As far as islands go, Sicily is up there with the best for some seriously interesting kid-friendly stuff. If it’s not enough that your family holiday in Sicily is next to an actual active volcano, or that there are intriguing ruins to be discovered all over the place, it’s also got some great kid-friendly fun and excursions to get involved in too.
1. Soak up the nature with Sicily Bike Routes
Get your older kids out into the beautiful Sicilian nature with one of Sicily Bike Routes’ guided tours. Peddle past olive groves, fruit orchards and vineyards, down tiny lanes lined with stone walls and through rural villages where you can stop for a well-deserved rest. Ranging from half-day to full-day excursions, the tours are great fun for all the family, where the simple pleasures of the island can be enjoyed. For children (or parents) that aren’t up to longer tours, you could also consider renting bicycles and tootling around under your own steam. Pack a picnic, follow one of the routes and set off on a day of discovery.
Location: Contrada Fondoliva snc 97018, Sicily (RG)
Book: +39 366 3682037
2. Explore Mount Etna with Etna Donkey Trekking
Donkeys have a long history in Sicily. Strong, sturdy and trusty, these adorable animals have served as a means of transport for agricultural villagers for centuries. Today at Etna Donkey Trekking, they are beasts of burden no more, but lovingly cared for animals ready to faithfully trot their way up the winding paths of Mount Etna. Children of all ages will delight in this novel way to explore the great volcano, ancient woods and panoramic ridges. Their calm, patient characters have seen them being used as therapy animals to help children with behavioural or emotional problems.
Location: Via G. Matteotti 8 – Linguaglossa
Book: +39 349 30 65 136
3. Make a splash at EtnaLand
When your kids have had it up to their eyes and ears with culture and history, it’s time to offer them some release in the form of this rip-roaring adventure park at the foot of Mount Etna. With the great volcano looming in the background, they can enjoy hair-raising amusement rides in the theme park or slosh their way down waterslides in the aqua park. Float on wild rafting rivers, swim in the largest wave pool in Europe and strap yourself in to adrenaline-pumping fairground rides – there is something here to keep every aged kid (or big kid) happy.
Location: C.da Agnelleria, 95032 Belpasso
Enquiries: +39 095 7913334
4. Go wild for wildlife at Bioparco Di Sicilia
With conservation, training, education and environmental awareness at its core, the Bioparco Di Sicilia offers families much more than just an ordinary zoo experience. Children can learn about the ecology of over 57 species, including chimpanzees, lemurs, zebras, meerkats, Sicilian grey donkeys and llamas. Sure to excite them further is the dinosaur park, where you’ll find a fabulous collection of life-sized prehistoric beasts, ranging from Tyrannosaurus Rex to Triceratops.
Location: Via A. Vespucci, 420, 90044 Carini (PA) – Sicily
Enquiries: +39 091 8676811
5. Swing through the trees at Monti Rossi Adventure Park
Need to blow off some steam? Take the children to the Monti Rossi Adventure Park. Here they can discover their inner Tarzan as they follow challenging paths through the treetops. They can zip-line, clamber, climb and swing on ropes, nets and platforms to their hearts’ content. There are less taxing routes for smaller children and bigger challenges for older kids, or even mums and dads.
Location: Via Goethe,Nicolosi CT
Book: +39 388 755 3812
6. Trot off the beaten path with Sicily Horse Riding
The roads less travelled in Sicily are actually best travelled on horseback, or so they say at Sicily Horse Riding. So saddle up and head out into the parts of the countryside few get to experience. Led by seasoned guides, these treks allow participants to discover the rich cultural and natural heritage of the island. It is a superb activity for older children and there are a variety of different tour length options for all abilities. Head out for just a few hours or a full day to discover the Alcantara Gorges and the vineyards of Mount Etna. During some tours, you’ll even be able to take the horses for a dip in the sea at the beach.
Location: Via Ardichetto, 95019 Zafferana Etnea CT, Italy
Book: +39 338 777 2395
7. See skilled string pullers at Piccolo Teatro dei Pupi
Puppetry is a traditional art in Sicily enjoyed by generations of Sicilian children. While your children’s experience of puppetry may be minimal, they are sure to love the pomp and splendour of the Sicilian shows, where exquisitely-clothed knights and kings duel in expertly orchestrated scenes. Surrounded by the beautiful architecture of Ortigia Island in Syracuse, this traditional puppet theatre is a family-run establishment were imaginations and artistry run wild.
Location: Via Della Giudecca, 17/19, 96100 Syracuse
Book: +39 0931 465 540
If you’re planning a family holiday to Sicily, but aren’t quite sure where to start, take a look at our round up of our best villas in Sicily or give our concierge team a call. They’ll help you find the perfect villa for your family’s needs. We’ve also got some great family travel tips from some of the UK’s top bloggers to help you prepare for a stress-free family holiday.