Long time no see. It was a bit quiet on our blog but that was for a reason. We got married on September 14th and that took a lot of time and energy. It was a fantastic day and as a honeymoon we opted for the island of Sicily. We heard a lot of good stories about this place but it still remains a hidden gem because a lot of tourism is not (yet) here.
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Language: Italian, English
Mobile Internet: 4G (within a European contract)
Travel document: Valid passport
Driving (car and scooter): You don’t need an international driving license
Power: Type F en L 230v
Time zone: GMT+1
We started our tour in Catania. This is the 2nd largest city in Sicily but certainly not the most beautiful. However, we had booked two nights here purely because we wanted to relax after the flight and it was close to the airport. Turned out to be a good choice because apart from the fact that the suites were very luxurious and tidy, our host Luca from Quattro Canti Suites even saved our trip. Top guy and super helpful.
Useful: Quattro Canti Suites
When you are in Sicily, you only really have two options. One: you book a hotel / resort for a longer period and you stay in that region. Two: you rent a car and you discover the entire island in complete freedom. We definitely preferred option two but you do need a rental car for that. Easy you might think, but unfortunately that was not the case. All major rental companies only accept credit cards and demand a ridiculously high deposit. We do not have a credit card but we do have a debit credit card. They did not accept this. It came down to the fact that we could not move around the island without using public transport. And if we should believe the internet, that is dramatic in Sicily. Luca made some calls to some of his friends and we were able to rent a car for 2 weeks without a credit card. That was fantastic.
Etna Road trip
We decided to straightaway do a tour round the volcano Etna. Traffic in Sicily? Chaos. I like that. That temperament and a bunch of gas that they give. Rules are almost non-existent. Let it say it like this, rules are there to break. Do you want to belong? Give lots of gas, leave your window open and hang your arm out of the window.
We took the western side of Mount Etna and we reached the town of Randazzo. Tiny village northwest of Mount Etna. Cute alleys and do you want to see typical old Italian females on the balcony? You will find them here! There is not much else to do in the village but the street scene is so cool.
We drove to the east of Etna where we could climb to Piano Prevenzana. This is a sort of viewpoint where you cannot go any further and can only book a ticket to go up further with guides. Unfortunately, the weather was not good at all at the crater so we could not continue our climb. Yet it was impressive enough to see fields through the ashes of the last eruption between the woods.
Our next stop was in the town of Trecastagni, southeast of Mount Etna. The funny thing about this village is that you can see everyone hanging out on the square on a Monday. Well you might think, loitering teens? No, it was the elderly that were hanging around. Complete families gather on benches and stare at why the hell you are here. Just like Randazzo, there is not much to do but if you want to see typical Italian villages? Definitely worth a visit.
Eremo di Sant’Anna
Our last stop was in a village a bit more to the south of Trecastagni, Eremo di Sant’Anna. We discovered a viewpoint here that looked out on both Etna and the Mediterranean. If you have clear weather, the view is magnificent. There is also a small church with Arabic influences there. Worthy of visit.
Return journey to Catania
Our Etna road trip was over. It took us 5 hours, so you can definitely do it in an afternoon. Back in Catania we arrived in the midst of rush hour. Pure Italian chaos. Watch out at traffic lights in Catania. There are a lot of Africans at the red light who want to wash your windshield. Do you want this? Do it. Do you not want this? Make this very clear because even if you shake your head no, they are eager to wash your window if you understand what I mean.
More pictures can be found on our Sicily Pinterest board which is still being updated. Did you find this blog useful? Share it with your friends!