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Introducing Ionian Coast

The Ionian Coast is dotted with Sicily's superlatives – the island's highest volcano, Mt Etna, is here; the queen of all resorts, Taormina, perches on a clifftop; and it's home to Sicily's second-largest city, Catania. Catania is the region's centre, a wonderful and shabby city with a great pulse and active street- and nightlife. Its fish market, La Pescheria, is one of Sicily's greatest sights, and the baroque architecture of the city's historic centre is beautiful, if somewhat battered. Halfway up a rocky mountainside, regal Taormina is sophisticated and exclusive, a favourite of holidaying VIPs and day-tripping tourists. Brooding menacingly on the city's doorstep, Mt Etna offers unforgettable hiking, both to the summit craters and around the woods that carpet its lower slopes. Etna is also a wine area and, with a car, it's fun to tour the mountain in search of the perfect vintage.