Cava Grande: This is one of Sicily’s best kept secrets! This fantastic natural reserve is a great alternative to a day at a beach – if you can find it! This canyon is a system of fresh water ponds and waterfalls 507 meters down from the viewpoint and point of arrival at the top of the gorge. Beware you must be physically fit to visit here as its a long walk down a uneven dirt path and an even harder trek back up! (You’ll see what I mean when you look at the picture below!) There are no services once you get to the bottom so make sure you take plenty of water and food with you if you plan on spending the day there. There is parking available at the site and it is advised to bring water shoes as some of the rocks are rough on the feet. Oh and the water is freezing!
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241 Kms from Avola
Palermo, the regional capital of Sicily, is one of those cities with its own very distinct, almost tangible atmosphere, a place of mystery where reality often outperforms the traveller’s imagination and preconceived stereotypes. Visiting Palermo is still somewhat of an adventure in a world where so many places have become tourist-friendly to a fault. You won’t find many restaurants with menus translated into 5 different languages, you may have trouble communicating in English in many places, and some parts of the old town center have remained untouched since they were bombed during the war.
67 Kms from Avola
Sicily’s second largest city is Catania, and is where a majority of European flights land in to. It lies on the Eastern side of the island along the Ionian coast, sitting in the shadows beneath Mount Etna. In 1669 Catania was covered in lava from Mount Etna and then, just 24 years later in 1693 an earthquake shook the town down to its foundations. Most of the old town was rebuilt, and as ever resourceful was rebuilt using lava, therefore Catania is describe as being a rather dull and grey city. There are a couple of nice piazzas and the Duomo is worth a visit. The atmosphere is what really brings you to the city, the bustling fish markets, the people and the smells. There is a place in the city that is also renowned for horse meat if that’s your thing! Or if not give it a try..although the signature dish of Catania is Pasta alla Norma, that consists of fried chunks of aubergine, a rich tomato sauce and salty ricotta cheese….. Buon appetito!
132 Kms from Avola
We went back to the hotel after a short visit in Valletta, where we didn’t find what we were looking for. And it was time for some relaxation after hours of driving and walking around in the heat. We ended the day with an hour on deck chair by the hotel pool before we took a few drinks before dinner at Batubulan Sunset Grill, a good restaurant by the sea, where we got a great view over the beautiful sunset.