Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 5

Here we are, at the last stop in this series, and we´ll be looking at east and south Sicily!

East Sicily (North to South)

Once south of Messina, there´s some fantastic cruising in this area. Watch out for the swordfish fishing boats, which will wrap a net around you if you´re near a shoal! Check out the open air markets in all the main towns.

Isola Bellam, Taormina, Messina, Sicily

Must-See Spots

Messina, Taormina, Naxos, Taormina Town, Riposto, Catania, Syracuse.

Messina has a busy, scruffy ferry port. Move south ASAP!

Taormina Town has a Greek/Roman amphitheater, stunning views, a cobbled high street and is certainly recommended.

Riposto´s little town is not really affected by tourism and has a lovely food market. Visit Etna volcano.

Catania has a great open air market, two old Roman amphitheaters. Just east is the university, which has cafes and restaurants that come to life after 8pm.

Syracuse has great markets and is a nice place to go shopping. Syracuse has a tiny fortified island just off the coast that´s awesome if you like history. Check out Syracuse´s cathedral. Visit nearby Noto, a little Baroque town in fine wine country.


Mount Etna    “Imagine sailing past an active volcano!”



Riposto, Sicily

Marinas and Anchorages

Messina and Reggio, on the mainland opposite, both have marinas, but they are not as nice as what you´ll find on the other islands.

Taormina has coves which are crowded in season, as well as 22 mooring buoys tended by George Rizzo, who lives right there.

Naxos has a place to anchor in a sandy bay around 15 nm south. Exposed if northerlies are strong. Plenty of room if you don´t mind depths of up to 10 m.

The Riposto marina is very a high quality establishment, with prices to match.

Catania has marina berths and local yacht club berths available.

Syracuse´s guardia costiera (ch16) insists on contact before entry. The marina and town quay are nice. It´s free to anchor in the well-sheltered harbor.

South Sicily (West to East)

South Sicily has some interesting place to visit, too, as well as some recently built wintering marinas that are affordable.

Islands of the Cyclops at Dawn, Sicily

Must-See Spots

Sciacca, Agrigento, Licata, Marina de Ragusa.

Sciacca has a charming town above the harbor.

Agrigento is a town about 5 nm inland from the coast and it´s served by two ports. The Valley of the Temples lies between Agrigento and San Leone. It´s a series of Greek temple ruins. Go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

Licata is a town that´s not geared to tourism. There are always people and the prices there are very reasonable.

Marina di Ragusa is a beach resort on the southernmost coast. Busy in season, quiet in winter.

Concordia Temple at Agrigento

Marinas and Anchorages

Agrigento is served by Porto Empedocle, a naval/commercial port to the southwest. There are no anchoring options available there, but there is an inner harbor. Head to the Meditarraneo Yachting Club at San Leone, 3 nm south of Agrigento.

Licata has a full service marina and would be nice to winter at. The town is 15 minutes away.

Marina di Ragusa is a popular site for wintering afloat, and with 850 berths, you also get to enjoy a social life. There are shore hards, large lifts and cranes that can handle big craft.

Ready for the east coast of Italy, and the sailor´s guide to Sardinia? We´ll see you next time for the full installment (series)! Happy sailing!

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 1

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 4

Confession: Why and How I’m Writing My First Book, Part 1

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 3




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