This week, I have great pleasure in introducing you all to award-winning travel writer Gretta. As you can imagine I am super-excited that she is sharing her wonderful family holiday to Sicily – and she has some interesting tips and information about this stunning Italian island.
Over to you, Gretta…
I look for holidays in warm places which offer something for everyone in the family. I enjoy visiting cultural sites, my husband’s a foodie, our daughter pines for luxury and our son’s passion is football.
Where did you go?
This summer we went to the Italian island of Sicily.
Why did you choose this destination?
We chose Sicily partly because my husband has many relatives there but also because of its great climate, the wonderful food and the amazing cultural experiences it offers.
I went with my husband, our 11 year-old son and our daughter who had her sixteenth birthday while we were there.
Where did you stay?
Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and we wanted to travel around and explore some parts we hadn’t been to before as a family. We started our trip staying with relatives in Mussomeli in the centre of the island. We then spent three days at Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, a gorgeous, luxury resort on the coast. Our next stop was a farm stay at Agriturismo Chiaramonte in the South of Sicily. Finally we spent a week on the South coast in a great self-catering rental property.
Our stay at the luxury hotel at Verdura Golf & Spa Resort was booked through Scott Dunn and included breakfast. I booked the farm stay direct via email as I’d visited Agriturismo Chiaramonte on a press trip earlier in the year. The room rate includes breakfast. I booked the self-catering rental property through the House Trip website and it worked really well for us.
Were there plenty of activities for the kids?
Everywhere we stayed (apart from with the relatives) had a lovely swimming pool and that’s the main thing my kids want on holiday.
There were loads of activities for the kids at Verdura Golf & Spa Resort. There’s a 60m long swimming pool, a private beach with water sports, a kids club, my son took part in a Juventus soccer school training session and my daughter and I went to the spa.
In the other places where we stayed there weren’t activities for the kids but we went out together as a family around the island.
Your most memorable moment of the trip?
My most memorable moment of the trip was the day we spent in beautiful Syracuse. In ancient times this city was more powerful than Athens and today it’s a lovely place to explore. All four of us really enjoyed our visit there.
What did you get up to?
We went to many beautiful places – most of them UNESCO world heritage sites. Syracuse, Noto, Scicli, Ragusa, Caltagirone and Palermo are all wonderful places to visit. I loved the fabulous street food tour we took in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. Our guide took us to some markets in the old part of the city and we tried some delicious traditional dishes while taking in the main sights en route.
Was it good value for money?
I think Sicily does offer good value for money, apart from museum entrance fees – these seem high if you’re used to going to museums for free as we do in many places in the UK.
• Sicily’s bigger than Wales and the roads aren’t always the best so it can take a long time to get around. Be realistic about what you want to see and do if you go there.
• Many agriturismos have restaurants and they’re great places to eat. They cook using fresh ingredients mostly produced by themselves or locally.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
My favourite photo is of the landscape around Mussomeli because I love the island’s interior. Most people who visit Sicily stay around the coast but if you go inland you can see some amazing sights too, away from the crowds. I took this photo one August afternoon when we walked up to a place where forestry workers look out for fires during the summer. You can see for miles in every direction and the views are spectacular. We were the only people there.
Would you recommend to a friend?
I always recommend Sicily to everyone and I’ll definitely go back again.
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
• My iPhone,
• Notebook and pen
• Sun tan lotion
• A brilliant game called Bananagrams
I don’t have a favourite place as there are so many lovely places I’ve been to and many more that I’d love to visit. I do love Italy but there are some amazing places at home in the UK, too.
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