To the delight of many, there is a daily direct flight from Dubai to Catania, Sicily that just started. The convenience of direct flights trumps having to connect flights and its only 5 hours and a half to get to from Dubai. Add that to the list of many little getaways that can be achieved and who doesn’t want to go?
Catania is the capital of Sicily on the island south of the main land of Italy. Life here is leisurely, start with aromatic Italian coffee, fresh baked croissants, assorted charcuterie meats and assorted cheeses for breakfast. Afterwards head down to the inviting clear turquoise and refreshing water of the Mediterranean for a swim or just lay on the pebble beaches and feel the warmth of the sun. For the mild adventure seekers and highly recommendable is the little seaside towns. A mere 20-25 minutes away from Catania is Aci Castello and Aci Trezze.
Aci Castello has the monolith Castello Normanno, upon the top the view is spectacular. It is a quaint and sleepy town and has a huge area at the base of the Castello and surroundings for sun seekers and swimmers to idle away. One can easily walk further to Aci Trezze, another small seaside town of 15 mins or so and has beach clubs that lead into the sea. Some beach clubs are associated with hotels in the vicinity and are free to use for guests and others can access for a fee or have a drink at the restaurant area and take in the sites.
In front of Aci Trezze is surrounded by the rocky stalagmite-like Cyclopean Islands that are reachable and dive-able off of. It is a wondrous haven for stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling too. The reef and the small islands surround the area and the water is calm and crystal clear showing the abundant sea life beneath.
Then do what the Italians do and take a lovely siesta in the late afternoon before waking to what Italy is all about, the mouth-watering pizzas, home-made flavour bursting pastas and Italian wine. To finish off, espresso and desserts like conolos that are crunchy wrap like biscuits, filled with fluffy ricotta cream cheese sprinkled with pistachios or covered with chocolate is heavenly. Of course, not to mention the tiramisu and the arrays of gelato that one must try before leaving as it is the Italians’ daily dietary requirement and would be a shame not to.
A three to four-night stay is more than enough for these areas. However, there is so much more to see and do which would require a week minimum. Taormina, an hour drive away from Catania draped along the hillside cliffs and the sandy beaches of Siracusa to the formidable active volcano, Mount Etna. All can be reached either by a rental car or taking the local coaches but don’t take the taxis as it is very expensive and there are no Uber services on the island.
Whatever you choose to do, the culture, scenery and food will be satisfying.