Italy: Flavours of Sicily Self-Drive

  • Tours & Multi-centres in Italy

Sicily's often described as a melting pot, and there's no better way to describe the rich, fresh flavours that make up Sicilian cuisine. With influences from Arabia, Africa, Spain and mainland Italy – Sicilian gastronomic traditions are truly unique. This week long self-drive tour will guide you through the fertile lands of this island at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, stopping to try delicious locally sourced food from some of the top producers in the region. Think, wine made from the grapes grown on Etnas fertile foothills, local olive oil and delicious dinners at restaurants in the heart of Sicily’s enchanting ancient towns.

This holiday is also available from Palermo airport, please call to book.

Tour highlights

  • Discover Sicily's unique flavours and wonderful dishes on this week-long self-drive
  • Start in Syracuse and explore the baroque towns of the south east
  • Visit the Valley of the Temples
  • Explore Palermo and its markets where you can sample some of the island's best street food
  • Take time to relax in the seaside town of Cefalu
  • Discover Mount Etna and spend time in Toarmina
  • Enjoy dinners in top restaurants in Syracuse and Taormina
  • Wine tasting in an ancient abbey
  • Olive oil tasting at a farm with dinner included
  • You'll be given detailed driving maps with suggestions of where to visit and a number to call any time, should you need assistance

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Day 1: UK to Catania

Arrive at Catania airport and collect your hire car. Begin your culinary adventure by making your way south to Syracuse. After you’ve settled into your hotel, wander across to Ortigia, the historic centre of the city. Explore the beautiful web of narrow lanes, baroque buildings and sprawling piazza's. The ancient Cathedral's well worth a look inside. To get your first taste of the delicious Sicilian cuisine in Ortygia, we've included a romantic dinner at a top restaurant here.

Approximate distance travelled: Catania to Syracuse 70km / 55 mins

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2: Syracuse to Agrigento

Drive from Syracuse through the Baroque Valley. When you stop at Noto and Ragusa you'll see how it got it's name - from the beautiful architecture. If you’re feeling peckish, the Valle di Noto region has the perfect snack in the form of cucche (pronounced “coo-keh”). They're tasty coiled rolls, stuffed with sausage meat, mozzarella, vegetables and garlic, coated in local olive oil and baked to a beautiful golden brown. After a day spent exploring the eastern towns, make your way to your hotel in the Agrigento area.

Approximate distance travelled: Syracuse to Agrigento 215km / 2 hours 30 mins

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Agrigento to Marsala

Sicily is home to some of the finest and best-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world. Today you'll get to explore these architectural feats, and learn about the ancient civilizations that once inhabited them. When you arrive at the Valley of the Temples you'll see the seven ancient Doric structures, surrounded by olive trees and backed by the Mediterranean sea - its a pretty striking sight. Next, visit Selinunte, another ancient Greek city built on an acropolis. Hera, of the city's five temples, has been carefully re-erected - so you can explore the ruins of one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily.

Later as you drive towards Marsala, stop off at one of the top olive oil producers in Sicily. The island produces 10% of Italy’s olive oil and it's some of the best in the world. Wander through the ancient olive groves and have a tasting of some freshly pressed olive oil as you learn about its production. You'll get to try some with dinner too, which is included.

Approximate distance travelled: Agrigento to Marsala 140km / 2 hours 15 mins

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Marsala to Palermo

Set off towards the enchanting town of Erice. The medieval buildings are stacked on top of Mount Erice, 750 metres above sea level - so it's hard to miss. As you wander through the maze of historic lanes give yourself time to pop into the famous Pasticceria Maria Grammatico for a sweet treat (payable locally). We recommend giving the traditional almond cake a try. Drive on towards your accommodation in Palermo, stopping to take in the awe-inspiring Doric temple of Sagesta on the way.

Approximate distance travelled: Marsala to Palermo 130km / 1 hour 45 mins

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5: Palermo to Monreale

Palermo city has a thriving street food scene. Start your day by heading to one of the local markets, like the central Ballarò street market and try a tasty arancina, a crisply fried rice ball with a rich ragu centre. As you make your way through the city you'll see the melting pot of influences that have shaped it and you’ll notice it in the food too. Take a break from the busy city and enjoy the golden sands and clear waters of Mondello, a former fishing village. While you’re here treat yourself to a gelato con brioche, a delicious ice cream filled sweet roll. Later, drive up to Monreale and spend time visiting the Norman cathedral with its ornate Byzantine mosaics.

Approximate distance travelled: Palermo to Monreale 10km / 30 mins

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6: Palermo to Taormina

Today continue your road trip towards Taormina. On the way stop off in the seaside town to Cefalu to relax on the sandy beach or wander through the historic centre. About half an hour's drive from Cefalu you'll find the small village of Castelbuono in the Madonie Mountains. We've included a tour of a top wine-producing vineyard here. The wine estate surrounds a former medieval abbey, where you'll get to taste some of the local organic wines yourself. Finally, drive on to your hotel near Taormina.

Approximate distance travelled: Palermo to Taormina 275km / 3 hours

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7: Taormina to Mount Etna

You'll have seen the Mount Etna from afar, but today get up close to Europe's highest active volcano. As you reach higher altitudes the scenery transforms into a lunar-like landscape. You can get close to the summit by taking the cable car or if you’re feeling energetic you can walk to the dormant craters. Once you’re at the top, on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Sicilian coast. Spend the afternoon in the beautiful hilltop town of Taormina. Wander along the Corso Umberto, Taormina’s main street, where you'll find lots of nice little bars and restaurants. We'd recommend visiting the ancient Greek theatre here too. Once you’ve finished exploring head for dinner (included), where you’ll enjoy Sicilian delicacies in the beautiful setting of Taormina’s old town.

Approximate distance travelled: Taormina to Mount Etna 55km / 1 hour 15 mins

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Catania to UK

Enjoy your final breakfast at the hotel before making your way back to Catania Airport to return your hire can and to catch your flight home.

Approximate distance travelled: Taormina to Catania 70km / 1 hour

Meals included: Breakfast

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Your holiday includes

  • Car hire with unlimited mileage
  • 7 nights accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis
  • Dinner at top restaurant in Syracuse & Taormina
  • Olive oil tasting and dinner
  • Wine tasting in Castelbuono
  • Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries

Your holiday excludes:

  • Any extras, lunches, drinks and personal expenses
  • Parking costs (where applicable) 
  • Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
  • Hotel city tax

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Please note that these hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking. If these are not available, they will be changed to hotels of a similar standard and location.

★★★★ Villa Politi, Syracuse (1 night)

★★★★ Alba Palace, Agrigento (1 night) 

★★★★ Baglio Fontanasalsa, near Trapani (1 night)

★★★★ Porta Felice, Palermo (2 nights)

★★★★ Villa Sonia, Taormina area (2 nights)

Departure dates

Daily from May to October

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This accommodation is not available to be booked online, please call our Reservations Team on 01483 791111 to book or for further information

Due to the constantly changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, we may need to change or withdraw at short notice some advertised accommodation facilities and resort services to help keep everyone safe.

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