Italy: 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.

Tour highlights

  • Discover Sicily's unique culture on this stunning self-drive journey
  • Start in Syracuse and explore the baroque towns of the south east
  • Immerse yourself in the history of Sicily exploring Greek and Roman ruins and amphitheatres
  • 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
  • Wine tastings in remarkable settings
  • 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 Sicily

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: Syracuse

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 Archaeological park, home to well preserved Greek and roman remains, including one of the largest known Greek Amphitheatres. 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 Ortyga's top restaurants for a delicious Sicilian dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner in Syracuse 

Day 3:Syracuse to Caltagirone

Learn aboutSouth Eastern Sicily’sBaroque past. In 1963 the region was struck by an earthquake that destroyed much of its infrastructure. 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 Caltagirone area for your overnight stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4: Caltagirone area

This morning drive 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 Caltagirone. 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 wander through the colourful town you’ll see these influences in the different styles and patterns that adorn the tiles and pottery that line the cobbled streets.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5: Caltagirone to Agrigento

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 archaeological site encompasses the ancient city of Akragas. Learn about this ancient civilisations history as you explore the extensive UNESCO World Heritage Site before making your way to your accommodation in the Agrigento area.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6: Agrigento to Trapani

Another of Sicily’s significant archaeological sites is Selinunte. It is in fact the largest archaeological 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 of Sicily’s finest wineries, where you’ll enjoy a home cooked lunch, tour and wine tasting in the vineyards. Afterwards, make your way to Mozia, set on a mini archipelago off the west coast and 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 journey to your accommodation in the Trapani area.

Meals included: Breakfast, Wine tasting & Lunch

Day 7: Trapani Area

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. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Oil tasting & Dinner

Day 8:Trapani to Palermo

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.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9:Palermo

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 through the market, 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 mainland Italian influences that are reflected in the architecture. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a top restaurant in the historic city centre of Palermo.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner in Palermo

Day 10: Palermo to Lipari

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.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11: Lipari Island

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 in a top restaurant on Lipari Island.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner in Lipari 

Day 12: Lipari to Taormina

Embark from Lipari to Malazzo port to collect your hire car and drive to your hotel in theTaorminaArea.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 13: Taormina Area

If you fancy a break from sight-seeing, spend the day relaxing by the hotel's 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 theatre 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). 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.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner in Taormina 

Day 14: Taormina / Mount Etna

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 lunar-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.

Meals included: Breakfast, Wine tasting on Etna

Day 15: Sicily to UK

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

Meals included: Breakfast

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Your holiday includes

  • Car Hire with unlimited mileage
  • 14 nights 4* accommodation on bed and breakfast board
  • 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

Your holiday excludes:

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

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Hotels

★★★★ Villa Politi, Syracuse area (2 nights)

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

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

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

★★★★ Porta Felice or Palazzo Sitano, Palermo area (2 nights)

★★★★ Bougainville, Lipari (2 nights)

★★★★ Hotel Crystal Sea, Taormina area (2 nights)

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.

Departure dates

  • Flexible daily departures

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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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