Welcome to Sicily, an incredible destination that offers a wide range of outdoor adventures to satisfy your thirst for excitement and exploration. Besides its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, Sicily is an ideal location for those seeking active holidays. From hiking up volcanoes to strolling along picturesque coastlines, there's something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast here.
Sicily's diverse terrain provides ample opportunities for hiking and exploring its natural wonders. Imagine yourself surrounded by stunning Baroque architecture one moment, and the next, trekking through canyons or exploring ancient ruins. With such diversity, Sicily is truly a paradise for adventurers who crave outdoor activities.
We've compiled a list of our top 8 favorite hikes in Sicily. Get ready to immerse yourself in nature, challenge your limits, and discover the beauty of this incredible destination. So, put on your hiking boots and let's get started!
1. Madonie Mountains
The Madonie Mountains are a mountain range located in the northern part of Sicily and offer a beautiful and diverse landscape for hiking enthusiasts. The highest peak in the Madonie Mountains is Monte Carbonara, which reaches a height of 1,979 meters. The hike to the top is challenging, but worth it for the breathtaking panoramic views. Some easier trails you find in the area of Piano Battaglia which is characterized by a splendid beech forest.
The Madonie Mountains are also home to several small villages, including Castelbuono, Petralia Soprana, and Gangi, which give you a glimpse into traditional Sicilian life. The area has an excellent gastronomic offer, featuring local specialties such as meat, sausage, cheese, olives, and mushrooms, while some of Sicily's best wine is produced nearby.
Tip! For more family adventure, you find near Petralia Soprana an outdoor adventure park with rope courses, ladders, zip lines, and tree-climbing possibilities.
2. Etna Central Crater
Sicily's majestic Mount Etna beckons adventurers with a variety of trails that cater to hikers of all skill levels, including a challenging hiking experience to the Central Crater. This is a difficult and demanding hike that requires a high level of fitness and endurance. The trail starts from Rifugio Sapienza and winds its way up the mountain through a series of lava fields and volcanic rocks. Along the way, you can see the effects of the mountain's volcanic activity, including steam vents, fumaroles, and lava flows. The final climb to the central crater is steep and rocky. At the top, you can look into the crater and see the smoking vents and lava flows up close. The hike is a rewarding experience that offers the possibility to experience the natural beauty and power of one of the world's most active volcanoes up close.
3. Cavagrande del Cassibile
Cavagrande del Cassibile is a nature reserve located in southeastern Sicily. The reserve covers an area of approximately 2,700 hectares. It is known for its beautiful canyons, natural pools, and waterfalls. The pools are ideal for swimming, and the waterfalls provide a refreshing and picturesque backdrop on your walk.
Cavagrande del Cassibile has several hiking trails from easy walks to more challenging hikes that require some climbing!
4. Zingaro Nature reserve
Zingaro Nature Reserve is a protected natural area located in the northwest corner of Sicily. The reserve stretches for 7km from the village of Scopello in the east to San Vito Lo Capo in the West. The reserve (of 1,600 hectares) is an unspoiled area of rugged coastline, rocky cliffs, and crystal-clear waters and offers visitors a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming, and snorkeling.
The hiking trails follow the coastline, offering stunning views of the sea and the cliffs that drop into the azure sea. The park is home to many small sandy bays and pebbly coves with transparent turquoise waters where you can have a picnic or a refreshing dip. Don't miss Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo, regarded as one of the most alluring beaches in Sicily, because of its white sand and dramatic cliffs.
Even in the summer, when many of Sicily's beaches are overcrowded, it is a good idea to head for Lo Zingaro, because with just a short walk you can find yourself almost alone on some of the beaches.
The volcano of Stromboli has been erupting continuously for over 2,000 years, with frequent small eruptions and occasional larger explosions. The volcano's activity is visible from many parts of the island and often includes spectacular displays of lava flowing into the sea, especially at night.
Stromboli is one of Sicily's Aeolian Islands in the Northeast of the main island. The island of Stromboli itself is small and picturesque. The main village, also called Stromboli, is a cluster of white-washed buildings with narrow streets and charming courtyards. The village has a few restaurants, cafes, and shops, but the island's main attraction is its natural beauty.
Stromboli is popular with hikers for its climb to the summit of the volcano to witness its eruptions. The hike takes around three hours and involves a steep ascent, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. It is recommended to make this tour with an experienced guide, as the volcano's activity can be unpredictable. Tours start at dawn to escape the heat during the summer and to enjoy the spectacular views from the top under dark evening skies.
Other activities on the island include swimming, relaxing on the black sand beaches, or exploring the local species of flora and fauna.
Pantalica is a nature reserve located in the province of Siracusa, on the East Coast of Sicily. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and historical significance. The reserve covers an area of approximately 16,000 hectares and is home to one of the largest and best-preserved necropolises in the Mediterranean. It is a vast ancient cemetery that dates back to the 12th century BC. It contains over 5,000 tombs cut into the rocks, making it one of the largest and best-preserved in the world. You can explore the necropolis on foot and see the carvings and decorations that adorn the tombs.
Sicily's Alcantara Gorge - in Italian 'Gole dell'Alcantara' - is a natural canyon formed by the volcanic activity of Mount Etna. Over thousands of years, the waters coming from Etna carved their way into the volcanic rock, forming a spectacular canyon scenery. There are several hiking trails that go all the way through the canyon, offering breathtaking views of the river below. One of the highlights of Alcantara is the opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters of the river. Besides, the river invites you for more adventurous activities from mountain biking and canyoning, to (body) rafting and river trekking.
8. Iblei Mountains
The Iblei Mountains, also known as the Hyblaean Mountains, are a mountain range located in southeast Sicily and cover an area of about 1,000 square kilometers. It is known for its rugged limestone terrain, deep valleys, and dramatic landscapes.
The Iblei Mountains offer a variety of hiking trails, one of the most popular trails is hidden in Sicily's Vendicari Nature Reserve, on the Ionian Coast. The Vendicari is a small paradise with stunning beaches - such as the beach of Marianelli and Calamosche - combined with a crystal-clear sea. The trails in the reserve, are peaceful and picturesque and offer stunning coastal views. In this unspoiled natural area, you can also spot a variety of bird species such as herons, cranes, black storks, pelicans, and a flamboyance of flamingos in the lagoons and swamps.