You will arrive in Sicily at Palermo airport, and be met by your transfer driver who will take you to your hotel in the island’s capital city. Here, our local travel assistant will deliver a welcome briefing session to fill you in on the next week, and you will spend the night at the hotel.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met by a private driver for a full day of touring, travelling around Palermo and then visiting the historic town of Monreale.
Sicily’s capital city Palermo has a rich and varied cultural history, influenced by invaders that included the Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs and French and Spanish troupes. From the language to the architecture, each different group made their mark on the city, resulting in a melting pot of traditions.
From Palermo, you will travel on and visit the town of Monreale which is perched on top of a hill just outside of the city. The town has some classic examples of religious architecture, including a church that was commissioned by Norman King Willian II, and a cathedral that has elements of Norman, Byzantine and Arab design. The cathedral is a must-see if you are a fan of art and design, with incredible golden mosaics inside that depict biblical scenes and images of kings.
You will return to Palermo in the later afternoon, and spend the evening enjoying the city as you choose.
Today you transfer from Palermo to the Melfi municipality of the island. Your journey takes you along the coast, with lovely views of the sea, salt flats and windmills that used to pump water to nearby villages.
You will first stop off in Trapani along the way, which is full of ancient monuments and buildings, as well as multiple churches. The city is known for its long, crescent-shaped beach, and the fact that the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean sea meet right in front of its peninsula.
Your driver will then take you to the medieval town of Erice, travelling past the small island of Mothia as you go. Erice is situated on the side of a mountain that looks over Trapani, and offers incredible views of the whole area, partially from the Castle of Venus.
After these two visits, you will arrive in Menfi in the afternoon, with time to check into your hotel and decide where you want to eat dinner.
To give you a break from sightseeing and allow you to set the pace of your pace, your fourth day is left empty so that you can choose how you want to spend your time.
Possible day trips include a visit to the nearby city of Selinunte, which is known for being one of the best archaeological sites in this part of the world. Selinunte was part of a collection of ancient Greek settlements along the southern coast, but was destroyed when it was attacked by the Carthaginians and its inhabitants were slaughtered.
For those who are less interested in history, we can also arrange for you to be given a tour of a local vineyard, or to take part in a cooking class that will teach you some of the basics of classic Italian cooking. Or you can just spend your day relaxing at your hotel, perhaps sunbathing on the beach, and enjoying some of Menfi’s sumptuous local cuisine.
After breakfast in Menfi, you will be collected by a private driver and continue your tour of Sicily to Siracusa, stopping en route in Agrigento.
Agrigento was once a Greek city inhabited by colonists from Crete and Rhodes, but was destroyed under siege like Selinunte in 406B.C. In Agrigento, you will take part in a guided tour of The Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features eight different ancient temples.
Once you have explored Agrigento, you will travel on and have the chance to stop in Modica for independent exploration. Modica is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the real appeal is the famous Antica Dolceria Bonajuto chocolate shop, where you can sample and buy some of the island’s finest chocolate.
You will arrive in Siracusa by the evening, check into your hotel and choose where to enjoy an evening meal.
On your sixth day, you will be taken on a private walking tour of Siracusa (or Syracuse) to discover more about the city that was once the largest in the western world.
The famous Roman statesman Cicero once described Siracusa as “the most beautiful city in Magna Graecia”, and it is easy to see why as you soak up its impressive, ancient splendour as you walk past streets, churches and monuments around the city. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 because of the preserved ancient architecture, surrounded by a landscape that still retains all of its natural beauty.
The climate in Siracusa is classically Mediterranean, and you can enjoy the lovely weather as you explore some of the city’s sites, or visit the nearby island of Ortigia. Ortigia is best visited in the morning when you will be able to experience a local market that has a huge range of delicious ingredients on offer, perfect for picking up some lunch.
You will have the evening to yourself in Siracusa and can take an evening stroll along the beach or spend some time at your hotel.
On your final full day in Sicily, you will travel from Siracusa to Taormina, admiring incredible views of the active volcano Mount Etna as you drive. On arrival in Taormina, often described as ‘The Pearl of the Ionian Sea’, you will have another guided tour of the lovely coastal town, enjoying the stunning views that come from its location on the top of a sheer cliff.
Taormina is a very popular holiday spot, with many shops, bars and restaurants scattered across the town and favourable temperatures all year round. An iconic attraction is the Greek theatre, which is carved into the earth and offers a unique experience of live performances.
You will spend your final night in Taormina, watching the sun set over the ocean and enjoying one of the many brilliant local restaurants before retiring to your hotel.
On your final day, you will have breakfast in Taormina before departing from Sicily independently.