This region runs along the Sicilian coast from Palermo in the west to Tindari in the east, inland through the scenic mountains as far as the central town of Enna, and stretching out to sea where the volcanic Aeolian Islands are situated.
The combination of historic monuments, fine beaches and lovel scenery make this one of the most popular regions of Sicily.
Coastal north Sicily
The northern region of Sicily includes several important highlights that will feature on your itinerary. Near the coast these include:
- The capital of Sicily at Palermo, and the impressive cathedral at nearby Monreale
- The baroque villas of Bagheria, a few kilometres south-east of Palermo
- The castle and arab baths at Cefala-Diana
- The ancient ruins and town at Termini-Imerese
- The coastal town 'around a rock' at Cefalu, and the lovely beach at Cefalu
- The Sanctuary and Greek and Roman ruins at Tindari
Off the coast of northern Sicily, be sure to visit the volcanic Aeolian Islands (Lipari is the main island and has the most important town (also called Lipari), others are Alicudi, Basiluzzo, Filicudi, Salina, the active volcanic island of Stromboli, Panarea and Vulcano, and Ustica some way to the west).
The Aeolian islands are also known as the Lipari Islands, and are reached by ferry from Milazzo. Ferries also operate between the islands, each of which has its own particular charms to discover. The small islands of Alicudi and Panarea, although slightly more remote than the others, are also highly recommended.
There are various popular coastal resorts in northern Sicily - among the most popular are Capo Zafferano (near Bagheria in the west) and Capo d'Orlando and Sant'Agata di Militello (both between Cefalu and Tindari).
An autoroute follows along the northern coast of Sicily so access to these resorts is straightforward.
Heading inland - the mountains of northern Sicily
Head a little inland and the landscape changes rapidly as you traverse the mountain regions of Monts Madonie (south of Cefalu, and reasonably easy to access from that town) and Monts Nebrodi (further east). Quiet villages and attractive scenery are the highlights in this region, where access is slower - as is the pace of life - but well worth the effort.
Within Monts Madonie the highlights among the towns and villages include Castelbuono, Geraci Siculo, Gangi, Petralia Soprana, Petralia Sottana, cascading down the hill in a dramatic location to the south of the Madonie Mountains, and Polizzi Generosa.
The Monts Nebrodie are slightly harder to access but equally rewarding, and also offer stunning scenery and a sprinkling of ancient villages.