Nature and landscapes in Sicily – a trip to the largest island in the Middle East

Just the definition of Sicily as an island is enough to ignite the imagination of nature and outdoor enthusiasts. Indeed, Sicily lives up to expectations. Volcanoes, national parks, tracks, lookouts, ridges and what not. Nature in Sicily is diverse and rich, and it is highly recommended to experience it for at least one day. Whether you are not ready to walk more than five minutes from the parking lot, or whether your trek is a minimum of two days long – among the multitude of attractions and points of interest that the island is full of, the Sicilian nature also has something to offer you. and a lot

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Mount Etna (Monte Etna)

Just like you can’t talk about Naples without talking about Mount Vesuvius, you can’t talk about Sicily without talking about Mount Etna. The fertile land that surrounds it has attracted settlers for thousands of years, who refuse to leave despite its intense volcanic activity. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and was even declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The volcano is located close to the corner of the Italian boot, in northeastern Sicily, and is the highest (and most active) in Europe. Its eruptions have been neatly documented for more than 2,500 years, and are not uncommon at all, with the latest occurring in 2018. However, the mountain is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sicily throughout the year. Among other things, people come to it to look at it and the views that can be seen from it, to ski in one of the several ski resorts on its slopes (in season of course), to visit the towns built at its foot and of course to climb to its summit. This is one of the most iconic sites in Italy, and no trip to Sicily is complete without it.

It is possible to reach by various means of transportation (including car, cable car and bus) up to a height of about 2,900 meters, both from the south and from the northeast. Those who want to qualify to the summit (at an altitude of 3,300 meters) will have to do so on foot, using the walking path that leaves from the bus parking lot, as part of a guided tour. The climbs to the top of the mountain are sometimes suspended due to volcanic activity, so it is recommended to find out the current status before your trip.

Mount Pellegrino (Monte Pellegrino)

If you come to Palermo, you will see Mount Pellegrino. This dramatic mountain, located on the coast just north of Palermo itself, was described by Goethe as the most beautiful cliff in the world (and he’s seen a thing or two). It rises abruptly above the surface, and provides those who come to it with a spectacular panoramic view of both the city and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

There are several interesting sites on the mountain that you can visit. The mountain has been defined as a nature reserve, with hiking trails and even a river channel that flows in the winter and attracts special species of animals. There is the Chinese Palace (Casina di Caccia) built at the end of the 18th century, and it has several other sites. In addition to the other sites, one of the most interesting is the Grotta dell’Addaura, which is actually a group of 3 caves where cave paintings from the prehistoric period were discovered.

Zingaro Nature Reserve

This is the perfect place to visit for nature and outdoor enthusiasts, as this reserve has remained untouched and almost untouched by humans since it was declared as such in 1981. Here you will find a wide variety of small bays, hiking trails, spectacular sea views and more, as nature’s best hand for you.

The most convenient access to the reserve is by car, and you can enter it from both the south and the north. You can choose which activities you want to do there, starting with snorkeling, going on hiking trails and ending with sunbathing on one of its intimate beaches.

The Natural Park of the Madonie Mountains (Parco delle Madonie)

Another recommended destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Madonea Park begins on the road of the northern coast of Sicily, east of Palermo, and extends into the interior of the island into the mountains. You will find beautiful views, many hiking trails and nice corners where you can stop for a picnic.

This is also the place to experience the authentic Sicilian countryside. There are a large number of tiny villages here, full of Sicilian farmers who have been cultivating their land with dedication for many generations. This is one of the best places to experience the original Sicily, the one that has not yet become a non-stop destination for tourist activities.

Alcantàra Gorge

This channel probably lies on the eastern coast of Sicily, between Catania and Messina. It is a stream channel at a height of 150 meters, in which the clear waters of the Alcantara river flow with emotion and drain into pools where you can swim. There is an elevator that will take you down and up the great height of the channel, in order to make its “beaches” accessible for visitors. In addition, you will find several hiking trails in the channel, which will allow you to experience it from several angles.

An extreme activity that takes place in the channel, and is suitable for fans of the genre, is Body Rafting and Canyoning). This is not a normal cruise, but actually a guided swim along the channel, with or without the help of ropes. During the Body Rafting cruise you will use only your body to move forward in the channel, while in Body Canyoning you will use ropes and ladders for this purpose. Of course, the entire activity is guided by a professional and experienced staff member, who will ensure that you pass the route safely.

So what have we had so far?