Complete Sicily Snorkeling Guide
With its fantastic landscape and wonderful coastline, Sicily in Italy is a spectacular location to vacation. The crystal clear water and diverse marine life make it a beautiful place to explore when you want to get a firsthand look at the underwater world of the Mediterranean. If you’re looking for the best beaches for snorkeling in Sicily, here we feature the top places to stop by to make your trip a memorable experience.
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Plemmirio Natural Reserve
As one of the highest-rated Sicily snorkeling spots, the 1500 hectares Riserva Naturale Del Plemmirio is a highly recommended place to visit near Syracuse. The peaceful setting feels magical and features beautiful grottos that contribute to the natural beauty of the location.
The sea bead is shallow near the coast with many different coves where visitors are welcome to explore Sicily sea life that features Mediterranean reefs, various fish species like parrotfish and rainbow wrasse, starfish and octopus.
The Plemmirio Natural Reserve stretches from Punta Tavernara to Capo Murro di Porco with several entrances along the coast, but the best spots to go snorkeling are around Punta della Mola and Punta Milocca.
Zingaro Natural Reserve
As the first natural reserve in Sicily, Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro, to the west of Palermo is a top place to visit when on the island where you can observe rare plants and over 39 species of birds. The area is remote and quiet with a lot of hiking trails are available to ensure you can get panoramic views of the surrounding.
With its 7 km long protected coastline, Zingaro is a fantastic spot for snorkeling in Sicily. There are many caves and grottos to discover algae and sponge-covered rocks as well as sea creatures.
The reserve is accessible only by foot on rocky, dusty paths so make sure to bring comfy shoes, flip-flops won’t be enough. To go snorkeling, we recommend Cala Capreira.
Tonnara di Scopello
When in the area, don’t miss out on visiting another excellent Sicily snorkeling spot, Tonnara di Scopello, which is an old tuna fishery in a relaxing environment. After getting down on a bit steep path, the water is easy to access and is clean, even during the busier seasons when more people are present.
The beach features a variety of rocks in the water, which enhances the beauty of the setting. Many couples frequent this spot because of how nice it looks and because of the breathtaking views under the water. Snorkelers will find a lot to see in the shallow water and many fish around the stacks. If you dive too, you can sign up for a guided dive to see ancient amphoras.
San Vito Lo Capo
San Vito Lo Capo is a charming seaside town in northwest Sicily. This Arab-Norman influenced town offers many attractions to visit like the Santa Crescenzia chapel or the Torrazzo watchtower.
The San Vito Lo Capo Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Trapani area. With clear, fine sand, shallow and crystalline water, you will feel like being in the Caribbean.
Diverse marine life guarantees you’ll see something new every time you go underwater like eels and shoals of bream. The spectacular colors available in the water make it a great spot for underwater photography. San Vito Lo Capo must be on your itinerary if you are looking for the best snorkeling in Sicily!
As one of the clearest water beaches in Europe, Mondello Beach belongs to the top snorkeling beaches in Sicily. Although it is not a rocky beach, therefore experienced snorkelers might not find the underwater life rich enough here, but thanks to the shallow and calm waters, it is a nice place to try snorkeling if you are a beginner or want to teach your kids how to use their equipment.
Restaurant, bar and also sunbed and umbrella rental are available if you want to relax on the sand before or after your snorkeling session.
Tip: Looking for more places to go snorkeling in Italy? Check out our Sardinia snorkeling guide too!
Baia dei Francesi
The small cove of Baia dei Francesi is highly recommended to visit when you’re in search of beautiful spots for snorkeling in Sicily near Palermo. This 50 meter long bay has a rocky bottom with clear water, making it popular among the locals and tourists too. Since it is a small cove, it fills up with people quickly in the season so arrive early to secure your spot.
This idyllic spot has a seabed full of fish and offers a lot of shade in the afternoon. Both shallow and deep areas in the water are present to ensure beginner and advanced snorkelers are accommodated. You’ll even find a kiosk where soft drinks are sold to cool off with a delicious beverage.
Spiaggia di Mazzaforno
Spiaggia di Mazzaforno is a cove beach with a lot of trees and plants present. It is accessible from the state road from Cefalu to Palermo. Although it looks like a private beach at first sight, it’s open to the public and is free to access.
Thanks to the clear water and a seabed full of fish, this pebble beach is a fantastic spot to snorkel, swim, or just enjoy the views of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. If you want to have some me-time, there are small coves here to enjoy some privacy.
Isola Bella – Taormina
One of Sicily’s most beautiful places on the eastern side of the island is the Isola Bella Marine Park which includes a little island, Isola Bella and its surrounding waters. It offers not only wonderful scenery with limestone rocks but also prime snorkeling and diving opportunities.
The easiest way of exploring the beauty of this location is by signing up for a boat trip that takes you around the area, but you can get here through a staircase where you can enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding high cliffs and turquoise sea.
Should you arrive by car, not that parking is hard to find in Taormina. Autoparking Isola Bella is the closest one, but it fills up quickly, so you need to go to another paid parking and get back to Isola Bella by taking a shuttle and/or the cable car. It sounds like a lot of hassle, but the place is so beautiful that it is worth the extra effort!
The country’s first marine reserve, Ustica is probably the most popular destination when it comes to snorkeling in Italy. This little island 60 km off Palermo has beautiful beaches and vibrant marine life.
The waters here are protected since 1986 which guarantees vibrant sea life. Divers and snorkelers will meet a variety of species here such as groupers, barracudas, breams, shrimps and lobsters.
If you want to do snorkeling from the shore, Caletta Acquario, Faro Beach, Cala Galera and Cala Sidoti are the best spots to go. In summer, at Cala Gadoti, you can even join snorkeling sessions guided by a marine biologist from Palermo University who gives you a deeper knowledge about Sicily sea life. To get to less frequented places, take part in boat trips!
Islands of the Cyclops
When coming to Catania to hike Mount Etna, make sure to stop by Isole dei Ciclopi, the Islands of Cyclops too! This beautiful place has an interesting mythology-related story: according to the legend, the Cyclops Islands were thrown by Polyphemus against Odysseus.
The rocky coastline makes this area a superb Sicily snorkeling spot. This nature reserve with basalt rocks, calm winds and clear water is perfect to observe marine life wearing your goggles. Nearby, many cafes and restaurants are present where you can grab a bite to eat if you get hungry.
Island of Favignana
Favignana is part of the Aegadian Islands together with Marettimo and Levanzo. This island group -located on the west coast of Sicily and accessible by boat from Trapani- is a must-visit if you are looking for beautiful views and top snorkeling in Sicily.
The biggest of the island, Favignana has an impressive rocky coastline and very clear waters. The rocky beaches offer perfect conditions for snorkeling: our favorites are Cala Rotonda, Cala Rossa and Spiaggia Bue Marino. At these spots, the sea is so clear and has a vibrant blue hue that makes it feel like paradise. Many rock formations are present in the water making the underwater landscape interesting.
If you love to visit land attractions too, on the island you find ruins and a botanical garden. Should you look for a remote spot where you can escape the main island’s crowds, visit Favignana!
Isola di Levanzo
The smallest of the Aegadian Islands also has excellent sea life to discover. However it is most famous for its diving tours that take visitors to an underwater archaeological site, the Cala Minnola wreck Roman cargo ship resting at 27 meters deep loaded with wine amphoras, but this island won’t disappoint snorkelers either.
Bring a pair of flippers and your snorkeling mask and explore the seabed! We recommend Capo Grosso where you can see lots of Mediterranean fish species as well as some coral, algae and sponges.
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