A winter honeymoon in Sicily

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 3-9, 1998
Rock climbing spots near Austin and Atlanta
A winter honeymoon in Sicily
Adventures for wedding guests near Montego Bay

A winter honeymoon in Sicily
Question: My fiance Kara and I will be getting married in early December and want to take our honeymoon in January. I’d really like to go to Italy, because I’ve never been and Kara likes the Venice area. Also, I have realtives outside of Naples. However, Kara is concerned about the weather, and I don’t want her to be disappointed. Any great warm spots you’d recommend that time of year? I want something different! Thanks in advance for your help.

Jerry Griffith
St. Paul, Minnesota

Adventure Adviser: While I admire your desire to please your wife-to-be, even love-struck honeymooners can’t control the weather Gods. If you both have Italy on the mind, then by all means go — few places are as perfectly romantic for a honeymoon. My suggestion? Stay south. That way, you’ll increase your chances for balmy weather and can squeeze in a visit with your relatives near Naples. You can always tack on a day or two in Venice on the way home. A gondola ride on the Grand Canal is pretty nice, rain or shine, and a perfect way to round out your trip.

I’d suggest flying into Rome and maybe spending a night or two at a cozy albergo in the center to get over your jet lag. Then I’d head to Sicily. While much of Europe is cool and gray in January, Sicily often sparkles in sunlight. Plus, you’ll benefit from some off-season perks, like cut rates at great hotels, uncrowded ferries, and a chance to observe the local culture without droves of tourists.

Given the time of year, I’d fly directly into Palermo or Catania — probably the later for it’s locale — and arrange for a rental car (do this stateside). Plan on spending a couple of days in Taormina, which in summer is full of the European jet set and glitterati. Situated on a terrace of Monte Tauro, the town is incredibly beautiful, with sweeping views of the Ionian Sea. Be sure to book a room with a terrace so you can enjoy breakfast al fresco and a sunset aperitivo in the sea breeze. Just west of town is steaming Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest live volcano and one of the most active in the world. Much further south is Syracuse, a cultural mecca with numerous Greek ruins to explore. Don’t miss the lazy and lovely Aeolian Islands, seven peaceful islets stretching off Sicily’s northeast coastline. You can access these beauties by ferry or hydrofoil from Milazzo, and Lipari makes a good base for exploring the smaller islands. Picturesque Panarea and Vulcano, known for its terapeutic mud baths and hot springs, both warrant a stay.

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