Immerse yourself in Sicily, one of the cultural, archeological, and culinary capitals of Italy, and some even consider the world. On this Sicily vacation, which is captivating for both adults and children, you will explore some of the most famous cities in the Sicilian region, including Palermo, Agrigento, and Taormina, where you will revel in the charming medieval villages, learn about Sicily's rich past, and relax on beautiful beaches. The finest qualities of Italy are combined into the region...
Palermo - Welcome to Sicily!
Today, you will arrive in Palermo in the late afternoon, where your private transfer greets you at Falcone–Borsellino Airport. Be prepared for the warm sun, and the warmer people; Sicilians are famed for their easy-going manner. Be sure to stop for a caffè at a local cafe; better yet, complement it with a cannolo, a flaky pastry filled with light ricotta cream that is said to have originated in Palermo. You may want to try some local favorites, such as the tomato-based eggplant pasta, Pasta alla Norma. Consider reading some of our travelers' reviews of Sicily tours to gain additional ideas to add to your own itinerary to perfect it. Relax at your hotel, and rest up for the exciting Sicily vacation to come.
Palermo - A Dreamy Day of Italian Architecture and Sunshine
Start your day off right with a scintillating breakfast at your hotel. You spend the first half of the day exploring Palermo, the provincial capital of Sicily. Don’t forget to pick up some arancini, crispy, fried risotto ball, a popular Sicilian snack food. The city itself is steeped in culture and history, having been under Phoenician, Greek, Roman and even Arab rule, and the architecture and food are unique to the region. Your guide takes you to the old city, where you will begin with a tour of the Royal Palace. This resplendent structure has been the seat of power in Sicily for ages; even today, it houses the parliament. You see the Cappella Palatina, which is a perfect example of the Arab-Norman-Byzantine style, a testament to the historical melting pot of cultures. You also see the Cathedral of Palermo, which showcases another fusion of multi-cultural designs. Surrounded by mountains and the sea, these sites are truly breathtaking.
You are taken to Monreale, a charming village not far from the city. The Cathedral here is perhaps one of the most astonishing buildings in the world. Covered in intricate Byzantine mosaics, the aesthetics are magnificent. Enshrined in this building is the famous figure of Christ Pantocrator gazing benevolently at visitors. A visit to the attached cloisters will transport you back to the time of William II, who ordered the construction of the Cathedral.
Next, you embark on a trip to the top of Mount Pellegrino. Get your cameras ready, as the panoramic views from the top of Palermo are unmatchable. Then, relax in the fishing village of Mondello, a postcard-perfect beachfront with powdery white sand, golden sun and a dreamy, warm blue sea.
After dinner, if you crave some something more modern, consider an optional walking tour through Palermo, where you will see the gorgeous theaters of Massimo and Palermo. The former is the largest theater in all of Italy.
Agrigento - Mortality and Immortality: A Peek into the Past
Today, you leave behind Palermo. After breakfast, you head to Erice, a picturesque, medieval town on the summit of Monte San Giuliano. There is much to admire here: churches, convents, charming marble-paved streets and stairways winding up and down the mountain, all framed with spectacular views. The Norman Castle of Venus, with its iconic dome, will bring you back to the town’s ancient history, where passing sailors once worshiped the Venus, the goddess of love, and whose namesake the town shares. Be sure to stop for some delightful fish and couscous at lunch. Surrounded by the sea, you can taste the freshness of the seafood in this spectacular local favorite.
Your next destination is the archeologically rich Segesta. The ancient temple on the hilltop dates all the way back to the late 5th century BC. The Doric columns stand proudly and measure almost 60 meters high. The majesty and sheer size of the building are astounding; it’s not surprising that the temple is an icon for many Sicilian nationalistic groups.
Selinunte is your last excursion for the day. There are several sets of ruins of ancient temples in the archeological park. There are also several Greek necropolises or cities of the dead. Here, there are remains of animal sacrifices, sarcophagi, a variety of grave goods, as well as Greek vases and amphorae (ancient jar with two handles and a long neck). These testaments to life and death in the ancient world are humbling in their reminder of both ancient mortality and their timeless immortality of tradition.
As evening approaches, you leave for Agrigento. Settle in your new luxury accommodation, where dinner is served and you can indulge in some well-deserved relaxation.
Taormina - Immerse Yourself in the Ancient World
Agrigento is home to the famous Valley of Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a national monument of Italy. Prepare to be amazed by the sterling condition of some of these ruins; it’s akin to a second Pompeii. The names of the gods that these seven temples are dedicated to will be familiar to you: Zeus, Juno, Vulcan, Hercules. Suddenly Greek mythology is given a tangible reality in this space. Make sure to enjoy the Sicilian sun with a granita, a frozen dessert, in hand.
In the afternoon, you will move to Piazza Armerina to visit the Villa Romana del Casale, where mosaic depictions of sports, battles, ceremonies and more will take you into Roman life as the ancients enjoyed it. Keep an eye out for portrayals of what are perhaps the world’s first bikinis!
After a day of touring, take some time for yourself with a rest on Taormina beach, where pebbles gradually lead to a blue sea so clean and clear that you can still easily see your toes. After ample sunbathing and relaxing, return to your luxury accommodation for a classic Sicilian dinner.
Taormina - Meet the Mighty Mount Etna
After breakfast, journey to the active Mount Etna, another UNESCO World Heritage site, and the tallest active volcano in Europe. It has always been shrouded in drama and mystery. The ancients believed it was the forge of the god Vulcan (where the word volcano originates from), and also the prison of the god Typhon. The volcanic soil in the large area surrounding it, the “Park of Etna,” has rendered the ground lush and fertile, where the sheer amount and variety of vegetation make for an astonishing landscape.
No visit to Mount Etna is complete without pictures of the Silvestri Craters, a pair of craters that are an astounding 2000 meters above sea level. Walking along the rim will give you stunning panoramic views of the surroundings. Take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of the natural splendor surrounding you.
Enjoy a local lunch before you head back to Taormina, a Mediterranean town that is reminiscent of Greece. The town is situated on a rocky plateau, and the climb to the top is a beautiful and rewarding hike. From the summit of Monte Tauro, the view of the Ionic Coast is peerless. Also, at the top is the second largest classical ancient theater in Sicily; it is remarkably well preserved, and with the beautiful backdrop, is a site not to be missed.
Syracuse - Take a Walk through Baroque Italy
After breakfast, you head out for a full-day excursion, where you begin in Noto. The city was burnt down entirely in a devastating fire in 1693 and was rebuilt completely. One can almost think of Noto as an Italian Manhattan of sorts, where the planning is methodically calculated; the streets are parallel to ensure ease of travel, and all the buildings are built very deliberately in the baroque style. You can happily lose yourself in the creative intricacies of the uniform architectural style here. Don’t miss the walk down the main Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, where the facades of monasteries, palaces, and cathedrals are truly picturesque.
You will then transfer to Syracuse, where a guided tour will help you immerse yourself in the grand history. Amble through the archeological wonders of a Roman amphitheater or a Greek theater. Hear the amazing resonance of your voice in the Orecchio di Dionisio, the Ear of Dionysus, a limestone cave carved in the shape of a human ear. Allegedly, Dionysus would place prisoners in here to eavesdrop on their schemes. You end your excursion at the Island of Ortygia, the mythological birthplace of Artemis.
Palermo - A Breath of Fresh Air at Sicily’s Finest Beaches
Today you will head to the city of Messina, the point between the island of Sicily and the mainland of Italy, to visit the quaint town of Cefalu, famed for its excellent array of panoramas. It is situated on top of a tall rocky hill; its strategic location made it difficult to attack. There are some remains of the ancient city left to see, but the main attraction is the Cathedral of Cefalu, a paragon of Norman architecture and a testament to the historical power of the small town. You can compare the Christ Pantocrator here to the mosaic from Monreale.
There are a myriad of other, smaller churches, cathedrals, and museums if you would like to explore them. If not, the coast offers ample sunshine and a crystal clear sea, which you can enjoy from the many beachside eateries. Return to Palermo, feeling rested, for dinner at the hotel. If you would like, Sicily is particularly famous for its succulent citrus fruits and nuts; consider bringing some back home for friends who will surely appreciate the many available products incorporating these treats.
Palermo - Farewell, Beautiful Sicily!
Wake up to the scent of almond trees and the gentle aroma of the seaside. Today is your last day in Sicily. Wave farewell to this archeological, cultural, and culinary gem of Italy, as your private transfer greets you at the hotel to bring you to the airport for your flight home.
- Embark on a culinary journey, as you taste your way through some of the best cuisines that Italy has to offer
- Relax on luxurious beaches around the region, as you bathe in the glorious Sicilian sun and feel the warm waves lapping at your toes
- Be transported to the past by exploring remarkably well-preserved ancient ruins from different cultural eras
- Scale the tallest active volcano in all of Europe, Mt. Etna; its majesty and its surrounding views will captivate you
- Observe some of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Italy, including the famous Cathedral of Monreale
Sicily, which is located in the Southern region of Italy, is a lush encapsulation of Italian history and culture. Indulge all of your senses in the fragrant citrus tree-lined cities of this exotic island; there is something for every type of traveler here. On this Sicily vacation, come prepared to learn about a rich, historical past through some of the world’s best-preserved ruins. From temples to theaters, Greek ruins to Norman architecture, Sicily has it all.
You will be whisked away from reality as you explore the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy multiple Sicily vacation tours, which will allow you to visit all of the island’s highlights so that you can venture into the region’s colorful culture and past. You will explore the religious and architectural treasures of the island, and admire history that remains preserved for many thousands of years. Embrace the natural splendor of the region, from the glorious, impending Mount Etna to the lush greenery that is naturally resplendent in the fertile area.
Sicily is also considered home to some of the best culinary treats in all of Italy. From pasta to pastries, fresh fruits to delectable fish, greens to granitas, come ready to immerse yourself completely in all the region has to offer.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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