Head to Sicily for the best in last minute life
Sicily is Italy’s pride and joy, and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Few destinations are as worth of a spontaneous escape as here, where you can be off the plane with arancini in one hand and a glass of red in the other in next to no time.
History speaks in a thousand voices in Cefalu, the coastal town tucked at the base of the island’s mountain ranges. It’s here that medieval buildings and classic, narrow Italian houses make the streets a winding maze of opportunity. The real architectural treats are in the hillside coastal town of Castelmola though, with Mount Etna looming on one side and the vastness of the sea glistening on the other. Beach days here are best spent with a healthy layer of sunscreen, a cocktail in hand and not a care in the world.
The best time of year to book your last minute holiday
Sicily, like many destinations, experiences high and low seasons of tourism traffic. High season matches spring and summer, so expect the most bustle and activity around April through to September. Temperatures are high all year round though, so don’t be shy in going during low season in search of some sunshine when prices take a dip. Either way, you’ll be saving by booking last minute, which generally means anywhere before eight week’s in advance of the departure date. It definitely pays to be spontaneous.
Other popular holidays in Italy
Italy is timeless, and if you’re interested in exploring its other famous island, check out Sardinia, where folklore and tradition reigns supreme. You could also follow the footsteps of da Vinci and the Medicis in Tuscany, or instead trade the beach for a boat trip over the shimmering Italian Lakes. That said, keep Sicily in mind as you weigh your options. To help you out, we’ve got a Sicily travel guide waiting for you, together with our top hotels for last minute stays listed below.
This romantic hillside retreat has you five minutes' walk from the beach, while also keeping you nicely secluded in its stylish Mediterranean walls. If you don't fancy the downhill stroll, a free shuttle bus service is available, and there's also cable car connectivity to the town of Taormina right on your doorstep. The rooftop gardens and sunloungers give you every opportunity to soak up Sicilian sunshine, and you can even enjoy the rooftop pool at neighbouring Ipanema Hotel.
Glamorous views of the coast of Letojanni are yours to enjoy at this hotel, which spices up its menu of traditional Italian dishes with a number of themed nights during your stay. Evenings here are similarly livened up by a range of live performances from local musicians, and if you're keen to see the sights, the hotel's bike hire service has you rolling through the meadows in no time.
Dine on the balcony with a peerless view of both the sea and the town of Cefalu at this exclusive-yet-accessible hotel. It also comes with access to a private stretch of beach, so you have a corner of the coast to call your own after you've filled up on freshly cooked dishes in the restaurant. If that's not enough for spoiling yourself, head to the spa and get a massage before unwinding in the whirlpool bath or the sauna.
When you have to have it all, this hotel has the best of Cefula to give you and then some. With its immense pool, included entry to the nearby Acqua Verde Waterpark and complementary shuttle service to a private beach 20 minutes' drive away, this is a retreat that isn't holding anything back. Wine graces every meal here with Italy's finest flavours, and the dining options themselves let you sit out in the sun while you languish over linguine.