Walking on Mount Etna
There are many options for walking on Etna, both escorted and self-guided. There’s a two-hour trek that goes up the northern slopes from Piano Provenzano to Pizzi Deneri, and the Volcanic Observatory at 2,800m, or super-fit adventurers can climb all the way to the main crater at 3,200m in around three hours. Both options offer spectacular views of the Peloritani, Nebrodi and Madonie mountains and the Valle del Bove. On the southern slopes, walkers can climb 2km up to the four craters after taking the cable car from Rifugio Sapienza. Skiing on Etna’s snowy slopes is also possible between December and March.
Climbing at San Vito Lo Capo
San Vito lo Capo is a coastal town in the Trapani area which many tourists are yet to discover. Not only does it have a great beach, but it has blossomed as a climbing destination in recent years, with a variety of challenging crags located just outside of the town. The San Vito Climbing Festival takes place over four days in October (29 Oct – 1 Nov in 2015) and not only features climbing but also kayaking, mountain-biking, trail-running and an outdoor adventure film festival. With a favourable climate and a vast variety of landscapes, visitors can do just about any outdoor activity in Sicily.
Bird-watching in Vendicari Reserve
The Vendicari nature reserve is located south of Syracuse, between Noto and Pachino villages and is famous as a stopover point for birds from northern Europe who are flying south for the winter. Beginning around October/November, twitchers can spot a vast number of migratory birds from numerous observation points in the reserve. Fascinating migrating species include flamingos, grey and purple herons, stilts, black cormorants, avocets, storks, terns and white egrets.
Diving off Ustica
Divers from all around the globe flock to the island of Ustica, north of Palermo, between May and October to explore its magnificent underwater sites. Highlights include an underwater archaeological trail off Punta Cavazzi to see ancient anchors and Roman pottery, exploring the caves and deep gorges of Scoglio del Medico, the rainbow-coloured display of sponges and gorgonians at Secca di Columbara, and the beautiful natural grottos – Grotto Rosata (pink grotto) and Grotta Segreta (secret grotto). There is an excellent choice of dive centres offering a variety of itineraries and equipment hire.
Horse-riding in Cefalù
Horse-riding is the perfect way to explore Sicily’s rugged landscapes and is a fun activity suitable for all ages and all levels of experience. The area around Cefalu is highly recommended region to explore on horseback with coastal paths offering panoramic sea views, sites including the castles of Castelbuono and Geraci, and the striking mountains of the Madonie national park.
Many local companies are offering both lessons for beginners and treks for experienced riders, allowing visitors to discover the hidden corners of the fascinating island.