Discover Baroque towns and Greek ruins surrounded by stunning scenery
Sicily is one of the most fascinating islands in Europe, thanks to the
indelible marks left by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and
Spanish civilisations. This comprehensive tour explores its sophisticated
cities, picturesque villages, well-preserved archaeological sites and
splendid scenery. It starts with an excursion on Mt Etna, continuing to the
towns of Syracuse, Agrigento and Selinunte – all listed as UNESCO heritage
sites. There is also a day in Zingaro National Reserve with magnificent views
of the Mediterranean.
* Explore Baroque heritage in Noto and Ragusa Ibla
* Visit archaeological sites in Siracusa, Agrigento and Selinunte
* Cover the island’s highlights and best heritage sites in nine days
Fly to Catania and transfer to Acireale.
Arrive at Catania airport and transfer to Acireale, a charming historic town
at the foot of Etna and overlooking the sea. The town is considered the
birthplace of Sicilian baroque and boasts a magnificent Piazza del Duomo.
Churches worth visiting include San Sebastiano, patron saint of the town,
with its ten statues of old testament figures and the frescoes of the painter
Excursion on Mt Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano; afternoon wine
After breakfast we enjoy a spectacular guided walk on Mt Etna, Europe’s
highest active volcano. We hike up past several old lava flows to be rewarded
with a dramatic panoramic view of the volcanic landscape and old craters (1
to 2 hours walking, 5 km). You are strongly advised to take a
waterproof/windproof jacket, a warm top and to wear long trousers. In the
afternoon we enjoy a delicious wine & cheese tasting in one of the famous
wine cellars of the area. Transfer back to Aci Trezza.
Day 3 Drive to Syracuse to visit its archaeological site; on to the UNESCO Baroque
town of Noto.
This morning we drive to Syracuse (approx. 1h 20 mins drive), the most
powerful city-state in the Greek world and briefly capital of the Byzantine
Empire. Here we visit the superb Neapolis Archaelological Park with its
spectacular Greek theatre and well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, accompanied
by a local guide. In the afternoon we drive to our next destination, the
UNESCO World Heritage site of Noto (approx. 45 mins). This is an absolute
gem: a beautiful town built in the unique Sicilian baroque style using
beautiful honey-coloured stone.
Morning visit the hilltop town of Ragusa Ibla; transfer to Agrigento’s Valley
of the Temples.
After breakfast we drive to the hilltop town of Ragusa Ibla (approx. 1hr 30
mins), a fascinating maze of winding streets dotted with remarkable baroque
churches, and continue on to Agrigento (2hrs 30 mins). Here we enjoy a guided
visit of its magnificent Valley of the Temples: the Temple of Juno, the
Temple of Concorde, one of the most well-preserved Doric temples in all the
Greek world, the Temple of Ercules and the Temple of Castor and Pollux. We
then overnight in Agrigento.
Visit ruins of Selinunte, overlooking the Mediterranean; drive to the hilltop
village of Erice.
Our day starts with a transfer to Selinunte (1hr 30 mins) to explore one of
the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, set high
overlooking the sea. We then move on to the mountaintop village of Erice (1hr
30 mins) , and stop en route for a view of the famous salt flats of Mozia,
dotted with characteristic wind mills (time permitting). Once in Erice, we
have time for a stroll through its narrow streets and will try the best
almond cakes (cassata) on the island. Overnight near San Vito Lo Capo.
Walk in the stunning Zingaro Nature Reserve; afternoon transfer to Palermo.
This morning we take a break from the cultural highlights of the island and
head to the coast to explore one of the best examples of idyllic
Mediterranean landscape on foot. Stretching along the coast for 7km between
the lovely village of Scopello in the east to San Vito Lo Capo in the west,
the Zingaro Nature Reserve boasts some stunning walking trails with views out
to the cliffs and the glistening sea, hidden coves and pristine beaches. We
take a leisurely walk for up to 3 hours (including stops) along beautiful
coastal trails with the opportunity of a quick swim before returning to the
bus. In the afternoon we make our way to Palermo (approx. 2hrs) where we can
enjoy some time at leisure to discover the vibrant historic centre and lively
streets filled with restaurants and bars. We then overnight in Palermo.
Morning visit to Monreale Cathedral; guided tour of Palermo and free time.
After a short transfer to Monreale (approx. 1 hr), we visit its extraordinary
cathedral, considered the greatest example of Norman architecture in the
world. We then head to Palermo (approx. 1 hr) and our local guide will show
us the most important sites of this beautiful city, including Quattro Canti,
Pretoria Square, the Cathedral and Marina Square. In the afternoon we have
some free time in Palermo to enjoy this eclectic city at our own pace. We
overnight in Palermo.
Drive to the fishing village of Cefalu to visit its Norman Cathedral; on to
charming Taormina; free time to explore.
This morning we drive to the fishing village of Cefalu (approx. 1 hr 15
mins), where we visit the impressive cathedral, home to elaborate Byzantine
mosaics, and the lovely historic centre with its winding mediaeval streets.
Our tour ends in one of the most renowned treasures of Sicily: the charming
town of Taormina (approx. 2hrs 40 mins drive). We have time to visit its
Greek theatre and enjoy the spectacular views of Mt Etna and the sea. We
overnight in Taormina.
Day 9 Transfer to Catania airport; fly to London.
Transfer to Catania airport; fly to London. If the group flight is scheduled
to leave late in the afternoon or evening, we can enjoy some extra free time
in Taormina before our airport transfer departs (usually approx. 3 hrs before