“I love places that have an incredible history. I love the Italian way of life. I love the food. I love the people. I love the attitudes of Italians.” - Elton John
While Italy’s main cities like Rome, Naples, and Florence attract thousands of tourists, Italy’s islands are also hugely popular. In the last 10 years, tourism in Sicily and Sardinia has increased by 20%. This is hardly surprising given the beautiful beaches and landscapes.
Italy is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, and the Ligurian Sea.
How well do you know Italy’s main islands? Are you organising a trip there? How are you going to get there? What should you see first?
Let’s have a quick look at the main Italian islands.
Italy: Why Visit Sardinia?
One of the main reasons tourists head to Sardinia is because it’s filled to the brim with treasures including 7 of Italy’s 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Speaking of heritage, Sardinia has a strong identity, particularly due to its various festivals. The five most popular include:
- Sartiglia, in the town of Oristano, is an event with a medieval vibe, acrobatics, and horse riding.
- Sant’Efisio, in Cagliari, celebrates the patron saint of the Island.
- Sagra del Redentore, in Nuoro, is organised in honour of Chris the Redeemer at the end of August each year.
- Carnaval de Tempio Pausania, which takes place each year on Shrove Tuesday.
- The Carnaval de Mamoiada takes place in January and is famous for the costumes with black masks.
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In addition to festivals, what else is there to do in Sardinia?
Once you’ve done your trip around Sardinia, you’ll probably have built up an appetite. Here are some essential local dishes:
- Prawns in Vernaccia Wine.
- Chiusòni, a type of gnocchi made from durum wheat semolina.
- Panada, a bread soup starter with lamb.
- Cordula, goat or lamb intestines with peas and olives.
- Amaretti, for dessert, which are almond-based macaroons.
In 2017, a record 14 million tourists visited Sardinia.
Due to its size, Sardinia is a perfect destination to travel around for 10 to 15 days. Keep in mind that the Cagliari will be your first point of call since that’s where the airport is. There are direct flights from London and Manchester.
In general, you might want to focus on either the north or the south of the island to give you time to relax. You need to work out that suits your needs.
Visiting the Island of Capri
Capri is famous for its beauty and being the island of lovers. You’ll find romantic hotels like Punta Tragara and Luxury Villa Excelsior Parco. The Villa Tenerezza is also a good choice for those wanting to discover Capri and a good base.
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Capri has a good climate year-round and with all its seaside destinations, it’s seen tourism increase by 25% in just 5 years.
How can you visit this unmissable destination?
You should know that going to Capri requires a bit of organisation. There’s no international airport and the closest airport is in Naples, which has regular flights from the UK. Once you’re in Naples, look for the following ferry companies:
- NLG - Navigazione Libera del Golfo
- Capitan Morgan
Check out DirectFerries to find out more about timetables and prices.
Once you get there, after 3 to 5 hours of travelling, you’ll be ready to discover the island of Capri.
One of the other unmissable sites on the island is Anacapri, a town in the northwest. You can get there on the blue line and it’s just 15-20 by foot from the Blue Grotto. Anacapri is also popular for its charming ambience and its beautiful little Baroque church. It’s the perfect place to be by the sea.
If you want some fresh air, head to the top of Monte Solaro, at an elevation of 589m, which is also the highest point in Capri. There are some incredible views for you to enjoy after a few hours of walking. If you like a challenge, you might want to consider some of these hiking routes in Capri:
- Via Krupp, which takes you through the Gardens of Augustus.
- The Arco Naturale route, which offers a view over the Sorrente peninsula.
- The Migliera Path, a quiet and beautiful route.
There are also several beaches, which we’ll talk about later...
Now, let’s have a look at the Island of Sicily, Italy's largest island.
Our Advice for Visiting Sicily
Sicily is the largest Italian island and is famous for its beauty and everything you can do there. It's located just off the coast of southern Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.
When you head to Sicily, you should know what to expect once you get there. You should know a little about the climate and weather:
- You could spend the whole year in Sicily walking and sunbathing.
- The sunny periods are between April and October.
- In July and August, the temperature can rise to 34 degrees.
Generally, it’s recommended that you visit Sicily between April and June or September and October to avoid tourists.
Whether you’re in the north or the south of the island, there are a few towns that you have to visit. These include:
- Palermo, the capital of Sicily.
- Cefalù, famous for its beach, cathedral (duomo), and nightlife.
- Tinari, a Greco-Roman town full of heart, soul, and olive fields.
- Taormina, home to colourful architecture.
- Etna, home to the active volcano.
- Catania, a rich university town and the second-largest in Sicily.
Let’s not forget the specialities of Sicily, which are famous all over the world. You can enjoy pasta with aubergines by the sea on one of the many famous beaches in Sicily:
- Mondello, near Palermo.
- Favignana, in the south of the island.
- Scala dei Turchi, by white cliffs.
- Stromboli, home to unique Sicilian nature.
While we’re talking about beaches, here are some of the best across Italy’s main islands.
Which Are the Most Beautiful Beaches on the Italian Islands?
In Italy, and on its islands, in particular, there are plenty of watersports and activities you can do if you don’t feel like just lying on your beach towel: jet skiing, boat trips, or hiking. Italy is a popular seaside destination. Of its 5,175km of coastline, 96.1% is public beaches.
Of course, there are also private beaches. A beach’s charm isn’t always whether or not the water is clear. In some cases, it’s its accessibility. There are also coves and grottoes where you can bathe instead of beaches. Some of the best beaches are:
- Conigli Beach or “Rabbit Beach” in Sicily.
- Chiaia di Luna on Ponza.
- Fetovia Beach on the Island of Elba.
- Cala Rossa Beach on the Island of Favignana.
There are hundreds of Italian islands. Some, like Sardinia, Sicily, and Capri, are famous for their charm, natural wonders, and beautiful beaches.
This is especially true of San Vito lo Capo in Sicily. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy. The Marina Piccola Beach in Capri is also very famous. If you want more nature, Berchida Beach in Sardinia is perfect.
Finally, here are three unique and private beaches for those who’d prefer some peace and quiet.
- Da Gioa, Capri, not far from the Lido del Faro.
- Pelosa, Sardinia, a natural tropical beach.
- Phi Beach, Arzachena, a little slice of paradise that’s famous for its sunsets.
So are you ready to visit the Italian islands?
Before you go to Italy or its islands, you might want to learn some Italian. Fortunately for you, there are many talented tutors on Superprof who can help you. In terms of private Italian tutorials, there are three main types: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials involve just the student and their tutor and are tailored to the former. Your tutor can work with your strengths and weaknesses and put together a programme for you. These tutorials tend to be the most costly but they're also the most cost-effective.
Online tutorials are similar but you're not in the same place as your tutor. Thanks to the internet, webcams, and video conferencing, you can learn a language online. Online tutors tend to charge less than face-to-face tutors because they have fewer outgoings and expenses and can schedule more tutorials each week.
Finally, group tutorials include groups of students learning together. If you and a group of friends, such as your travel companions, want to learn some Italian before you go, you can get group tutorials. With each student sharing the cost of the tutor's time, this type of tutorials tends to work out cheaper per person per hour.