The Most Beautiful Beaches in Sicily
Isola Bella is a must-visit spot for beach bums in Sicily | © Paul Lindsay / Alamy Stock Photo
Whether it’s a beach club with bath-warm waters and soft sand or rocky outcrops perfect for diving, you’re sure to find your perfect beach somewhere in Sicily.
The historic island of Sicily, just off the toe of Italy, has a shoreline that’s envied for its diversity as much as its beauty. In some parts rocky and dramatic, in others composed of pristine white sands, the only constant here is the water, which is never anything less than a clear, tempting shade of turquoise.
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Tonnara di Scopello
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You won’t find much in the way of long, soft sands on this rocky, sun-baked beach. What you will find is crystal-clear, aquamarine water and plenty of privacy. This is a private beach and you have to pay to access it, but as such it keeps the area quiet and very clean. It’s also a great place to snorkel, as the water is so clear, but bear in mind there isn’t much in the way of amenities. There is a small hotel here, but its services are for guests only.
Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo
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Families love this wide sandy beach, meaning it can get quite busy. There’s no cost to access it – just the usual charge for sunbeds, but bring a towel and sit on the sand and you’ll be just as comfortable. You can walk pretty far out into the shallows, providing even better views of the palm trees and a dramatic mountainous backdrop. There’s an enormous rock formation on the shoreline and it’s only a short walk to the nearby restaurants when it’s time to nibble on some arancini.
© anna quaglia / Alamy Stock Photo
Mondello beach is a large, curved bay of soft sand and clear water just 30 minutes from Palermo by taxi. The scenery here is a touch nostalgic, with colourful fishing boats lounging on the sands and neo-baroque architecture as a backdrop. Everything you need is right here at this beach: restaurants, toilets, even changing rooms. Sun loungers get booked up quickly, as you can book them days in advance and, indeed, everyone seems to do just that. Make like the locals and book online, or at the kiosk on the beach.
Scala dei Turchi
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The white cliff shelving rock formation that cradles this small sandy beach is beautiful to see. There have been some problems with erosion due to too many people walking on the flat-shelved areas of these rocks, so access is now prohibited. But down on the beach, it’s a captivating sight that makes this one of the most picturesque beaches you’ll find in Italy. The sea shelves gently, just like the rocks – and it’s a balmy spot for a swim.
Lungomare di Cefalu
This small, soft-sand beach sits between the gently lapping sea and a traditional-style promenade. It’s a lovely place to walk, just down from the old town – and it feels nostalgic, though it does get busy. The soft sand is packed with sun loungers and parasols and it’s hard to find a space during high season. Visit at the end of September when it’s quieter and this is paradise. There are plenty of restaurants and bars by the beach and in the winding streets of the town.
Caletta del Bue Marino
Less crowded than some of the other beaches on Sicily, Caletta del Bue Marino has crystal clear water that’s perfect for swimming in, though the beach itself is stone and shingle, not sand. This puts some people off coming to this beach, which makes it quieter – but you’ll need sea shoes unless you don’t mind a walk over the stones. It’s a bit of a walk from the car park, but it’s worth it for the unbeatable, clear water.
Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
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A beautiful small island connected to Sicily by a narrow causeway, Isola Bella (simply meaning ‘beautiful island’) easily lives up to its name. Once the home of English noblewomen Lady Florence Treveylan, it is now a nature reserve with a small museum. Take a boat over or the cable car that connects Taormina to the island’s nearby Mazzarò beach. There is a small entry fee to get onto Isola Bella, but this keeps it clean and taken care of. It’s another pebbly one, so sea shoes are needed and they are sold in a few places nearby. Then stock up on snorkeling gear for an alternative and equally magical perspective on the rocky island.
Spiaggia dei Conigli
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Consistently voted among the best beaches in Europe, you know you’re in for something special when you visit Spiaggia dei Conigli. On the remote island of Lampedusa, it’s a trek to get there with plane flights or ferry rides and hikes involved. Your effort will be rewarded with spectacularly clear water in a multitude of blues. With sun-bleached sand and glassy shallows, the beach is practically perfect in every way – with the only potential downside being the number of people who also want to spend the day there. But with a beach this stunning, you can’t expect to have it to yourself. Beware of the jellyfish, who also love this spot.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Gillian McGuire.
These recommendations were updated on September 10, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.