Cruising by Etna
Sicily’s eastern shore is the pulsing heartbeat of the island: a near continuous ribbon of villages, towns and cities, set beside the awesome bulk of Etna and the capes, cliffs and beaches that make up the coast. On this escorted holiday in Sicily, we stroll through these vibrant settlements, discovering the little cafes, shops and architecture that make them so beloved of visitors. This unique Italy tour has been carefully crafted to give you all the pleasures of a Sicily cruise but aboard a traditional wooden boat, a Turkish gulet.
World-class archaeological sites litter the shore. Fertile and strategic, the east coast was an historic crucible, giving rise to cities such as Syracuse, now one of the finest, most attractive sites in the Mediterranean. North, we explore the lava clad ruins of Catania and the wonderful Roman theatre at Taormina. Then, led by a vulcanologist, we explore the rugged slopes of Etna, still an active volcano, steeped in myth.
From exquisite baroque architecture to fabulous food, this unique Sicily tour is an adventure that goes to the very heart of the island’s culture.
Day 1: Our boat is about an hour’s drive south from Catania airport, in the Great harbour of Syracuse, where vast ancient fleets used to moor and fight. Welcome drink and dinner on board.
Day 2: A chance to relax, swim, and unwind as we spend the day sailing south of Syracuse, near the Vendicari and Plemmirio wildlife parks. In the early evening we explore the island of Ortigia, the very heart of Syracuse.
Day 3: We visit the beautiful archaeological park of Syracuse and stroll through the Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre and the landscaped gardens in the old quarries, before heading north.
Day 4: Catania is blessed with beautiful and chaotic Baroque streets and an enormous colourful street market. We investigate the city’s ancient ruins including the recently renovated Roman theatre complex, and then wander through this lively city seeing some of its signature buildings.
Day 5: After breakfast we drive out of Catania and up onto the vast bulk of Etna. Led by a mountain guide and vulcanologist we explore the slopes of this still-active volcano. We rejoin our boat in the beautiful harbour of Giardini Naxos, and enjoy a late-afternoon swim in the nearby bays.
Day 6: We spend the morning in the hill top town of Taormina, enjoying the marvellous views and the wonderful contrast of ancient monuments and thriving medieval town. Heading north we reach Messina, and the beginning of the straits that separate Sicily from Italy.
Day 7: After visiting Messina’s excellent museum and majestic cathedral we sail between Scylla and Charybdis, the tip of the straits, and seat of legendary sea monsters. Milazzo, with its lovely promenade is our final destination, offering a last opportunity to wander and shop.
Day 8: Transfer from our Gulet to Catania airport.
This is a previous tour itinerary. However, we can offer it as a private tour. Please see our Gulet Charters page for more information.