Sicily Tour
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Sicily


8 days / 7 nights

April 21-28, 2013 + October 5-12, 2013


Sicily's Stunning East Coast

Our trip to the Italian island of Sicily will provide you with a unique blend of scenery, culture, history and mouth-watering cuisine. The island is a melting pot of many cultures, but a major influence of the east coast is the ancient Greeks. Their footprints are to be found while exploring intriguing Syracuse and the enchanting town of Taormina, home to one of the most spectacular Greek theatres in the world. On our walking trip you will explore remains of ancient civilisations, like the prehistoric caves of Pantàlica, admire Sicilian Baroque in the town of Noto, or be surprised by a Byzantine church in the quaint coastal settlement of Forza d‘Agrò.
Immerse yourself in glorious landscapes, like the nature reserve of Vendicari, and top it all off by putting your feet onto lava-flows of dominating Mount Etna, whose presence has shaped the entire area both geologically and historically from time immemorial.

Day 1: Meet and greet

We gather in Syracuse, one of the mightiest cities of ancient times and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will be staying for three nights in the heart of the picturesque old quarter of Ortygia in a charming hotel set in a 9th-century property that once was used by the Ursuline sisters. A late afternoon guided stroll introduces you to the many treasures of this little islet connected with the mainland by the Ponte Umbertino bridge. Admire the Temple of Apollo or the Duomo - perfect examples of Sicily‘s multi-layered history. Wind through narrow, cobblestoned lanes; move on to lively piazzas; or visit Fonte Aretusa, a freshwater spring overgrown with papyrus, and according to Greek myth, the pre-historic source of the city.

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Walking distance ca. 3 km (2 miles); walking-time approx. 2 hours; easy; sneakers acceptable
Day 2: Vendicari - Noto

sicily We drive south to the nature reserve of Vendicari, a sparkling gem of unspoiled coast scented with wild thyme, where we walk along the ancient Greek road bordering the stunning blue sea. After a delightful lunch of Sicilian specialties home-cooked from local produce at a tiny rustic farmhouse, we transfer to the splendid baroque town of Noto with its lovely golden limestone buildings.


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Noto‘s historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the quintessential expression of Sicilian Baroque.

Walking distance ca. 8 km (5 miles); walking-time approx. 2.5 hours;
easy; elevation gain and loss of ca.70 m  


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Day 3: Necropoli di Pantalica (UNESCO)

Early risers will have time to visit the local fresh-fish and produce market. Further inland, forming the outer perimeters of Syracuse, some small towns and hamlets are incorporated into the base of the beautiful Monti Iblei mountain range. These surrounding hills are of a dry texture rich in limestone, giving the area a unique landscape and crops. Verdant, rugged, punctuated with olive groves, and rich in rural beauty, it carries a sense of mystery in its relics of ancient dwellings, crags, caves, and cliffs.  We will hike down from the plateau of Pantalica into the canyons formed by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers, flanked by steep limestone walls that host Europe‘s largest prehistoric cemetery with over 5000 tombs.

Walking distance ca. 6 km (4 miles); walking-time approx. 3 hours; moderate; elevation gain and loss of ca.450 m 

Day 4: Syracusa Archeological Park - Taormina
sicily This morning we‘ll be accompanied by a local guide to tour the archeological park and magnificent Greek and Roman theatres that are still used for performances during theatre festivals.
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After a tasty lunch, we transfer to the spectacularly situated town of Taormina, where we stay four nights in an elegant hotel, immersed in a quiet and panoramic century-old park with breathtaking views over the Ionian Sea. Once in Taormina, the rest of the afternoon gives plenty of time to explore Taormina’s main shopping streets, evocative alleyways, Greek theatre, or just indulge in one of Sicily’s greatest pleasures, a pistachio or almond „granita“.

Walking distance ca. 3 km (2 miles); walking-time approx. 2 hours; easy; elevation gain and loss of ca. 50 m ; sneakers acceptable
Day 5: Forza d‘Agrò

A short, scenic drive will bring us to Forza d‘Agrò, a medieval hamlet attractively based on a hill top above the Ionian Sea. It became famous when Francis Ford Coppola shot some scenes for the movie `Godfather´ here. Today‘s hike will loop around the rural backdrop of the village, partly using a scenic old mule track, and eventually reaching Monte Cavallo, a small hilltop with extraordinary view to the Italian mainland. Afterwards you‘ll enjoy the leisure atmosphere on the small piazza while waiting for a delicious fresh-baked Sicilian pizza.

Walking distance ca. 8,5 km (5,2 miles); walking-time approx. 3 hours;
easy-moderate; elevation gain and loss of ca.300 m 
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Day 6: Mount Etna

We drive through graceful, dusky towns built of black-lava stone to reach the north side of Mt. Etna, the powerful active volcano that dominates Eastern Sicily. Lava flows and vast plains of black sand at the summit contrast with the green and fertile lower slopes. Accompanied by a local specialist, our exciting walk starts at Piano Provenzana and crosses the lava fields from the 2002/03 eruption above the town of Linguaglossa, which was just narrowly missed by the lava flows. Surrounding Monte Nero, one of the many external craters, we get to know different types of lava, craters, vents, and lava tubes of the volcano and learn about the many fascinating aspects of Etna. One good aspect is the fertility of the soil which produces excellent wines that are sun-drenched and full of flavor. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy tasting these wines at a local winery.

Walking distance ca. 6 km (4 miles); walking-time approx. 2.5 hours; easy-moderate; elevation gain and loss of ca. 200 m 

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Day 7: Castelmola - Monte Veneretta

The mighty Monte Veneretta awaits us today to finish the week with stunning views in all directions and a sense of satisfaction as you descend to Castelmola. Like Sir Winston Churchill and many more before, we‘ll have a sip of the sweet almond wine, a specialty of this picturesque tiny town that is perched high on a cliff top above the Gulf of Naxos. To conclude our round trip, we cross the south flank of Monte Tauro and take the scenic Saracen path that leads further down to Taormina.

Walking distance ca. 6 km (4 miles); walking-time approx. 3 hours; easy-moderate; elevation gain of ca.200 m and elevation loss of ca.750 m (shorter options possible!)

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Day 8: departure

Our wonderful journey through Sicily‘s east coast comes to an end today and, after breakfast, we have to say Arrivederci to our fellow hikers and to an amazing island.
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Level of walking: 2-3 Easy to moderate, on some days undulating terrain with steeper sections; varied paths including some that are narrow and rocky; slippery when wet.
- Shorter versions possible -
Please note: Itinerary can be changed by the guide on spot due to unforeseen circumstances like weather, etc.

Tour price (group size min.6 pax):
2.170 EURO per person (based on two people sharing a room)
+ 180 EURO single supplemen


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Please read about our conditions and general informations on the special pages, accessable via the navigation on the left side.

This tour includes

- Daily country walks averaging 3-7 miles

- A group size of 6 - 10 participants

- Fine lodging that exemplify the character and charm of the region and
include private bathroom facilities

- 2 x lunch

- Full Breakfast daily and dinner (including table water and a glass of local wine) 

- Services and expertise of a professional, English-speaking leader throughout the trip

- Services of local guest experts on scheduled events

- Admissions to schedule sites

- All ground transportation during the trip with private minibus (some days with local busses)


Not included:

- Flights and travel insurance

- Transport to/and from the starting/end point

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