Nowadays a small summer resort – empty most of the year, packed in July and August – Eraclea Minoa was an important Greek settlement in ancient times. It was legendarily founded by the Cretan king Minos, who came to Sicily in pursuit of Daedalus after his escape from Crete. Historical evidence suggests the city was established by Greek colonists in the 6th century BC and went on to flourish in the 4th and 5th centuries. The ancient city's scant remains can be seen at the archaeological park above town.
Today Eraclea Minoa's greatest attraction is its beach, a photogenic strip of golden sand backed by willowy eucalyptus trees, cypress groves and chalk cliffs. At the beach's western end there's a natural mud rock, which you can scrape off and massage into your skin. Dry off in the sun, then rinse in the sea and you'll have removed 10 years in 10 minutes.