Italy : Sicily

Sicily: Vino & Volcanoes

Trip code: T07SI

Self-guided cultural tour

7 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

SUMMARY

  • Journey across Sicily exploring UNESCO sites, baroque architecture & historic monuments
  • Wander the ancient streets of Ragusa, Noto, Syracuse, and the spectacular coast of Taormina
  • Embark on a guided tour of the iconic Mount Etna and enjoy an idyllic tasting of local wines
  • Island flavours of traditional arancini, sweet cannoli, and frozen granita welcome you in, guiding you around every hidden corner and serene beach cove

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Bus between Catania airport and first/last hotels
  • Private car transfers between hotels
  • Wine tasting near Noto & exploration of Vendicari Natural Reserve with transfers
  • Guided group tour of Mount Etna

TRIP DESCRIPTION

As one of our Independent Tours, Sicily's Vino & Volcanoes encompasses the must-see sights and tastes of this spectacular Italian island. Explore at your own pace, taking time to savour the local delicacies and pausing to create those moments that last a lifetime. As the name suggests, this exclusive tour includes a tasting of local wines set within the stunning Sicilian Nature Reserve, Vendicari, and a guided group walk up the iconic Mount Etna, the most active stratovolcano in the world.

Your island journey begins in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ragusa Ibla, an important city of the arts in Italy. The historic centre is brimming with architectural treasures dating back to the 17th century, with stunning churches and baroque style mansions perched on their own hilltop. Your next stop is Noto, another baroque beauty that's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you have two nights to discover Noto's famous buildings, some of the finest examples of Sicilian baroque style, not to mention the city's famous frozen granita - perfectly refreshing on a summer's day!

Before leaving Noto, we have arranged a self-guided visit of Vendicari Natural Reserve, a true oasis on the coast of Sicily, followed by a local wine tasting at a nearby wine estate; an excellent introduction to Italian wines. Continue onwards to Syracuse, an exquisite coastal city where you'll stay for two nights on its small island of Ortigia. Wander the labyrinth of charming medieval streets, packed with history and an incredible local market bursting with colour, scents, and authentic Sicilian flavours; the ideal opportunity to sample homegrown produce.

Your Italian adventure concludes on the northern tip of Eastern Sicily in the unmissable hilltop town of Taormina. Overlooking the beautiful bay below with Mount Etna commanding attention in the distance, Taormina is home to a remarkably well-preserved Greek Theatre from the 3rd century which we highly recommend visiting. Don't miss the small village of Castelmola, famous for its medieval castle, local almond wine, and panoramic views across Etna. From the coast, you can enjoy hidden coves and sandy beaches, rent kayaks, snorkels, or embark on a boat tour across the glistening Mediterranean.

No trip to Sicily would be complete without visiting Mount Etna; we have included a guided group tour up this iconic volcano where you'll benefit from insider knowledge and the comradery of like-minded people as you explore summit craters, cinder cones, and lava flows - a fascinating site for research and education, and a quintessential end to your Sicilian Tour.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in Ragusa Ibla

Arrive at your first hotel in the centre of old town Ragusa Ibla. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002, Ragusa Ibla is an important city of the arts in Italy with a legacy dating back thousands of years.

You stay at Hotel Barocco.

hotel details

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Hotel Barocco , Ragusa Ibla

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

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A small and intimate hotel within a 19th century building, Hotel Barocco sits in the heart of Ragusa, just a 5 minute walk from Cattedrale di San Giorgio. Surrounded by Baroque architecture, the hotel provides spacious rooms and an onsite restaurant which is very popular with the locals. The Al Giardino restaurant serves traditional Sicilian and Ragusan cuisine alongside the firm favourite pizzeria.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 2: Explore Ragusa Ibla & Noto

Take your time exploring Ragusa Ibla, adorned with architectural treasures including the Duomo di San Giorgio. The city of Ragusa is divided into two large districts: Ragusa Superiore and Ragusa Ibla of which the latter sits high on the hilltop, home to ruins of the old city. Wander the original medieval streets and historic centre, home to more than 50 churches and baroque style mansions.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred from Ragusa Ibla to Noto, growing ever closer to the spectacular Sicilian coastline.

You stay at Hotel Flora.

hotel details

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Hotel Flora , Noto

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

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Located in the historic centre of Noto, guests can enjoy a hearty breakfast on the beautiful panoramic terrace before setting out to explore the sights. Rooms are equipped with stylish, classic furniture and comfortable beds; some benefit from a balcony.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 3: Visit Vendicari Natural Reserve & Wine Tasting

You will be transferred to the wonderful Vendicari Natural Reserve. This reserve is a true oasis of sea, archaeology, and nature with beautiful coastal views all around. We have documented an 8.5km coastal walk for you to enjoy the area should you wish (approx. 2hrs). Afterwards, you'll be transferred to the nearby wine estate to enjoy a local wine tasting before heading back to Noto (transfers are included to/from your hotel).

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noto is a Baroque beauty with much to offer its visitors. This sun-drenched corner of Sicily is home to the magnificent Church of San Domenico and the inspiring Fountain of Hercules. Enjoy an icy glass of granita or the famous ice cream as you amble along the cobbled streets with a new treasure discovered around every corner.

Day 4: Noto & onto Syracuse

Spend the morning exploring more of Noto before you're transferred to your next Sicilian destination - Syracuse. Your base is the small island of Ortigia, located in the historical centre of Syracuse. The old town of Ortigia is a labyrinth of charming medieval streets packed with over 2,500 years of history. The wider area of Syracuse is home to the spectacular Greek Theatre, the popular archaeological park and the mythological Ear of Dionysios, a cave with a peculiar shape resembling an ear with fantastic acoustics - the story goes that Dionysius used this cave to listen to the cries of his prisoners!

You stay at Hotel Gran Bretagna.

hotel details

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Hotel Gran Bretagna , Syracuse

TRIP ADVISOR

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Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


Situated on Ortigia Island within Syracuse, Hotel Gran Bretagna has beautiful views of the coastline and nearby tree-lined promenade. You can also reach the popular Temple of Apollo and Syracuse Cathedral in under 2 minutes on foot.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 5: Discover Ortigia Island

On the island of Ortigia, we recommend visiting the Temple of Apollo dating back to the 6th century, the Piazza Archimede and the Fountain of Diana, the Roman goddess. The Piazza Duomo is dominated by the fascinating Cathedral of Syracuse, built around the ancient Temple of Athena. Ortigia plays host to an incredible market where you’ll be greeted with a feast of colours, scents, and authentic flavours of the island.

Day 6: Explore Taormina

Take some more time in Syracuse or head over to Taormina in the morning on our included transfer. Spectacularly perched on the side of the mountain, Taormina is an unmissable destination on Sicily. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of the town, making it very easy to explore the pedestrianised centre.

Make your way to one of the best viewpoints in Taormina, the Piazza IX Aprile home to a huge panoramic terrace overlooking the bay below and Mount Etna in the distance. Perhaps the most famous monument of Taormina is its Greek theatre dating from the 3rd century, yet remarkably well preserved. Another treasure is the tiny island of Isola Bella which is well within walking distance. Here, you'll find beautiful coves and beaches where you can enjoy boat tours, kayaking and snorkelling should you wish.

You stay at Hotel Isabella.

hotel details

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Hotel Isabella, Taormina

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

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Just a few steps from the Greek-Roman Theatre in the heart of Taormina, Hotel Isabella has 30 well-equipped rooms overlooking the rooftops of the old town, the ancient Greek Theatre or the beautiful sea below. A shuttle bus connects guests daily (May - Sept) with their sister Hotel Caparena where you can enjoy the private pebbled beach and wellness centre.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 7: Guided tour of Mount Etna

What better way to end your trip to Sicily than venturing up the iconic Mount Etna. It's the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. The volcano's diverse and accessible range of features such as summit craters, cinder cones, and lava flows has made it a prime site for research and education. We have included a guided group tour of Mount Etna, along with transfers to/from your hotel in Taormina.

You will begin your walk from Piano Provenzana in north-east Etna and reach a maximum of 2,000m above sea level. This northern section of Etna is less touristy, yet still offers a remarkable experience. If you want to reach the summit, you can take a 4x4 jeep to be arranged and paid for locally.

Day 8: Depart Taormina

If time allows before departing Taormina, we highly recommend visiting the small village of Castelmola, famous for its ruined medieval castle and home to some of the best viewpoints of the valley and across Etna. The local speciality of the village is almond wine should you wish to try some.

Add extra nights in Taormina to explore more of the city and to visit its beautiful beaches, accessible by cable car from the city centre - the epic views are a great bonus!

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £304.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £304.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from London Gatwick to Catania with EasyJet
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Extra legroom seats available
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air prices include our standard flights
Out: EasyJet London Gatwick to Catania, bus from Catania airport to Ragusa (approx. 1 hour 45 minutes), then taxi to hotel (approx. 10 minutes - payable locally).

Return: Taxi from hotel to Taormina bus station (approx. 5minutes - payable locally), bus to Catania airport (approx. 1 hour 15minutes), then EasyJet Catania to London Gatwick.

Extra legroom seats are available on request.

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf. We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we open again 9am Monday) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

Very slick and helpful

Brian Peattie, 7 Apr 2024

very prompt and informative

Susan Turner, 3 Jan 2024

Very helpful

Angela Robertson, 1 Dec 2023

Friendly, well informed, clear, helpful, efficiently sorted through the booking.

John Taylor, 24 Oct 2023


Self-guided cultural tour

7 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

7 nights from £2399

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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