Sicilian Trails

Sicilian Trails

739 Views
8 Days From

$2120

$1926

Sicilian Trails

8 Days Starting and ending in Catania airport

Visiting: Catania, Naxos, Mount Etna, Syracuse

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

SIT

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Medium, Easy to Moderate

Age range:

16-

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

History, Island Hopping

Activities:

Trekking, Walking

From:
$2120
$1926 Operator discount: -$140 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$54

NB: Prices correct on 27-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Enjoy a week of walking among the diverse landscapes of eastern Sicily, based in a welcoming family-run hotel close to the beach in Giardini Naxos. Hikes include the lava and pumice strewn landscapes of iconic Mount Etna, Europe's highest volcano and the Nebrodi Mountains National Park, one of Sicily's wildest scenic places.



Aeolian Islands - Catch a ferry to the island of Vulcano and climb to the crater rim

Taormina and Syracusa - Time to explore the streets and ancient sites of these picturesque towns

Pantalica Gorge - Easy walking in a limestone gorge by an ancient UNESCO-listed necropolis

Highlights

  • Aeolian Islands - Catch a ferry to the island of Vulcano and climb to the crater rim

  • Taormina and Syracusa - Time to explore the streets and ancient sites of these picturesque towns

  • Pantalica Gorge - Easy walking in a limestone gorge by an ancient UNESCO-listed necropolis

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Trip At The Seaside Town Of Giardini Naxos

Location: Catania, Naxos

Accommodation: Hotel

The trip starts today at our base for the week, the seaside town of Giardini Naxos. Once a quiet fishing village, Giardini Naxos is now a popular resort, known for its beaches, panoramic view of the bay and surrounding hills with Mount Etna in the distance, and a small fishing port. Its position is ideal for accessing the endless hiking opportunities and incredibly varied scenery of eastern Sicily. The beautiful hill top town of Taormina, famous for its remarkable ancient theatre, is situated in the hills above Giardini Naxos and can be easily accessed by public bus.



Your trip Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting followed by the chance to go out for dinner for those that wish. There are no other activities planned today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.



If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Catania Fontanarossa Airport (CTA), which is around an hour's drive from the hotel.



We stay at Hotel Villa Linda, a small and friendly family-run hotel situated in the peaceful Recanati area of Giardini Naxos, just a couple of minutes' walk from Recanati Beach, there are a number of restaurants, bars and a small supermarket close by. The well-appointed en suite bedrooms are air-conditioned and include a flat-screen satellite TV, hairdryer and safe. Free Wi-Fi is available.

Day 2: Walking On The Slopes Of Mount Etna

Location: Mount Etna

Accommodation: Hotel

Our walk today is on the northern slopes of Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe (3330m) and one of the largest in the world. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. We drive up to 1900m on Etna's slopes. Hundreds of subsidiary cones and spent craters have been formed by lateral eruptions along regular lines of fracture which, together with twisted lumps of lava strewn chaotically around, provide an otherworldly setting. Setting out from a height of 1700m, we walk to the fissures of the 2002 eruptions and site of the former ski resort area of Piano Provenzana. We reach a high point on the walk of 2200m. Afterwards we follow the now solidified lava flows downhill through the pine forests to 1900m. Our waiting bus takes us back to our base at the seaside.



Today's 10 kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with a total ascent of 500 metres and a descent of 250 metres.

Day 3: Ferry To The Aeolian Island Of Vulcano; Crater Climb

Location: Mount Etna

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we drive to Milazzo on Sicily's north coast from where we take a ferry to the Aeolian island of Vulcano, named after Zeus' son Vulcan, the God of fire and metalworking. Although now dormant, Vulcano has erupted spectacularly throughout the centuries - the last dramatic explosion being only 100 years ago. In 183BC a huge eruption gave birth to 'Vulcanello' (the Little Volcano) visible from the port. Today, Vulcano puffs out a steady stream of gases and vapour. Even offshore the presence of the sulphur, which was once mined here, is obvious. Our walk to the crater rim provides us with great views of the Aeolian islands scattered around us. Afterwards we can cool off with a swim in the sea. We return to Milazzo by ferry and drive back to Giardini Naxos.



Today's seven kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours with a total ascent and descent of 386 metres.

Day 4: Monte Venere Walk With Amazing Coastal Views

Location: Mount Etna

Accommodation: Hotel

Our walk today is a little closer to home. We drive to Castelmola, a medieval village overlooking nearby Taormina and starting point for a 250m ascent up to the summit of Monte Venere. The views from here are simply amazing - from the Strait of Messina and all along the Ionian coastline south to Syracuse, Mount Etna and the Alcantarra Valley. Following old mule tracks through unspoilt typical Mediterranean scrub we follow in the footsteps of Freida Von Richthofen, the wife of author D.H. Lawrence. It's said her amorous adventures with a mule handler here were the inspiration behind the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. In spring the mountain is abundant with wild orchids.



Today's 13 kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with a total ascent of 385 metres and a descent of 545 metres.

Day 5: Free Day; Options To Visit Taormina Or 'Godfather' Mountain Towns

Location: Mount Etna

Accommodation: Hotel

Today has been left free to relax on the beach and/or visit Taormina which is just 4 km away and easily accessible by public bus or taxi. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, this pretty town is home to many historic churches and a number of lively bars and cafes as well as a Graeco-Roman theatre which is famous for one of the most iconic views in Sicily - that of snow-capped Etna acting as a backdrop to the remarkably preserved columned stage. It was a favourite place during the days of the 'Grand Tour' and was frequented by Goethe, Edward Lear, D.H. Lawrence and many others. If enough people are interested it is also possible to organize a trip to the scenic mountain towns of Savoca and Forza D'Agro, where the film The Godfather was shot.

Day 6: Walking In The Pantalica Gorge; Visit To Syracusa

Location: Syracuse

Accommodation: Hotel

We head south today to the area inland from Syracusa where our walk explores the Pantalica Gorge, a deep limestone ravine that has been carved out by the Anapo and Calcinarra rivers. The gorge is also a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site that is home to over 4000 burial chambers. Peppering the sides of the canyon, the necropolis was built between the 13th and 8th centuries BC. For several centuries before Greek colonization, Pantalica was undoubtedly one of the main sites of eastern Sicily, dominating the surrounding territory. We enjoy an easy hike into and along the bottom of the gorge which is home to a flourishing variety of flora including holm oak, wild sage and thyme, giant fennel and plane trees to enjoy a picnic lunch beside the Anapo River. After our walk we drive on to visit Syracusa on the east coast. During the Greek Classical Period, this city was the largest in the ancient world - even bigger than Athens. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also notable as being the birthplace of antiquity's greatest mathematician, Archimedes. We plan to take a stroll on the island of Ortygia where you will have some free time to visit some of the ancient landmarks including the site of the mythological spring of Arethusa and Temple of Apollo.



Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours with a total ascent and descent of 450 metres.

Day 7: Hiking In The Lake District Of The Nebrodi Mountains

Location: Syracuse

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we head inland to the one of Sicily's most unspoilt wild areas, the Nebrodi Mountains, a gently undulating range that runs along the north east of Sicily and much of which is a National Park. Our easy walk crosses an upland plateau along trails through meadows grazed by horses and sheep to Lake Trearie (1435m) where we enjoy a picnic lunch with typical Sicilian cheese, salami and maybe even a some wine!



Today's nine-and-a-half kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with a total ascent of 550 metres and a descent of 400 metres.

Day 8: Trip Ends In Giardini Naxos

Location: Catania

The trip ends this morning after breakfast in Giardini Naxos. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Catania Fontanarossa Airport (CTA), which is around an hour's drive from the hotel.

What's Included

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 7

    Lunch: 1

    Dinner: 2

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Accommodation

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Country Entry Visas

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

Videos

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Yes

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Angela  

Sicilian Trails

The trip offered the chance to see Sicily with a g

The trip offered the chance to see Sicily with a group of people who shared a passion for walking, the environment and the history ofthe Island. The local knowledge and the warmth of the hotel in providing excellent food was a complete bonus

Fenella  

Sicilian Trails

Overall, a really positive experience. Really enjo

Overall, a really positive experience. Really enjoyed the hiking and plenty to see and do on the free day. Wonderful food and wine.

Natasha  

Sicilian Trails

A very enjoyable trip, looking to similar ones.

A very enjoyable trip, looking to similar ones.

1 Dates & Availability

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Saturday - Saturday

Jun 01, 2024 - Jun 08, 2024
$2120 $1926

Operator discount: -$140

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$54

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 21, 2024
$2390 $2324

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$66

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 28, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
$2390 $2169

Operator discount: -$160

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$61

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 12, 2024 - Oct 19, 2024
$2120 $2062

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$58

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

May 10, 2025 - May 17, 2025
$2150 $2091

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$59

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

May 31, 2025 - Jun 07, 2025
$2150 $2091

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$59

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Sep 21, 2025 - Sep 28, 2025
$2420 $2353

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$67

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 27, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
$2420 $2353

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$67

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 11, 2025 - Oct 18, 2025
$2150 $2091

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$59

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 70 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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