Sicily is thought to be one of the most magical places you could ever imagine to spend a holiday with your children and a great place to fuel their imagination.
With daily direct flights departing from the UK (mainly with Ryanair, Easyjet, and British Airways among others) it is extremely convenient even for a short vacation or 3-day stay.
The mystical allure of the ancient Greco-Roman monuments in the Valley of the Temples by Agrigento (Southwest) will carry your children away to the worlds of swords and dragons- just mention the names of Hercules, Juno, Concordia, Olympian Zeus, Vulcano, and Castor and Pollux (to whom the temples in the valley were dedicated millennia ago), and they will just know that this is the stuff that legends and fables and comic books are made of, all right in front of their very eyes.
To make the trip more family friendly you may choose to stay in one of the beautiful villas with pool around Taormina – a perfect location with many offers for affordable holiday rentals: Villa Calipso (6 sleeps, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms) has a promotional price of 150 euros a night, is equipped with a large pool, BBQ area, and a garden that includes a children’s playground with swings and a tree-house! It also has a splendid scenic view of Mt. Etna and the Alcantara Gorge.
The island’s natural parks and reserves are not only exotic places to relax in the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the Mediterranean climate- absorbing its high health benefits which have been scientifically validated worldwide (and this another often overlooked reason for bringing your children along on a vacation to Sicily, also known as the Gate-and Jewel-of the Mediterranean), but they are also filled with activities for children of all ages.
Principal centres of amusement for children can be found anywhere; Etnaland (at the foot of Mt. Etna by Catania) is always on the top list because of its great roller-coaster and acqua-rides, life size Dinosaur statues, and variety of theme-based play areas. The beach of San Vito Lo Capo by Trapani in the Northwest also has many fun activities for children and training courses in scuba-diving, snorkelling, surfing, water-scooting, diving and much more, and the traditional puppet theatres (Opera dei Pupi) in Palermo and Syracuse are a joy for both adults and children of all ages.
Yet, traveling off the beaten-track always provides an opportunity to visit more secluded and hidden magical spots that lie away from the usual and trafficked tourist route: stock up on gelati and juice drinks in the local centres and take your children to the Grotto beach in San Giorgio near Messina- full of caves and beautiful diving spots- and you’ll see their eyes sparkle and shine until it’s bedtime!
Another thing to remember is that Sicily has always had a very tightly-knit family tradition which places children in a privileged position. So do not be surprised if you see local children running around the streets in Taormina or Palermo unsupervised to buy candy or ice-cream at a store and just hang out with their friends at the piazzas. This ensures a very friendly local attitude to children in general and it is also reflected in the safety measures that are strictly adopted by lifeguards in all the beaches around the coast.