Forget the idea that you can have a holiday with three small children or go travelling. Because it's something else with kids. It needs another name.
Due to autumn half term in England, we have decided to go to the largest Mediterranean island of Sicily to catch what’s left of the sun and heat in October. The fact that the island has plenty of sights to visit was a major convincing factor.
Until our last night on the island, the weather was exactly as we wished; even though, we could not predict that mosquitos would still exist in October. Nevertheless, Sicily had left behind its summer dryness and was covered in very rich greenery. Lemon trees formed a painting-like image for miles. On our last night on the island, the heavens broke and among fifty loud lightenings, have decided to merge with the sea.
Going back to my point at the start: As soon as we arrived on the island, we set out to rent the car we had previously booked from the airport. Of course, we booked a baby seat as well. Since our plane landed with a delay of two hours, we learned that the car we wanted and the baby seat were no longer available. The lack of a baby seat in the car during our trip was the most important reason for the difficulties we faced.
My three-year-old daughter easily removed her normal driver's seat belt and was able to take plenty of dangerous actions in the back of the car. On top of that, the whining, fighting and shouting of her older sister and brother turned our hours in the car into a torture. I'm still not sure whether I really saw or imagined some of the places we have been to because of migraine and fatigue that hit my head.
Since it was our first visit to Sicily and we did not know the island well yet, we decided to stay in Taormina, a touristic place. It was quite difficult to park the car here. As is across all Italy, the streets can only fit small and narrow cars. But Taormina is indeed a very pleasant, historic settlement, even though in October it has the crowds of tourists we are accustomed to seeing during summer months. The old Greek theatre here has also been spectacularly restored. Definitely worth a visit.
Sicily is home to Etna, the only active volcano in Europe. Climbing Mount Etna was the children’s favourite activity of the entire trip. They still reminisce to this day. Occasional eruptions are still observable. Smoke is constantly brewing. The whole mountain and its surroundings are surrounded by blackened lava rocks. The children were eager to fill their pockets with these lava pieces. It is a must-see in Sicily.
Sicily is a very large island, so it's not easy to see it all at once. We concentrated on the southeast. If you have read the novels or watched the series of Inspector Montalbano, the city of Ragusa, Ragusa Ibla and Noto, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, will feel familiar. Especially Ragusa Ibla and Noto are simply magnificent and must-see settlements on the island.
The city of Modica in the same area is worth a visit. Although Marzamemi is a small village, it is a great example for those who want to see the coastal holiday style in Sicily.
Catania and Syracuse are the two largest cities in Southeast Sicily. Catania’s main square and its surroundings provide a good reflection of the island's population and active economy.
Syracuse was home to many civilisations. Ancient Greeks, Arabs, Spaniards… Therefore, it also carries a Spanish atmosphere. In addition, it still houses fascist architectural examples from the Mussolini era. Formerly known as Oritigia, the old Syracusea houses Piazza Duomo, the most beautiful square in Italy. The narrow streets of Oritigia resemble Magrebhi towns. With the Diana Fountain, Maniaca Castle, the Caravaggio paintings you can see in the churches, the ancient Greek settlement, Syracuse fascinates visitors.
All in all an, Sicily is an ideal island to visit in October. I'm sure it's interesting in the summer with its beaches and sea, but in the extreme heat of summer it would be hard to visit beautiful historical sites and cities. Especially with young children…