Days
11
Price from
$4,395AUD

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!


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

Why we love this trip

  • 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!

  • Breathtaking walks with expansive views are the perfect way to experience the island's beauty.

  • Spend some time exploring the stunning Mount Etna

Is this trip right for you?

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme 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.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Your journey starts in the bustling city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Palermo can easily be reached by boat, train or plane. Whilst at your discretion, 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.

Afterwards you will dine together in a local restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Joli or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
This morning you will take a 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. We also spend some time wandering through some of the city’s colourful markets.

Your private minibus then transfers you to nearby Monreale, situated in a panoramic position above Palermo with fantastic views over the city and the sea. Take your time to visit its stunning cathedral, described as one of the ‘wonders of the medieval world’, and climb to its roof.

Stroll through the old historical centre and have time to buy some picnic supplies before travelling on to the wonderful Zingaro Nature Reserve - the oldest in Sicily. You will find a spot to enjoy a picnic lunch before commencing a beautiful coastal walk along the pristine Mediterranean landscape.

Upon completion of the walk you will 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 you will return to your hotel in the centre of Palermo, where the evening will be free for you to enjoy an optional dinner in one of the nearby local restaurants that serve traditional Sicilian cuisine.

(Total walking time: around 2 hours; approx 8 km. Total driving time today: around 2 hours)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Joli or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
A short walk this morning will have you passing Palermo's famous fish market before you 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 town’s Roca, a mountain with a castle on top, that overlooks the old city centre. Embark on a wonderful short round walk before continuing down into the old town and discovering its charming narrow alleyways and imposing Norman cathedral.

After lunch you may have the opportunity to go for a swim before continuing your travels along the north coast to Tindari. After visiting the intriguing ruins of the old Greek city of Tyndaris, you can pay a short visit to the sanctuary - one of the most important places of worship in Sicily. At Tyndaris, you will take an afternoon walk through the ruins, overlooking the Mediterranean.

Energy levels permitting you can continue your walk down to the coast. You will walk along spectacular sand formations and green-blue lakes, before returning to the bus.

You will drive inland to the charming medieval town of Montalbano, dominated by its impressive castle, listed as one of the hundred most beautiful small towns of Italy. Upon arrival you will settle into our great hotel, overlooking the coast and the Eolian Islands.

(Total walking time: around 3hours; approx 7 km. Total driving time today: around 3 hours)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Federico II or similar (1 night)
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 Montalbano Elicona, with its interesting medieval town centre and a visit to its impressive castle, which was restored recently.

Travel on by private bus to the forest of Malabotta, a beautiful and little known nature reserve inland. Embark on a round walk, partly through the forest, partly along 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.

You will have a lunch of local specialties in the forest, with views of Mount Etna in front of you. If energy levels permit you will continue your walk to Moio dell’Alcantara, where you can see the ‘Vulcanetto’, a small volcano just outside the village.

Return to your hotel, in time for an ‘aperitivo’ at sunset, before having dinner at the hotel.

(Total walking time: 4 hours; approx 9 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Federico II or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel on to your next base, the wonderful resort town of Taormina, situated in one of the most dramatic spots of the whole Mediterranean.

Your bus will first take you to the charming hilltop town of Castelmola, a small fortified city, from where we enjoy stunning views over the surrounding area, the city of Taormina, Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea. After a stroll through its medieval streets, an optional visit to the castle and perhaps a drink on one of the terraces, you will walk down to Taormina, along a beautiful panoramic footpath.

Through pleasant agricultural landscape, with breathtaking views of the coastline and glorious Etna, you will reach charming Taormina, one of Italy’s foremost resort towns.

The Greek influence is noticeable in the architecture and wandering the back streets is a great way to transport you back in time to the days when this part of Italy remained a stronghold of their Aegean neighbours. With picturesque ruins and the backdrop of Etna, the views are grand to say the least.

Walk through the charming small streets of town, its gardens and of course visit the world famous Greek/Roman theatre and the cathedral.

The whole afternoon will be at your leisure, so you will have plenty of time for another stroll along Taormina’s main boulevard, with its many beautiful shops.

Those who are interested can join an optional walk down to the sea opposite beautiful Isola Bella (what’s in a name!). After a swim and some relaxation, and possibly a drink in the Mediterranean sun, you can return to town by cable car.

Or you may prefer to simply return to the hotel and enjoy its panoramic swimming pool, from which you will have perhaps the best possible views on Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea.

Tonight you will have dinner together in a great restaurant, with stunning views over Taormina and the Sicilian coastline. After dinner you can take a five minute walk to one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the area.

(Total walking time: approx 3.5 hours; 9-11 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sole Castello or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After breakfast a private minibus will pick you up from your hotel in Taormina for the drive into the valley of the Alcantara river, irrigated by a complex system of basins and canals, dating back to the times of the Arab domination of Sicily.

You will stop at the unique canyon cut through an ancient lava flow of Mount Etna. Here you will take a short and easy, but spectacular walk through the canyon.

Travel on towards Francavilla, where you will walk along the river, through a pleasant terraced landscape of orchards and fruit trees and pass a few hamlets built of lava stone. You will also see many strange lava formations, sculpted by the Alcantara River. You may also have the opportunity to dive into one of the ‘gurne’, natural ‘swimming pools’.

You will then continue along the Alcantara river, up to the charming little town of Linguaglossa, where you can enjoy a typical ‘granita’ or a coffee and a wonderful sweet almond/pistachio cake from this area.

Your journey will then take you up along the scenic Via ‘MareNeve’, the road of sea and snow. Here you can see the most recent lava flows, some of which date back only a few years, reminding you of the fact that Etna is still very active!

A walk on one of these recent lava flows gives you the feeling of the immense forces still working beneath you.

Your bus will then take you to the Sartorius Mountains, a completely different landscape. Walk partly through the forest, partly over older lava flows to a mountain hut with spectacular views over the Strait of Messina.

You will also have time to enjoy a wine tasting in one of the renowned wineries of Mount Etna today while overlooking the sea.

It’s then on to the southern side of Mount Etna, perhaps the best-known part, again completely different in landscape. Here you will settle into your next base, a charming hotel on the southern slopes of Mount Etna and the highest hotel in Sicily.

(Total walking time: approx 4 hours; 7 km. Total driving time today: around 1.5 hours)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corsaro or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mount Etna Day Trip
  • Wine Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get ready to travel towards the very top of Mount Etna, for a full day visit to the summit area of the volcano, by cable car and 4x4 vehicles, until you reach 2900 metres in altitude.

Then, together with a specialist volcano guide, you will 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 fro any questions you may have.

After a short stop for a snack and a drink you will visit a series of craters, a 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 of the other.

If there is volcanic activity going on your specialist guide can take you there, to allow you to observe these impressive forces of nature from a safe point.

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.

In 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.

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.

(Total walking time: Approx 4-5 hours; 13-17 km. Different options are available, according to weather conditions and fitness)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corsaro or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning you will drive south in the shadow of Mount Etna to the charming baroque town of Sortino, which dominates the Anapo River valley.

After a short stop in Sortino where you can take a stroll and buy picnic supplies, you will drive to the entrance of the canyon of the Anapo River. This one of the most intriguing places in Sicily. The valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times and many civilisations have left their mark here.

You will take a walk through the valley, firstly through the higher sections along the various prehistoric burial sites, known as the necropolis of Pantalica, and its most impressive monument - the Palace of the Prince.

You will also 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 you will 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 by your vehicle 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.

(Total walking time: around 3,5 hours; 9 km. Total driving time today: around 2.5 hours)
Accommodation
  • Montreal Hotel or similar (1 night)
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 according 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 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. Siracusa is an ancient town by the sea, which was of immense importance as Greek Syracuse. Much of its charm lies in wandering the narrow medieval lanes, past romantically crumbling Baroque and medieval palaces and churches.

Your hotel is located in the middle of the lovely historical heart of Siracusa, on the island of Ortigia.

(Total walking time: approx 3.5 hours; 9 km. Total driving time today: around 2 hours)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Alla Giudecca or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast embark on 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 will give you a glimpse of an ornate secret court yard, 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 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 adventure.

(Total walking time: around 2.5 hours; 6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Alla Giudecca or similar (1 night)
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

  • Mount Etna Day Trip
  • Wine Tasting

Reviews

Our Spirit of Sicily trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Spirit of Sicily, September 2015

Andrew Taubman

Spirit of Sicily, September 2015

Michael Taylor

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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.