We nearly booked a holiday at the Lemon Tree Apartments two years ago but decided against it as we were concerned that being a bit out of town it would mean us driving in the evenings to have meals out etc. And yes, we did have to drive for our nights out (although the owners do offer a very good value taxi service, which we did use a few times) but how glad we are that we eventually took the plunge as it goes down as probably one of our best family holidays!
Everything about the holiday was perfect (except for the Italian driving – crazy!). Set in a really beautiful location with glorious views of the gorgeous hilltop town of Taormina, pretty Castelmola, the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna to the rear, the three apartments we had were all clean, comfortable, well equipped and of a good standard and far nicer than the photos on the website depicted. The pool was a good size and the daily pool volleyball was also a great way of bringing all the guests, of all ages, together, and certainly was one of the highlights for our children, aged 16, 19, and 22, plus friend aged 17.
But what also made the holiday for us were Karen and Diego, the owners. Without being intrusive, nothing was too much trouble for them. From offering to get some shopping in for us on our day of arrival and cooking for us that same evening (a godsend!), to giving us advice on good restaurants, the best beaches, places to visit, parking etc., it was all part of the service. Their inside knowledge was invaluable and they made us so welcome! They were also such fun people – ‘awesome’, was how our children described them - and made their own limoncello, wine and olive oil, an added bonus!
Sicily is a beautiful place but very big, so other than a day trip to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento (about a two and a half hour drive), we stayed largely around the Taormina area and found plenty to occupy us during our 12 night stay. The key highlight was undoubtedly Etna – we walked 10 miles that day from the cable car stop to one of the higher craters. Covered in yellow sulphurous deposits, the terrain at the top was so hostile that we could only stay for a few minutes as the poisonous gases were making us choke and our eyes run but it was well worth it! We also enjoyed a trip to the picturesque Alcantara Gorge, where the children did some river trekking in wet suits and helmets, visited Savoca where The godfather was filmed (and where there are some interesting catacombs), explored the coastline in a speedboat we rented for only 80 Euros for two hours (if you do this, be careful where you anchor as we got stuck!) and visited a number of beaches.
All in all we had a fantastic holiday and would thoroughly recommend this part of Sicily and the Lemon Tree Apartments.
Room for improvement? – Diego’s serving in the pool volley ball!
Tip: All museums are free in Sicily on the first Sunday of the month.