‘One of the 50 Best Escorted Tours’ (2014) – The Telegraph
Lying at the heart of the Mediterranean and commanding the narrow sea-lanes that connect east to west and north to south, Sicily attracted merchants, seafarers and settlers from every point of the compass.
The passage of time and a host of invaders have bequeathed a wealth of archaeological sites and monuments to the island. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Byzantines and Aragonese have all left their enduring legacy on Sicily in the form of rich and diverse cultural and culinary traditions.
This tour provides an unforgettable encounter with the island’s long history and culture. Not only does it take in the wonderfully preserved remains of the Greek, Roman and Phoenician cities that stud its coasts, where honey-coloured ancient temples lie amid orange groves and almond trees, it also explores the baroque towns that hug its steep hills and the great modern metropolis, Palermo.
The temple-crowned cities of Selinunte and Agrigento, and the ancient island-city of Motya, now rest in a serene splendour belying their dramatic and turbulent histories. From the heights of Erice, home to Venus, goddess of love, you will see the majestic sweep of the coast, before travelling east to the vine-clad slopes of Mount Etna. As well as its historical riches, the island is a place of immense natural beauty and diversity. We traverse its many varied landscapes filled with springtime flowers and enjoy a number of pleasant walks to savour the romantic vistas.
Sicily’s picturesque and historic towns are a feast for the senses, and there will be plenty of time to explore their piazzas and meandering streets, or sample their increasingly renowned and varied wines before ending your day in atmospheric hotels or grand rural estates set in the heart of the Sicilian countryside. Our tour is complemented by excellent meals in specially chosen restaurants, wineries and local trattoria, highlighting some of Sicily’s richest gastronomic traditions.
The expert guides who will accompany you on the tour both know Sicily intimately. Their in-depth knowledge and love of the island will be your shortcut to a superb experience of one of Europe’s most celebrated destinations.
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Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Catania (Fontanarossa)
Departure Airport – Catania (Fontanarossa)
Check in time at your hotel in Syracuse is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives mid to late afternoon. Check out time from your hotel on Mt. Etna is 10:00 am. We will arrange local transfers from Catania Airport and to Catania Airport on the first and last day of the tour.
The cheapest way to book flights to join this tour in Sicily is directly with the airline online.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.
Further Details about Exploring Sicily
Our Exploring Sicily tour is a comprehensive introduction to this beautiful and complex island, allowing you to immerse yourself in its history, culture, geography, archaeology, food and wine over a magnificent 14 day journey. You will visit many of the most important sites on the island, seeing the famous monuments of the prehistoric, Greek, Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Norman civilizations that made this island their home, as well as some other sites that are further off the beaten track and seldom visited.
There can be no doubt that the sites on the itinerary are unusually fascinating and that the various landscapes travelled through are especially beautiful, but you need to be aware that the trip is an intensive and occasionally physically demanding one. In contrast to our gulet cruises which tend to visit one ancient city per day, and are designed with rest and relaxation as well as history in mind, our Exploring Sicily tour often visits at least two archaeological or historical sites a day. Since the island is a large one, and we aim to introduce you to all aspects of its natural diversity, some days include relatively long driving times, usually through beautiful landscapes. We use a comfortable coach with ample space for all of our group and try, as far as possible, to make sure that we arrive at our evening destinations with time to spare for refreshment and relaxation before dinner. There are also free mornings or afternoons which will allow you to relax or explore at your individual discretion.
With just one exception, we spend two or more nights in each of the hotels/agriturismos on the itinerary. Each of these places has been carefully chosen for their location, style, character and atmosphere. They are complemented by meals at a carefully chosen selection of restaurants reflecting the entire breadth of the Sicilian culinary tradition, as well as by several wine tastings at some of the islands’ best wineries.
The sites themselves often have rough and uneven terrain with loose stones underfoot, so guests must be fit and well to take part in this tour. Some of the site visits, such as at Agrigento, involve up to 3 hours walking within the site itself. In addition, this tour includes a number of long countryside walks, of up to two hours’ duration. They all follow walking tracks, but do involve considerable differences in elevation and fairly broken terrain. With the exception of the site visits themselves, all the major countryside walks lead to key sites on the programme, and alternative means of transport can be provided for guests wishing to skip this hiking.