Coastal and Mountain Hikes, Greek and Roman Ruins

Overview

Sicily is an utterly inspiring place, with a unique 3,000-year-old blend of Mediterranean cultures evident in epic Roman temples and cathedrals with Norman-Arab mosaics. Even the beguiling cuisine is laced with Greek, Spanish, and Arab influences! We hike cliff trails above the sea, into a wild canyon filled with Neolithic tombs, on a secret path to a medieval citadel, and even on the slopes of fiery Mt. Etna. Incredible World Heritage Sites are on our journey, including the marvelous Villa Romana del Casale and stunning Greek and Roman ruins at Siracusa. Sicily’s glorious food (think catch-of-the-day fish, couscous, and indulgent desserts) is among the delights, as are expert Trip Leaders who call this captivating island home.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Palermo / Segesta / Erice / Coastal Hike / Monreale / Cefalù

We hike up to the stunning Greek theater and temple at remote Segesta and circle the limestone peak of Monte Cofano on spectacular trails above the cerulean sea, with overnights in the hill town of Erice, with its Norman castle. After a hike through vineyards to a family farm for lunch, we’ll visit Monreale’s 12th century cathedral to see its treasury of golden Byzantine mosaics. Charming seaside Cefalù is our base for a hike in the Madonie Mountains, where Sicily’s deeply rustic culture thrives.

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Days 5-8
Villa Romana del Casale / Pantàlica Gorge / Siracusa

At Villa Romana, we see incredible mosaic floors that depict Roman life in the third century AD, and hike narrow trails among the Neolithic tombs of the wild Pantàlica Gorge. We’ll take a cooking class, then head to Siracusa to walk the labyrinthine alleyways of World Heritage-listed Ortigia Island, with its Baroque public squares and Doric temples. Siracusa’s stunning Doric temple of Athena, now Siracusa’s cathedral, was built in the 5th century BC.

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Days 9-11
Mount Etna / Taormina

Writers from Goethe to Ernest Hemingway have been drawn to the gorgeous hill town of Taormina. We’ll walk the narrow lanes, visit the famous Roman theater, then travel by cable car and 4WD vehicle to 9,500 feet for a hike below Etna’s crater. Depart on Day 11 via Catania.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike spectacular seaside trails, explore medieval Erice, discover seaside Cefalù
Visit Siracusa’s Ortigia Island, with its Greek, Roman, and Baroque heritage
Hike in the Pantàlica Gorge, view the stunning mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale
Explore Taormina, hike on snow-capped Mount Etna
Enjoy Sicily’s fresh-caught seafood and indulgent desserts

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5695  
Arrive: Palermo, Italy
Depart: Catania, Italy
Lodging: 10 nights small inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures, Archaeology
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep trails, 2-4 hours a day, 1 day hike at 9,500 feet (Mt. Etna), van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike)