HomeToursEurope Tours 〉Italy

Italy: Highlights of Sicily

Calling all sun-seeking adventurers. Dramatic cliffside villages, Sicilian sunshine, clear waters and delicious seafood are all waiting for you on an 8-day trip through this unique region of Italy. From the volcanic valleys of Mt Etna to the timeworn streets of Syracuse and the Baroque wonders Ragusa, get ready to discover the varied sides of Sicily. Plus, take a step back in time as you explore the ruins of the Valley of the temples, and learn of the rich anti-mafia history of Palermo. Get lost in the charm of Sicily; eat good food, soak up the Mediterranean sun, learn of the incredible history in this region and get closer to nature.

8 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: ZMSL
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Italy
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Public bus , Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Take a drive up the towering Mt. Etna, one of the greatest natural beauties of the Mediterranean and Europe’s largest active volcano and get a chance to walk into an extinct crater.

  • Be swept away by Sicilian charm as you explore the backstreets and cobblestone alleys in the timeless old town of Syracuse, Noto and Ragusa.

  • Take a step back in time with a guided tour of Temple of the Valleys which brings to life the full glory of ancient Greece and its myths, legends, gods and goddesses.

  • Join a special tour that showcases the anti-mafia movement in Palermo, visiting sites and people who played an important part in the turbulent history of the city.

  • Enjoy a perfect balance of free time and included activities on this trip for you to make your own discoveries, with our professional leader helping you make the most of it.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Catania

Benvenuto! Welcome to Sicily. Your adventure will begin in the ancient port city of Catania on Sicily’s east coast. Your trip will officially kick off with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and group leader. If you arrive early, why not take a wander around the city at your leisure. Catania sits at the foot of Mount Etna which can be seen from well over half of the city – truly a sight to see, you might just like to traverse the cobblestone laneways that give glimpses of the epic volcano towering above. And if you get time, be sure to take a visit to Catania’s wide central square, Piazza del Duomo, which features the whimsical Fontana dell'Elefante statue and richly decorated Catania Cathedral. You could even check out the weekday fish market that sits in the southwest corner of the square – it’s an entertaining yet rowdy spectacle to observe.

Day 2: Syracuse

Today it’s time to come face-to-face with the volcano that towered over you yesterday, we’re taking a day trip to drive up Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. Drive up the northern flank of the volcano and strap on your walking shoes for an easy walk through the spectacular Valle del Bove (Bull Valley), a valley formed when the original crater of Etna collapsed. This is Etna’s largest valley, where many lava flows can be seen, one on top of the other. At an altitude of approx 2,000 metres, you’ll walk into the centre of an extinct crater and visit a lava cave that can be explored with helmets and torches. Who else can say they’ve walked into the crater of a volcano? Walk among the cold lava streams of Piano Provenzana, a former ski resort that has been destroyed during the last big eruption of 2002. After we’re throughly explored Etna, we’ll hit the road to Syracuse where your leader will take you on an orientation walk through the most interesting parts of the city. The evening is yours to explore, or chill out, as you wish.

Day 3: Syracuse

Wake up without an alarm today, you’ve got the day at your leisure to explore Syracuse however you like. Perhaps, wander through the streets and check out the crumbling building facades and balconies supported for centuries by a host of stone lions, tigers, bears, dragons, moors, satyrs, devils, angels, kings, paupers, wenches and cherubs. Perhaps take a boat trip around the island of Ortigia for a scenic view of the walled off cityscape. Or, you may want to participate in an optional visit to the Neapolis Archaeological Site – known as one of the world’s finest. Alternately, we’re sure you could fill your whole day just wandering aimlessly through this fascinating city, stopping by cafes, restaurants and perhaps grabbing a granita in the afternoon.

Day 4: Noto/Ragusa/Agrigento

After breakfast today we’re setting our sights for the city of Agrigento. But first, there’s one quick stop along the way that simply can’t be missed – Noto, a small slightly less-known town with limestone buildings that dazzle on a sunlit afternoon. Our next stop is the ‘new’ baroque city of Ragusa that was completely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693, resulting in two vastly different sides to the same city. After exploring the tangled alleyways and baroque palazzi, travel on to the final destination for today, Agrigento. Arrive late in the afternoon and enjoy some free time. Maybe find the historic center that extends up the Colle di Girgenti hill including Via Atenea and Viale della Vittoria, where there’s a panoramic view over the valley (Valley of the Temples) and the sea for sunset. Plus, be sure to try the famous gelato pecorino in one of the local cafés and patisseries.

Day 5: Valley of the Temples/Marsala

You’ll take a step back in time today as you explore the nearby Valley of the Temples. Your local guide will bring this classical Greek site to life as you visit the temples of Hera, Herakles, Zeus and Castor and Pollux. Try to nab a window seat today, along the way you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the sweeping landscape and Mediterranean Sea. After the guided tour in the Valley of the Temples, you’ll head on to Marsala a coastal town in the west of Sicily.

Day 6: Erice/Palermo

Today you’ll set your sights on Palermo, but not without a few scenic stops along the way. First up, we’ll explore the beautifully preserved medieval town of Erice (located more than 750 metres above sea level). Despite being handed from one ruling army to the next, there are plenty of beautiful buildings in this town, each showcasing architectural styles from a varied history. Before you get back on the road, be sure to pick yourself up a Genovesi – a traditional Sicilian pastry filled with custard or ricotta cream. With a belly full of sweets, we’re on our way to the capital of Sicily – Palermo. On arrival in Palermo the afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish. You might like to wander the labyrinth of small alleyways, buzzing colourful market squares and winding roads. Or, check out some of the main monuments like the 12th century cathedral in the old heart of the city.

Day 7: Palermo

Wake up excited and ready to explore the beautiful city of Palermo. You’ll have the option to visit nearby Monreale this morning, situated in a panoramic position above Palermo with fantastic views over the city and the sea. You’ll get a chance to visit the cathedral here, described as one of the ‘wonders of the medieval world’, and climb to its roof. Alternately, you might like to take a free morning to wander the city at your own will. In the morning, you’ll take part in a walking tour with a local guide where you’ll uncover symbolic places of rebellion and anti-mafia racketeering. Places such as the Teatro Massimo, Cape Market, Piazza della Memoria, Beati Paoli Square and more all have a rich history in civil mobilisation – plus, they are known to serve delicious street food. Dig in! You’ll get a chance to meet shop owners who have had the courage to denounce their extortionists. This evening, perhaps share a bite to eat and toast to the week that was with your group before the adventure comes to an end tomorrow.

Day 8: Palermo

Your adventures come to an end today after breakfast. If you’d like to stay and explore more in Palermo we can arrange additional accommodation on request (subject to availability).