Small group Sicily grand tour
Description of Small group Sicily grand tour
This two week small group tour of Sicily takes you around the entire coastline in a clockwise direction starting in Catania.
After an exciting experience on Mt Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, you’ll head south to Syracuse where the Neapolis archaeological park allows access to some spectacular Greco-Roman ruins. Continuing south from Syracuse leads to the Baroque beauty held within the UNESCO-listed towns of Noto and Ragusa; breath taking balconies and fabulous facades await.
More Baroque influence and some sensational ceramics can be seen en route to the Piazza Armerina where a guided tour also includes a visit to one of the Roman Empire’s best preserved properties: Villa Romana del Casale. As you head onwards and upwards to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples archaeological park you’ll spend the night in Selinunte before breaking from the mainland the next morning as you take a short boat ride to the island of Mozia.
Rounding the San Vito Lo Capo and Zingaro Nature Reserve on Sicily's east coast you'll make your way to the Norman, Byzantine and Islamic influenced city of Palermo. Palermo’s historic centre is a real find with Baroque buildings fringing large piazzas to promise plenty on guided sightseeing tours and free time strolls. After two nights in Palermo you’ll undertake the last leg of the tour eastwards along Sicily’s sun-kissed north coast. The seaside towns of Cefalu and Taormina make ideal locations to complete the tour with Ionian views overlooking red hot Mount Etna bound to live long in the memory as you finally head for home.
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PlanetHow this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
• By travelling in a small group we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
• We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for re-usable bottles.
• The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites. This trip includes visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites including Mt Etna, Agrigento, Syracuse, Selinunte and the Mosaics of Piazza Armerina.
• In some cities, such as Piazza Armerina and Ragusa, we stay in various historic buildings in small communities. The “Paese Albergo” was born because some local owners decided not to abandon the historic centres and to restore their houses turning them into public accommodation.
• We rewild 100 square metres per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
• Leave no trace: we do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
• Plastic waste reduction: please bring a re-usable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.
PeopleLocal craft and Culture:
Cuisine is a huge part of Sicilian culture and so we include frequent stops at locally owned businesses to introduce traditionally crafted produce and customary specialties. For example, the Modica region has a very long history of small, family run chocolate factories. So before leaving, we have the opportunity to taste its famous chocolate with chilli, which is still prepared using the original Aztec recipe, brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500s. Additionally, at Mount Etna, we arrange a wine and cheese tasting in one of the famous wine cellars of the area. Made at local vineyards, we can sample a range of wines, including the famous Sicilian desert wine, Marsala. Locally crafted cheeses including ricotta and pecorino are also prominent. By purchasing these products and other handmade items (paintings, ceramics, embroidery), we help to sustain traditional methods of craftsmanship.
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
• Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
• This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.