Self-drive Sicily Tour Nature, Art & Adventure
A Tour of Sicily by car including the best of Sicilian Nature and Art! An itinerary of 13 days / 12 nights to enjoy Sicily at your own pace.
Discover Sicily and its wonderful natural landscapes. Fly to Sicily and discover the island with rental cars.
This itinerary will surprise those who love nature and Mediterranean landscapes! You will discover the Sicilian natural heritage, the best natural sites, the most beautiful beaches, coast landscapes and the volcano Etna. You can also visit monuments, sites and archaeological parks declared UNESCO heritage site. And much more…
Day 1: Catania
Arrival at Catania airport and rental car pick-up. Free day to start your Sicily tour.
Day 2: Catania and surroundings
After breakfast, you will spend your day in Acireale, visiting also its beautiful seaside villages: Santa Maria la Scala, Stazzo, Pozzillo, Capo Mulini. We also suggest the “Chiazzette” route, in the Timpa Nature Reserve; this area of great geological, landscape and natural interest, enhances the typically Mediterranean flora. You will be amazed by its colours: shiny blue tones of the sea and the intense black of volcanic rocks.
In the afternoon, you can take a stroll along the charming Riviera dei Ciclopi; according to the legend, Polifemo threw rocks to Ulysses and today they still emerge on the sea, as majestic faraglioni. The tour goes to Aci Castello – an ancient fishing village and the most important town in the Riviera – or, alternatively, visit of Catania city centre. This UNESCO World Heritage site reveals lots of beauties: late Baroque architecture, made unique by the use of lava stone. Vestiges of the Roman Empire, elegant details of Norman buildings, when Catania was the capital of Regno delle due Sicilie during Aragonese kingdom. You will cross the historic Pescheria (ancient fish market) to reach the scenic Piazza Duomo – featuring a splendid cathedral and the lava stone elephant (symbol of the city) – and continue to Piazza Università. Next, you will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, made popular by Verga’s “Storia di una Capinera” and Unesco World Heritage Site.
Day 3: Mount Etna – Alcantara Gorges – Taormina
Today you will discover Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage site. During the journey, we recommend a tasting of Etna honey from one of the several local companies. Next, you will reach Crateri Silvestri, inactive volcanic cones, and the sites of recent lava flows.
In the late morning, we suggest a visit to Alcantara Gorges, volcanic Sicilian canyon; you will be charmed by its black rocks and cold waters coming from Etna. In addition to the traditional trekking route, Alcantara Gorges is a great site for canoeing or river tubing; we suggest these adrenaline ways to discover a wonderful natural jewel of Etna area.
In the afternoon, you will discover the charming Taormina, popular its landscape, history and its unforgettable panorama with Etna’s privileged view! Do not miss a visit of fascinating Greek-Roman Theater, the ancient Duomo and Palazzo Corvaja. Free time to stroll along the lovely streets of the centre, enjoying “granita e brioche” in a bar or shopping around the local handycrafts.
Optional: guided visit to Etna with alpine guide (cable car and 4×4 jeep)
Day 4: Cefalù – Palermo
After breakfast, you will leave to Cefalù, a beautiful medieval town, overlooking the Mediterranean, popular for its Norman cathedral. Walk along the streets of the centre and, for those who like it, visit the famous Mandralisca Museum. In the late afternoon, you will continue to Palermo; the city’s history is made of emirs and kings and it also preserves monuments of the Arab-Norman kingdom including the beautiful Cathedral, Chiesa della Martorana – one of the most fascinating Byzantine churches of the Middle Ages in Italy. Do not miss a visit of Cappella Palatina, the highest example of coexistence between cultures and religions; in fact, it was build by Byzantine, Muslim and Latin workers thanks to the enlightened sovereign Ruggiero II.
You can also go to Monreale to visit the imposing Arab-Norman Cathedral, called the eighth Wonder of the world and its splendid cloister. Free evening to discover the picturesque Palermo city centre.
Day 5: Zingaro Nature Reserve
Today you will find out the charming sea village of Western Sicily, featuring stunning views, uncontaminated nature and crystal clear waters. We recommend a trekking day at the Zingaro Nature Reserve, that extends from Castellammare gulf to San Vito Lo Capo, on the other side of the coast. These 7 km of unspoilt coastline reveal white cobblestones coves, sea bays featuring unexpected tones of green and blue, sharp rocks which separate the several small beaches.
The Mediterranean flora seems to dive into the sea, creating a charming mix of perfumes and colors. A stop in the Scopello bay, looking at its beautiful faraglioni during the golden hour, is highly recommended.
Day 6: Scopello – Castellamare del Golfo
Another amazing day dedicated to sea, sun and beautiful landscapes.
In Scopello, do not forget to dive among the Faraglioni, which frame the stunning small beach of the Tonnara; built in the 13th century and greatly expanded by the Sanclemente family during 1400 and 1500, it is one of the most important and ancient of the whole island.
Castellamare del Golfo is a small town on the slopes of Monte Inici; the mountain gives name to gulf overlooking the castle, between Capo Rama and Capo San Vito. You can stroll through its lanes, relax in the beautiful bay or tasting delicious recipes in one of seaside restaurants.
Day 7: Erice – Segesta
The tour cannot miss the Segesta Archaeological Park; it still preserves the Doric Tempio Solitario, one of the most charming of Greek age.
Then the beautiful medieval village Erice worth a visit! Set on top of Monte San Giuliano it reveals delightful little lanes and local craft shops. You can complete the day with an unforgettable sunset looking at the salt pans of Trapani! The mills of Via del Sale and Salt Museum are unmissable! Do not leave this area without tasting the delicious seafood cous cous, a typical recipes, belonging to Arab cuisine. Overnight in Marsala in a former XVII century monastery, renovated as hotel.
Day 8: Agrigento
After breakfast, you will reach Agrigento. In the afternoon, you’re going to visit the Valle dei Templi, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will be amazed by the ruins of ancient Akragas, defined by Pindaro “the most beautiful city of mortals”. Among the almond trees, you can admire Tempio di Giunone, Tempio della Concordia, Tempio di Ercole. Free evening to spend in the city center.
Day 9: Agrigento (Torre Salsa Nature Reserve – Scala dei Turchi)
Our journey among the beauties of Sicily continues towards Siculiana Marina, where the beautiful and unspoilt Torre Salsa Nature Reserve rises. The WWF Torre Salsa oasis spread over Siculiana Marina and Eraclea Minoa; in this pure area – made of gypsum rocks and limestone marbles – the Caretta caretta turtle lives undisturbed. In the afternoon, the tour goes to Realmonte coast, near Porto Empedocle (AG); here you can dive from the splendid Scala dei Turchi, marn rocky cliff with the characteristic white color. You will be enchanted by the beauty of this place!
Day 10: Ragusa – Noto
Today you will move to the Eastern Sicily (about 200 km), until the Noto area.
During the journey, you may enjoy several lovely places such as the Falconara Castle and Licata for a nice swimming break. Then Ragusa Ibla, a real Sicilian Baroque jewel, with its beautiful churches and the stunning Giardino Ibleo. Ragusa is popular for its Unesco sites, it is location of “The Inspector Montalbano” TV series and it also reveals over fifty churches and several Baroque palaces. The nearby Modica, another Unesco site, also preserves priceless architectural Baroque treasures. Do not miss to visit Scicli, Pachino and Marina di Ragusa too before arriving in Noto. You may have the chance to visit Noto’s Baroque is in fact a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the facades of churches and monasteries, Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, a beautiful noble residence in Baroque style and once the residence of Don Giacomo Nicolaci.
Day 11: Vendicari Nature Reserve – Valle dell’Anapo – San Lorenzo
Enjoy your free day visiting and enjoying the most beautiful Nature Reserve of this area.
Nature, crystal clear waters and beautiful landscapes will leave you breathless!
Day 12: Isola delle Correnti – Marzamemi – Portopalo
Another relax day along the Sicily eastern coast! The beaches towards north are part of the Vendicari Nature Reserve and, continuing to south you will reach Isola delle Correnti.
We especially recommend Spinazza and S. Lorenzo (in Marzamemi), Cala Mosche and La Citadella (Vendicari), Carratois (towards Portopalo).
In the late afternoon, enjoy cafe or happy hour in Marzamemi or Portopalo seaports, seaside villages, which still remain out of time.
Day 13: Noto – Catania
After breakfast, return to Catania or Comiso Airport. Car drop at the rental agency and end of our services. Goodbye Sicily!
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