Physical rating - Light
Next trip 15/09/2019
Breakfast included the whole trip ,3 lunches ,1 dinner
Palermo - Taormina - Catania
Max 14 people
It's highly recommended to bring a backpack
The gorgeous island of Sicily sits just south of mainland Italy and has its own distinct style of Italian charm and romance. Some of the best cuisine and wine can be found here, and what could be better than enjoying them in their native Mediterranean climate? With architecture that can be classified as works of art, Greek ruins, local handicrafts, white beaches, and the stunning form of Mount Etna crowning it all, this island is waiting for you to discover it. Relax and enjoy the singular charms of Sicily on this 8 day ladies only tour.
• Gaze across the Tyrrhenian sea from the beautiful headland of Palermo.
• Ride Italian-style through Sicilian streets on a classic three-wheeled Ape Calessino.
• Learn to cook Sicilian cuisine in a restaurant in Taormina.
• Float down a river past the geometric volcanic walls of the Alcantara Gorge.
• Toast beautiful views across the water with a fresh Sicilian wine.
• Walk through ancient Greek ruins in the Archaeological Park of Neapolis.
• Discover the Baroque architecture of Catania’s historical center.
• Swim in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean coastline.
Today you’ll arrive in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. A driver will be waiting for your private transfer to your hotel in the city center. Feel free to spend the rest of the day relaxing, enjoying some delicious Sicilian food, and getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow!
After a delicious breakfast in your hotel, we’ll meet to explore the romantic town of Palermo. Palermo stands on a bay at the foot of Mt Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as “the loveliest I have ever seen.” The town also happens to be one of Sicily’s richest for history and art. Baroque dominates, but different architectural styles reflect the city’s long multicultural past.
We’ll have a unique experience on a tour by Sicilian Ape Calessino, the classic three-wheeled Italian vehicle. Evidence of a multicultural heritage can be seen in the Arab-Norman Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church, and the amazing Cappella Palatina. We’ll visit the fountain in Pretoria Square in the ancient Kalsa area, adorned with 16th century sculptures. This fountain, originally in Florence, was disassembled into 644 pieces for transportation and today, because of some eyebrow-raising questions around its relocation and the nudity of some of the sculptures, the square is sometime referred to as the “Square of Shame.”
Later we’ll head to Monreale to visit its huge Norman Cathedral, considered the Eighth Wonder of the World for good reason: its splendid cloister in Arab-Norman style is a masterpiece of art adorned with semi-precious stones marquetry.
We’ll have breakfast at the hotel then depart for Taormina, a splendid medieval town renowned for its magnificent vantage point above the sea with a celebrated view of Mount Etna. Depending on our arrival time, we may visit the Greek-Roman theatre and the ancient Cathedral and Palazzo Corvaja.
Today lunch is special - we’ll be preparing our own Sicilian cuisine in one of Taormina’s excellent restaurants! This hands-on cooking class include a lesson in the preparation of a full Sicilian menu (never skimping on the dessert). We’ll sample our hard work over lunch accompanied by local Sicilian wines.
Then we’ll walk off all that delicious food as we explore Taormina’s picturesque, narrow medieval streets. It’s a chance to go shopping and peruse the local handicrafts (including coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, sweets, and much more). We’ll be staying overnight, so if you don’t get the chance to see everything there’s always tomorrow!
Today we’ll start to explore the volcanic landscape of Sicily as we head to the Alcantara Gorge. This canyon on the north slopes of Etna is the result of an lava flow. Cooled quickly by the cold water of the river, the lava crystallized and formed geometric basalt columns. As well as having wonderful trekking routes, Alcantara Gorge is a great site for canoeing or river tubing - so if you’re in the mood for something a little adventurous we recommend this as an exciting way to explore one of Etna’s beautiful sites!
In the afternoon you’re free to enjoy lunch and then spend the afternoon on the beach or in the beautiful waters of the Taormina sea.
This morning we’ll head to Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll visit the Rifugio Sapienza and Crateri Silvestri, small inactive volcanic cones surrounded by ancient lava flows. The barren landscape has an almost alien quality. From this altitude you’ll see across hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, and on a good day you’ll have a view over the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands, and Calabria.
Next we’ll head to the charming town of Catania and have lunch in a local restaurant. The historical center has warranted Catania’s classification as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its Baroque style and streets built from black lava rock have been well maintained. The city still preserves ruins of the Imperial Roman period, despite having been rebuilt after the earthquake in 1693. We’ll explore these streets by foot, starting in the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous Liotru statue, an elephant supporting an obelisk and the symbol of the city. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and stay overnight right in the heart of Catania.
Despite being officially in Italy, Sicily has strong links with Greece. Today we’ll visit Siracusa, the most beautiful and greatest Greek colony in Sicily and one of the most popular destinations in Sicily. We’ll start with the UNESCO site of the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, with ruins dating back to the 5th century. There’s a Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise, and a limestone cave known as the Ear of Dionysius.
We’ll then visit the splendid island of Ortigia, the historical center of Siracusa. In Ortigia you can admire the Cathedral, the famous Arethusa’s Fountain, and a range of other beautiful and important historical landmarks. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant, and then you’re free to stroll the tiny streets of the city center.
In the afternoon we’ll transfer to Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque (and yet another UNESCO site). Inspired by the Baroque ideals of an “open city,” Noto is a rare masterpiece and the most clear example of theatrical tastes of 18th century architecture. The style is a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, and perspective views. Later on we’ll head back to our hotel in Catania to relax.
Today will be a free day to explore on your own, or with one of your fellow travelers! There are some beautiful beaches near Catania with clear blue waters and soft sand, or you might like to head off to one of the other small villages around the Etna coast. If you’re looking for ideas just let the guide know. Spend the day as you choose before heading back to your hotel in Catania.
This morning, after a final Sicilian breakfast, it will be time to part ways. We’ll transfer you to your airport and bid you farewell.