by Gillian Price
Exploring this breathtaking island on foot is a journey through time. Sicily offers wild valleys pitted with Greek and Roman temples and ancient ruins – reminders of long-gone peoples. Mule tracks and age-old pathways have survived and reserve a wealth of surprises, starting with the carpets of brilliant wildflowers. Landscapes are grandiose. Olive groves thrive alongside citrus orchards, never far from snow-clad mountain ranges presided over by imposing volcanoes – ranging from extinct and visitable, through to placidly smoking, and to constantly active giants Etna and Stromboli from which fiery rivers of lava issue. In dramatic contrast is the string of peaceful offshore islands set in turquoise waters, which are pure Mediterranean in character. Sicily’s stunning range of scenery, combined with its mild winters and hot dry summers, make rewarding walking holidays feasible all year round. Visits are facilitated by good road access and an excellent network of public transport. Accommodation is plentiful, as are memorable eating places with rich Mediterranean fare.