In this Sicilian travel blog if will give you tips, information and inspirations on the Southern part of Sicily. In this part of Sicily, you can find historical Greek culture at the UNESCO-listed sites Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. The coast on this Mediterranean Sea is breath-taking, that is what you will see in this blog too; Spiaggia di Piana Grande and the rock formations of Scala dei Turchi near Realmonte. Furthermore the town of Mazara del Vallo, where you can see the North African influences. See below my route and tips and information on my accommodations, restaurants and places to visit in stunning South Sicily!
Spotting Temples in the Valley of the Temples
One thing is for sure you can’t visit and see all the places in Sicily in one holiday. You must make concessions and choices. Valley of the Temples was one of them for me. It was a long drive (± 190 km) from Ragusa to Agrigento the town near the historical Greek Temples.
Tip: I got this tip from a local, you can see the historical building from the road, stop and admire them from there and visit Selinunte instead.
Is was above the 30º Celsius when I arrived in the early afternoon. I drove and stopped around the valley to admire the temples from a distance; this saved me time, walking in the heat and money! And from the road you get a good impression of the history and once most powerful city of Acragas. The Doric style Temple of Concordia was constructed 430BC and is well preserved; in the 6th century they reinforced the whole structure, which even survived earthquakes. That was not the same for the Temple of Juno, that was destroyed by an earthquake in the Middle Ages. Another temple you can spot is Temple of Hercules, so no need to enter the premises, you get a good feeling and make good pictures from the temples from the road.
Natural Highlight the Scala dei Turchi
It was already a long day, so time to find an accommodation in Realmonte (15 km West from Agrigento), close to the next highlight of my Sicilian road trip; Scala dei Turchi! This a welcoming variety, a natural highlight instead of a culture one. Scala dei Turchi is an unusual shaped white cliff with rocks shaped in a huge staircase with a sandy beach on either side. Picture perfect to see this structure facing the clear blue Mediterranean Sea, especially from the top.
Tip: I went to see this cliff a couple of times; during sunset, the next early morning during a walk (with less crowd) and when leaving Realmonte from the top of the cliff, facing down. I will recommend you do the same!!
Where to Stay and Eat
I called the owner of the B&B Mammaliturchi, Realmonte to book for 1 night. He said one person 45 EUR. When I arrived by passing three fences at the parking spot, he increased the price to 65 EUR. I was so disappointed, no breakfast either. The location is perfect, right at the beach and within walking distance from Scala dei Turchi. Room was neat but very small, on single bed, but I was exhausted and overheated and didn’t want to look for something else. But just that you know!!
After some chilling on the beach and cooling off in the perfect sea, I was more chill and ready for some sunset drinks and Italian food. I walked (15 min) cross the beach and park and ended up on a beach chair with a well-deserved Aperol Sprits at the Lounge Beach Scala dei Turchi. What I loved here was that you get a plate with appetizers that comes with the drink, listing to nice chill lounge music and watching the sun set behind the white rock at the same time. Time to have a great pasta at this Lounge Beach Restaurant; great setup, service and food. Feeling happy; Sicily is doing me good so far!
Then I drove to Selinunte, home to one of the largest archaeological parks in the Mediterranean. From Realmonte it is about 90 km, but time to stop at several beautiful spots along the SS115; had coffee with sweets and visited a local market in Montallegro. Next break; Spiaggia di Piana Grande, what a view and how blue is the Mediterranean Sea?
Tip: It is all about journey not the destination!
The next cultural activity on the agenda, the ruins of Park Archeologico di Selinunte (entrance 6 EUR); which are among the most impressive and captivating archeological sites in Sicily. I did not enter the Valley of the Temples premises, but I was going to enter here. The location is amazing with the Mediterranean Sea and the all the different Temples.
The Eastern and close to the entrance are the most stunning with Temple E as pride. This Temple was possibly dedicated to the goddess Hera and has been partially restored in the 20th century and makes a great impression. You can take the train to the Acropolis, it’s a long walk in the hot day. Feeling like being in Greece instead of Sicily the last two days!
Where to Stay and Eat
I had lunch just before entering the Archeologico Park of Selinunte at Bar Enoteca. Local recommendation and must say, the mixed plater with vegetables and cheese was delicious.
My accommodation Agriglamping Wind Resort is located 25 km more west at the surf and kite beach called Spiaggia di Puzziteddu. I booked a glamping tent for two nights (50 EUR per night) at this remote place right at the beach. I loved the vibe of this place; the boardwalk, the “tent” which didn’t feel like and tent and the surroundings! Perfect place to chill, watch the sunset from your terrace and enjoy the nature around you.
Tip: Bring some basic groceries with you upon arrival, there is a small vending machine but no shop or restaurant for food. In the morning you can buy a fresh cornetti at the front desk!
I came here to surf, but I wasn’t lucky that day, there were no waves only wind. Perfect to work on my tan on the sun beds and watch the kite surfers doing their tricks. I really recommend you staying here if you like something different and enjoy the nature!
African Vibe in Mazara del Vallo
I could not sit still the whole day at my glamping tent and drove to Mazara del Vallo to get a coffee, lunch and do some shopping for dinner. Beforehand was not planning to visit this village, but that is what I like about this unplanned holiday, take it as it comes! In Mazara del Vallo you strongly feel the North African influence; the highest percentage of immigrants are living here. Tunisia is only 230 km away!
Next to the beautiful historical center with the eye catcher Cattedrale del Santissimo Salvatore, the neighbourhood La Casbah is located, the old Arab quarter where you will see houses in typical Arab style and endless series of small tunnels and streets.
Inside the Casbah, there are many restaurants and taverns that serve traditional Tunisian meals, like the fish couscous. Totally different than the traditional Italian dishes, worth to try!
Heading your journey to West Sicily like me or to the Southeast Baroque route?