With its rugged coastline, crystal-clear waters and some of the Mediterranean’s oldest marine reserves, Sicily is one of Europe’s top snorkeling destinations. The region displays hundreds of snorkeling spots around the islands, of which a huge majority are freely accessible from the shore. In Sicilian protected waters, you are likely to snorkel amongst schools of sea breams, tropical-colored wrasse, moray eels and small dusky groupers, a few meters only from the beach.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Numerous small surrounding islands are also part of this Italian region, including the legendary Aeolian Islands.
Sicily is teeming with sandy beaches, volcanic shores and rocky coves with crystal clear waters, which are all fantastic places to snorkel. While it is possible to get into the water almost anywhere along the coasts of Sicily, some spots, particularly those located in marine reserves, are highly recommended.
The small island of Ustica, laying some 60km off Palermo, is considered as one of the best snorkeling and diving destination in the whole Mediterranean Sea. The island’s waters are protected as a marine reserve since 1986 (the first marine reserve established in Italy), and hosts a vibrant and tame marine life.
Cala Sidoti, Caletta Acquario and Al Faro Beach (where you can also explore a natural pool) are all great snorkeling spots accessible from shore. You can also take part in boat trips to explore some more remote spots.
Zingaro Natural Reserve, just South to San Vito Lo Capo, may be the best snorkeling areas on Sicily main island. This reserve protects 7km of coastline, that you can snorkel from many small pebbly coves, such as the very recommended Cala Capreira.
Laying just a few kilometers from Sicily’s western coast, the Aegadian Islands boasts enchanting snorkeling spots and beaches, which are continually ranking among the most beautiful in Europe. Cala Rossa, Cala Faraglioni and Cala Rotonda, all nestled along Favignana Island rocky shore, are some of the best options in the region.
Other exciting snorkeling hotspots in Sicily are Plemmirio natural reserve (near Syracuse, with its natural rocky pools and caves), Lipari Island black-sand beaches, and Taormina’s shore (located halfway between Messina and Catania).
The sea around the islands of Sicily abounds with an amazing wealth of marine life, including sea bream, mullets, wrasse, crabs, octopuses and sea slug. In the marine reserves, you’re also likely to see dusky groupers (juveniles being surprisingly common there at snorkeling depths), huge gilt-head bream, greater amberjacks, and schools of barracuda.
If you are planning a snorkeling trip to Sicily, we recommend you take with you the Europe and Mediterranean Marine Fish identification guide, a comprehensive guide that includes all the marine fish species that may be encountered in the Mediterranean up to 50m depth.
As everywhere else in the Mediterranean, late spring and summer are the best snorkeling seasons in Sicily. From May to October, the weather is indeed warm and sunny around the islands, with daytime temperatures frequently exceeding 30°C and water temperatures ranging between 22 and 28°C.
Outside of this period, the sea temperatures drop, to be as low as 11-12°C during winter months. Even during summer, we recommend to wear a rashguard, which will protect your back and shoulders from the strong UV radiations that occur in the Mediterranean.
Our selection of the best rashguards and wetsuits for snorkeling may help you to make your choice!
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Juveniles are frequently seen in protected areas, hiding in caves or rock overhangs.
One of the most colorful mediterranean fish. Can be seen on all rocky spots.
On all rocky spots
On all spots, more common in protected areas.
On all spots
On all rocky and grassy spots
Mostly seen in protected areas.
Protected bay and islet with a diversity of fish
Free shore access
Rocky creek with sandy beds, rock drop-offs and Posidonia
Preserved rocky islet with a diversity of fish
Free shore access
Rocky shore with a diversity of fish
Rocky shore with a good diversity of fish
Small cove with rocky beds and fish
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