Itinerary 8 days/7 nights
1st day – Arrival at Catania airport/overnight in Mt. Etna area
2nd day – overnight Madonie Mountains / Cefalù area
3rd day – overnight Madonie mountains / Cefalù area
4th day – overnight West Sicily area
5th day – overnight West Sicily area
6th day – overnight Ragusa area
7th day – overnight Ragusa area
8th day – Departure
This tour shows you the whole of Sicily without focussing too much on the typical historical and archaeological sites. Overnights during this tour are foreseen in rural accommodations like agriturismo and small charme hotels outside the standard group tour itineraries.
NB: According to the flight schedule, the programme might be inverted, foreseeing either the first or the last overnight in the surroundings of Catania.
1st day – Arrival
Arrival at Catania Airport. Take over your reserved car at the car rental office together with an information package containing maps and brochures. Start the journey in direction of Mt. Etna. Overnight in a rural accommodation on the slopes of the mountain.
2nd day – Mt. Etna
Today you will discover Europe’s highest active volcano: Mt. Etna. The most direct way is to climb up the east slopes through vineyards and citrus groves, chestnut woods and bizarre lava landscapes until you reach the station “rifugio Sapienza” at 1.900 m.a.s.l. Here you can see the lava streams that during the eruption 2001 destroyed the cable car and part of the bus station. If weather conditions permit, it is possible to take an optional ride with the recently rebuilt cable car and 4-wheel-driven minibuses until a height of ca. 2.800 mts right underneath the smoking summit craters.
Driving down the southern slopes you then take the highway towards the central parts of the island. Here you reach your next overnight in the Madonie Mountains, nature park since 1989 with numerous characteristic villages immersed in an unspoilt nature.
3rd day – Madonie / Cefalù
Today you can enjoy a walk through the breathtaking sceneries of the Madonie Nature Park or discover some of the hidden villages where time seems to run much slower than elsewhere. Possibly you could find yourselves involved in one of the numerous religious ceremonies and processions or in a village “sagra” proposing local products like ricotta, pecorino cheese, wine, mushrooms, chestnuts or else, according to the season.
Otherwise reach the north coast and the charming little town of Cefalù with its romantic fishing harbour and famous Norman cathedral. Have a Cappuccino on the lively central square or a swim in the crystal clear Thyrrenian Sea. Return to your accommodation .
4th day – Palermo / Western Sicily
Leaving the mountainous north coast, you meet today the Sicilian capital Palermo, famous for important historical monuments like the cathedral of Monreale, but also for colourful souk-like street markets or the macabre crypt of the Capuchin monastery with its over 5.000 mummified bodies of monks and noble Palermitans.
Continuing the journey you reach the western part of the island. Easy to reach and sited in a wonderful panoramic position: temple and theatre of Segesta. Here in the province of Trapani, largely covered by vineyards producing typical Sicilian wines such as Nero d’Avola or Marsala, you will find also your next accommodation. Maybe tonight you could try one of the specialities of the area: Couscous! Africa’s not far away, hardly 180 km between Mazara del Vallo and Capo Bon in Tunisia
5th day – Western Sicily
The west coast is characterized by the saltpans and their typical windmills. Salt has been produced here for centuries and still is nowadays using the traditional procedure, illustrated also in the small local salt museum in Nubia. Certainly the most amazing spots in the area is the medieval mountain top village Erice with its eagle-eye-view over Trapani, the west coast and the Egadi Islands. Apart from the panoramic winding road that leads up to Erice, the town can also be reached by cable car from Trapani. The westernmost town Marsala is famous for its wines: from very dry to sweet and almond flavoured there is a wide range. Have a visit to one of the numerous wineries and try which one you like most…
6th day – Agrigento / Ragusa
The itinerary continues along the south coast and what Pirandello called the “African Sea”, with its long and sandy beaches ideal for a break and a swim. One of the most famous sites in Sicily, also UNESCO world heritage, is the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, that gives us an idea of the importance of Greek Sicilian cities in the antiquity. Further along the coast begins the province of Ragusa. Ragusa and its neighbour towns with their hilly countryside and honey-coloured baroque architecture have been the scenery for the recent TV film series of Inspector Montalbano. In this area is also situated your accommodation for the last two nights.
7th day – Modica/South-east Sicily
The southeast part of Sicily has been destroyed in 1693 by a strong earthquake. Many towns have been rebuilt afterwards in baroque architecture. One example is Modica where you can admire one of the famous cathedrals of the architect R. Gagliardi. But what you definitely shouldn’t miss is the traditional handmade chocolate with such peculiar tastes as hot pepper or cinnamon produced by local Pasticcerias. You could also reach the southern most place of Sicily, the fishermen’s village Portopalo and have a swim in the crystal clear waters at a latitude already south of Tunis. A very interesting spot are also the gorges of Cava d’Ispica, ideal for a walking tour among abandoned troglodyte dwellings, small sanctuaries and necropolises dating back to the Neolithic age and early Christianity.
8th day – Departure from Catania
Relax in the morning, and according to your flight schedule drive to the airport, deliver your car at the car rental desk and ARRIVEDERCI IN SICILIA!!
Self Driving FLY & DRIVE “RURAL Tour – Off the beaten tracks” 2015
NOTE – IMPORTANT According to the flight schedule, the programme might be inverted, foreseeing either the first or the last overnight in the surroundings of Catania. Please inform clients.
Price 299,- per person in 3 star hotel with B/B in standard double room. The price not include the car rental