Beaches in Sicily
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, boasting a coastline that stretches for a thousand kilometers, washed by three seas.
Such an extensive coastline corresponds to a great diversity of beaches and seaside locations, united by an irresistible charm and the purity of the sea beds. The composition of rocks and beaches varies according to the origin of the soil.
The northern Tyrrhenian coasts, high and rocky, feature wide coves and long stretches of land extending into the sea. On the eastern side, the Ionic coast is more varied: narrow gravel beaches alternate with rugged sections, including coves and bays interrupted by some stretches of golden sandy beaches. The extensive southern slope, on the other hand, is predominantly characterized by a low and sandy coastline, along with untouched nature and a wild appearance.
The island, therefore, offers the opportunity to choose the perfect beach: from those most suitable for families with children to those ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts or those who love to immerse themselves in pristine nature.
Most beautiful beaches in Sicily
One of the most well-known beaches in western Sicily is located very close to the city of Palermo: Mondello beach, with its white sand and crystal-clear waters, is especially splendid between September and June when it is not too crowded.
On the southeastern side of the island, around the Maddalena Peninsula south of Siracusa, lies the Plemmirio Nature Reserve, an unspoilt protected marine area, often inaccessible by land for long stretches. Access to the beautiful white sandy beaches is possible through a series of numbered entrances located between Punta Milocca and Punta Castelluccio.
In the historic center of Siracusa, on the island of Ortigia, there is also a small beach with sand and pebbles, along with protruding rocks: Cala Rossa beach. Access is through a staircase that runs along the waterfront.
Continuing north, in the heart of the Cyclops Marine Protected Area in the province of Catania, lies a place with truly unique charm: the picturesque Aci Trezza beach, in front of the “Cyclops stacks”. The beach is of volcanic origin, characterized by gravel and lava rock formations framing the azure sea. Here, you can find both free beach areas and equipped bathing establishments on wooden terraces overlooking the sea.
Among the most enchanting spots in eastern Sicily, Isola Bella in Taormina is definitely worth mentioning. This rocky islet covered in dense vegetation is connected, through a narrow and easily passable strip of land, to a characteristic pebble beach on the mainland. The beach hosts some bathing establishments and is accessible on foot or by cable car. This is an ideal spot for snorkelling.
On the Tyrrhenian side of the province of Messina, you can discover another oasis of great beauty. The Oriented Nature Reserve of Marinello Lakes is a lagoon area with brackish lakes, a unique feature of this stretch of coastline. Within the reserve, there is an untouched golden sandy beach with clear waters, featuring both shallow and deeper areas: an ideal destination for those who love exploration and a close connection with nature.
Beaches in north-western Sicily
This area is characterized by long stretches of golden or light sandy shores and gravel, secluded coves surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, and turquoise waters.
Beautiful golden sandy beaches define the Cefalù area, where you can also find some wild or less crowded spots, both free and equipped with beach establishments.
Moving from Palermo in the opposite direction and passing the seaside village of Mondello, you'll encounter the Oriented Nature Reserve of Capo Gallo, a biodiversity reservoir with sandy coves and inlets nestled in the cliffs, ideal for trekking.
Continuing towards Scopello, you'll find Guidaloca beach, with a mix of sand and gravel, partially free and partially equipped. Further along is Cala Mazzo di Sciacca, a hidden gem with white pebbles and sand washed by clear waters, perfect for those seeking a bit more intimacy.
From Scopello, you can also access the Zingaro Nature Reserve, characterized by a rocky coastline and a unique Mediterranean ecosystem for flora and fauna, predominantly nesting birds. It provides a magnificent setting for a coastal walk with the option to relax in one of the various gravel coves, including the paradisiacal Cala dell'Uzzo. This wild and pristine beach is the largest and easiest to reach due to its proximity to the North entrance and parking, suitable for families with children.
A little further, San Vito lo Capo is one of the most well-known beach resorts in western Sicily,
thanks to its long stretch of white sandy beach and the crystal-clear color of its shallow, sandy-bottomed waters, protected from winds and currents, making it safe for children. The beach also offers equipped bathing establishments and numerous sports activities.
In the same area, there are less crowded alternatives. In Macari, bathed by azure waters, you'll find Cala del Bue Marino, with characteristic white pebbles in contrast with the surrounding reddish cliffs, almost hiding it, as if to preserve its beauty. For those who prefer sand, the free beach Baia Santa Margherita overlooks a sea with countless shades of blue and is reachable on foot or by a local electric train.
Continuing westward, the beach of Baia di Cornino offers a spectacular view of Mount Cofano and is located on a coastline that is the perfect combination of sandy beach and majestic cliffs reaching towards the sky. This small sandy beach is also perfect for snorkelling due to its marine caves populated by a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Heading to Marsala, in the Stagnone area, you'll find the small sandy beach of San Teodoro, with very shallow and transparent water, safe and suitable for families with children. The prevailing winds also create ideal conditions for kite surfing, attracting enthusiasts from all over Europe. What makes the place even more impressive is the privileged view of the Egadi Islands, which at sunset contributes to an even more spectacular scenario.
The Egadi Islands are renowned for their paradise-like beaches and bays: Cala Azzurra, Cala Bue Marino, and Lido Burrone, among the most beautiful, share Caribbean-colored waters and are located on the main island of the archipelago, Favignana. On the island, you'll also find the splendid Cala Rossa, a cove nestled in the rocky coast, easily by sea, while by land you have to navigate a rather challenging descent on foot.
Beaches in south-western Sicily
Along the southern coast, golden sandy beaches alternate with sandy and gravel beaches, many of them still wild and almost all of them lapped by crystal-clear sea. Some of these beaches are located within nature reserves and can only be reached on foot.
On this side there are also the remains of some Greek colonies in Sicily, such as Selinunte with its Acropolis, at the foot of which stretches a beautiful beach of fine golden sand, where you can swim while gazing at the temples, enveloped in an evocative atmosphere.
A short distance away, the wild coastline of the Oriented Nature Reserve Foce del Fiume Belice consists of sand dunes shaped by the wind and covered with spontaneous vegetation. The beach, where Caretta Caretta turtles lay their eggs, has shallow sandy bottoms and is immersed in a spectacular natural landscape, ideal for those who want to spend a day in absolute tranquility or seek contact with nature.
Some locations in the province of Agrigento offer beautiful beaches. Perfect for snorkelling, the
wonderful Le Solette beach in Porto Palo di Menfi is somewhat hidden and not very easy to reach, therefore usually less crowded. The sandy beaches of Porto Palo di Menfi and Lido Fiori are among the most beautiful in the area, both well-known for their crystal-clear waters, repeatedly awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness and sea quality, and also recognized with the Green Flag as child-friendly beaches.
Between Eraclea Minoa and Siculiana Marina lies the WWF Reserve of Torre Salsa, where the Caretta Caretta turtle reproduces. It is one of the most beautiful, wild and pristine beaches in Sicily: dunes, golden sand and high white cliffs overlooking the sea with rich underwater flora and fauna create an enchanting scene. The reserve is accessed through a rather rugged dirt road.
Along the coast of Realmonte, between two fine sandy beaches, rises the enchanting Scala dei Turchi, a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. Wind and rain have sculpted a natural staircase on this limestone and clay sedimentary rock, giving it its typical white color. This white cliff, from whose top you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire Agrigento coast, has become a major tourist attraction and is very crowded during the summer months and weekends.
Beaches in south-eastern Sicily
The coastal areas of southeastern Sicily offer enchanting natural views. In this region, encompassing the provinces of Ragusa and Siracusa, you'll find golden sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and natural reserves, some of which are only accessible on foot, preserving their pristine and unspoiled beauty.
The coastal area of Ragusa boasts beautiful fine sand beaches, such as Punta Secca, where the famous house of Inspector Montalbano from the TV series stands, and Sampieri, a wild beach characterized by golden sand dunes and typical Mediterranean vegetation.
In this stretch of coastline, several beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag for sea quality and efficient services. These include Marina di Ragusa, with a large free area and numerous bathing establishments, Marina di Modica, where stretches of free beach alternate with equipped facilities, featuring a beautiful promenade and opportunities for surfing and windsurfing due to its exposure to winds. Lastly, the beach of Pietre Nere in Pozzallo, known for the clarity of its waters, also has beach resorts.
At the southern tip of Sicily, in Portopalo di Capo Passero, you'll find Isola delle Correnti, a meeting point between the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas, named after the clash of currents creating captivating color displays. However, these waters may not be suitable for children due to their conditions, often windy and favored by surfers.
Beyond the promontory, there are other fine sand beaches, among the most beautiful on the island, located within the Vendicari Nature Reserve, stretching between Marzamemi and Noto in the province of Siracusa. As a natural reserve, these beaches are not equipped, requiring walks of varying lengths to reach them. The clear and uncontaminated sea has been awarded 4 blue sails by Legambiente.
The beach of San Lorenzo, in the southern part, just 5 km from Marzamemi and near the Faunal Oasis, is easily accessible and suitable for children, as well as nature and tranquility lovers. This beach with light sand alternating with rocks and cliffs is where loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) deposit their eggs.
The beach of Vendicari, easily reachable through a short path in the pine forest, consists of a long
strip of golden sand with shallow waters and crystal-clear sea. The background of the Ancient Tonnara provides a truly picturesque setting.
Considered one of the most fascinating beaches in Sicily, Calamosche is only accessible on foot through a dirt path of about 1 km. This isolated and quiet paradise with typical Mediterranean colors is located in a small bay where rocks frame a stretch of golden sand extending for about 200 m to the sea, protecting it from the winds. The sea in this cove is calm and crystalline, suitable for children, and populated by rich marine fauna, making it ideal for snorkelling.
Moving towards the northern part of the Faunal Oasis, the beach of Marianelli, with fine sand and shallow waters, is nestled in a beautiful natural landscape of almond and lemon groves. Its secluded location has allowed it to preserve its authenticity, being an isolated and wild beach, mainly frequented by naturists.
The beach of Eloro, a stretch of golden sand bathed by clear waters with fairly shallow depths, is the northernmost in the reserve. Easily accessible by car and equipped with a small bar and showers, it remains a free beach with no beach resorts. Along the short path leading to the beach, you can glimpse the remains of the ancient Greek city of Eloro.
In the territory of Avola, within the wonderful context of the Cavagrande del Cassibile Nature Reserve, you'll find the Gelsomineto Oasis, also known as the Marchesa Beach, where the Cassibile River flows through the reserve. This beautiful white sand beach, framed by a pine forest providing shelter from the sun, is accessible by car and protected from the winds, making it an ideal destination for families with children.
Continuing towards Siracusa, Fontane Bianche is undoubtedly worth a stop. It is a marvelous white sand beach bathed by crystal-clear waters, named for the presence of various freshwater springs that flow from the seabed. The beach, popular in summer, is suitable for families with children as the seabed slopes gently and is well-protected. There are both free beach sections and beach resorts.
Equally beautiful is the beach of Arenella, with golden sand and a rocky stretch for those who prefer cliffs. This beach offers a relatively small free beach area, so it might be crowded during peak seasons, along with several equipped facilities.
Beaches in north-eastern Sicily
The stretch of coastline facing the Ionian Sea to the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north offers beaches mostly composed of coarse sand and sand mixed with gravel or pebbles of varying sizes.
Letojanni is a beautiful seaside resort in the province of Messina, with a coastline alternating between sandy stretches and gravel patches. The stunning beach, partly free and partly equipped, offers numerous services, including the opportunity to engage in water sports. Moving north, the picturesque free beach of Santa Teresa di Riva, consisting of pebbles and sand, is lapped by crystal-clear waters and has a deep seabed, earning it the Blue Flag designation.
On the Tyrrhenian side of the Messina coast lies the Marine Protected Area of Capo Milazzo, with its enchanting panoramas and cliffs overlooking the sea. This is a true paradise for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. A must-visit stop for those exploring Capo Milazzo is the amazing “Piscina di Venere” (Pool of Venus) with its cool waters, accessible through a path not recommended for young children, especially considering that upon arrival you have to fit among the rocks with no facilities.
The beach of Capo d'Orlando, in the homonymous municipality of Messina, is one of the most beautiful in the area, nestled among coves and hidden beaches that characterize the coast. The beach is mainly composed of gravel and rocks with some sandy stretches, bathed by crystal-clear waters with shallow depths, making it suitable for families with children. From here, you can catch a distant glimpse of the profile of the Aeolian Islands.
Thanks to the relatively mild temperatures, the sea in Sicily is suitable for swimming for most of the year. During the summer months, the most popular beaches can be quite crowded, so it might be necessary to explore more secluded stretches of beach to find some tranquility. In the remaining periods, however, you can fully enjoy the beauty of the island's coastlines.