(age at the date of return)

Sicily & the Aeolian Islands Self-Drive

  • Tours & Multi-centres in Italy

Surrounded by the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean sea, Sicily is home to a rich and diverse cultural history. Take a road trip through the island’s diverse landscapes, volcanic scenery, ancient Greek and Roman temples and explore is historic towns and villages. Hop across to the Aeolian island of Lipari, by boat, to explore the incredible Volcanic archipelago. This fourteen-night self-drive will guide you through some of the most unique and memorable experiences that Sicily has to offer.

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Itinerary

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.

Day 2: Dedicate your first full day to getting to know Syracuse, the beautiful town on the Ionian coast. In the morning make your way to the north west of the town to visit the Archeological park, home to well preserved Greek and roman remains, including one of the largest know Greek with Amphitheaters. Here in the summer months you may still see it being used for its original purpose. The Roman Amphitheatre had very different uses to that of the Greek, where Roman gladiators would have fought for their lives. One of the best ways to see the city is on foot.  Head across the bridge to the island of Ortyga, the old town, which is packed with over 2,500 years of history. Explore the cobble lanes and architectural treasures. As the sun begins to set stroll along the water front promenade, making your way to on of Ortygas top restaurants for a delicious Sicilian dinner.

Day 3: Learn about South Eastern Sicily’s Baroque past. In 1963 the region was struck by an earthquake that destroyed much of its nfra structure. Many of the buildings were re-built in the Baroque style. Spend the day hopping between Noto, Modica and Ragusa Ibla comparing their baroque architecture as you journey to the Caltairone area for your overnight stay.

Day 4: This morning dirve on to Piazza Armerina, where you can visit the ancient Roman Villa del Casale, home to one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. Feel as though you’ve stepped into the Roman past as you explore the structure dates back to 4th Century A.D and was once home to a powerful Roman family. Ceramic making traditions are deep rooted in Sicily’s culture and history. One of the best places to learn about these ceramic traditions is in the town of Caltairone. Those that have settled on these lands throughout history, including the Greeks, the Arabs and the Spanish, have each left a visible mark on the craft. As you wonder through the colouful town you’ll see these influences in the different styles and patterns that adorn the tiles and pottery that like the cobbled streets.

Day 5: Drive onward to the Agrigento Area and the Valley of the Temples. The eight golden temples and historical remains date back as far as 510 BC. The temples stand tall on a rocky ridge just outside Agrigento. The beautifully preserved archeological site encompasses the ancient city of Akragas. Learn about this ancient civilisations history as you explire the extensive UNESCO World Heritage Site, before making your way to your accommodation in the Agrigento area.

Day 6: Another of Sicily’s significant archeological sites is Selinunte. It is in fact the largest archeological site in Europe. See the ruins of the temples of one of the most eminent cities of Magna Graecia, which was almost completely destroyed when Carthaginian enemies attacked in 409BC. The striking site is flanked by golden beaches, with views of the sea. Drive on thorough the landscape of olive groves and vineyards until you reach one od Sicily’s finest winery, where you’ll enjoy a home cooked lunch, tour and wine tasting in the vineyards. After, make your way to Mozia, set on a mini archipelago off the west coast. Home to an abundant nature reserve and Archeological site. Finally take the salt road to Trapani. Sicily has the perfect conditions for salt production – admire the vast planes on your jourey to your accommodation in the Trapani area.

Day 7: 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). Drive on towards Marsala stopping off at a salt plant and museum in the Tranpani area to learn about its fascinating history in the region and methods of production. In the evening enjoy, a local delicacy with an olive oil tasting and dinner at one of Sicily’s best, multi-award winning, olive oil producers. After you’ve been satisfied by the delicious local produce make your way to your accommodation in the Marsala area.

Day 8: Head towards Monreale, Drive through the groves of olives oranges and almond trees to reach the incredible hilltop town that looks out over Palermo and the glittering Mediterranean beyond. The UNESCO protected Norman cathedral with its ornate Byzantine mosaics, is the most famous of its sights. Take your time exploring and taking in the views over La Conca d'oro (The Golden Valley), before making your way on to the Palermo area.

Day 9: Spend the day in Sicily’s buzzing capital City, Palermo. Start off at one of the street markets, such as, the famous outdoor market of Ballarò. Wander throughs soaking up the kaleidoscope of colours, enchanting scents and listen to the vendors enticing you in to by some fresh local produce in the local Sicilian dialect. Palermo is a City that will give you true feel of authentic Sicilian life. As you explore, stop to notice the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and later on main land Italian influences that are reflected in the architecture. In the evening enjoy dinner at a top restaurant in the historic city center of Palermo.

Day 10: This morning drive to the port of Milazzo and park your hire car at a garage near the harbour, before hopping aboard a ferry that will take you to the beautiful Aeolian Island of Lipari where you will spend the night.

Day 11: Wake up to explore the largest island in the Archipelago, Lipari. From here you can take an excursion to see the Volcanic lands, black sandy beaches and dramatic rock formations that make up this unforgettable landscape that rises from the Mediterranean Sea. In the evening enjoy dinner at Dinner in a top restaurant on Lipari Island.

Day 12: Embark from Lipari to Malazzo port to collect your hire car and drive o to your hotel in the Taormina Area.

Day 13: If you fancy a break from sight-seeing, send the day relaxing by the hotels lovely swimming pool. Alternatively, you can continue exploring the magnificent island. Starting in Catania, the ancient port city, home to contemporary art galleries and ancient Palazzos. Meander your way back to the beautiful Taormina, perched atop the undulating hills that tower over the sea. Explore the Ancient theater that overlooks the picturesque town and seaside. In the summer months you may be lucky enough to catch a live performance in the Teatro Greco (payable locally). He Corso Umberto is the bustling main street, which is lined with small shops, cafes and restaurants. Enjoy your evening meal in a restaurant in the heart of the old town of Taormina.

Day 14: The beautiful 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. On your way back down towards the foot hills of the Volcano stop at the farm of one of the top wine producing Vineyards on the island, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample the wine.

Day 15: Make your way back Catania Airport to return your hire car and catch your flight home.

Departure Dates

  • Flexible daily arrivals

What’s included

  • Car Hire with unlimited mileage
  • 7 nights’ 4* bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries
  • Dinner at top restaurants in Syracuse, Palermo, Lipari & Taormina
  • Wine tasting and lunch in Selinunte area
  • Oil tasting and dinner in Trapani area 
  • Wine tasting on Etna
  • Foot passenger return boat tickets: Milazzo Port – Lipari Island

Tour Excludes:

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

Your Hotels

Siracusa area - Villa Politi ★★★★ (2 nights)

Caltagirone area - Vecchia Masseria ★★★★ (2 nights)

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

Trapani area - Baglio Fontanasalsa ★★★★ (2 nights)

Palermo - Porta Felice/Palazzo Sitano ★★★★ (2 nights)

Lipari - Bougainville ★★★★ (2 nights)

Taormina Area – Hotel Crystal Sea ★★★★ (3 nights)  

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