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Looking for a Sea-Side villa in Sicily.

Hello.
Looking for recommendations for a small villa or Luxury accommodation on Sicily. Must be close to good food, and Sea views.
Heading over by myself so proximity to (new friends) people and activities is a must. Walking distance to stuff to do would be great.
Thanks

Posted by
6511 posts

Search Booking.com in Taormina if you're looking for luxury. Here's an example - San Domenico Palace: https://www.fourseasons.com/taormina/
The rest of Sicily is very affordable. You can also try Siracusa since there are a lot of boutique hotels facing the water. There is much more to do in Siracusa than Taormina (and the former is more laid back), it just depends what kind of vibe you're looking for.

Posted by
504 posts

Don’t know of any villas to rent, but I would target Siracusa.
There’s also a nonstop flight between Catania and Naples on a budget carrier for less than $50. However, I recommend that you pack light so you don’t pay more to check your bag than what you’d pay for a plane ticket. You can take a direct train from the Catania airport to Siracusa (1h).
You can also take a direct overnight train between Naples and Siracusa and reserve a couchette to sleep in, that’s what I did.
Good day trip options from Siracusa are Catania (1h 15m), Taormina (2h), Modica (1h 45m), Scicli (1h 30m) and Noto (45m).

Posted by
1919 posts

Plenty of great luxury options in Sicily including Grand Hotel Timeo (Belmond), Verdura Resort (Rocco Forte), Villa Sant'Andrea (Belmond), Seven Rooms Villadorata, Dimora delle Balze, San Domenico Palace Hotel, Ortea Palace, Grand Hotel San Pietro, VOI Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay, The Ashbee Hotel, or Hotel El Jebel.

Villas are also fairly prevalent at variable prices depending on how many rooms you need.

Posted by
17869 posts

If you end up around Siracusa, you'll do better to fly into Catania rather than Palermo. Catania is closer and it's a larger airport.

I do not recommend the overnight train from the mainland. That's what I used in 2015--admittedly in a couchette rather than a sleeper--and I got not one wink of sleep because the carriage jerked constantly from side to side. It was by far the most uncomfortable ride I've ever had on a train, made much worse when I slept for much of the next day.

I'd add Ragusa to the list of charming towns May Pat has suggested.

Posted by
5758 posts

Agree with acraven that flying into Catania is easier for Siracusa, if you end up around there.

Posted by
1919 posts

Also agree with acraven about Ragusa... although not a "sea view" location, it's not far from the beach. We stayed at the Locanda Don Serafino Relais & Chateaux... and dined at the incredible Locanda Don Serafino restaurant on consecutive nights. We were quite fortunate to enjoy a cooking class with Executive Chef, Vincenzo Candiano. The food is incredible, as is the restaurant interior!

Posted by
504 posts

Thanks, Acraven and Kim, I did not know that Catania had an airport so I updated my post. The reason I did not suggest Ragusa is because it’s more than two hours away, which makes a long day trip.

Posted by
2445 posts

I would also concur with flying into Catania if you choose Eastern Sicilia. On our first visit we ended a Southern Italy tour in Taormina. We spent 3 nights. We went to Mt. Etna & then headed south to Ortigia on a self guided tour. We spent 5 nights and did a day trip to Noto, Ragusa & Modica per private driver. I can’t recommend a Villa, but I can attest to beautiful Sea views and wonderful cuisine.

Edited to add: We stayed at the lovely Eurostars Monte Tauro Hotel. Another consideration is Casa Cuseni. It has been recommended on this forum. The accommodation is featured in the Daphne Phelps book "A House in Sicily." The memoir highlights the history of the authors unexpected inheritance of the stone house and how she saved it from demolition. It has 5 rooms and boasts a beautiful sea view.

Posted by
17869 posts

The train takes about 2 hours from Siracusa to Ragusa; the bus, even longer. But if the traveler has a car, it would be considerably faster. Google Maps is estimating 76 to 79 minutes depending on the route. The ViaMichelin website isn't responsive at the moment; normally I'd use it for driving-time estimates.

Posted by
1752 posts

We stayed in Taormina for 4 nights at the end of a trip. We rented the top floor of this: https://www.residenceschuler.com/en/apartments.html. The unit is called the penthouse. The views were spectacular. The unit is huge and comfortable - the pictures on the website are accurate. It was about a 5 - 10 minute walk from the main promenade in Taormina and lots of great restaurants.

There are no hotel-like services at Residence Schuler, if you're hoping for that as well. We were all about getting a spectacular view and a huge terrace and we were very happy.

Posted by
12063 posts

With car or no car?
In a town or outside?
That’s too broad. Good food is everywhere

Posted by
6098 posts

We spent a week in a waterfront apartment Ortigia, the historic island off of Siracusa. There are also many good hotels on the island. We loved Ortigia and disliked Taormina, although beautiful, due to it’s mobs of tourists and touristy atmosphere. This was our favorite place in Sicily.

Posted by
42 posts

One other great seaside town not mentioned is Cefula. One the rail line about 45 minutes east of Palermo.

Posted by
806 posts

The Thinking Traveller has stunning listings and good reviews, mostly in Sicily, Puglia and Greece. I have not used them yet but have bookmarked this for a future splurge. It’s always been above what I was willing to spend but post-retirement and post-pandemic. I might step up to something like this (also I’m now living in Europe so we save the airfare.)

It’s a fun site to browse anyway. Not normal Rick Steves places though.

Posted by
75 posts

Nelly, out of curiosity, where are your reading reviews for The Thinking Traveler?

I contacted them back in 2018/19 for our first visit to Sicily in May 2019; sadly, it wasn't a great experience. The company was experiencing a fair amount of turn over at the time, in terms of villas available to rent, and people available to answer questions. We were shuffled between three different employees: the first person we spoke with left the company shortly thereafter, the second was just getting started and needed to contact a third with more experience. It all felt very disorganized. Then, after a ridiculous amount of back and forth getting questions answered, two villas we were considering were suddenly no longer available - the owners had decided to no longer list with TTT. At the point we gave up since several months of time had been wasted and we needed to book reservations.

Thankfully, I found some lovely small hotels that worked out beautifully and we had a lovely trip - no thanks to TTT. To be honest, our trip actually turned out better than if we had rented a villa since we saw more of the island, especially since I'm not the sort of person who's content to lounge by a pool all day. Changing locations after three days suited us much better than staying put for an entire week, but that's just our preference. One other note: while renting a villa may be more economical for a large family or group, it's much more expensive for just two people traveling together, like my husband and I. Since one bedroom villas are understandably non-existant, we were willing to book up to a three bedroom villa, yet our choices were still rather limited in many places. I haven't given up on the idea of a villa rental for a future trip, but I'll be looking for other options besides just TTT.