Greek and Roman Ruins, Coastal and Mountain Hikes

Overview

Sicily is a sun-drenched world all its own, with a fascinating 3,000-year-old history and a flourishing blend of cultures. On this captivating island, we’ll hike coastal trails above a turquoise sea, explore ancient Greek ruins in Siracusa and Taormina, 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 phenomenal mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale. Along the way, we’ll feast on fragrant cuisine infused with a tangy mélange of flavors—wonderful frutti di mare, arancini, caponata. This is Sicily!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Palermo / Segesta / Coastal Nature Reserve / Monreale / Cefalú

Our exploration of Segesta’s stunning, well-preserved Greek temple is followed by a cove-to-cove hike above the turquoise sea at either the Monte Cofano or Zingaro nature reserves. A hike through vineyards and fruit orchards ends at a welcoming agriturismo, where we lunch on regional specialties. Monreale’s 12th century cathedral is one of Europe’s medieval treasures, and we see its dazzling collection of gilded Greek and Byzantine mosaics. From the seaside town of Cefalú, we head to the Madonie Mountains, the “true” Sicily of tiny mountain villages, farms, and shepherds, for a hike through oak, maple, and holly woodlands.

 View Lodging
Days 5-8
Piazza Armerina / Pantalica Gorge / Siracusa

We view the extraordinary Roman-African mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina, then enjoy wine tasting at our agriturismo and a cooking class (we’ll savor the results at dinner!). A hike in the Pantalica Gorge reveals thousands of Neolithic tombs carved into the canyon walls, and in Siracusa, once a very powerful city-state, we explore breathtaking Greek and Roman ruins.

 View Lodging
Days 9-11
Mt. Etna / Taormina

On Mt. Etna, we travel by cable car and 4WD bus to 9,500 feet, where our hike leads across extraordinary lava landscapes. Taormina is perched high above two sweeping bays, and we explore the town’s palazzi-lined streets and 3rd century BC Greek amphitheater, still in use for concerts today. Depart on Day 11.

 View Lodging

Highlights

Highlights

Hike the spectacular trails of a coastal reserve, the mountain gorge of Pantalica, and the lavascapes of Mt. Etna
Explore Neolithic rock tombs, the gilded mosaics of Monreale, Norman cathedrals, the Greek temple of Segesta
Discover seaside Cefalú, the ancient amphitheater of picturesque Taormina, amazing mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale, a World Heritage Site
Savor Sicily’s unique cuisine influenced by past rulers, from Arab to Greek
Wonderful lodging, including an agriturismo, where we’ll enjoy a lively cooking class

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5395  
Arrive: Palermo, Italy
Depart: Catania, Italy
Lodging: 10 nights small inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep trails, 2-4 hours a day, 1 day hike to 10,000 feet (Mt. Etna), van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike).