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Treasures of Sicily

from $1,949.00

Discover Baroque towns and Greek ruins surrounded by stunning scenery

  • Reviews 9 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 18
All about the Treasures of Sicily.

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.

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 1 wine tasting
* All accommodation
* Transport by private air-conditioned bus throughout the trip
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Tour leader throughout
* Special guided tours in main UNESCO sites and cities

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Local city taxes approx. €10-15

Highlights

  • 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
  • 7 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels and 1 night agriturismo, all en suite
  • Sightseeing on foot and 2 day walks
  • Group normally 6 to 18, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus
  1. Day 1 Start in Aci Trezza

    Our tour starts in Aci Trezza, a small charming fishing village just 10km north of Catania and a short drive from Taormina. The symbol of Aci Trezza and its crystal clear sea are the Faraglioni dei Ciclopi, eight rock stacks that legend has it have been there, just off the town’s beach, since the giant Cyclops Polyphemus hurled them against Ulysses as he escaped by ship. The village is also celebrated as the setting of I Malavoglia, Giovanni Verga’s 19th-century literary masterpiece of life in a poor, isolated fishing community. Today it boasts a lively seafront and a number of good restaurants.

  2. Day 2 Excursion on Mt Etna, Europe's highest active volcano; afternoon wine tasting.

    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.

  3. 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.**

  4. Day 4 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.

  5. Day 5 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.

  6. Day 6 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.

  7. Day 7 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.

  8. Day 8 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.

  9. Day 9 End in Taormina.

    Our tour ends in Taormina in the morning of day 9.

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Where you stay

3 and 4-star Hotels and Agriturismo

On this trip we use different comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels and one agriturismo . Some of them have been chosen for their warm hospitality and typically Sicilian character and others for their convenient location. They are often located in proximity of the historic centres we visit so that we can easily explore the towns in the evenings or during our free time. All rooms have en suite facilities and some hotels have a pool and WiFi.

List of hotels normally used:

  • Marina Palace Hotel Spa & Congress Hall, Aci Trezza
  • Hotel Flora, Noto
  • Hotel Della Valle, Agrigento
  • Agriturismo Baglio Fontana, Buseto Palizzolo
  • Hotel Mediterraneo or Hotel Elite or Hotel Europa, Palermo; (Hotel Politeama/Hotel Giardino Inglese from 2019)
  • Hotel Andromaco or Hotel Isabella, Taormina  (Hotel Villa Esperia from 2019)

 

 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and a wine tasting on Mt Etna included.

Sicilian cuisine is a melting pot of all the different cultures that have occupied the island, from the Arabs to the Normans. The island itself is incredibly fertile, enjoying a perfect climate which is ideal for the cultivation of fresh produce such as olives, oranges, lemons, eggplants, tomatoes, pistachios, almonds, grapes, and more — not to mention all of the seafood, tuna and swordfish fished right off the coast. The result? A cuisine that’s fresh, varied, and absolutely delicious! Sicilian wines are also superb and known to be strong and syrupy, like Marsala and Moscato.

This is a comprehensive itinerary, with a few long and busy days due to the amount of distance that we cover. There is some gentle walking involved on most days during the sightseeing but it won’t be strenuous. All transfers are by private air-conditioned minibus allowing us to enjoy comfortable journeys. Please note that due to traffic restrictions in place in a lot of the historic centres visited you may have to carry your suitcase over cobbled pavements, although the bus will be leaving you as close as possible to your hotel. Please also be aware that sometimes hotels don’t have a lift. There are also two excursions on foot included in this trip: on Mt Etna we walk for up to 2 hours on hilly-to-steep terrain of old dried lava, rocky ash and sand. A second walk will take place in the stunning Zingaro Nature Reserve, where we will walk for up to 3 hours (including stops) along idyllic Mediterranean coast. Both of these walks are optional: there are cafés not far from the trails, where you can sit and wait for the rest of the group, should you prefer not to join these walks. Since we spend the first two nights in the same accommodation, you may even choose to spend the day exploring the wonderful baroque town of Acireale instead of Etna.
The overall Activity Level for this trip is 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Sicily

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The guide
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Read above.... just a special lady
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No .... a personal thing
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    NoQm8an

Reviewed On 11/11/2019
5/5

Sicily is truly a treasure

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the craters of Etna. Walking in Zingaro. Views from Erice. Selinunte ruins in the sunshine by the sea. Monreale mosaics. Greco RomanTheatre in Taormina .I could go on. Everything was excellent
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Alessandro was outstanding, one of the best guides I've had the pleasure to travel with. He provided lots of handouts on food, language, maps, what to see in the towns. He was extremely knowledgeable about his homeland, its history and geography. He was always patient, caring and friendly. A real treasure himself.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take wet shoes if you want to swim in the sea, it's rocky. No need to bring a lunch box. Go on a diet beforehand so you can enjoy all the fantastic food.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

The magic of Sicily

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting some of the towns really early in the morning where there was just me and the street cleaner around. it was so atmospheric to have an espresso in the Duomo square without the hordes of tourists which would appear later. The Sicilian food specialities were wonderful too
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Mileena was exceptional. Nothing was ever too much trouble. She was so enthusiastic and the maps she gave us at every stop must have taken her hours to highlight but they were so useful.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take comfortable walking shoes with you and plenty of sunscreen
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was lovely to have a few surprises such as the chocolate and wine tastings.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Great trip, fabulous gelato

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had several hours to explore the beautiful town of Ortiga. It was a microcosm of the trip as a whole... after admiring the ruined temple in the main square, scoring an aranchine (Sicilian fried rice dumpling) and a cake for lunch, I spent hours exploring every tiny alleyway, my camera ever-ready, stopping off for gelato whenever I needed fuelling up...
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Francesca was bubbly and enthusiastic, and brought the group together.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Sicily is a varied and wonderful place to,visit

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every place was inspirational.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Milena was fantastic. She was informative, organised and caring. She truely made this trip a wonderful experience.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lightly as you need to get your case in the back of a mini bus and live out of a suitcase. Do not look at any photos before you go so that when you arrive at each site you will be amazed.

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