Isola Bella, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Sitting right at the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily is a historical and cultural crucible, dotted with ancient Greek temples, Baroque palaces and Byzantine churches to name a few. This eight-day self-drive journey is a relaxed trip through the island’s culture, history and food. And don’t worry, there’s always time for aperitivo hour! You’ll start in Palermo with a walking tour of Ballaro Market where you’ll sample the finest Sicilian food, before heading to Agrigento to see the spectacular Valley of the Temples. Lastly, take in the sea air in Taormina, explore Mount Etna, and sample some of Sicily’s best local wines.
Sample Sicilian street food in Palermo
Take in Agrigento’s fascinating Valley of the Temples
Explore the craters of Sicily’s active volcano, Mount Etna
Sample wine in Taormina
Spend time at leisure on the coast
This exciting trip to Italy includes international flights, private transfers, excursions, accommodation and breakfasts.
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
When you arrive in Palermo, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel, the Federico II, where the remainder of the day is yours to settle in or start exploring. Palermo’s architecture is fantastically varied, and we recommend a short walk around the city’s historic centre to see the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the rich mosaics of the Byzantine Church of the Martorana, and the Norman Basilica to name just a few.
The following day take a guided walking tour of the famous Ballaro Market and indulge in a street food lunch. You may like to try arancini, panelle, or sfincione (Palermo's version of pizza). In the afternoon, you'll walk off your lunch with a visit to Monreale and its famous Duomo. Transfer back to your hotel where the evening is at leisure.
On day three you’ll pick up your hire car and drive to Agrigento. When you arrive, there’s time to settle into your hotel, the Baglio della Luna, and spend the evening exploring.
Your second day in Agrigento will be spent exploring the fabulous Valley of the Temples. One of the most extensive archaeological areas in the world, the 1300 hectares of this valley are filled with remarkably preserved Doric temples, including the Temple of Concordia, Temple of Ercole, and Temple of Hera. Built between 510 BC and 430 BC, the Valley of the Temples is thought to be the most emblematic example of Hellenic civilisation in Sicily. The afternoon is free to spend as you wish, and we highly recommend you take a drive down to the Turkish Steps; a huge limestone formation and long sandy beach to the west of Agrigento.
Today you’ll make the drive to Taormina. This journey will take around three hours; however, we recommend you break in the middle at Enna. This dramatic, mountaintop town boasts the UNESCO listed Enna Cathedral, featuring both baroque and gothic details, and the Lombard Castle, built to defend the city. As Sicily’s only city without a coastline, what it lacks in ocean views it certainly makes up for in eye-boggling panoramas of the countryside. Continue your drive to Taormina where you’ll check into your hotel, the spectacular Capotaormina, nestled into the rocks right next to the sea.
The next day you’ll be picked up by a driver and a local guide, who will take you to Mount Etna for four-wheel drive. Drive through the villages of Piedimonte Etneo and Linguaglossa. Then you'll start along an off-road track, visiting a lava tube which you can explore with torches and helmets! You'll also hike around the craters of Mount Sartorius and stop at Piano Provenzana, a former restaurant hotspot which was covered in lava in 2002. After your Mount Etna experience, you'll be taken to one of the local wineries for a tasting and lunch.
Your last full day is at leisure. We highly recommend a visit to the Greek Theatre, which is the symbol of Taormina and offers one of the best views of the whole of Sicily, with Mount Etna in the background. Your hotel is right next to the scenic Isola Bella, and the unreal Grotta Azzura, where you can take a boat trip inside the cave to see its sparkling azure water.
On your final day, you’ll be met by your driver and driven back to the airport in Naples.