Experience the beauty of Sicily on this self-drive tour of the Mediterranean’s largest island, its striking landscapes and coastal regions, historic towns and cities and of course the delicious local cuisine. Sicily is magnificent melting pot that has been influenced by many different cultures throughout history; Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Spanish, Arab to name a few. As you explore you’ll notice this being reflected in the architecture, the food and the people. See the Baroque influences in Siracusa’s old town of Ortygia and the ancient hilltop town of Ragusa Ilba, The Greek and Roman Influences in Agregento’s Valley of the temples, the ornate Byzantine mosaics of Palermo’s Cappella Palatina, Arab rulers introduced the crops that you’ll see scattered about the landscape.
|2020 Departures on sale now!|
Day 1: Arrive at Catania Airport and head to collect your hire car. Make your way south to Syracuse for your first night’s stay. The beautiful town on the Ionian coast is famed for its Archeological park with its impressive Roman Ampitheatre. Stroll over the bridge to the island peninsula of Ortyga where you’ll find cobbled streets laden with beautiful baroque architecture.
Day 2: Spend your first full day exploring some of South Eastern Sicily’s Baroque towns Noto, Modica and Ragusa Ibla. After a devastating earthquake struck the island in 1693, many of the towns in this south eastern region were re built in the ornate Baroque style, that you’ll see today. Once you’ve had time to explore Ragusa, the Duomo di San Giorgio and admired the delecate stained glass windows, head over to your nearby accommodation.
Day 3: After Breakfast drive on to Agrigento to see the stunning Valley of the Temples. This beautifully preserved archeological site encompasses the ancient city of Akragas. Set atop the ridge the golden temples stand as beacons of the former city, some of which date back to the 6th Century BC. Take your time exploring the different zones, historical and architectural gems of the 13km2 UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon drive further east stopping at coastal towns along the way. First visit the ancient fishing town of Sciacca, pronounced 'shack-a'. Slightly off the tourist trail, here you’ll get a feel for authentic Sicilian everyday life as you wander through the old town, dotted with beautiful churches and ancient palazzos. Next youll reach Selinunte, another significant archeological site, infact the largest in Europe. Overlooking the sea and flanked b golden beaches, here you’ll see the runis of the temples of one of the most eminent cities of Magna Graecia, which was almost completely destroyed when Carthaginian enemies attacked in 409BC. On your final stop for the day you’ll visit Cave di Cusa, an ancient Greek quarry, just outside Campobello di Mazara. This is where the golden stone, used to construct the magnificent buildings of Selinunte were hewn. Drive on to your accommodation in the Mazara area and settle in for a relaxing evening.
Day 4: This morning, continue to the far West of Sicily and stop in the town of Marsala. Famed for its excellent fortified wine, rich history and beautiful beaches, it offers a lot to explore. The striking Medieval town of Erice rises up out of the surrounding landscape and towers 750m above the sea. Take a wander through the historic lanes, giving yourself time to pop into the famous Pasticceria Maria Grammatico for a sweet treat (payable locally). On your way to your hotel in the Palermo area, visit the striking Doric temple of Segesta.
Day 5: Start your day in Palermo, the islands capital. Get amongst the hustle and bustle of the central Ballarò street market, with its vibrant colours and enchanting scents. Here you’ll notice the vendors speaking in local dialect – enticing you to try some of the local street food. As you make your way through the city you will see the melting pot of influences that have shaped the city – most clearly visible in its architecture. From Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and later on main land Italy, you’ll see it all in the buildings that surround you. Take a break from the busy city and enjoy the golden sands and clear waters of Mondello, a former fishing village. Admire the Liberty style villas that hark back to Mondello’s heyday as a fashionable seaside retreat for aristocracy. In the late afternoon/early evening make your way up to Monreale, set above Paletmo surrounded by groves of olives oranges and almond trees. Spend time visiting the Norman cathedral with its ornate Byzantine mosaics and admiring the panoramic views over La Conca d'oro (The Golden Valley), before making your way back to your hotel in the Palermo area.
Day 6: Begin meandering your way along Sicily’s northern coastline to the town of Cefalù to see the Norman Cathedral with its golden twin towers and Byzantine Mosaics. Wander through the charming cobbled streets of the old town, lined bys small shops and cafes and where washing hangs out to dry in the Sicilian sunshine. You’re next port of call is Piazza Armerina, where you can visit the elaborate Roman Villa del Casale, home to one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. Before reaching the Taormina area, stop off at Caltagirone. Vibrant ceramic tiles adorn the exteriors of almost all of the buildings in the colorful town and carefull crafted goods line the pavement. This is a great spot to pick up an authentic Sicilian souvenir.
Day 7: The beautifu natural wonder that is Mount Etna, dominates Sicily’s east coast. Drive up through the fertile flanks of the Volcano through vineyards and lush vegetation. As you reach higher altitudes the scenery transforms into an luna like landscape of rich black lava. 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. Drive to the foothills of Mount Etna where you’ll find the ancient port city of Catania. Today the city seamlessly merges the old and the new, from ancient palazzo to contemporary art galleries, you’ll have plenty to feast your eyes on. Finally drive back to the beautiful Taormina, perched on the hillside above the sea. Enjoy a stroll along the buzzing Corso Umberto, lined with small shops bars and restaurants, before heading back to your hotel for your final night.
Day 8: Make your way back Catania Airport to return your hire car and catch your flight home.
- Flexible daily arrivals
- Car hire with unlimited mileage
- 7 nights’ 4 * accommodation on a half board basis
- Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries
- Any extras, drinks and personal expenses
- Parking costs (where applicable)
- Entrance to museums and archaeological sites
- Tourist Tax
Siracusa area - Principe di Fitalia ★★★★
Ragusa area - Poggio del Sole ★★★★
Mazara area – Mahara ★★★★
Palermo area - Porta Felice/Palazzo Sitano ★★★★
Taormina Area – Hotel Crystal Sea ★★★★