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Sicily Walking 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 2023: April 29, May 13, Sept. 16, Sept 30, Oct 14, plus private departures
  • Price 2023: Euro €3,600 per person based on double occupancy and minimum group size of three. Single Supplement Euro €320. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people, two guides for 9 or more.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, has a fascinating history as well as spectacular, rugged scenery. Its origins go back to Neolithic times and it has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, and finally Italy. Our walking tour brings you the best of the island’s east coast as we travel through remote villages, into hidden gorges, and along skyline paths with epic views onto Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. You will learn first-hand how Mount Etna has shaped both the physical and economic life of much of Sicily as you walk along its calderas in the company of our volcanologist guide. Other highlights include the Baroque gem of Noto, the ruins of Noto Antica, the Bronze Age site of Pantalica, and historical Siracusa and Ortigia, which was once more powerful than Athens in the time of Classical Greece. Of course, Sicily’s cuisine plays a starring role throughout the week. Try a refreshing lemon or pistachio granita after your walk, or indulge in some cream-filled cannoli with your morning coffee, and enjoy fresh seafood and tasty pasta dishes at dinner. We also have a special lunch with a family who produces traditional ricotta cheese at their rustic farm, and of course we have a wine tasting to sample some of the island’s best vintages. Join us for this wonderful introduction to one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful islands. 

Sicily Walking 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 lunch, all park entrances.
  • Transport: Private van transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Active days: 6 days of hiking
  • Guides: At least 1 bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 or more people
  • Max group size: Tours are capped at 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 Walking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Catania

Check into your pre-booked hotel, the Katane Palace Hotel or Hotel Il Principe (or similar) in the heart of old Catania. Our hotel is a five-minute walk from the central pedestrian area that is lined with beautiful Baroque buildings, cafes, restaurants and shops. Independent dinner in Catania. Overnight Catania. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

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

Meet at 9:00 this morning for 1-hour transfer to Linguaglossa, an 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 onto distant Vesuvius 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 that has been 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 kilometre 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 follows a stream bed to return to Linguaglossa where we check into our hotel for the next two nights: the 4-star Shalai Resort (or similar). The Shalai is a lovingly restored noble town house in the heart of the village. We meet up again this evening for a drink followed by dinner at a local osteria. Overnight Linguaglossa. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner and hotel included.

Day 3: Etna and Golla dell'Alcantara

Today we explore Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano with the help of a vulcanologist 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 on our 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 history of the island. Our hike begins and ends at Rifugio Citelli and situated at 1,751 meters/5,600 feet it provides a cool, quiet place for lunch. After lunch 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. 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. Overnight Linguaglossa. Breakfast, light lunch at rifugio Citelli, dinner and hotel included.

Day 4: Castiglione di Sicilia and winery lunch.

This morning we leave directly on foot to follow an abandoned rail line dating from the fascist era. It accesses some spectacularly rugged territory, and passes the hill-top village of Castiglione di Sicilia where we will stop for a coffee break and explore this vanishing village, which has been classified as one of the most beautiful in Italy. We will climb up to the 600 BC Greek Castro that surmounts the village before proceeding on our hike through olive groves and hazelnut orchards to the Villa Tranquilla, a beautiful home that now stands abandoned and as mute testament to another era. We get picked up here and whisked to the Tenuta Tornatore, a historic, yet modern winery that with other Cantine are revitalizing the Etna wine growing area. We will have a light lunch here paired with a few of their wines which is perfect timing, given that after lunch we have a two hour van transfer to Noto. After your van snooze you will wake up in over-the-top-baroque Noto. We stay in a renovated noble house located just across from the steps of the Duomo. Noto is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its spectacular Sicilian Baroque architecture. Dinner is at the superb Ristorante Mana. Overnight Noto. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 5: Hiking Medieval and Moorish Noto Antica

This morning we transfer 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 which is dotted with the ruins of ancient watermills 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 wherewe have a light but very refined lunch. Return to Noto and explore the streets as the setting sun bathes the honey-coloured tufa stone in a golden light. Tonight is a "free night" so you are free to choose where you wish to dine. 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 walk to the evocative ruins of a 17th century tonnara (seasonal tuna-fishing village) that was active until 1944. Enjoy another delicious lunch at a lovely agriturismo near the coast and then transfer to historic Siracusa. Our hotel is in the old part of town, situated on the tiny island of Ortigia, with captivating Baroque neighborhoods, squares, and seaside promenade. You have free time to explore 3,000 years of Ortigia’s history. Overnight Siracusa. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and hotel included. 

Day 7: Bronze Age tombs of Pantalica

Start the day with a stroll through Siracusa’s bustling farmer's market. It’s a cacophony of vendors hawking their wares, selling everything from fresh fish and sea food to every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine. Then meet the group for a transfer inland to the Anapo Valley for a hike around the site of Pantalica, a prehistoric and paleo-Christian settlement (13th-8th centuries BCE) with a remarkable ‘beehive’ necropolis made up of over 5,000 rock tombs scattered along the cliff face. Our final dinner together is at a charming family run restaurant in the heart of old Ortigia. Overnight Siracusa. Hotel, breakfast, light lunch, 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.

 

 

Activity Level 3 = Moderate:
In general: This is a moderate tour for fit hikers, and will be a little challenging but do-able for less fit hikers.
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent climbs and descents, often over rocky terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents. 
Actual walking time: between 2 - 5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 8 - 12 km (5 - 7 mi). Max distance is 14 km (8 mi).
Surfaces: Trails consist mainly of compact earth and/or gravel and sometimes gravel roads, with occasional 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. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: The walks in Sicily aren't that long (max is 11 kms/6.5 mi.) but there are some steep sections on rocky trail, plus one day of hiking on the volcanic terrain of Mount Etna (it's like walking on loose gravel). The shortest walk is around Taormina, but it requires a sustained climb of 45 minutes. 
Hiking Poles: Recommended but not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful
Compared to the Cinque Terre: These tours are easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit, first-time “hikers” who enjoy walking and who have good balance
Moderate Tours: Tuscany Chianti, Dordogne Walk, Sicily Walk, Spain Andalusia, Lake Como Hike, and Corsica Hike

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
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating  
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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info@customwalks.com
Contact us by email

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(+39) 0577 749198
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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