper when you add in the extras required by the budget carriers - or not. However, Alitalia now also has a budget fare that does not include a checked bag.

If Rome is not the most convenient place on the mainland to start or end your Sicily time, note that there are 1-2 flights per day from Catania and Palermo to almost all mainland Italian cities (more than that to Naples and Milan).

There are direct buses from Catania airport to many places in eastern Sicily, eliminating the need to go into Catania itself. From Palermo airport, you may have to go into Palermo to get connections (not sure).

Posted by
32266 posts


Which of the five Cinque Terre towns are you trying to match to Sicily? Only Monterosso has a nice beach.

As someone else mentioned, I would also suggest looking at Cefalu. It's not exactly like the Cinque Terre, but is a beautiful location with a nice sandy beach. I'm not sure about hiking opportunities there as I've never looked. There are hotels close to the beach but I have no information on other types of accommodations.

A few other points to mention.....

  • If you're planning on using RyanAir, be sure that you're absolutely clear on their Terms & Conditions, especially related to luggage limits. You could also look at easyJet or other airlines.

  • If you're going to consider a car rental, note that each driver listed on the rental form will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. IDP's are easily available at any AAA / CAA office for a small fee, and are valid for one year. You'll also have to be very vigilant to avoid ZTL (limited traffic) areas in cities, as hefty fines result for each pass through one.

There are trains (for example) from Palermo Centrale to Cefalu, with a travel time of about 50 minutes.

You might find it helpful to have a look at the new RS Sicily guidebook.

Posted by
605 posts

Another vote for Cefalu. Although I am not a beach person, I absolutely love sitting by the water, especially early in the morning. Love Cefalu and can't wait to return.

Posted by
16 posts

Though nothing like Cinque Terre, Sicily is amazing. Although the responses lean toward Cefalu, which I also love, if you want a very authentic beach town experience, I'd head to San Vito Lo Capo, about 65 miles west of Palermo. Charming beach community, interesting harbor, nearby mountains for hiking (just google the town and you'll get a good visual idea), within an easy drive to adorable Scopello, the stunning and rugged Zingaro Reserve with hiking and small accessible beaches, Castellamare. For a day trip throw in Segesta and you could easily spend a week in just that corner of Sicily.

Posted by
347 posts

Visted Cefalu on a 2015 RS Sicily tour. I loved it. Plenty of beach. And beautiful. You can fly into Palermo and take the train to Cefalu.

Posted by
341 posts

Taormina Is also very popular. But reading your definition of what you in particular mean by similar to Cinque Terre, i.e. on the coast, variety of places to visit and explore, hiking I would look at Trapani. It has an interesting historical centre in its own right and makes an excellent base for exploring places mentioned above like San Vito lo Capo but also Erice, Marsala and Salt pans Mazara, Favignana. You can hike up to Erice, around Favignana Also Monte Cofano and Riserva dello Zingaro...

Posted by
60 posts

Thank you all for the good info. I really appreciate it. :)