25km southwest of Palermo, Balestrate is a small town on the north coast of Sicily, which sees a large swell in population due to the tourism that summer months bring. Visitors primarily flock to the town due to its excellent climate and the warm waters of the Gulf of Castellammare, but there are also a number of other attractions to be enjoyed. Some of the most popular accommodation in Balestrate includes beachside villas and town centre apartments.
Balestrate is a seaside village that is developed on an old tuna-fishing ground. The sandy beaches and clear waters make for excellent swimming, sunbathing and water sports, and there are a good amount of bars, cafes and shops nearby. Although many holidaymakers visit during the summer, the town has not yet been over-run by mass tourism and a high percentage of visitors are Italian, maintaining an authentic feel to the area.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, olives and other local produce can all be bought from the various street stalls that line the town centre, meaning you can recreate many local dishes when you get back to your self-catering accommodation. Those who want their meals cooked for them will be pleased to find a number of restaurants along the sea front, with the local seafood and Marsala wine the choice of locals and tourists alike.
The main historic attraction within the town is the 8th Century Castle of Calatubo, a Byzantine stronghold that is positioned high up overlooking the village. Those with cultural tendencies will also be interested in paying a visit to the Catholic Church of St. Anna, which once marked the centre of town.
Many of the famous sites of Sicily are within easy reach of Balestrate, including the capital Palermo, which can be driven to in under an hour. There are also a number of other delightful towns and villages to be discovered along the north coast of the island, such as Castellammare del Golfo (11km), Alcamo (13km) and Partinico (19km).
Sicily draws many visitors due to its climate, and Balestrate’s coastal location means you can expect summer highs of over 30C, with several hours of sunshine every day and little rain. The weather is also extremely mild out of season, with temperatures below 10C uncommon.
Sicily has two international airports, so take care when booking. Your preference should be to fly to Palermo Airport (PMO), which lies 30km, from Balestrate, and can be reached from London Stansted (Ryanair) and London Gatwick (easyJet). The other airport, Catania (CTA), is on the opposite side of the island, and a three hour drive to your destination.