Sicily sits just beyond the toe of Italy's boot. This triangular island is a place of contrasts, from the crumbling grandeur of its capital, Palermo, and the Greek ruins at the seaside town of Syracuse, to the chic boutiques of Taormina and the drama of Mount Etna, Europe's biggest volcano. It attracted waves of invaders and colonisers in the past, all of whom left their mark on the island - you'll spot Roman ruins, Norman churches and castles, Greek temples, and Arab and Byzantine domes.
In the north-east of the island is the split-level resort town of Taormina. In the upper part of the town you'll find pretty piazzas, a great dining scene and a well-preserved Greek amphitheatre that hosts open-air concerts in the summer. Down by the sea, there's a pebbly beach, which you can reach by road, cable car or a steep flight of steps. Just off the north coast of Sicily are the Aeolian Islands - a chain of volcanic isles where you'll find black-sand beaches, hot springs and mud baths.
The otherworldly island of Vulcano is home to the crater that gave all other volcanoes their name. Mud baths, black-sand beaches and Aeolian archipelago views are all on the cards here.
Flight time from the UK to Sicily is around 3 hours.
Sicily’s climate is classically Mediterranean, but since the island is surprisingly close to Africa, things really heat up here in summer. The hot, dry weather begins in earnest around June, peaking in the high 20s around July and August. It barely gets cold in Sicily; winters are warm and rainy, while spring’s pleasant mid-teen average is good for walking and cycling, but not quite beach weather.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.