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Secrets of Sicily Walking

from $2,249.00

This triple center holiday explores the unspoiled north western tip of Sicily and the nearby Egadi islands. It’s a relatively undiscovered region where highlights include pristine sandy beaches, coral-lined grottoes, ancient hill villages and marvelously preserved nature reserves.

  • Reviews 66 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Secrets of Sicily Walking.

This seven-night self-guided walking holiday uncovers the secrets of Sicily’s western coast and favourite off-shore islands. Historically the poorest and most remote area of Sicily, the region maintains its purity; you’ll feel as though you’re the first to discover its clear sapphire waters, hidden sandy coves and unexplored islands. This is certainly the place to visit if you want peace and tranquillity and to escape from it all; there are hardly any roads on Marettimo.
You’ll start your holiday on Sicily’s north western coastline in the Moorish village of Scopello, lying adjacent to one of Italy’s most pristine coastal nature reserves, the Riserva dello Zingaro. It’s an undulating mix of orange groves, twisted olive trees, swaying vines and hidden bays lapped by azure seas. You then move on by private transfer/ferry to Marettimo, the most mountainous of the three Egadi Islands just off the western coast. This is a walker’s paradise and you’ll discover cliff paths winding through Spanish broom and purple cistus to Saracen fortresses, Roman villas and coral-lined sea grottos. Boat trips to neighbouring islands are easily arranged. For your final two days, you return to the mainland at San Vito Lo Capo. Highlights here include exploring the Mediaeval hilltop town of Erice and hiking on Monte Cofano – enjoy stunning coastal vistas as far as Palermo.
All your hotels are special in their own contrasting ways. In Scopello you stay at Hotel la Tavernetta, on Marettimo, your host, Fausto, meets you at the jetty with a luggage trolley (there are no roads) and takes you to his charming seafront residence (with pool and jacuzzi) just by the harbour; near San Vito you stay at Daniela’s cosy five bedroom B+Bhotel and enjoy great sea views from the luxuriant Mediterranean garden.

Please note that the itinerary on this trip is subject to change should the hydrofoil service to and from Marettimo be cancelled or delayed. This will be arranged locally for you by the agent.

 

 

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of *** and **** hotels
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Route notes and maps
  • Walking transfers
  • Return ferry to Marettimo
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
    Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Turquoise seas, coral-lined grottoes and unspoiled sandy beaches
  • Exotic Mediterranean flora; orange groves, dwarf palms and olive trees
  • Mediaeval churches, ancient villages and pre-historic caves
  • Stay in a traditional Sicilian farmhouse and cozy bed and breakfast
  • Fantastic bird watching opportunities
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Scopello

    Arrive at your hotel in Scopello where we brief you on your walking week before dinner. You spend two nights here. (Staying at Hotel la Tavernetta, Breakfast only)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Zingaro Nature Reserve 13km/8mi/3.5hr or 21km/13.5mi/6hr

    On your first day you can walk as much or as little as you like. Wind your way up through asphodel, wild fennel, dwarf palm, pomegranate and citrus trees to amazing viewpoints overlooking the stunning coastline of tiny sandy coves lapped by sapphire waters. (Staying at Hotel la Tavernetta, Breakfast only)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 Segesta, Trapani and on to Marettimo

    Take a private transfer (30 mins) to the 2,500-year-old temple of Segesta and the marvellously preserved theatre. After lunch in Trapani to taste the famous granita – lemon, almond or even coffee flavoured – you catch the ferry (1 hour) to Marettimo, where you will stay for the next three nights, and arrive in time for a swim or short walk before your first dinner in the old village. (Staying at Marettimo Residence, Breakfast only)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Punta Libeccio Lighthouse Walk 14km/9mi/4.5hr

    A path through pine woods and across citrus-carpeted hillsides takes you from the east to the south west coast, with striking views from high above the village. There’s complete peace and quiet as you picnic by the lighthouse – look out for red kites and Bonelli’s eagles cruising the thermals – and gaze down at the sparkling waters and the Egadi Islands shimmering in the distance. (Staying at Marettimo Residence, Breakfast only)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 Levanzo 7km/4.5mi/3.5hr

    It’s a short crossing to Levanzo where a coastal path, bright with lilac scabious, leads past deserted stone farm houses and olive trees to the Grotta del Genovese – admire the marvellously well preserved 11BC cave paintings and engravings lining the cavern walls. The bay here is a good picnic spot. There’s time too for a dip in the pool or jacuzzi before your final evening meal in Marettimo. (Staying at Marettimo Residence, Breakfast only)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Mediaeval Erice and on to San Vito Lo Capo

    Today you return to the mainland and visit the hilltop town of Erice. Its smooth, winding marble streets reveal mediaeval churches, old city gates, ancient squares and a stunning Norman castle set against a backdrop of the entire north western shoreline. A private transfer takes you to Daniela’s charming little B+B near San Vito Lo Capo where you spend your final two nights. (Staying at Baglio la Luna, Half Board)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 Monte Cofano 10km/6.5mi/3.5hr

    A scenic lift to the foot of Monte Cofano is followed by a gentle ascent through twisted olive trees with breathtaking views over the Bay of Bonagia. Descending, you reach an old tonnara (tuna factory) where nearby coves with sapphire waters are perfect for a dip. Then a cliff path fringed with red valerian and field gladioli leads into the village of Cornino for a late lunch before we meet you and take you back to your hotel. (Staying at Baglio la Luna, Half Board) Please note that the Monte Cofano Walk is currently closed following a landslide. Route notes for an alternative walk at Monte Monaco are being provided.

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Leave San Vito Lo Capo

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Where you stay
Hotel La Tavernetta
This small, family run and recently renovated hotel enjoys a setting in amongst lovely gardens with a swimming pool and has beautiful views of the coastline. Located just a few hundred metres from Zingaro Nature Reserve in the seaside village of Scopello. There is also a restaurant serving typical Sicilain cuisine.
Marettimo Residence
The Marettimo Residence is a cluster of whitewashed apartments, overlooking the port in the only residential area of Marettimo island. The accommodation is separated into apartments, which are located on two levels. We have selected the bilocale apartments which feature a living area with kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The decor is modern and bright, with slate floors, pine furniture, white walls and colourful textiles. Most apartments have a balcony or terrace.
Baglio La Luna
Baglio La Luna – meaning ‘the moon’ – lies in a marvellous cliff top position on the edge of the Zingaro Nature reserve on the road to San Vito Lo Capo. A converted private house, the 5 rooms are all decorated in their own individual style; there is also a charming sitting area as well as a large sun terrace where guests can relax and enjoy the stunning sea views.
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 2 dinners are included.

Sicily’s typically southern Italian cuisine is interspersed with many more exotic dishes reflecting the island’s jumbled cultural past. Italian dishes like pasta alla norma (made with tomatoes, aubergine and grated ricotta) are often found on menus along with couscous (a north African speciality), or even pasta con le sarde (a pasta dish dating back to Phoenician times made from sardines, raisins, pine nuts, fennel, saffron, parsley and capers).
The Arabs introduced citrus groves to the island and a popular drink today is granita made with crushed ice and lemon. This was traditionally drunk with sweet bread dipped in it as a lunchtime snack by Sicilian peasants.
Fish is of course also abundant. Local specialities include pesce spada alla ghiotta (swordfish cooked with tomatoes, capers, onion, celery and potatoes) or tonno fresco alla brace (grilled fresh tuna).
Sicily is famed for its desserts. Why not try cannolo, a crunchy pastry tube filled with ricotta cheese and studded with candied fruits, pistachio and chocolate? Or cassata, the Arab influenced cake made with ricotta cheese, candied fruit and chocolate pieces.
Sicily is not traditionally famous for its wines, so it is surprising to learn that the island boasts one of the largest wine producing areas in the whole of Italy. Look out for the Etna DOC label and Corvo di Salaparuta. One of Sicily’s most popular wines is Alcamo Bianco – a soft white which goes well with fish dishes.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
The walks follow mainly stony coastal paths, with frequent small ascents and descents. There’s a good choice of walks at different levels on Marettimo. There may be some sections on uneven terrain where scrambling is required. The route is suitable for anyone looking for walks of 4-6 hours and confident with daily ascents/descents of up to 700m. Walkers don’t need specific hiking experience, however, good health and a reasonable level of fitness is required.

This is a self-guided tour, as such there will be no group or tour leader and you are free to complete the walks at your own pace.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 29/05/2013
4/5

Mr Williams

Good variety of walking and interest on the transfer days. Traveled in late May which seemingly is low season in Sicily consequently some of the restaurants on Marettimo were closed leaving a very limited choice, however the accommodation has a good kitchenette giving the option to self cater for 1 or 2 nights. Marettimo was very windy the days we were there making the coastal path to the Castello challenging, you certainly need a head for heights in windy conditions.

Reviewed On 26/10/2018
5/5

Cruickshank

Very enjoyable. We were lucky with the weather as although we had one wet and windy night and also a whole day and our ferry back to the mainland was cancelled, the agent managed to adjust itinerary to enable those of us with a later flight on last day still to be able to do everything. Although we missed the spring flowers and possibility of seeing orchids - we had Autumn Heather and Rosemary in flower in abundance on some walks. I did feel that the local agent should have checked on the ferry website that our ferries to and from Marettimo Island were running and been pro-active in telling us what we should do when the ferry was cancelled. Some of us found out by checking the website ourselves but unless you met someone who knew we were left in the dark as the hotel reception didnt let us know and we were all in different parts of the hotel.



Two of us went to Lorenzo island for the day which worked out very well although the coastal walk notes back from the cave to the ferry were poor and misleading. It added to the variety and we were glad we had gone.



Overall a good mix of walking, archaeology and culture and weather not too hot for walking - although we were lucky that the wet and windy spells didnt disrupt our trip more.



A good group of people and it was nice to meet them at some meal times and bump into them sometimes on the walks.

Reviewed On 01/11/2018
5/5

Ausden

All in all a good walking holiday, the walks were all generally very peaceful and unspoilt although they were probably a bit tougher than we anticipated but not excessively so. The welcome briefing at Scopello was very good but unfortunately due to flight arrival times had to be held on the morning of the second day which meant we didn’t start the Zingaro walk until 11am which is a bit late as it gets very hot and there is no shade worth talking of for the first 2-3 hours, that said it’s a great walk.

The accommodation is comfortable enough without being luxurious but is well located and the breakfasts perfectly good.

The side trips to Erice and Segesta were very good, take the cable car up to Erice from Trapani , unforgettable views.

We added 3 days in Palermo to take in the city which is wonderfully atmospheric, recommended way to finish off a lovely trip.

Reviewed On 14/06/2019
5/5

Mrs Summers

Good combination of guided walks and sight seeing. The driver for the transfers was very obliging and helpful.

Reviewed On 13/06/2019
4/5

Ms Hofmann

The three locations offered different aspects of north-west Sicily, and walking descriptions very accurate. Phillipo gave us a great introduction to the area at the briefing, including tips for our extension in Palermo. We enjoyed staying at all three hotels and accommodation was of a high standard, although a little disappointed with the quality of food (breakfast choices were very limited at Marettimo Residence after 8.10 as supplies weren’t refreshed, and the evening meal at Baglio la Luna was not well cooked on the first evening, second was better). The walks on Marettimo are beautiful; Scopello lower walk along the coastal path was extremely crowded so not much fun; we didn’t do the final walk at San Vito as it was too hot and challenging for us based on feedback from others, so spent the day on the beach. The drivers were professional and courteous, giving the opportunity to see Erice and Segesta, and boat travel good. Definitely recommend adding on time in Palermo.

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