Days
11
Price from
$3,575USD

Immerse yourself in the diversity of the beautiful Sicilian coast

Ancient civilisations, prehistoric caves, Byzantine churches, Baroque buildings and majestic landscape – the island of Sicily has it all. Immerse yourself in all the glory of Sicily including its mouth-watering cuisine!

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1st January 2017 this trip will change. To constantly improve our itineraries we take on all feedback from our previous passengers and from our local team. The itinerary for 2017 will look as follows:
1. Palermo - Arrival Day
2. Palermo - Monreale - Palermo
3. Palermo - Cefalu - Mazzarro
4. Mazzarro - Montalbano - Malabotta Forest - Taormina
5. Taormina
6. Linguaglossa - Mt Etna
7. Mt Etna - Ragusa
8. Modica - Ragusa
9. Vendicari Nature Reserve - Noto - Siracusa
10. Siracusa
11. Departure Day


Start
Palermo, Italy
Finish
Syracuse, Italy
Country
Italy
Style
Peregrine
Code
PESY
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(10 reviews)
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Breathtaking walks with expansive views are the perfect way to experience special Sicily’s spectacular beauty

  • Explore the lunar-like landscape of Europe’s largest active volcano – the towering Mount Etna

  • Discover the truly ancient history of the island with the ‘Sicilian Stonehenge’ in the Malabotta forest

  • Bargain at a local market and enjoy a picnic lunch at the historic centre of Monreale

  • Search crumbling Greek and Roman ruins in the charming seaside town of Taormina

  • Taste tradition in the famous chocolate of Modica, made from a centuries-old secret recipe

Is this trip right for you?

  • Summer temperatures can be very high in Sicily (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart.

  • On this trip you'll need to be in good health and able to walk for extended distances for quite a few hours, with some up-and-down sections, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

Itinerary

Your journey starts in the bustling city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. On this illustrious island you’ll be rewarded with rustic coastal retreats, delicious provincial dishes, and a fascinating gathering of historic and natural sites. Palermo can easily be reached by boat, train or plane. While of course up to you, we recommend arriving and departing by train where possible within Europe, as this method of transport minimises carbon emissions. There are no activities planned today so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6 pm, but you will be advised as to the exact time and place in a notice, located near the reception at our hotel), where your tour leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on your tour. After the meeting, you will join your group for your first taste of Sicilian cuisine in a local restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Joli or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
This morning, stroll through the old heart of Palermo admiring some of its main monuments, such as the cathedral, which has a wonderful mix of styles. Originally built in the 12th century, it has been modified a number of times, most notably in the 18th century with the addition of its dome. Explore a labyrinth of small alleyways, buzzing colourful market squares and winding roads. Then take a private minibus to nearby Monreale, situated in a panoramic position above Palermo with fantastic views over the city and the sea. Visit the stunning interior and exterior of its cathedral, described as one of the ‘wonders of the medieval world’, and climb to its roof. Stroll through the old historical centre and buy some picnic supplies before travelling on to the wonderful Zingaro Nature Reserve, the oldest in Sicily. Find a spot to enjoy a picnic lunch before commencing a beautiful coastal walk along the pristine Mediterranean landscape. When you finish your walk you’ll have time to relax on the beach or perhaps take a swim, before transferring to the charming small village of Scopello, at the entrance of the reserve, where you can enjoy an ‘aperitivo’. In the afternoon, return to your hotel in the centre of Palermo. The evening will be free for an optional dinner in one of the nearby traditional Sicilian cuisine restaurants.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 8 kilometres, around 2 hours. Total driving time approximately 2 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Joli or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palermo Sightseeing Tour
  • Zingaro Nature Reserve Coastal Walk
  • Monreale Cathedral
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel along the northern coast to the beautiful small town of Cefalù, one of Sicily’s ‘undiscovered treasures’. You will be dropped off at the foot of town’s Roca, a mountain with a castle on top that overlooks the old city centre. Embark on a walk up to the castle, then descend back into the old town and discover its charming narrow alleyways and imposing Norman cathedral. After lunch, maybe take a swim before continuing your travels along the north coast to Tindari. Explore the intriguing ruins of the old Greek city of Tyndaris, overlooking the Mediterranean, then pay a short visit to the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna. This is one of the most important places of worship in Sicily. Local legend tells that the lagoon was created after a pilgrim who came to see the Madonna refused to pray to the Madonna because she was black. The woman turned to see her child cast into the ocean, but the Madonna made the land rise to save the baby. Energy levels permitting, you can continue your walk down to the coast. Walk along spectacular sand formations and green-blue lakes, before returning to your transport. You then arrive and settle into our great hotel in the foothills of the Nebrodi Mountains, overlooking the coast and the Aeolian Islands.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 7 kilometres, around 3 hours. Total driving time approximately 3 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Borgo Abacena or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palermo Fish Market
  • Tindari Archaeological Site
  • Cefalu Sightseeing Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you will have a more relaxing day. After a leisurely breakfast in the morning, you will start the day with a short walk through the alleys of the charming medieval town of Montalbano Elicona, and visit to its impressive castle, which was restored recently. Montalbano is listed as one of the hundred most beautiful small towns of Italy. Then take a private bus to discover the natural beauty of the greenery-drenched forest of Malabotta, a beautiful and little known nature reserve inland. Embark on a circular walk, partly through the forest, partly alongside strange rock formations locally known as ‘megaliti’. An ancient megalithic site, the Megaliti dell'Argimusco (now known as the ‘Sicilian Stonehenge’) has recently been discovered here. Enjoy a lunch of local specialties in the forest, with views of Mount Etna rising in front of you. Return to your hotel in time for an ‘aperitivo’ at sunset, before dinner at the hotel.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 9 kilometres, around 4 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Borgo Abacena or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Montalbano Sightseeing Walk
  • Malabotta Forest & Megaliti dell'Argimusco
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning head for the wonderful resort town of Taormina, which sits in one of the Mediterranean’s most dramatic spots. Drive first to the charming hilltop town of Castelmola (approximately 2 hours), a small fortified city with stunning views over the surrounding area, including Taormina, Mount Etna and the Mediterranean. After a stroll through its medieval streets, an optional visit to the castle and perhaps a drink on one of the terraces, walk down to Taormina along a beautiful panoramic footpath. Through pleasant agricultural landscape, with breathtaking views of the coastline and glorious Etna, reach charming Taormina. Notice the Greek influence in the architecture, and be transported back to the days when this part of Italy remained a Aegean stronghold. Picturesque ruins and a backdrop of Etna make for memorable views. Walk through the backstreets, gardens, and of course visit the world famous Greek/Roman theatre and the cathedral. The whole afternoon will be at your leisure, so there's plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Those interested can join an optional walk down to the sea opposite beautiful Isola Bella, a small protected island nature reserve. After a swim and some relaxation, and possibly a drink in the Mediterranean sun, you’d return to town by cable car. Or maybe simply return to the hotel and enjoy its panoramic swimming pool, with amazing views across Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea. Tonight dine with the group in a great restaurant, with stunning views over Taormina and the Sicilian coastline. After dinner, maybe take a five-minute walk to one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the area.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 9-11 kilometres, around 3.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sole Castello or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Castelmola Country Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Come face-to-face with Europe’s largest active volcano, Mt Etna, today. Take a private minibus from Taormina into the valley of the Alcantara River, irrigated by a complex system of basins and canals that dates back to the times of the Arab domination of Sicily. Stop at the unique canyon cut through an ancient lava flow and take a short and easy, but spectacular, walk. Travel on towards Francavilla, where you’ll walk along the river, through a pleasant terraced landscape of orchards and fruit trees, and pass a few hamlets built of lava stone. See many strange lava formations, all sculpted by the Alcantara River. Perhaps dive into one of the many natural ‘swimming pools’, or ‘gurne’. Continue along the river, up to the charming little town of Linguaglossa, where you can enjoy a typical ‘granita’, or coffee and a local sweet almond/pistachio cake. Next, travel along the scenic Via MareNeve, the ‘road of sea and snow’. Here you can see the most recent lava flows, some only a few years old, reminding you that Etna is still very active! A walk here lets you feel the immense forces still working beneath you. Continue to the Sartorius Mountains, a completely different landscape. Walk partly through the forest and partly over older lava flows to a mountain hut with special views over the Strait of Messina. The volcano makes for very fertile soil, so enjoy a wine tasting in one of the renowned Etna wineries while overlooking the sea. It’s then on to the southern side of Mount Etna, perhaps the best known part – again a completely different landscape. Here you will settle into a charming hotel that’s the highest in Sicily.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 7 kilometres, around 4 hours. Total driving time approximately 1.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corsaro or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sartorius Mountains Walk
  • Alcantara Canyon Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get ready to top Mount Etna with a full day’s visit to the summit, by cable car and 4x4 vehicles, until you reach 2,900 metres in altitude. Then, together with a specialist volcano guide, start the relatively easy walk around the base of the summit, which you will notice is not just one, but a series of crater peaks. Your guide will be available to answer any questions you may have. After a short stop for a snack and a drink, you will visit a series of craters, a truly unique experience. From here you will start your downhill walk, passing along a marvellous viewpoint above the Valle del Bove, Etna’s largest valley, in which many lava flows can be seen, one atop another. If eruption is on the cards, your specialist guide will take you to a safe observation point to witness the natural fireworks. Those who are after a longer walk (all downhill) can walk all the way back to the base. Otherwise, there is the option to take the cable car. Back near your base, you can go for a short but spectacular walk along the Monti Silvestri crater group, through the barren landscape formed by the explosion of 1892.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 13-17 kilometres, around 4-5 hours. Different options are available, according to weather conditions and fitness. In the case of adverse weather conditions you will instead take a walk over one of the most impressive cones, the Montagnola, and along the edge of the Bove Valley.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corsaro or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Etna’s Summit Area by Cable Car
  • Mt Etna Cable Car and 4x4 Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive south in the shadow of Mount Etna to the charming baroque town of Sortino, which fills the Anapo River valley. After a short stop in the town, where you can take a stroll and buy picnic supplies, drive to the entrance of the canyon of the Anapo River. This is one of the most intriguing places in Sicily. The valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times and many civilisations have left their mark here. Take a walk through the valley, through higher sections along various prehistoric burial sites (known as the necropolis of Pantalica) to its most impressive monument – the Palace of the Prince. Encounter small chapels, Byzantine villages, and at the edge of the canyon, beautiful baroque churches. Enjoy a picnic lunch at a nice spot in the valley. After lunch continue your walk, following the course of an old railway. Along the river there are several lovely spots for a rest and perhaps a swim in one of the small lakes. At the end of the walk, you will be picked up and transferred to the town of Ragusa, one of the most scenic Sicilian towns, and one that blends wonderfully into its surrounding landscape. The ‘new’ baroque city of Ragusa was completely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693, but the historic part of the town still features older monuments. Both parts of the town deserve a visit. At night, stroll through the wonderful baroque streets and choose from a range of restaurant options for dinner.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 9 kilometres, around 3.5 hours. Total driving time approximately 2.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Montreal Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sortino & Pantalica Visit
  • Anapo Valley Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the day with a short stroll through Ragusa, which is equally beautiful by day as it is by night. You will then travel on to Modica, yet another wonderful baroque city, famous for its precious chocolate made for centuries to the same secret recipe. A short coffee break and some chocolate tasting allows you to soak up the local atmosphere. Travel on to the nature reserve of Vendicari, one of the last remaining pristine bits of coastline in Sicily. Embark on a relaxed coastal walk, with the possibility of a refreshing swim. By mid afternoon you will leave for nearby Noto, perhaps the best known of Sicily's baroque cities, where you can admire the wonderful colours of its many monuments in the beautiful late afternoon light. Next on your itinerary is Siracusa, an ancient town by the sea that was of immense importance as Greek Syracuse. Much of its charm lies in wandering the narrow medieval lanes, past romantically crumbling medieval palaces and churches. Your hotel is located in the middle of the lovely historical heart of Siracusa, on the island of Ortigia.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 9 kilometres, around 3.5 hours. Total driving time approximately 2 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Alla Giudecca or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vendicari Nature Reserve Coastal Walk
  • Ragusa Sightseeing Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, take a walking tour through the most interesting parts of the old town. You will discover many archaeological areas (some are amongst the world’s finest), countless baroque churches and many other important monuments. The character of the city is enchanting, with its crumbling facades and balconies supported for centuries by a host of stone lions, tigers, bears, dragons, moors, satyrs, devils, angels, kings, paupers, wenches and cherubs. Walk along limestone-paved streets overhung with drying laundry and ancient scaffolding, and discover some of the most expansive piazzas that Italy has to offer. Passing some open doors might give you a glimpse of an ornate secret courtyard, whilst others open right on to someone's dining room where lunch is being prepared. The rest of the day will be free for you to take a boat trip around the island of Ortigia, a bike ride through the old city, or to just stroll around town, visit its monuments and enjoy a coffee or savour a granita in one of the lively bars. This evening you can gather together for an optional farewell dinner, a great opportunity to reflect on your just-completed Sicilian adventure.

Notes: Total walking distance approximately 6 kilometres, around 2.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Alla Giudecca or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siracusa Sightseeing Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip will come to an end after breakfast in Siracusa. There are a number of shuttle bus and train services to onward destinations including Catania (airport) and Messina. The bus station is within walking distance of the hotel and the train station is also close by. Arrivederci!
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

4WD vehicle, Private minibus

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (8 nights), Feature stay (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Palermo Sightseeing Tour
  • Zingaro Nature Reserve Coastal Walk
  • Monreale Cathedral
  • Palermo Fish Market
  • Tindari Archaeological Site
  • Cefalu Sightseeing Walk
  • Montalbano Sightseeing Walk
  • Malabotta Forest & Megaliti dell'Argimusco
  • Castelmola Country Walk
  • Sartorius Mountains Walk
  • Alcantara Canyon Walk
  • Mt Etna’s Summit Area by Cable Car
  • Mt Etna Cable Car and 4x4 Ride
  • Sortino & Pantalica Visit
  • Anapo Valley Nature Walk
  • Vendicari Nature Reserve Coastal Walk
  • Ragusa Sightseeing Tour
  • Siracusa Sightseeing Tour

Reviews

Our Spirit of Sicily trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.

Spirit of Sicily, June 2016

Elizabeth Hunt

Spirit of Sicily, April 2016

Richard Stephens

Dates & availability

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Important notes

You'll need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours, with some up-and-down sections, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.