sicily hiking cultural tour

Sicily’s ancient ruins are some of the best in the Mediterranean

Greek and Roman civilizations left their mark on Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. Our hikes bring us to the Madonie Mountains, the idyllic Aeolian Islands, and Mt. Etna as we celebrate Sicily’s natural beauty and multi-layered culture.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Hiking in Sicily route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5195  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Palermo, Italy
Depart: Catania, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights small inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 3 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep trails, 2-4 hours a day, altitudes up to 10,000 feet, van support (for luggage or tired feet), team of up to 3 Trip Leaders
3

Highlights

  • Hike the spectacular coastal trails of Zingaro, the mountain gorge of Pantalica, and on fiery Mt. Etna
  • Neolithic rock tombs, Norman cathedrals, Greek temples
  • Seaside Cefalú, picturesque Taormina, amazing mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale
  • Delight in Sicily’s unique cuisine, fresh from the land and sea


Terrific throughout. Our guides were the absolute best. Bravissimi!Edy and Michael D.—Portland, OR

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Sicily is a sun-drenched world all its own, with a fascinating 3,000-year-old history and flourishing traditional culture. On this captivating island, you’ll hike coastal trails above a turquoise sea, meander across rolling vineyards, and head into Sicily’s wild inland mountains, a pastoral world of tiny farms and villages. Our adventures include a breathtaking hike on Mt. Etna, the rock tombs of the Pantalica Gorge, and the grand mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina. Along the way, you’ll feast on fragrant cuisine infused with tangy North African flavors—wonderful frutti di mare, arancini, caponata—this is Sicily!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Palermo / Segesta / Zingaro Nature Reserve

Our visit to Segesta’s stunning Greek temple is followed by a cove-to-cove hike above isolated beaches at Zingaro.

Days 3-4
Monreale / Cefalú

After a hike through vineyards and orchards, we head to Monreale’s 12th century cathedral to see its dazzling Greek and Byzantine mosaics. From Cefalú, our hike is in the Madonie Mountains, where Sicily’s deeply rustic culture still thrives.

Days 5-7
Piazza Armerina / Pantalica Gorge / Siracusa

View the extraordinary mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale, a World Heritage Site, then hike in the Pantalica Gorge, where thousands of rock-hewn Neolithic tombs adorn the canyon walls. In Siracusa, you’ll explore breathtaking Greek, Roman, and Christian ruins on foot.

Days 8-10
Mt. Etna / Taormina / Catania

Our hike on Mt. Etna brings you across extraordinary lava landscapes, and in entrancing Taormina, perched high above two sweeping bays, we explore the town’s palazzi-lined streets and 3rd century BC Greek amphitheater, still in use for concerts. Depart on Day 10 via Catania.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 3, or Moderate, according to our trip grading system, and is designed for those who have at least some hiking experience. It features day walks and hikes of 3-8 miles. While the mountains of this beautiful island are not high, the trails can be steep and a bit rugged in places. Please also note that the hiking can feel more demanding at times because the weather can occasionally be hot, even in the lovely spring and early fall periods when we make our journeys. We will carry just a daypack with water bottle, sunscreen, camera, and anything else you want with you while on the trail. Luggage is transported for us by van, so it is always possible to ride in the van if you wish to opt out of a day’s hiking.

After breakfast in our hotel, we generally set off by 9 am. Each day is a bit different. Some days encompass 3-5 hours of country walking; others involve a half day or more exploring, for example, one of the ancient towns on foot. On many days, we have a scenic drive of an hour or two to a starting point for our walk, and get picked up at the end of the walk and driven to our night’s lodging. Our van will meet us for lunch on several days, bringing a picnic of local cheeses, breads, cold meats, assorted salads, fresh vegetables, fruits of the season, and mineral water. Those not up to the afternoon’s walk can often continue with the van back to our hotel.

For maximum enjoyment of the trip (and the wonderful scenery, food, wine, art and history that are a part of it), we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises.

The meals included in the trip itinerary will be taken at the hotels where we are staying or at restaurants in the towns, with the occasional picnic lunch. For lunches and dinners “on your own,” the Trip Leader will be happy to advise you or accompany you to local restaurants and trattorias. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

We spend our nights in small, picturesque inns, full of Italian charm and ambiance. All hotels are chosen for their local history and central location. Since they are often in historic buildings the rooms may not conform to uniform international standards. Our leaders try to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms can be requested, but are not always available, due to the limited space in some of our hotels. If you require a single room, please make the request as early as possible. European single rooms are often smaller than US singles.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Sep 12-21, 2014

Oct 5-14, 2014
2015
Apr 10-19, 2015  Sebastiano Leone
May 8-17, 2015  Sebastiano Leone
Sep 11-20, 2015  Francesco Selvaggio
Sep 27-Oct 6, 2015  Francesco Selvaggio

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5195 (13-15 members)
$5495 (10-12 members)
$5795 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $940
Forced single supplement: $740
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels and small comfortable inns
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 3 dinners
  • Ground transportation throughout the trip

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, independent hotel/airport transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expense of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance or passports; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotel Elimo

Hotel Elimo

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Erice, Italy

Located in the historic center of the picturesque mountain town of Erice, the small family-run Hotel Elimo is a perfectly restored, quiet hotel with ...
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Hotel Villa Gaia

Hotel Villa Gaia

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Cefalù, Italy

Located across from the beach, close to shops and restaurants and a 10-minute walk to the historical center of town, this small boutique hotel (just ...
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Vecchia Masseria

Vecchia Masseria

Day 5 (1 night), Caltagirone, Italy

Set at the end of a narrow, one-lane road, the Vecchia Masseria, a working farm, is a great place to end the day after our tour of Villa Romana del ...
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Hotel in Siracusa

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Siracusa, Italy

In Siracusa we stay at one of the following properties:

Ashbee Hotel

Ashbee Hotel

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Taormina, Italy

The 25-room Ashbee is a renovated private villa built in 1907 by Charles Robert Ashbee, a renowned Arts & Crafts architect. It has a sublime ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Annie Hawkins

Departure Dates: September 12-21, 2014

Annie Hawkins, born and raised in a small village in Burgundy, is a passionate world traveler and one of our most enchanting Trip Leaders. After studying art history in Provence, Annie moved to California, where she led adventure tours in the American Southwest and realized that leading adventure ...
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Sebastiano Leone

Departure Dates: October 5-14, 2014, April 10-19, 2015, May 8-17, 2015

Sebastiano Leone is a native of the charming town of Palazzolo Acreide, Sicily, and a graduate of the University of Catania, with a degree in geology and a specialty in environmental restoration. He has done volunteer work on environmental projects in Italy’s national parks and is also an ...
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Francesco Selvaggio

Departure Dates: September 12-21, 2014, October 5-14, 2014, September 11-20, 2015, September 27-October 6, 2015

Francesco Selvaggio, born and raised in Palermo, has a degree in architecture with a concentration on historic restoration and a thesis dedicated to the Sicilian landscape. Francesco loves the life of a Trip Leader because it allows him to pursue passions such as hiking in the Sicilian countryside ...
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Client Comments

Terrific throughout. Our guides were the absolute best. Bravissimi! Edy and Michael D., Portland, OR I must say this was the best vacation that I have ever experienced. Tray B., Chadds Ford PA A wonderful trip with interesting, capable, and kind leaders. We had a great time! Susan W., Portland, OR Best trip ever! I loved the small group size with two trip leaders—it allowed for great flexibility. Gail B., Larchmont, NY We enjoyed every minute! Heidi M., Brevard, NC We had a wonderful time. I felt I had been able to see and experience the ‘real’ Sicily. Diane C., Manchester, MO It was magical—the beauty of Sicily and hiking through the countryside. Barbara Q., Oakdale, NY Well designed and well run. I especially loved the hikes, and the enthusiasm of the guides was very contagious. John R., Baltimore, MD This was a fantastic trip for both of us. We loved the blend of experiences that could only be possible on a WT trip, such as sit-down meals, picnics, a walk followed by a superb lunch at a winery, tour and dinner with a baron in Siracuse, wading in the sea, touring ancient sites. Each trip we have been on with Wilderness Travel has exceeded our expectations. This trip stands out even more so. Bob and Shirley B., Ennis, MT
This was a wonderful trip. The places visited were terrific, and the leaders, in particular, made everything worthwhile by their knowledge of the place, their flexibility, and their great sense of humor. Bettina R., Santa Clara, CA I had high hopes for Sicily, though unsure how it would compare to previous Italian trips. It exceeded all expectations by far. One of my most favorite trips. Larry E., Chicago, IL Fantastic trip. Good itinerary, wonderful guides, generous with extras such as espressos at every stop. Joselyn B., Caspar, CA I loved the trip, and the balance of city/cultural activities with outdoor/hiking activities was exactly what I expected. Eleanor S., Kingstone, ON We really felt we saw Sicily and learned a lot about its very rich history. The local guides were excellent, the restaurants were wonderful, and Sebastiano and Francesco obviously cared deeply that we had a fun and memorable trip. Edie L., Dallas, TX Sicily is quite an amazing destination, and we were very happy to experience it through this fine itinerary with these excellent guides. Pam W., Minneapolis, MN Everything was well orchestrated, controlled, and managed, the hotels were very good to excellent, and the meals were extremely good. David C., New York, NY