If you’re considering (or already planning!) a trip to Sicily, the chances are very high that you’re planning to spend some time at the beach. After all, Sicily has one of Europe’s hottest climates – especially southeastern Sicily which is actually farther south than Tunis in North Africa. As a result, the best beaches in Sicily are really some of the best beaches in Europe.
This article will focus primarily on the best beaches in Sicily along the east coast because Sicily is just way too big to cover in one post! Keep an eye out for another post soon covering the best beaches on the west coast of Sicily.
In order to have the easiest and most enjoyable possible time visiting the best beaches in Sicily, you also need to know how beaches in Italy work, as well as what the difference is between lidos and beach clubs and free beaches – so I’ll be sure to cover that here is as well. Get ready to find out everything you need to know about the best beaches in Sicily!
- Does Sicily have nice beaches?
- Which part of Sicily is best for beaches?
- Does Sicily have any sandy beaches?
- Is Sicily good for a beach holiday?
- Is the sea warm in Sicily?
- Lidos vs. Beach Clubs
- The 7 Best Beaches in Sicily
Does Sicily have nice beaches?
Sicily has absolutely stunning beaches! Something you’ll love about the best beaches in Sicily is that there are so many different types – meaning there’s something for everyone.
Do you enjoy relaxing on a calm, sandy beach with very little surf? Sicily has you covered.
Do you enjoy plunging into deep(ish) water without straying far from shore? Sicily has you covered.
Are you just looking for a great surf spot? Sicily has you covered.
Which part of Sicily is best for beaches?
Often, the west coast of Sicily (near Palermo) is considered to have the best beaches in Sicily, but I would say that Sicily’s east coast puts up a good fight! No matter where you go in Sicily, you’ll be within a stone’s throw of excellent beaches.
It’s true that many of the beaches in eastern Sicily are quite rocky, but there is still a vibrant beach culture on the eastern portion of the island. Also, my personal opinion on this is that rocky beaches have some major upsides and easily make for some of the best beaches in Sicily. Not only do they mean you’ll avoid having sand in your bathing suits, bags, and even food, but actually I sort of find rocky beaches comfortable to lounge on!
Does Sicily have any sandy beaches?
Yes! Although the beaches in the northeast of Sicily are known to be quite rocky, as you head south and west you will find plenty of great sandy beaches in Sicily.
For me, the southeastern tip of the island in particular has the best beaches in Sicily because they honestly rival the Caribbean – long, flat, sandy, and with the perfect surf!
Is Sicily good for a beach holiday?
The best beaches in Sicily are an excellent destination for a beach holiday, but of course no visit to Sicily would be complete without exploring more of what the largest island in the Mediterranean has to offer!
My recommendation for visiting Sicily is to choose one region (either the east coast, west coast, or north coast) to explore. Then, if you have 7-10 days, split them up! Spend 3-5 days at the beach and 3-5 days exploring Sicily’s rich culture, cuisine, and ancient sites.
Of course, you could always decide to plop yourself down at the beach every day for a week straight and choose to move only between the lido’s restaurant and your lounger – actually, that would be kind of a power move!
If you are interested in finding out what else you should see in Sicily, however, check out my guide to 12 of the Best Places to Visit in Sicily.
Is the sea warm in Sicily?
The sea in Sicily is some of the warmest water for swimming in Europe – especially on the east coast of Sicily.
The best beaches in Sicily typically boast a minimum temperature of at least 70°F / 20°C from June to October every year. August is the month with the warmest water temperatures, typically around 79°F / 26°C.
Even in the coldest months of winter, the sea temperature in Sicily is typically around 59°F / 15°C, which could be manageable with a wetsuit!
That said, if you get a stroke of bad weather or do end up visiting in a month where the sea temperature isn’t necessarily comfortable, there will still be plenty to do! Here are a list of other popular activity options in Sicily (some of which are even sea-related!):
The most popular tours in Sicily:
- 🚶 Make the most of your time in Sicily on this immersive, small-group shore excursion
- 🍷 Visit the dramatic Silvestri Craters and a farm on the slopes of Mt. Etna on this winery and tasting tour
- 🍲 Learn how to cook delicious Sicilian specialties in a family atmosphere, a few steps from the beach and the sea, with a professional chef
- 📽️ Compare the unforgettable storyline of “The Godfather” saga with real-life Mafia history during this in-depth guided tour of two Sicilian villages
- 🚢 Take a break from the heat and crowds of the mainland and see Taormina and Mount Etna from the sea on this small-group boat tour
Lidos vs. Beach Clubs
If you’ve ever visited the beach in Italy, you many be familiar with either or both of these terms. If not, let me help you out!
Lidos and beach clubs are the most common way that Italians like to visit the beach. They are basically businesses on the beach that provide a whole host of services. Almost all rent out umbrellas and lounge chairs for the day, most have bathrooms and changing rooms, and many have restaurants serving lunch, coffees, and drinks all day long.
You may not initially love the idea of paying to visit the beach – I certainly didn’t at first. And don’t worry, there are still plenty of free or much cheaper beaches without all these amenities throughout Sicily. I’ll talk more about those below.
However, I’ve personally come to love spending the day at a lido or beach club. Not only does it feel like you’re really getting a local experience at some of these establishments, it’s also nice to feel just a bit pampered for the day! Let me break down the differences between the two for you here.
Lidos are the most common type of beach establishment in Sicily, and these are going to vary widely in amenities, quality of food, comfort of chairs… and, of course, cost.
In the height of summer, you may be able to find lidos with rates in the realm of €20-25 for an umbrella and two lounge chairs for the day. You’ll also find lidos charging upwards of €100 for the same thing.
A reality of lidos – and to be honest, a reality of Italy – is that many of these places don’t have websites or publish their rates anywhere. The best thing to do, we’ve found, is read through Google Maps reviews and/or call ahead (if you speak Italian or are willing to brave the language barrier). We’ve also sometimes found parking near a string of 3-4 lidos, and just popped into each of them until we found one where we liked the vibe and felt the price they were charging was fair.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many lidos will offer a discounted rate if you show up after lunch time – so if you’re just looking to take a dip or two in the late afternoon hours, this may be a great option for you!
Beach clubs in Sicily are often my favorite way of visiting the best beaches in Sicily! You can think of beach clubs as the cool older sibling of lidos.
Now, I say that, but you should also be aware that many lidos call themselves beach clubs but really lack some of the distinctions that I personally think set beach clubs apart. Or, they’re somewhere in between your basic lido and a full on beach club.
Anyway, I digress.
The beach clubs in Sicily are amazing, and they too vary a lot in what they offer. At some you will find a full on club – like, a party on the beach. Honestly, this isn’t really my vibe but I know a lot of people love that idea. Some are more of just an elevated lido, playing music, offering full on cabanas, beach beds, or cushioned lounge chairs rather than plastic chairs, etc.
We spent our last full day in Sicily at Kalè Beach Club near the southeastern tip of Sicily and it was magical. Check out the link if you’re interested in assessing the vibes for yourself!
Do I have to pay to go to the beach in Sicily?
While lidos and beach clubs are great, of course many people would prefer to visit the beach for free – and this is totally doable at many of the best beaches in Sicily! We also did this a few times on our visit.
Be aware that, no matter what, you will often need to pay a few euros for parking wherever you want to go to the beach. Nowadays, that also includes beaches that are part of nature reserves, like Vendicari Nature Reserve near Noto.
My advice for these free beaches is to bring an umbrella or some other form of shade with you. Remember, that Sicily is HOT and, for Europe, just about as far south as you can get. Not only is it important to protect your skin, but honestly I just think a visit to the beach would be pretty unbearable without shade!
If you’re wondering how you could possible pack an umbrella in your suitcase, I have two suggestions for you. If you think ahead, one option is to s to purchase a beach tent – you know, one of those “half tents” that you can sort of crawl into to avoid the sun. We bought one of these for our visit and it packed down nicely into a size that easily fit in our suitcase.
The other option if that one won’t work for you is to stop at a Decathlon (large international chain of sporting goods stores) as you arrive in Sicily and purchase a beach tent or just an umbrella there. They have many options available for just €10-15, and you can even purchase online to collect in store before your flight even arrives if you’d like. Then, you can either leave it at your Airbnb for the next guests or give it to someone you see struggling on the beach at the end of your trip!
The 7 Best Beaches in Sicily
Ok, time to check out the best beaches in Sicily! The list will also let you know some key information like whether there are free beach areas or lidos at each location, where you can plan to access food and other services, and what parking is like there.
Here they are, arranged from north to south. Let’s get started!
1. Baia del Tono, Milazzo
The beach at Baia del Tono near Messina and the northern tip of Sicily is the first beach I visited on my trip. It was amazing and does not disappoint as the one of the best beaches in Sicily!
This is a rocky beach where the water deepens significantly only a few meters off the shore. That means the waves aren’t too big here, and it made for a fun time floating and diving under the water. The beach is clean and the views from wherever you sit are sure to be stunning.
Baia del Tono features a combination of lidos and free beach (spiaggia libera as it’s referred to in Italian and on Google Maps). We still weren’t sure about how to use lidos yet when we arrived – although in hindsight this shouldn’t have deterred us! – so we chose to sit on the free part of the beach along with a few dozen other groups.
We did however get lunch at the restaurant of Lido Baia del Tono nearby, and the food was yummy. I wish I could have come back to get an umbrella and chairs at the lido later!
It’s worth noting that this beach is essentially in a residential area so there are not really any shops nearby where you could purchase things like sunscreen – as we found out the hard way when Daniel had to drive all the way into town after we ran out.
2. Isola Bella and other Taormina beaches
If you’re keen to visit the beach in or around Taormina, we do need to begin with a bit of a wakeup call. It will not look anything like it does in The White Lotus. As one of the most popular destinations and one of the best beaches in Sicily, Taormina is just so swarmed with tourists that the beach is jam packed with people throughout the summer months.
We tried to go here one day and immediately laughed at ourselves when we realized just how impossible it would have been to successfully arrive at 1pm like we had tried to do. There is very limited parking in and around Taormina, and even if we had been able to leave our car, finding a spot on the beach would have been a struggle.
That said, the beach of Isola Bella (the “beautiful island” which is sometimes connected to the beach and sometimes not, depending on the tides) is a gorgeous setting just beneath Taormina. If you’re staying in town or able to get here very early to snag a spot, I’m sure it would be magical. As with most beaches in northeast Sicily, it is rocky and it is a free beach!
If you’re not able to get a spot at this beach or just not big on crowds, there’s a whole series of lidos and beach clubs just north of Taormina right next to the highway entrance/exit. Lido Re del Sole, Ipanema Beach Club, Tao Beach Club, and Lido Stockholm are all options worth exploring!
At these beaches you can find a variety of different activities, and you can also explore incredible natural landscapes by joining these tours:
3. La Playa, Catania
While La Playa in Catania may not be one of the best beaches in Sicily for getting away from it all, it is an excellent option for anyone spending a few days in the city. Probably the best thing about La Playa is the beautiful view of Mt. Etna (Europe’s largest volcano) towering overhead.
Stretching over 18km from Catania to the town of Agnone to the south, La Playa is a sandy beach sloping gently toward the water with both lidos and plenty of free beach. If you’re looking for a good lido, Lido Azzurro has excellent reviews and is pretty close to the city center.
If you’re hoping to visit La Playa directly from Catania, you’re likely best off taking a taxi or public bus right to the beach to avoid needing to look for parking. The farther you go from Catania, finding parking may be easier – but it’s also worth keeping in mind that La Playa is a huge destination for summer nightlife with concerts and parties happening all along the beach, so during the high season it gets crowded.
If you’re looking for some of the best beaches in Sicily where you’ll be able to feel a little bit of seclusion and a little bit of history, then heading over to the Plemmirio Reserve will have to be a priority for you!
Located on a peninsula just across the harbor from Siracusa (or, more specifically, its ancient center of Ortigia), this marine reserve was once the main quarry where ancient Greeks mined the stone used to build the city almost 3000 years ago. The coastline of the peninsula is over 6km long and full of hidden sandy coves nestled amongst the boulders. It is a popular spot for locals to have a beach day, but you should always be able to find somewhere nice and quiet to park and set up for the day.
Because it’s a marine reserve and a slightly more off the beaten path area, most of the beaches in Plemmirio are free beaches without services. However, the Spiaggia del Minareto in front of the Minareto Hotel is divided between a free area and a lido which is part of the hotel – I believe they do rent out umbrellas and chairs to non-guests if that’s what you’re looking for!
5. Fontane Bianche
If you’re staying in either Siracusa or Noto and on the search for a nearby beach with plenty of options for lidos, then Fontane Bianche is going to be one of the best beaches in Sicily for you.
Located in a small beach town of the same name midway between Siracusa and Noto, this cove offers the ideal combination of golden sand and calm surf. There are about five lidos on this beach, including one that’s part of a luxury hotel – which means plenty of lounging options at any price point and no shortage of options for lunch. Parking wasn’t a problem for us late afternoon in the high season as there was a free lot right along the promenade, but I do think it would be limited around 11am to 2pm during the high season.
6. Marianelli and Calamosche
Located within the Vendicari Nature Reserve near Noto, Marianelli and Calamosche are two of the best beaches in Sicily that feel much more secluded than many others on this list. Even when these beaches get crowded in the summer, you’ll still feel a sense of being away from it all!
To access these beaches, you’ll need to set your Google Maps navigation to either the parking area for Marianelli or the parking area for Calamosche. There, you’ll pay about €5 to park (in cash!), and set out along a pretty clearly marked trail from the parking lot. You can also walk on a trail between these two beaches, so it doesn’t really matter which lot you park in.
About halfway along your walk to the beach, you’ll come across an official kiosk where you’ll pay another €5 per person for entrance to the nature reserve – you can try to pay by card here, but when we went they had a LOT of trouble getting their card machine to work, so it’s best to have cash ready for this too.
The best beaches in Sicily’s nature reserves never have lidos or beach clubs, so you’ll need to come to Vendicari prepared with food, shade, sunscreen, and water. This advice is even more important because you’ll be taking a 10-15 minute stroll through the dunes (on a well-defined trail!) after parking your car in the designated area – a walk that feels fairly long after a day spent in the sun!
It’s worth noting that Marianelli is officially a naturist (nudist) beach, although probably a little less than half of the visitors will be taking advantage of that and typically concentrated towards the ends of the beach. Calamosche is 100% clothed!
7. Portopalo di Capo Passero and Marzamemi
This area at the very southeastern tip of Sicily is probably the most idyllic, tropical paradise-like part of the island. In fact, this region is farther south than Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. Some of the very best beaches in Sicily are located along this stretch of coast from Marzamemi to Granelli.
We didn’t make it to Marzamemi on our trip, but pretty much every local we spoke to over the week we were in Sicily told us it is absolutely gorgeous and suggested we go – although they did mention it’s a very tourist-y place as well. The nice thing about Marzamemi is that there are plenty of restaurants, lidos, parking, etc.
Heading further south, I recommend considering a beach day spent around Isola delle Correnti (the actual southernmost point of Sicily). Not only is the small island – pictured above – a perfect backdrop for your day at the beach, but the sand and surf here are absolutely perfect. Although it was windy, we spent our day frolicking in the notably large (but not very strong at all) waves.
There are plenty of fancy beach clubs, regular lidos, and free beach areas here, so you’ll have your pick of what kind of experience you would like and there is a lot of parking. Since it was our last day and we wanted to treat ourselves a bit, we spent the day at Kalè Beach Club where I believe we spent around €50 each for two very comfy, upholstered lounge chairs under a large, thatched umbrella. That also came with a lock-able storage box that doubled as a drinks table and a lunch reservation at the restaurant – which was affordable enough as well.
I really cannot recommend the experience enough and, for me, this one ranks as truly one of the best beaches in Sicily!
Now it’s time to go enjoy the best beaches in Sicily!
I hope this list have given you some great inpso for your beach days on Sicily’s east coast.
The best beaches in Sicily are guaranteed to impress – just don’t forget your sunscreen and be ready for the crowds in July and August, and you’ll have an amazing time. My general advice is to split your time between a few days “roughing it” on free beaches and treating yourself to the amazing experience of a lido or two as well!
Don’t forget to check out my guide to 12 of the Best Places to Visit in Sicily if you’re still working out your itinerary or have a free day to fill!
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