Sicily is one of the most popular places to travel to. Going to Sicily, better be prepared to share this beautiful island with other folks. But if you want to travel Sicily beyond the crowds you can find some great places and activities off the beaten track.
Where to go? - Sicily's hidden gems
Traditional villages to the southeast of Palermo are incredibly scenic and still omitted by the crowds. Fill your days with walking through the cobblestone streets of Petralia Soprana, Petralia Sottana, Gangi, Polizzi Generosa, Alimena ...
You may choose to stay either in one of the villages or in one of the atmospheric villas in the countryside.
Caltabelotta in the southwest of Sicily is a really charming little town: the houses nestling close to each other, the narrow streets leading up to the old church with a wonderful view over the roofs of the town. And the people of Caltabelotta are extremely friendly. Some grannies invited us for a glass of wine and their home-made pastries!
Hiking is always a good way to get away from the crowds. And Madonie Park in the northern part of Sicily is a great place for trekking. The Madonie Mountains are not very tall, but really scenic, the paths are easy to recognize and treks are easy.
For spectacular hikes over the coast head to Zingaro Reserve. Zingaro is definitely busy during the tourist season, however, if you decide to take a long (a day-long!) trail across the reserve, you will find some solitude.
The area around Caltabelotta is also a great base for hikes. Here you may choose one of the many routes.
The Scicani Natural Reserve located close to the town is another great place for hiking and horseback riding.
Of all the Sicily trails, the Mount Etna trail is the most famous and popular one. No wonder why: Etna is the largest volcano in Europe!
Where to stay?
Both Madonie and Caltabelotta are not overrun, but you do meet some fellow travelers here. Since we were keen to find a part of Sicily not touched by tourism we rented a wonderful farmhouse close to Campofiorito - the town to the north of Caltabelotta. The old furniture, a wild garden with cherry trees, family pictures, a basin with cold water - we spent the hot days in - the house was a highlight of our trip! Have a look at the privately owned vacation rentals on Homeaway and Airbnb.
You may also 'housesit' somebody's chic villa :) Take a look at a 'housesitters' website if housesitters are searched for.
Choose the ruins smartly
Keep in mind: Agrigento is the most visited of Sicily's archeological sights. And not without a reason. However, there are plenty of smaller, lesser known and less visited Greek and Roman ruins on the island: Mozia, Piazza Armenia, Naxos, Pantalica, Himera are just some names. A good option might be visiting an archaeological site of an ancient Greek temple at Segesta. The place is less crowded than Agrigento, but also well preserved and boasts a splendid location in the flower fields. The area around Agrigento is not that nice.
Well, it's tricky. In summer, expect to find some busy beaches on the island. For the best unspoiled beaches head to Sicily's Nature Reserves: Zingaro by Palermo/Trapani, Vendicari by Siracusa or Torre Salsa Nature Reserve to the west of Agrigento.