Southern Europe has no shortage of beautiful beaches, as varied as the countries you can find them in. After a particularly rainy and chilly May, everyone is looking forward to the start of “beach season”, and to help set that summer mood, this month we are sharing some of our favorite seaside stretches of sand.
The Vendicari Nature Reserve, located in Eastern Sicily not far from Siracusa, is a personal favorite. It’s not just the water that sets this series of natural beaches apart (though the water is a picture perfect crystal blue), but also the adventure. The nature reserve is composed of several beaches but also walking paths that focus on local flora and fauna, birdwatching, as well as archeological and historical sites. This combination of activities, as well as great snorkeling, makes Vendicari a great choice for anyone – beach bums and more active visitors alike.
One of the most famous beaches in Italy, Calamosche Beach, is located in the Vendicari Natural Reserve, a sandy bay with clear and almost always calm water, this beach has also been rewarded by the Legambiente for it’s water quality and aquaculture.
The Marianelli beach is another local favorite, with shallow aquamarine water and the fragrant surroundings of almond and lemon trees.
The tonnara of Vendicari is one of Eastern Sicily’s most unique sites. Tuna fishing is an ancient activity in Sicily, and this tonnara was the hub for centuries, originally of Arab origin. The surrounding structures were the ancient houses of the fishermen who worked here.
A nice walk (though it’s 3 km long, the flat terrain makes it more of a walk than a hike), starts at the main entrance of the park heading to the Vendicari beach. One of the 4 beaches in the reserve, Vendicari beach is sometimes a bit seaweed filled for the first 5 feet or so, but once you get further out, the water is pristine and the seabed is sandy, so there is great visibility for those going underwater with a mask. You can see the tonnara from here as well as the 15th century Sveva tower, a fortified construction used to house and defend products destined for trade, as this area was a commercial center. Proceeding along, Vendicari beach turns to rocks, which is even better for jumping off to explore underwater, and there are several nice big rocks to sun on as the locals do. Going further south, you will find some shady points with breathtaking views along the trail, before finally ending up at Calamosche beach.
Though the island Sicily has no shortage of great spots for sea and sun, the Vendicari Nature Reserve, with it’s abundance of outdoor and underwater activity, is an absolute “cannot miss” for beach lovers in Eastern Sicily.