Glimmering white stone walls seemingly melting into the deep blue sea. Scala dei Turchi, the Turkish Steps is one of Southern Sicily’s most stunning beaches.
Limestone cliffs shaped and smoothed by constant wind and waves, creating a beautiful staircase. During the day, sparkling white against the blue sea, and in the evening turning golden by the setting sun. If the description is not enough to convince you to visit, the photos might just will :)
Legend has it that Turkish pirates used the beautiful beach to dock their ships and climb the natural stairs to raid the local villages, hence the locals named the place Turkish Steps.
When to visit?
Generally between May and October, especially since you’ll be wanting to spend time on the sandy beach tucked between the beautiful rock formations. You can visit in the wintertime as well, it’ll still be beautiful to climb the rocks and take photos.
Time-wise, I find it best to arrive in the mid-afternoon, spend a few hours swimming and then enjoy a beautiful sunset. Like many other gorgeous places, the Turkish Steps gets very busy during the summer months and most visitors tend to come between 11am-5pm. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there in this timeframe but if you arrive around 2-3PM, you’ll have time for a swim and wait for sunset, by which time the crowds will thin out too and you’ll have the place a bit more to yourself. This schedule also allows you to visit Agrigento in the morning, walk the site of the greek ruins & sculptures and grab a nice lunch somewhere in the city.
How to get there?
This southern area of Sicily is a bit out of the way (as most people either visit Palermo or Catania), but making the trip is worth it, especially if you combine it with Agrigento. To be honest, getting to the Turkish Steps isn’t very feasible without a car, so only plan your vacation around it if you have a rental car.
The drive isn’t difficult but a bit long- 2hrs from Palermo and 2,5hrs from Catania. Hence definitely make it a full-day trip. Some of the journey will be on highway and some of it on local roads.
Entrance & Parking
The entrance is free, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I included the location of the parking lot closest to the entrance, this is a good parking lot with lots of space and you pay a daily fee (I think 10 euros). Once you parked there will be signs for ‘Scala dei Turchi’ to follow. You’ll see a restaurant/cafe with stairs winding down, that is where you can go down.
Parking “Scala dei Turchi”
Contrada Punta Grande, Contrada Scavuzzo, 92010 Realmonte AG
Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/23Vai5FkGx77H5uK8
SP68, 182, 92010 Realmonte AG
Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/fyqiYvtWCYX7uwkw7
Once you climbed down the steps, you’ll arrive to a sandy beach with a beach bar. When you look to the right, you’ll spot the sparkling white rocks so you’ll know which way to head. Climbing on top of the rocks is pretty easy, definitely do-able for small kids too (no strollers though). Just past the rocks you’ll find another sandy beach (pictured on the photos), that is where I like to go down for swimming.
What to bring?
Firstly, before you leave your car, make sure you grabbed everything you’ll need. Since you’ll be climbing down to the bottom of the cliff to the beach….you’ll not want to climb back up again because you forgot something in the car. I know, because I did that (haha) and it was not fun.
Secondly, besides your beach gear I highly recommend bringing plenty of water and snacks with you. There is a lido/beach club down on the beach by the entrance, but if you settle on the other side of the rocks you’ll not want to climb across every time you get thirsty.
Thirdly, and it may also sound obvious to bring sunglasses but for the Turkish Steps it’s pretty important. Because the stone on the steps is soft, it erodes into a very fine dust from the wind. It gets picked up by the wind and gets blown into your eyes pretty easily - making it itchy. So don’t forget your sunnies to protect from the dusty wind (and artificial tears for those with contact lenses).
If you end up visiting this magical place, I want to ask you one thing. PLEASE, TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU. This place and our entire planet is a beautiful place, and we need to appreciate it. Just as simply as you brought your belongings with you down to the beach, you can take the leftover trash until you find a bin that has enough space to fit it. If the trash bin on the beach is full, please take it with you to the next available one. And if you find trash that wasn’t left by you, I urge you to pick it up as well….let’s do better together.