Watching sunset from the Turkish Steps (Scala dei Turchi) in Sicily has to be one of the most breathtaking things to do on this incredible island. The blindingly white rock formation falls into the crystal clear blue sea like a huge set of steps and the views from all angles are spectacular.
Like a lot of famous attractions here, the Turkish Steps can be crowded and busy, but wait until sunset and you will find the tourists start to head back to their all inclusive dinners and cocktails and you will have (a bit!) more peace here.
It is more than possible to spend a whole day here (though there are very few places to find shade!) You can dive from the rocks into the glistening ocean, or paddle in the shallows. There are beaches on both sides of the rock, the furthest one is usually the quietest and may provide you some relief from the crowds.
But dusk is when the rocks become really special. With the sun setting out to sea, a golden glow is cast over the beach and brilliant white rocks. There is a stillness in the air and people seem to respect the calmness and peacefulness that this time of day brings. It is one of the most romantic things to do on the island. Taking a picnic and a few blankets to watch the sunset would make for a perfect date night.
Where The Turkish Steps Got Their Name
Back in the day, Arab pirates (referred to as Turks) anchored their boats here to protect them from the wind while they robbed and pillaged surrounding towns. The rocks formed the ‘stairs’ for the Turks to climb. You can see why it would be the perfect place to anchor up, with the rocks sheltering you from sight and forming perfect steps to climb quickly and easily.
How Were The Turkish Steps Formed?
Here’s a little something for all you geology buffs out there. The rock is white limestone (called Marl) which has eroded over time. The wind and sea have helped to shape the rock into the step like pattern that we can see today.
The wet clay is rumoured to be good for skin so many visitors coat themselves in it while they soak in the sun. Who knows if it actually works but a day here certainly made us feel younger!
Top Tip: If you are planning a trip here from further away then it is perfectly combined with a visit to The Valley of the Temples, as it’s only about a 15 minute drive away.
Know Before You Go
How To Get To The Turkish Steps
The easiest way to get here is by car. In fact, the easiest way to see a lot of Sicily is by car, so if you haven’t already considered renting one it may well be worth looking into. Roads here are easy to navigate and petrol is not too expensive (compared to UK prices). There are plenty of spaces to park near to the entrance, but be prepared to drive/walk up and down some steep hills!
If you’re coming from Palermo you can take a day trip that combines The Turkish steps and The Valley of the Temples, or if you’re coming from Catania a very similar day trip is offered. Try here for more information.
A more expensive option would be to hire a taxi or take a private tour that will give you more flexibilty.
Where To Stay
The most obvious place to stay if you’re only visiting The Turkish Steps is in Agrigento. It isn’t rumoured to be the prettiest of places, but like with all cities there are areas that are nicer than others. Only 2 miles from the Valley of the Temples you’ll find Giafra Luxury Rooms with it’s own pool and gorgeous rooms. Or stay at Cortile Baronello to be within 10 minutes walk of the city centre.
Tours from Palermo to The Turkish Steps are easy to find, so this might make a better base for your stay. The views at La Terrazza sul Centro sell itself! I wouldn’t bother to look any further! That being said, the super swish yet romantic B&B One could give it a run for it’s money. Honestly, you’re spoilt for choice in Palermo.
Another of Sicily’s great cities and a perfect place to take day trips from to all the major sites and attractions. B&B Gisira offers simple yet stylish rooms in the perfect location. Or why not give hostels a go and stay in the trendy and fun Yard Hostel.
Places To Eat
There is nothing more romantic than a sunset picnic on the rocks, so we would recommend you come prepared. If eating ‘out out’ isn’t your thing then there are several cafes and restaurants on the beach front before you reach the Turkish Steps and a simple town is only a ten minute walk away where you can pick up basic supplies.
At the top of the steps down to the rocks you will find the restaurant Lido Scala dei Turchi that has good reviews and a nice looking menu.
What To Bring To The Turkish Steps
There is next to no shade at the actual Turkish Steps so plan accordingly. Sicily gets VERY hot in summer so make sure you bring plenty of water, sun cream and a hat.
With all that summer sun you are bound to want to go for a dip in the ocean. Wear/bring your swim gear!
Some of the car parks take a cash payment so it would be wise to carry some spare euros with you if you are driving there.