A well-rounded Mediterranean adventure that explores the many faces of the Sicily region. Discover its beautifully preserved Roman ruins and Greek temples, feel yourself relax in sleepy honey-coloured towns and fishing villages, tuck into authentic street food in Palermo’s bustling food markets, and walk the paths of Sicily’s most precious natural treasure – Mount Etna.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel this evening.
After breakfast, follow the trail of fictional Sicilian Inspector Montalbano, star of the cult Italian TV series of the same name. This chunk of southeast Sicily boasts hilly countryside and honey-coloured Baroque towns used as scenic backdrops to the series. Visit the sleepy fishing village of Punta Secca to view the exterior of Montalbano's beachfront home and call at the port of Donnalucata where scenes of Montalbano swimming in the sea were shot. Continue to the enchanting Baroque town of Ragusa Ibla, and stroll through its romantic streets past palaces and churches. View the domed Basilica of St George and see other locations that starred in the TV series before returning to your hotel.
Travel to the historic city of Syracuse on Sicily's southeast coast. Home to Greek and Roman ruins, the city's prosperity reached its height between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC when it dwarfed even Athens. Enjoy a guided visit to the archaeological park to see the Greek theatre built in the 5th century BC and the Roman amphitheatre, once the scene of bloody gladiatorial contests. Visit, too, the Ear of Dionysius, a limestone cave shaped like a human ear. Next, explore Ortigia, the heart of old Syracuse, set on an island connected to the mainland by bridges. After visiting the Greek Temple of Apollo, Syracuse Cathedral, and Arethusa Fountain. Later, head to the quiet town of Avola, lauded for its 'Pizzuta d'Avola' almonds and Nero d'Avola red wine. Here, visit a wine cellar to taste some local varietals before returning to the Ragusa area.
Your explorations continue today in Agrigento, a UNESCO-listed town dating to the 6th century BC. Visit its spectacular nearby Valley of Temples, where nine superbly preserved Greek temples pepper an olive-coated valley. After free time for lunch, drive to your hotel in the Palermo area.
Today is devoted to Palermo, once one of Europe's most influential cities during in the Saracen and Norman times. As a prelude we visit Monreale Cathedral, established in the 12th century. Admire its gold mosaics and views of Palermo below before descending to Sicily's vibrant capital. See the Arabic and 17th century European architecture and browse the Capo, the cities busiest outdoor food market. Later, we check out Palermo Cathedral, the 'four corners' Piazza Vigliena and see Piazza Pretoria with its fountain. The rest of the day is at leisure.
After breakfast, depart Cefalu, a small, picturesque fishing port with a Norman cathedral that dominates the skyline. The village also boasts a tangle of streets and a tree-lined piazza as well as some delightful sandy beaches. After free time for lunch, continue to Taormina, a picturesque town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and offering views to Mount Etna's steaming crater. There's time at leisure to admire the charming town and its many winding streets, fashionable shops and cosy cafés and restaurants or perhaps visit the vast Greek Amphitheatre. Later, continue to the Catania area.
An unforgettable morning visit to the brooding Mount Etna, one of the world's largest and most active volcanoes - 600,000 years old, its lava-walled crater and smouldering potholes are a breathtaking reminder of the power of nature. Climb to around 6,500 feet where, for the adventurous, there is an optional cable car or jeep excursion up to approximately 7,500 feet. Enjoy some free time for lunch. Later, return to your hotel for the evening.
Your tour ends today.
Please note that some local entrance fees are payable locally.
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