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Sicily Hiking Tour

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Departing from: Catania on Saturday, Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Siracusa or Catania airport, Saturday morning Day 8
  • Departures 2024: April 27, May 11, Sept 14, Sept 28, Oct 12, plus private departures
  • Price 2024: Euro €3,650 per person based on double occupancy and minimum group size of three. Single Supplement Euro €480. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people, two guides for 9 or more.

Sicily is a fascinating destination that boasts a rich history, incredible natural beauty, impressive architecture, and mouth-watering culinary delights. This hiking tour will take you to some of the island's most remote villages, hidden gorges, and scenic paths. You will spend your nights in Linguaglossa, a charming and authentic village, the Baroque gem of Noto, and Siracusa’s charming island of Ortigia. Throughout the week, you will indulge in Sicily's diverse cuisine as we take you to family-run trattorias, chic restaurants, and bustling food markets. You will even get to enjoy a lunch prepared by a family who produces traditional ricotta cheese at their rustic farm. Additionally, you will have a chance to taste some of the island's best Nero d'Avola wines at our tasting at the beautiful Zisola winery. Come with us to hike through Sicily's beautiful landscapes, timeless villages and towns, and rich history while indulging in wonderful food and wine at the end of the day.

Sicily Hiking Tour Includes

  • Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation (1 night Catania/4 star, 2 nights Linguaglossa/4 star, Noto/4 star, and Siracusa/officially 3 star but 4-star quality)
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Luggage: Bags are transferred starting with pick-up on Sunday to trip end at the Catania airport
  • Special events: Day 2 farm lunch, volcanologist guide on Etna, winery visit and tasting at Zisola, guided visit of Ortigia and Siracusa archeological park, all park entrances.
  • Transport: Private van transfers from pick up on day 2 to the final transfer to Catania airports as per the itinerary
  • Active days: 6 days of hiking
  • Guides:  A bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 to 14 people

Booking: Please e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract or simply click on the BOOK NOW button or the 'Contact Us' tab. Thanks!

Sicily Hiking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Catania

Check into your pre-booked hotel, the 4-star Katane Palace Hotel (or similar), in the heart of old Catania. The hotel is ten minutes by foot from the central pedestrian area of beautiful Baroque buildings, cafes, restaurants, and shops. Independent dinner in town. Overnight Catania. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 2: Pick-up Catania, Loop hike around Linguaglossa

Meet your guides and the rest of the group at 9:00 this morning in the hotel lobby for 1-hour transfer to Linguaglossa, a historic village on the eastern flank of Mountain Etna. We are joined today by Gaetano, a very local fellow (EVERYONE knows him) who regales us with stories of how life used to be. He leads us on a hike that follows a high crestline and affords magnificent views of distant Etna to the west and the shimmering Mediterranean to the south. Our destination is a very rustic farmhouse where we enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch of fresh, warm ricotta made for us, the traditional way, in a copper cauldron over an open fire. The salad, cheeses, and cold cuts are all grown and produced by our hosts. Gaetano treats us to some of his excellent homemade Nerello Mascalese wine. This is a true kilometer zero - farm to fork food experience! After saying goodbye to our hosts, we hike a route that winds through olive groves, orchards, and vineyards and then follow a stream bed to return to Linguaglossa. If time allows, we have a short transfer to the spectacular Alcantara Gorge, whose jet-black walls were frozen into surreal shapes when a fiery lava flow came into contact with the icy river water. Our hotel for the next two nights is the 4-star Shalai Resort (or similar). The Shalai is a lovingly restored noble townhouse in the center of the village. We meet again this evening for a drink followed by dinner at a local osteria. The Hike: total distance 12 km/7 MLS (this can be shortened to 8 km). Total elevation gain/loss 360 meters/1,150 ft. Duration: about 3.5 hours hiking. Overnight Linguaglossa. Breakfast, farm lunch, dinner and hotel included. 

Day 3: Mount Etna

Today, we take you to explore Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano, with the help of a volcanologist guide. The volcano is 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) high, with a perimeter of 250 km (155 mi.), making it the third-largest crater in the world. Our professional volcanologist will join us to hike across lava flows, craters, vents, and lava tubes. You will learn about the many fascinating aspects of Etna and how it has shaped the island's history. Our hike begins and ends at Rifugio Citelli. Situated at 1,751 meters/5,600 feet, it provides a cool, quiet place for lunch. Return to Linguaglossa, where you can stroll through the village, enjoy one of Sicily’s renowned pastries, or relax at the hotel spa. Dinner in the village.  The Hike: Distance and elevation gain changes because the hike changes according to the weather we encounter on Etna. Usually, we hike between 6 and 10 kms. Elevation again and loss is not significant. Overnight Linguaglossa. Breakfast, picnic, or light lunch at Rifugio Citelli (depending on the weather), dinner and hotel included.

Day 4: Cavagrande and the Necropolis of Cassibile

Our destination this morning is Cavagrande and the Necropolis of Cassibile. As we descend the scenic ravine you will discern the thousands of tombs that were carved from the living rock more than 2,000 years ago. The graves date from the 11th to the 9th century BC. when the iron age Sicels tribe inhabited eastern Sicily prior to their eventual assimilation Magna Grecia. This walk combines the natural beauty of the ravines with the fascinating and eerie remnants of this past civilisation. You will enjoy lunch at a nearby local trattoria which is half farm-shop, half trattoria, and 100% delicious. Afterwards, we leave the iron age legacy of the Sicels for over-the-top-baroque as we arrive in Noto which is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its spectacular Sicilian Baroque architecture. We stay in the centre of town in a renovated noble house that has been transformed into a 4-star boutique hotel. The Hike: total distance 6 km/3,7 ft, total elevation gain 325 meters/1066 ft, total elevation loss 320 meters/1050 ft. Dinner in the village. Overnight Noto. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 5: Hiking Medieval and Moorish Noto Antica

After breakfast, a short transfer takes us to Noto Antica, where the town of Noto once stood before it was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 1693. We hike down into an impressive canyon dotted with the ruins of ancient water mills and tanneries built by the Arabs during their 250-year occupation of the area in the 8th–10th centuries. We continue to a beautiful family-run Masseria that used to be an olive oil mill and now a four-star hotel. We have a light but very refined lunch. This afternoon, we have a very special visit to the Cantina Zisola. This beautiful wine estate is owned and operated by the Marchesi Mazzei, famous for their historic Fonterutoli winery in Tuscany. Here, you will taste their excellent Nero d’Avola, the quintessential red wine of Sicily. We return you to Noto in time to explore the town as the setting sun bathes the honey-colored tufa stone in golden light. Tonight is a "free night," so you can choose where you wish to dine. The Hike: total distance 9 km/5.6 mls. Total elevation gain/loss 196 meters/624 ft. Duration: About 3 hours.  Overnight Noto. Breakfast, lunch and hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 6: Vendicari Coastal Hike and Ortigia

Today we head towards the sea and enter the Vendicari Natural Reserve for a coastal hike along beaches and dunes to the evocative ruins of a 17th century tonnara, a seasonal tuna-fishing village that was active until 1944. We have time for a swim before taking you to an adjacent agriturismo for another delicious lunch. We then transfer you to historic Siracusa. Our hotel is in the old part of town, situated on the tiny island of Ortigia. You have free time this afternoon to wander amongst Ortigia’s captivating Baroque neighborhoods, squares, and seaside promenade. Dinner in the village at a lovely small family run trattoria. The Hike: total distance 9.2 km/5.7 MLS. Total elevation gain/loss is insignificant. Duration: About 3 hours. Overnight Ortigia. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and hotel included. 

Day 7: Ortigia's market and Siracusa archeological park

Start with an early morning visit to Siracusa’s bustling farmer's market. It’s a cacophony of vendors hawking their wares, selling everything from fresh fish and seafood to every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine. After a mid-morning coffee or iced granita, we meet our local Ortigia-based guide for a guided visit of Ortigia, whose history spans thousands of years. We will drive you to the Siracusa archeological park, which reveals that Siracusa was the largest Classical Greek settlement in Magna Grecia. After the visit, we return to the market area for lunch at a local institution, “Fratelli  Burgia.” Here you can create a completely epic panino of local cold cuts, cheeses, and “verdure sott'olio”. After lunch, you have some free time to further explore Ortigia, perhaps from the sea as it is possible to circumnavigate the island on a small “tourist boat.” Or you may choose to join the locals for a swim from one of the jetties accessible from the city walls. Our final dinner together is another celebration of Sicily’s fantastic cuisine.The Hike:Urban walking. Elevation gain/loss insignificant. Overnight Ortigia. Hotel, breakfast, lunch at the market, and dinner included.

Day 8: Departure

We offer one group transfer to the Catania airport this morning to correspond with flights departing after 10:00 am. If you prefer to leave later (or have to leave earlier), there are frequent buses to the airport or you can take a taxi. There are also frequent buses to Palermo. Breakfast and one group transfer included.

Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour we make new discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes they are bad, like a trail has been washed away. The result is that we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding new wonderful elements to the tour or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary prior to departure.  

 

 

Activity Level 2 + out of 5 = Easy to Moderate Plus:
In general, This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers and will be a little challenging but do-able for less fit hikers.
Terrain: Flat to gently rolling terrain with some rocky, rugged terrain. There may be some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 30 minutes. The walks are shorter in distance than those on a 3-rated tour. 
Actual hiking time: Between 2 - 4 hours per day, mostly in the morning but sometimes also in the afternoon
Distances: Usually 7 - 10 km (4.5 - 6 mi). Max distance is 12 km (7 mi).
Surfaces: Trails consist mainly of compact earth and/or gravel and sometimes gravel or small paved roads, with frequent rocky and uneven trails
Footing: Good, but on occasion you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sports sandals, running shoes, and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: The hikes in Sicily aren't that long (max is 12 kms/7 mi.) but there are some steep sections on rocky trails. The day we hike on Mount Etna there are some slightly tricky sections because of the volcanic ash, which is actually more like walking on very fine gravel so some of the downhill sections require you to take small steps to avoid slipping. You can see details for each hike on the itinerary. 
Hiking Poles: Recommended but not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles, then you will find them helpful
Compared to the Cinque Terre: Ous Sicily tour is much easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre
Other: This tour is appropriate for relatively fit, first-time “hikers” who enjoy hiking.
As a point of reference, what is a 1 out of 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Walks would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside walks would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.
As a point of reference, what is a 5 out 5 of Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.

Getting There: Independent arrival in Catania.

Air: The closest airport to the beginning and end of the trip is Catania, which in high season is well connected to the major airline hubs in Italy and the rest of Europe. For the most current information, go to the airline’s website (in English), and click on “Flight information > Airlines” for a list of airlines that fly there. Also see also our "Transport Info" page (in the menu heading "Info") for specific airport information and a list of smaller airlines you can consult for flights.

Train: There are trains to Sicily from the Italian mainland, but it's not fast. The train from Rome, for example, will take you around 10 hours.

Getting away at the end of the trip: The trip ends on Saturday morning in Siracusa after breakfast. We offer ONE group van transfer to the Catania airport, usually timed for 10 a.m. flights. You may want to stay an extra day in Siracusa since our day-and-a-half there are quite busy and many people wish they had more time. If you can't take an extra day, at least try and get a flight mid-day so you have a few hours to explore on Saturday morning. It's easy to get a bus or taxi to the Catania airport.

If you should book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

5/5
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5 out of 5
Ratings based on 20 Verified Reviews



Average ratings
4.8
Guides
4.9
Quality of itinerary
4.8
Food quality & variety
5.0
Value for money
4.8
Right amount of activity
4.9
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
5
by Jeff R
Posted Oct 11, 2022

CustomWalks is FantasticMy wife and I have been on two Custom Walks. Hilltown Hiking in Tuscany several years ago and a Sicily Walking Tour this fall (2022). Both were outstanding in all respects. The guides were knowledgeable, and their enthusiasm was contagious. They knew the staff at the hotels and restaurants, and took us to unusual attractions that were well off the beaten path.For the Sicily tour, we walked with our guides past vineyards and olive groves, ancient tombs carved into cliffs, the remains of a Byzantine olive oil press and a tannery that dated back to the time of the Moors in the 8th Century. A professional volcanologist guided us along a walking tour on the slopes of Mount Etna. We were part of a large (14 individuals) and diverse group with diverse expectations. As the week progressed, the guides revised their plans and were able to accommodate wider interests and abilities by changing the scope of a hike/walk or offering two options for the day.Our final evening meal at the Ristorante Retroscena, Siracusa was exceptional. But the highlight of the evening was the obvious friendships that were made with the guides and fellow participants. Even the restaurant’s staff was overwhelmed by the comradery of the group.

5
by Ann R
Posted Oct 08, 2022

We were so happy to be able to step out into a world emerging from COVID lockdown to join this walking tour of Sicily! We are fairly fit, in our late 60s, hike regularly, and love this model of travel: Small group, hiking through places we would be unlikely to find ourselves, small and unpretentious European hotels, well curated local food and wine, and local, multilingual guides (in this case Rochele, Francesca and Brett) that are friendly, knowledgeable, funny, and can navigate a vehicle through an ancient goat path. They took great care of us, as promised, and worked cheerfully to accommodate individual needs and requests. They arranged a dizzying array of transfers to the airport, extra nights pre and post tour, and managed to keep track of re-confirming them. We had a larger group than perhaps typical: We were part of a group of 6 old friends, 4 extended friends, and 6 new, lovely friends from New Zealand and the U.S. We hiked and talked our way up and down across thousands of layers of history, up and down part of Mt. Etna with a local Volcanologist, through towns and local markets, to a local family producer of ricotta, through the UNESCO World Heritage site Pantalica Reserve, and the mythological island home of Aresthusa, Ortigyia. We swam in the Mediterranean. Hiking trails were steeper and rockier than we expected- but in the end our self-assessment pre-trip held-at the end of the day we were fine, and tired, and felt like the effort was absolutely worthwhile. Transfers were done with 9 passenger vehicles and a car-no buses. Everyone respectfully wore masks during transfers, to protect us and to protect our guides that had other tours following ours. We did not get sick. The riskiest part of this journey was the flight back home to the U.S. Thankyou so, so much Customwalks. You made our hearts sing.SIDE NOTE TO REI We walked through Tuscany in 2017 with Customwalks, booked through REI. It was an amazing trip. Then, REI abruptly decided to discontinue international travel bookings, abandoned their vendors with no prior notice, and cancelled trips that were already booked. As lifelong members of REI, we are just so disappointed in them. (If you read this, REI, shame on you!)

5
by Bob and Dinah
Posted Jun 26, 2020

Our fourth trip with Custom Walks was just as exciting as the other three. This company is first class. Francesca provided the same superior service as did Claire, Sara, and Brett on prior journeys. We so appreciate the personalized attention we as well as our fellow travelers received. From beginning our Sicily adventure on the snow covered crest of Mt. Etna to hiking along the beach on the southern coast a few days later. Custom Walks truly does offer INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE experiences. We look forward to exploring other regions in the future.

4.8
by Christine and Blair
Posted Apr 23, 2020

This was our first group tour and what a fabulous experience ! Usually we enjoy independent travel so we were a little nervous about embarking on a group walking tour but we needn't have worried as it was incredible from start to finish!! Our guide Francesca was divine, so capable and really created such a happy positive vibe during the entire trip. It was wonderful to be able to leave all the organising to her knowing that every place we visited would be fabulous. We have also done a self guided Customwalks scooter tour of Tuscany which we would thoroughly recommend. Incredible scenery, food, wine and history !

5
by BarbaraD
Posted May 27, 2019

Just perfect. Francesca is an incredible guide as were all our local guides.

4.8
by Anne
Posted Nov 09, 2018

Loved visiting Sicily and Francesca was a great guide. Would have liked a little more hiking each day but thwarted to a certain extent by weather. Hotels, food, sights all perfect.

5
by Marty
Posted Nov 02, 2018

This was my third trip with Custom Walks. The guides Francesca & Sara were excellent - they get to know each walker and take care of everything. I have enjoyed all of the walks (Tuscany, Puglia & Sicily). All aspects are outstanding!

5
by B. Broom
Posted Nov 02, 2018

This was our third tour with Customwalks and it did not disappoint. Francesca and Sara were fun and worked to take care of every detail. From challenging hikes in varied locals, educational local guides, to excellent food and hotels, it was an educational and fun introduction to Sicily.

4
by Barbara
Posted Nov 01, 2018

My second trip with Customwalks and I’ll be back for more. Our guide Francesca aimed to please and the tour offered lots of variety in places we visited, from Mount Etna to countryside, to seaside and gorges. Walking was more limited than I would have preferred, but I think that was driven by some unusually heavy rains. Can’t beat the food and wine of Sicily, and Customwalks chose great restaurants for us to experience both.

5
by R. Boas
Posted Oct 12, 2018

Excellent trip in all respects.



If you have any questions or specific requests about any of our tours, we’re here to help. You can fill in the form below, send us an email, or call us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Italian operations office

CustomWalks is FantasticMy wife and I have been on two Custom Walks. Hilltown Hiking in Tuscany several years ago and a Sicily Walking Tour this fall (2022). Both were outstanding in all respects. The guides were knowledgeable, and their enthusiasm was contagious. They knew the staff at the hotels and restaurants, and took us to unusual attractions that were well off the beaten path.For the Sicily tour, we walked with our guides past vineyards and olive groves, ancient tombs carved into cliffs, the remains of a Byzantine olive oil press and a tannery that dated back to the time of the Moors in the 8th Century. A professional volcanologist guided us along a walking tour on the slopes of Mount Etna. We were part of a large (14 individuals) and diverse group with diverse expectations. As the week progressed, the guides revised their plans and were able to accommodate wider interests and abilities by changing the scope of a hike/walk or offering two options for the day.Our final evening meal at the Ristorante Retroscena, Siracusa was exceptional. But the highlight of the evening was the obvious friendships that were made with the guides and fellow participants. Even the restaurant’s staff was overwhelmed by the comradery of the group.
by Jeff R


We were so happy to be able to step out into a world emerging from COVID lockdown to join this walking tour of Sicily! We are fairly fit, in our late 60s, hike regularly, and love this model of travel: Small group, hiking through places we would be unlikely to find ourselves, small and unpretentious European hotels, well curated local food and wine, and local, multilingual guides (in this case Rochele, Francesca and Brett) that are friendly, knowledgeable, funny, and can navigate a vehicle through an ancient goat path. They took great care of us, as promised, and worked cheerfully to accommodate individual needs and requests. They arranged a dizzying array of transfers to the airport, extra nights pre and post tour, and managed to keep track of re-confirming them. We had a larger group than perhaps typical: We were part of a group of 6 old friends, 4 extended friends, and 6 new, lovely friends from New Zealand and the U.S. We hiked and talked our way up and down across thousands of layers of history, up and down part of Mt. Etna with a local Volcanologist, through towns and local markets, to a local family producer of ricotta, through the UNESCO World Heritage site Pantalica Reserve, and the mythological island home of Aresthusa, Ortigyia. We swam in the Mediterranean. Hiking trails were steeper and rockier than we expected- but in the end our self-assessment pre-trip held-at the end of the day we were fine, and tired, and felt like the effort was absolutely worthwhile. Transfers were done with 9 passenger vehicles and a car-no buses. Everyone respectfully wore masks during transfers, to protect us and to protect our guides that had other tours following ours. We did not get sick. The riskiest part of this journey was the flight back home to the U.S. Thankyou so, so much Customwalks. You made our hearts sing.SIDE NOTE TO REI We walked through Tuscany in 2017 with Customwalks, booked through REI. It was an amazing trip. Then, REI abruptly decided to discontinue international travel bookings, abandoned their vendors with no prior notice, and cancelled trips that were already booked. As lifelong members of REI, we are just so disappointed in them. (If you read this, REI, shame on you!)
by Ann R


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