UNESCO HERITAGE AND HISTORY IN SOUTHERN SICILY

Regions

East, South, Southwest

Starting Point

Catania

Best time to travel

All year

Recommended Length

8 - 12 days

Minimum Age*

Relax and explore

Activity Level **

2/5

This tour through southern Sicily takes you to the smoking slopes of Mount Etna, the beautiful villages in the Noto Valley, along the ancient heritage of the southern magna graecia and iconic salt pans on the eastern coast. Discover UNESCO world heritage at Syracuse, Agrigento and the Noto Valley while you travel from Catania along the sandy beaches on the southern coast and enjoy sumptuous Sicilian cuisine and mediterranean sun all along the way.

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ discover the southern part of Sicily between Catania, Syracuse, Noto Valley, Agrigento and Trapani
✓ guided hiking tours on the smoking slopes of the always active Mount Etna
✓ cycling tour to discover ancient history and UNESCO heritage around Syracuse
✓ UNESCO Heritage in the historic villages of the Noto Valley and in the Valley of the Temples
✓ learn about and sample Marsala on a guided visit, tour and tasting
✓ relax on the beautiful sandy beaches along Sicily's southern coast

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TOUR OVERVIEW

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Day 1 - arrival - overnight in Catania
Day 2 - hiking on the southern slopes of Mount Etna - street food tour in Catania - overnight in Catania (90km)
Day 3 - cycling tour to the Neopolis - culinary walking tour in Syracuse - overnight in Syracuse (80km)
Day 4 - historical Noto Valley - seafood lunch - overnight in Syracuse (130km)
Day 5 - historic walking tour of Ragusa - overnight Ragusa (80km)
Day 6 - cultural tour to Scicli and Modica - chocolate tasting in Modica - overnight in Ragusa (60km)
Day 7 - Valley of the Temples - traditional lunch - overnight in Agrigento (140km)
Day 8 - historic walking tour Marsala - wine tour and tasting - saltpans of Trapani - overnight in Trapani (170km)
Day 9 - departure

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DETAILED ITINERARY

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DAY 1 - WELCOME TO SICILY
Arrive to Sicily and transfer to your accommodation in Catania. In the evening, your local guide will take you on a walking tour through the lively city and you will get to taste some of the fantastic local street food.
Overnight in Catania.

DAY 2 – HIKING ON MOUNT ETNA'S SOUTHERN SLOPES
Dominating the eastern side of Sicily, Mount Etna is Europe's largest volcano, with several vast craters and a height of 3,300m. Etna is also one of the world's most active volcanoes and it offers breath-taking views and great hiking for visitors. Today, a guided tour will take you along the southern and western slopes of Etna, characterized by small volcanic cones, cultivated crops and recent lava flows. You will enjoy a late lunch in a panoramic winery offering fantastic views over the slopes and the surrounding area.
Overnight in Catania.

DAY 3 - SYRACUSE - NEOPOLIS - ORTIGIA
You will transfer to Syracuse after breakfast, where you will visit the UNESCO listed sites of Pantalica and Ortigia today. A cycling tour is taking you to the archaeological park of Necropolis of Pantalica, where 5,000 ancient tombs are cut into the rock, most of them dating back to the 13th to 7th century BC. In the afternoon, a guided walking tour through the pleasant historic and UNESCO listed center of Ortigia is waiting for you to sample some of Syracuse's best food and wine.
Overnight in Syracuse.

DAY 4 - THE NOTO VALLEY
You will visit the beautiful town of Noto in the morning, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt entirely in a unique Sicilian Baroque style with a dramatic, ebullient architecture and golden tufa stone. Together with other towns in the area, which have been rebuilt after the earthquake in the same style, the villages of the Noto Valley are listed as UNESCO world heritage today. After strolling through the wide streets and the many piazzas of Noto, you will stop in Marzamemi to enjoy a succulent seafood lunch in a traditional restaurant.
Overnight in Syracuse.

DAY 5 - RAGUSA
After the earthquake hit Ragusa in 1693, half of the population chose to rebuild on the ridge above (Ragusa), while the other half chose to renovate the old village (Ragusa Ibla). The scenic Sicilian town impresses visitors with the little terracotta roof-tiled buildings clinging to the cliff, the oval-shaped Baroque San Giuseepe cathedral and the portal of the pre-quake Catalan-Gothic cathedral .
Overnight in Ragusa.

DAY 6 - MODICA - SCICLI - CHOCOLATE TASTING
Today's tour will take you to the Baroque villages of Modica and Scicli, nestled in between the gorges and the rocky cliffs of the white limestone. Stroll through the lively little alleys with the many boutiques, cafes and pastry shops and enjoy the beautiful views on the towns before finishing your day with a delicious local Sicilian chocolate tasting.
Overnight in Ragusa.

DAY 7 - VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES - AGRIGENTO
Once the heart of one of the most important cities in the ancient world, the Valley of the Temples is a fine example of the Magna Graecia and their heritage in southern Sicily. The site consists of seven temples, set on a rugged landscape and backed by the blue sea, making the ruins an unmissable sight. You will enjoy a traditional lunch in Agrigento after a guided tour through the valley.
Overnight in the Agrigento area.

DAY 8 - MARSALA - SALT PANS - PALERMO
Visit the sunbaked seaside town of Marsala, best known for the wine that borrowed its name. Learn about the successive invasions shaping the city and sample some of the fortified fine Sicilian Marsala wine. After lunch, your guide will take you along the iconic saltpans around Trapani before arriving to Palermo, where you will have the evening to explore the strongly Norman-influenced city.
Overnight in Palermo.

DAY 9 - DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport and departure.

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SERVICES INCLUDED

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- accommodation in good standard middle-class hotels and/or guesthouses
- private transfers or private care hire for the entire trip
- activities, visits and tours as outlined, with a certified, English speaking guide where desired/required
- all taxes and insurances for the activities
- expert travel planning, trip preparation and 24/7 on-tour support

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TIMES & RATES

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Description

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GALLERY

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Contact us for a quote

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TRAVEL TIPS

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When to travel
It is possible to visit Sicily all year long, but the best times to travel are May, June, September and October. Summer is lovely, but it can get very hot over July and August and the seaside resorts and towns can become crowded.
While the weather is quite changeable and sometimes rainy in spring, the summer months are arid and temperatures can go as high as 34 degrees. Once the temperatures fall in autumn, the rainy period begins. Temperatures fall further over the winter months, but apart from the higher areas, most of Sicily hardly ever experiences temperatures below freezing.
The northern and particularly the northeastern parts of Sicily get the most rain over the year, which is mainly down to the more mountainous terrain. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall during the warm summer months are common, especially in the areas East of Mount Etna. The flatter plains in the southern and southwestern part of Sicily get relatively little rainfall throughout the year.

How to travel
The international airports in Sicily are Trapani in the west, Palermo in the northwest, Catania in the east and Ragusa in the southeast of the island. International connections within Europe are good and Sicily is served by all major and some regional European airlines. Direct long-haul connections from outside Europe are rare, in this case it is easiest to connect in mainland Italy like Milan or Rome.
It is possible to take flights from mainland Sicily to the island of Pantelleria from Trapani or Palermo.
The other islands can be reached by ferry. The hydrofoils for the Aeolian Islands leave from Milazzo to Lipari, from where it is then possible to connect to the other islands. As connections are not always frequent and perfectly timed, you should plan the whole day for traveling if you plan to connect from Lipari to another island. The Egadi islands can be reached by hydrofoils from Trapani. Sailings take place frequently over the day and the trip takes less than one hour.
Sicily has a good network of motorways and national roads, making it easy and fast to get around. Infrastructure tends to be a bit more remote in the south, center and mountainous areas. Toll is required on the A18 and A20 motorways.

Travelling with children
Travelling in Sicily with children is easy and Sicilians love children. Hotels, restaurants and bars are eager to accommodate families and children. Menus don’t usually serve a dedicated kids menu, but offer smaller or half portions.
Siesta plays an important way of life in Sicily and shops close between 1 and 5pm. Dinner time in Sicily is usually not before 9pm and especially over the summer months kids are out and about until midnight.
Not all activities are suitable for small children, but Sicily has plenty to offer if you are looking for a fulfilling trip for the whole family. Kids will love to explore the cobbled ancient streets of the historic towns, will be fascinated by the volcanic heritage and of course love the outstanding Sicilian food. The sandy beaches in the south are perfect for a couple of relaxing days and farms and agri-tourism accommodation especially cater for families and offer activities centered around nature and the outdoors.

What to bring
If you are travelling to Sicily between May and September, prepare for warm, sunny and dry days, so light summer clothes, light shoes, swimming gear, sun lotion, sunglasses and sun cover should all make it into your luggage. For those heading to Sicily's mountains and volcanoes, steady hiking boots, a headlight/torch, warm jumper and a rain and windproof jacket are advisable. Also mosquitos tend to annoy people over the summer months, so an insect repellent will do no harm. Some of the churches and religious buildings require covered shoulders, so bring a scarf or t-shirt.
While casual leisure wear is totally fine during the day, you should pack a nice outfit for going out in the evenings. There is no dress-code in most bars or restaurants, but clubs might be a different story. Sicilians like to dress to impress at nighttime, so unless you want to stand out, you might want to do the same.

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* The minimum age is based on the overall tour, some activities can require a higher minimum age, this will be advised at proposal stage. While not all activities are suitable for very small children, we are happy to tailor the tour to meet your specific wishes and needs.

**  The activity level is based on the amount of tours and activities included (1 - few tours and activities with a lot of free time, 5 - a lot of tours and activities with little free time). The activity level does not reflect the difficulty of the activities or tours included. Itineraries can be tailored to match the preferred level of activity.

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For more practical travel advise and general information on visiting to Sicily, please visit our Useful Information on Sicily page.

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