We all know Sicily as the Italian island where you can walk the famous volcano Etna, as the island of The Godfather, of the bright yellow lemons and the delicious Pasta alla Norma. I recently went on a trip to the island in collaboration with Belvilla, in quest of that perfect Dolce far Niente feeling (and maybe also a little bit to find my inner Sophia Loren).
You can use public transport, but the very best way to discover Sicily is by car. Renting a car (mine was a cute Fiat Panda), it’s not expensive at all and it’s just the most relax way to travel over the island. Especially if you want to visit the nice little villages inland. My stay at Sicily focused on Palermo and surroundings. For that I selected some of the highlights, which you can also find in the map below:
This dreamy, Sicilian vacation home is hidden in the hills just above Campofelice di Roccella (15 kilometers from the beautiful picturesque town Cefalù). I was happy that the friendly owner sended me very clear directions to the house by sms when I landed at Trapani airport. The last couple of kilometers are not easy to find when arriving in the dark for the first time.
The owner had ensured that the first evening and morning in the house was perfectly catered with a bottle of wine, pasta, bread and fresh grapes from the garden waiting in the kitchen. Perfetto! In that way I could turn on the relax modus immediately.
The interior of Lavanda fits perfectly with my Sicilian dream; very authentic, romantic and with a swell view. Every detail has been thought about, from a typical Italian percolator to handy flashlight and soft matching linen. Also fun: the piano in the living room really invites you to play a piece on it (even if you’re not a piano-wonder like me…). The cottage is for 4 people (there are two large bedrooms each with a private bathroom) and feels therefore very spacious. Besides that, the many windows and doors in the house makes it also a very open house.
The next morning, when I wake up for the first time at Lavanda, I discover the amazing swimming pool. Just 100 meters away, hidden among the olive trees. It feels like being a goddess in own garden! The peace, beauty, vegetation (olive trees, beautiful flowers, fruit trees and so on), animals (every day I’m being welcomed by three sweet guard dogs and a horse) made my stay at Lavanda the perfect Sicilian experience I was looking for!
This agriturismo was a recommendation off the owner of Lavanda. Located just 2 km away from Lavanda, this agriturismo, owner Donatella welcomes you for dinner. The kitchen is meant basically for the guests of the agriturismo, but if you make a call before she makes exceptions for other people and join the table. For 25 Euros per person you get a starter, main course and dessert, including plenty of wine. The dishes are prepared with so much love and dedication. Delicious! And Donatella mostly uses only home grown ingredients like zucchini, fresh figs, nuts, tomatoes, eggplant, etc. A very special and tasty evening you get at Guarnera.
Castelbuono is a small village you should definitely put on your must-visit list when getting around at Sicily. It’s a beautiful medieval town where it seems as if time has stood still. Sip on a cappuccino on the village square, buy a slice of freshly made panettone at the bakery and eat a pasta at one of the cute restaurants.
4) Osteria del Duomo, Cefalù
Located in Cefalù, located right next to the Duomo, you’ll find this osteria. You probably expect that this is a place full of tourists, but that’s not the case. The osteria is just around the corner of the square, so you’re out of the crowd and can enjoy a lively Italian night at this little piazza. The menu offers typical Sicilian dishes such as caponata, arancini and cannoli.
5) Ferro Di Cavallo, Palermo
A trip to Palermo should definitely be combined with a visit to restaurant Ferro di Cavallo. Don’t let the queue put you off! Write your name on a piece of paper on the wall and just wait a minute or ten untill your name is shouted. The food and atmosphere here is really Sicilian: many local people, delicious fish on the menu and not expensive (which is in general the case everywhere at Sicily).
6) Cefalù Beach
Definitely go to the beach of Cefalù if you want to sunbathe. Lie on the white sands of this beach, with an amazing view on the facade of the fishing village. You can rent a beach bed, but the sand is just spread your on. And the sea water? The sea is clear and has a lovely temperature. Perfect for a refreshing dive every hour.
WHAT MADE ME SMILE MOST
– The passionated Italian people (while driving, speaking, cooking… well while doing practically everything)
– Eating the best Italian gelato every night (just because, sometimes you have to treat yourself)
– The Dolce far Niente feeling I found during my stay at Lavanda!