“New year, new me” – it’s a sentiment followed by millions of people each January. However, in most cases, resolutions to start afresh are easier said than done. This new year, kick-start your fitness regime in Sicily, where beautiful natural landscapes, fresh Mediterranean air and exciting outdoor sports, such as rock climbing, hiking, golf and skiing, make it easy to keep promises. If you’re planning a trip, get active while sightseeing with this fitness guide to Sicily, with no gym in sight.
Those wishing to get even closer to nature can test their nerves with a session of rock climbing. The island’s most famous climbing site is at San Vito lo Capo, a seaside resort that hosts the annual San Vito Climbing Festival in October. Here, a lengthy coastal cliff awaits adventurous climbers. Other challenging climbing opportunities can be found at the limestone sea cliffs of Messina, the natural canyons of Siracusa and Ragusa, and at Monte Pellegrino, a mountain outside of Palermo that is over 600 metres high.
Sicily is one of the few places in the world where you can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and relaxing on the beach in the afternoon. During the coldest months of the year, keen skiers can take to the slopes of Mount Etna, which is usually covered in snow from November through March. The resort is small in comparison to its competitors on mainland Italy, but it has a sizeable number of pistes that are suitable for beginners – those seeking a greater challenge can traverse Etna’s summit and ski down from the top.
Golf with a view
Back on firm ground, wind down with a round of golf at Verdura Resort. The impressive 570-acre beachside club is home to three links-style golf courses designed by Kyle Phillips, including two 18-hole and one 9-hole course. As they play, golfers are rewarded with beautiful views over two kilometres of private coastline and the Mediterranean Ocean. As well as being a great source of competitive fun, golf offers the perfect opportunity to get active.
Uniting fitness with culture and nature, Verdura Resort has created a series of breath-taking trekking routes across Sicily. Guided by the fitness team – who provide water and healthy Rocco Forte Nourish snacks to keep energy levels up – the treks vary in length and terrain to accommodate all levels of fitness and experience. While some treks can be completed in regular trainers, some of the more adventurous options require hiking boots or waterproof shoes, which are available to hire or buy at the Verdura Spa shop.
Scenic water sports
A fitness guide to Sicily wouldn’t be complete without mentioning water sports. Verdura Resort’s Water Sports Club, available from April to October, organises a wide array of ocean-based sporting options including sailing, surfing, windsurfing, water skiing, kitesurfing and kayaking. Such sports are excellent tests of strength, stamina and coordination, making them a work out for the body and mind. Sicily is also a key scuba diving spot and a number of dive schools on the north and east coast of the island offer underwater adventures for qualified divers.
Image credits: Rock climbing © iStock/BettinaRitter, Golf © iStock/iShootPhotosLLC, Boats © iStock/JannHuizenga, Skiing © iStock/SalvoV