Welcome to Sicily


Classical Crossroads

Seductively beautiful and perfectly placed in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily has been luring passersby since the time of legends. The land of the Cyclops has been praised by poets from Homer to Virgil and prized by the many ancient cultures – Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Elymians, Romans and Greeks – whose bones lie buried here. Whether in the classical perfection of Agrigento's Concordia temple, the monumental rubble of Selinunte's columns or the rare grace of a dancing satyr statue rescued from Mazara del Vallo's watery depths, reminders of bygone civilisations are everywhere.

Mediterranean Flavours

A delectable layer-cake of culinary influences, Sicily's ancient cuisine continues to rely on a few key island-grown ingredients: shellfish and citrus, tuna and swordfish, pistachios, almonds and ricotta. Talk to the septuagenarian chef at a Catania restaurant and she'll confide that she still uses her grandmother's recipe for pasta alla Norma, joyfully sharing the poetic imagery that links it to Mt Etna: the tomatoes are lava; the aubergines, cinders; the basil, leafy greenery; the ricotta, snow. Modern chefs may play with the details, but Sicily's timeless recipes – from the simplest cannolo to the most exquisite fish couscous – live on.

Sparkling Seas, Restless Mountains

Sicily's varied landscape makes a dramatic first impression. Fly into Catania and the smoking hulk of Etna greets you; arrive in Palermo and it's the sparkling Golfo di Castellammare. This juxtaposition of sea, volcano and mountain scenery makes a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities. Hikers can wind along precipitous coastlines, climb erupting volcanoes and traipse through flowery mountain meadows; birders benefit from the plethora of species on the Africa-Europe migration route; and divers and swimmers enjoy some of the Mediterranean's most pristine waters. Whatever your personal predilections, Sicily and its dozen-plus offshore islands offer enough activities to build an entire vacation around.

Byzantine to Baroque

As if its classical heritage weren't formidable enough, Sicily is bursting at the seams with later artistic and architectural gems. In a short walk around Palermo you'll see Arab domes and arches, Byzantine mosaics and Norman palace walls. Circle around to southeast Sicily and you'll find a stunning array of baroque architectural masterpieces, from the golden-hued domes and palaces of Noto to the multi-tiered cathedral facades of Ragusa and Modica. Meanwhile, throughout the island you'll find yourself stumbling upon the evocative remains of Arab and Norman castles. This embarrassment of cultural riches remains one of the island's most distinctive attractions.


Top experiences in Sicily

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Sicily activities

$51.55 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Palermo Street Food Walking Tour

In the morning, meet your guide at Piazza Verdi, home to Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house. Receive your personal ‘Food Passport’ and listen as your guide explains that it will be stamped after each tasting, creating a personalized souvenir of your small-group food tour. Then, begin your gastronomic jaunt through Palermo. Wind through the web of alleyways that make up Mercato di Capo and Vucciria Market. Breathe in the heavenly aromas that waft through the air and browse the stalls, which are piled high with regional fare. As you walk, listen to your guide share the secrets of Sicilian street cuisine and explain the history of the city, while pointing out notable monuments and hidden corners unexplored by the tourist crowd. Savor snacks from several street vendors and stop into local bakeries and traditional inns as part of your educational epicurean experience. During the tour, try five different Sicilian specialties, such as arancine (stuffed rice balls) and panelle (chickpea fritters) and some challenging sample such as the veal spleen sandwich, as well as sipping on a sweet local wine. Top it all off with a lip-smacking local dessert, such as an ice cream or cannoli (fried pastry tubes filled with sweet ricotta and other ingredients). The tour concludes after three hours at Piazza San Domenico. Please note: In the special requirements field at check out, please advise of any dietary restrictions or food allergies; this tour is not suitable for vegans, dairy or gluten allergic.

$38.95 Day Trips & Excursions

Taormina to Mount Etna Full-Day Guided Trip

Start your day trip by boarding your air-conditioned coach in central Taormina, and then relax on the 1-hour journey inland to Mount Etna, the island’s brooding – and spectacular – nemesis. Set in the middle of a national park, Europe’s highest active volcano dominates the Sicilian landscape around it.Hop out of your coach at the base station Rifugio Sapienza, and then enjoy roughly three hours at leisure to trek independently around the foothills of Mount Etna. The area is covered with hiking trails that zigzag in all directions, and your host will happily point you in the right direction for the Monti Silvestri Craters – two small, yet impressive, craters near the base station. If you want lunch before or after your hike, visit Rifugio Sapienza’s restaurant. Food and drinks are at your own expense, but the restaurant offers a good selection of hot and cold snacks.Eager to visit Mount Etna upper crater? Upgrade to skip the three hours of independent time and head to approximately 3,000 meters height with an alpine guide, instead. Ascent by cable car up to 2,500 meters and continuing on board jeeps up to the authorized crater zones at approximately 3,000 meters with the assistance of licensed guides of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club); stop to admire the eventual activity of the summit craters in a safety zones according to weather conditions.Then, return to Taormina in the comfort of your air-conditioned coach. Your day trip finishes with a drop-off at the start point.

$143.19 Day Trips & Excursions

Erice, Segesta Day Tour from Palermo with Sicilian Lunch

Meet your tour leader in central Palermo and head for the hills towards two beautiful towns in Sicily’s wild west. After a relaxing journey in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle, stop at Erice, an isolated medieval town perched high on top of Mt Erice. Listen as your tour leader reveals Erice’s fascinating backstory. Legend suggests that Erice was founded by the indigenous Elymian people, who were believed to be Trojan exiles. Admire the breathtaking vistas of sweeping valleys and wander around the maze of Mediterranean lanes. Venture into some of the town’s pastry shops, which are known for their mouthwatering selections of specialty sweets, such as marzipan candies and almond and pistachio pastries. Travel to a Sicilian olive oil estate and tuck into a typical Sicilian lunch that features fresh local produce such as cheese, salumi and olives. Savor samples of olive oil and wine, which are also produced locally. After lunch, continue to Segesta, another city connected to the ancient Elymian people. Pay the admission fee to enter the archaeological site independently. Explore the ancient ruins at your leisure, marveling at the unfinished Doric temple, which dates back to the 5th century BC and at panoramic vistas of the rolling hills. Please note that your tour leader will not accompany you inside the site, but he or she will be able to share information about its highlights and history. Afterward, settle back into your seat for a scenic drive back to central Palermo, where your tour concludes.

$101.39 Tours & Sightseeing

Etna and Taormina Full-Day Tour from Catania

Our guide will pick you up from your hotel and, on the way up to Rifugio Sapienza (1920 mamsl), you will stop in certain view points. You will receive all the information you need about the history and the territory of the volcano and visit the sites of the last eruptions and the old Silvestri Craters.From Rifugio Sapienza, you will be able to choose if you wish to continue by doing some trekking in one of the nature paths of “Parco dell’Etna”, up to 2000 m, or if you wish to buy the Etna high altitude option. If you choose this option, you will reach 2504 meters by cable car and you will then continue with special 4x4 minibuses and arrive at Torre del Filosofo, (2900 meters). From here it will be possible to admire the great central crater, the South-East crater and the historical lava flows that characterize the landscape of Etna, in a scenery stretching right down to the sea. With the alpinist guides (which speak Italian and English), you will visit the places where the life of the volcano flourishes, in full safety. You will return to Rifugio Sapienza by minibus and cable car.You will then explore a lava cave with helmets and torches. Before heading towards Taormina, you will stop at a famous organic farm, in Zafferana, for a delicious sampling of honey, wine, oil and other typical products. On the way to Taormina, you will stop at the wonderful “Isola Bella”, a Wildlife Reserve considered the “pearl of the Ionian sea” for its natural beauty, where it will be possible to bathe in its marvelous crystal clear waters. After lunch (not included in the price) you will dedicate the afternoon to visiting the picturesque town of Taormina. Along the main road of this town, Corso Umberto, with the Messina Gate below and the Catania Gate on the mountain side, you will admire the most important monuments: Palazzo Corvaja (The Corvaja Palace) (Museum of Arts and Folk Traditions*), the Teatro Antico* (The Old Theatre), Piazza IX Aprile, the Torre dell’orologio (The Clock Tower), the Cattedrale Fortezza (The Fortress Cathedral), the Badia Vecchia (The Old Abbey), and the Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano (The Duke of Saint Stephen Palace), and much more. It will also be possible to go shopping in the exclusive shops which alternate with workshops.

$90.50 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Taormina Sicilian Cooking Class with Market Visit and Wine

Meet your host, a professional local chef, near Porta Messina in the historical center of Taormina, and start your cooking experience with a stroll to the open market. Sicilians – like all Italians – tend to shop for locally produced ingredients in markets, selecting simply whatever looks best. Follow their example, and help your host select the finest ingredients of the day to cook with. A free sampling of cheese and salami is offered.The market is near to the restaurant, a traditional Sicilian seafood restaurant, so walk there next, and head inside for your cooking class. After a coffee break, put on your apron as your host explains the dishes of the day and gives an introduction to the cuisine of Sicily. While the countryside’s soil tends to be more sun-baked than verdant, Sicily’s produce is lush, characterized by delights like ruby-red sun-ripened tomatoes, plump olives and fresh nuts. The seas around the island supply enough fish to satisfy an insatiable appetite for fresh seafood, and Sicilian desserts, like cannoli (pastry rolls of sweetened ricotta), are legendary. Help chop vegetables or prepare pasta for your course, and learn how to sear meat and fish to perfection. The menu changes for each cookery class, but you can expect dishes like Parmigiana di melanzane (baked eggplant, layered with tomato and Parmesan) or pasta al pesto di pistacchi – pasta with a pesto sauce made from pistachio nuts.After cooking your three courses, take a seat in the restaurant and savor your creations with samples of wine. The restaurant has a wide selection of both red and white wine, so let your host select different varieties to complement your food. The number of samples varies, but you can expect to try enough to constitute two glasses. Your cooking experience finishes after your meal and wine-tasting session. Before you leave, collect cooking certificate and apron to take as a keepsake!

$63 Day Trips & Excursions

Valley of Temples, Villa Romana del Casale Tour from Taormina

Meet your guide in the center of Taormina and set off on your journey to Agrigento, on Sicily’s sunny south coast. The city’s main claim to fame is the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO-listed archeological site on a hill that’s home to ruins dating to 430 BC. After paying your entrance fees, head inside the site with your guide, and pick your way through the maze of awe-inspiring relics and ruins while learning about ancient Sicily.See the so-called temple of Castor and Pollux (not the temple, which is actually in Rome, but a composition of ruins devoted to the two Greek gods), as well as other countless highlights. Admire the Temple of Concord – a perfect example of a Classical monument – as well as the Temple of Juno, Temple of Jove and the oldest ruin, the Temple of Hercules.After optional lunch, (at own expense), and then travel inland to Piazza Armerina, to spend your afternoon at the town’s big-name attraction: Villa Romana del Casale. The ancient hunting lodge is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics that depict scenes from everyday life and mythological tales.Head inside at your own expense and explore its public rooms like the thermal baths, public hall, dining area and courtyard. Gaze in awe at the famous ‘bikini girls’ mosaic wall and listen to stories of the site’s history from your guide. Hear how the lodge was hidden after a 12th-century landslide before being discovered around seven centuries later. Its true magnificence was realized after later excavations and it was eventually given a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.After exploring the attraction, return to your coach and relax on your journey east to Taormina. Your day trip finishes back at the start point.