I have a huge bucket list of places I want to visit and around Mount Etna is one of them. Sicily feels like one of those holidays I might like to do without the kids just to be able to ‘be’, to explore, to eat and soak in the culture. But equally it feels like one of those milestone holidays for the kids where they really get to immerse themselves.
Catania is one of the biggest Sicilian towns and it is the closest of its population to Mt. Etna. It has been hailed as one of the most beautiful and entertaining holiday destinations in the region, boasting numerous beaches and lots of shopping. There is something for everyone to be entertained within Catania.
Something that is fundamental, and the first thing to consider in order for everyone to fully enjoy the trip, is the accommodation. It is important to meet everyone’s needs when it comes to the place you are going to stay for the next days/weeks. That is why booking a villa in Catania through rental sites like Wish Sicily is the optimal way of securing everyone’s happiness as it offers privacy, freedom for you and your kids to play without worrying about other people complaining, space, and ultimately saves money by having a kitchen (where you can become a real Italian mother and cook for the whole family).
Of course going on holiday in a place you know almost nothing about is a little disconcerting and that is why the second step to the perfect holiday is ensuring you find the most amazing things to do while in Catania. Here are just a few suggestions:
Isola Bella is a private property turned public nature preserve. The beach offers a lot of stunning natural beauty that the whole family can enjoy. The water looks beautiful and watching from the beach means that you will have views of the region, as well as many different species of animals. I’ve heard the beach can be a bit rocky though, so don’t forget your shoes!
The Greek Theatre
The Greek Theatre in Taormina is one of the most stunning historical sights in the world. It is a short way from Catania and offers amazing insight into the world of Ancient Greece. It once held 10,000 people and had nine seating sections. The view of Taormina and Mt. Etna look breathtaking but for us it would be the enjoyment of standing amidst history itself.
If you are looking for somewhere away from the sun and sea, visiting the Eurialo Castle is a great option. It is a very modest castle that was built between 402 and 397 BC and is a little out of the way so it won’t be too busy. There’s a chance to learn about the history of the castle while exploring the beautiful landscape of it. The castle isn’t a widely known one, which is why it is great for families who are looking to see all the details of the Sicilian terrain.
If you are ready to get out and have some good fun that isn’t related to museums or architecture, EtnaLand is a great tourist destination to take your whole family to. The water park is a must for any families with children and teenagers as it is chalk full of pools with waves and slides and many more activities – my boys would go wild for this because they love water! Everyone will enjoy the cable cars, which take you the length of the park and transport you to the fun dinosaur park. There is also plenty of live action entertainment to be found in the form of laser shows and ‘aquarobic’.
Finally, if you are looking for a holiday in the true shadow of Mt. Etna, it is worth a trip to the actual mountain. You could go skiing in the winter and hiking, horseback riding, biking, and plain old walking in the summertime.
There are plenty of other places to explore in the region if you have a car in tow and are open to exploration. I love that this would particularly attract those families with an adventurous spirit which I think we have. The boys, at the moment, are a little too young for such adventures, long walks and what not but this is definitely one to tick off in a few years time!