Italy: Flavours of Sicily Self-Drive

  • Tours & Multi-centres in Italy

Sicily is often described as a melting pot, and there is no better way to describe the rich, fresh flavours and culinary delights 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 sample delicious locally sourced food from some of the top producers in the region. Think, wine produced from the grapes grown on Etnas fertile foothills of Etna, locally produced 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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Itinerary

Day 1: UK to Catania

Arrive at Catania airport and head to 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, flanked by baroque buildings that open out into the main piazza and the impressive Cathedral. We've included a romantic dinner at a restaurant in the heart of this historic setting.

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

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2: Syracuse to Agrigento

Drive from Syracuse through the Baroque Valley, stopping at Noto and Ragusa to admire the beautiful architecture. If you’re feeling peckish, the Valle di Noto region has the perfect antidote in the form of cucche (pronounced “coo-keh”) They are 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 beautiful 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 is dedicated to exploring and learning about some of these architectural feats, and the ancient civilizations that once inhabited them. Begin at the Valley of the Temples and spend your morning exploring the seven Doric style temples. Drive on to Selinunte, another ancient Greek city which was made up of five temples centered on an acropolis. The temple of Hera has been reconstructed giving you the chance to 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 finest in the world. Explore the ancient olive groves and enjoy 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 Palmermo

Set off towards the enchanting medieval town of Erice. Mount Erice rises up out of the surrounding landscape and towers 750 metres above sea. As you wander through the maze of historic lanes, lined by antique buildings, give yourself time to pop into the famous Pasticceria Maria Grammatico for a sweet treat (payable locally). We recommend trying the traditional almond cake. Drive on towards your accommodation in Palermo, stopping to take in the awe-inspiring Doric temple of Sagesta.

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. 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 try 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, set in the Madonie Mountains. We've included a tour of a top wine-producing vineyard here, set in a former Medieval abbey, and the chance to taste some of the local organic wines. 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

Dedicate your last full day on this culinary adventure to exploring Mount Etna. 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. Later on explore the beautiful hilltop town of Taormina. Wander along the Corso Umberto, Taormina’s main street, home to a stunning ancient theatre along with quaint bars and restaurants, it’s a lovely spot to spend your final afternoon. 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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Hotels

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 nights)

★★★★ Scala dei Turchi, Agrigento (1 night) 

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

★★★★ Porta Felice, Palermo (2 nights)

★★★★ Hotel Crystal Sea, near Taormina 2 nights)

Departure dates

Daily from May to October

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Total price from
£1858
per person from £929
Flavours of Sicily Self-Drive
Tours & Multi-centres in Italy, Bed & Breakfast
09/10/2020 - 7 nights
2 adults
From London Gatwick
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