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  • Italy: Ancient Sicily Hiking
Overview

Discover the Historic Hilltops & Coastal Trails of Italy with Boundless Journeys

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily boasts a diverse and historic culture dating back to ancient times. Known as "Trinacria" to the early Romans due to its triangular shape, Sicily has become a haven for refreshing cuisine, historical preservation, and breathtaking archaeological sites.

On Boundless Journeys’ Ancient Sicily Hiking tour, the adventure unfolds as you leave the bustle of Palermo and head to the countryside where we spend our days walking the historic hilltops of Erice, Castelbuono, Caltabellotta, and Cefalù. Your journey is accented with tastings from the surrounding vineyards, insight into Sicilian gastronomy, and the continued ornament of the countryside by the Normans’ magnificent architecture.

Fascinating ruins of early civilizations, beautiful coastal paths above the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, and food, glorious food, are your’s to discover on Boundless Journeys’ hiking tour of ancient Sicily.

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

Each trip has been unique and wonderful with its own charms. The area I have been repeatedly impressed with is the guides. Every guide has been exceptional! Very different personalities, but all knowledgeable, friendly, adaptive, good leaders, patient, and all amazing representatives of their countries.

Susan K
Maple City, Michigan

Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Archeological Park of Segesta; Transfer to Erice

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 3 hours (approximately 4 miles)

En route to the medieval city of Erice, our journey unfolds in the Archeological Park of Segesta. While its magnificent Doric temple is impressive, it is just one of the many highlights of this large outdoor museum. The semicircular theater, from which a vast and scenic panorama can be seen to the north, boasts a hilltop position on Mount Barbaro second to none.

After taking in this spectacular site of antiquity, we continue to the mountaintop city of Erice, where a cable car brings us the final stretch into town. We enjoy a late day walk along the cobblestone streets, and perhaps allow the aromas of neighborhood pastry shops entice us inside.

This evening we enjoy our first dinner together, and toast to our week ahead.

Accommodations

Residence San Martino
Erice, Italy

The elegant Residence San Martino, located in the center of Erice, offers modern and comfortable apartments in a restored historic building. Two garden courtyards offer a relaxing place to sit and enjoy a coffee.

Day 2

Monte Cofano Nature Reserve

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-5 hours (approximately 6 miles)

Today's excursion brings us to the Monte Cofano Nature Reserve, offering miles of pristine coastline set against steep mountains. Our walk immerses us in one of Italy's most beautiful coastal areas, now protected from future development. Here, classic Mediterranean vegetation flourishes in a profusion of yellow broom, rosemary, and capers above a turquoise sea.

We explore the coastline on foot, and weather permitting, take a swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

After our invigorating hike along the coast, we stop for lunch, and perhaps a refreshing granita (Italian slush), before continuing to La Foresteria, our home for the next two nights. Here we are enchanted by herb gardens, vineyards, locally-produced wine, and unparalleled Sicilian gastronomy.

This evening we enjoy a delicious seafood dinner at a beachfront restaurant.

Accommodations

La Foresteria
Menfi, Italy

Situated in the countryside of Menfi, La Foresteria stands on a hill overlooking the surrounding vineyards and olive groves, with views of the Mediterranean. The contemporary feel of this boutique farmhouse is carefully mixed with bright colors and warm woods giving one the feeling of being in a private home. In La Foresteria’s kitchen, the passion for the local countryside and the good food and wine produced here result in superlative Sicilian cuisine.  At the end of the day, the infinity pool invites complete relaxation.

Day 3

Caltabellotta

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3-4 hours (approximately 5.5 miles)

This morning we arrive in Caltabellotta, one of the oldest hilltop villages in Sicily. Its uniquely prominent position on Mount Kratas has made it a significant and strategic place for more than 2,000 years. Fought over, dominated, and destroyed over the years, Caltabellotta has always managed to regenerate itself. Here we enjoy a 5-6 mile walk with spectacular views of the sea and mountains.

After our walk we are rewarded with a visit to a local restaurant, where artisan-crafted pasta delights our senses. Following lunch, we may choose to stretch our legs with a relaxing walk through the vineyards surrounding our hotel, or along the pristine beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.

We reconvene in the kitchen of our hotel, where we discover the secrets of Sicilian cooking with a demonstrative lesson using seasonal ingredients. Dinner tonight is al fresco on our hotel terrace.

Accommodations

La Foresteria
Menfi, Italy

Situated in the countryside of Menfi, La Foresteria stands on a hill overlooking the surrounding vineyards and olive groves, with views of the Mediterranean. The contemporary feel of this boutique farmhouse is carefully mixed with bright colors and warm woods giving one the feeling of being in a private home. In La Foresteria’s kitchen, the passion for the local countryside and the good food and wine produced here result in superlative Sicilian cuisine.  At the end of the day, the infinity pool invites complete relaxation.

Day 4

Selinunte Archeological Park; Transfer to Castelbuono

  • Activity Overview: Walking along trails and optional afternoon walk
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours (approximately 4 miles); 1-2 hours (approximately 2 miles)

This morning we visit Selinunte, the largest archeological park in Europe, with extraordinary Greek temples and the remains of one of the largest cities in western Sicily.

After visiting this site of antiquity, we drive to our hilltop resort, Relais Santa Anastasia. From here we enjoy a spectacular view of the medieval village of Castelbuono, and many acres of vineyards and olive groves.

This afternoon, we enjoy a walk through the vineyards and a tour of the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Winery, known for its biodynamic approach to winemaking. 

Tonight, we dine together at our hotel restaurant, Corte dell'Abate, where we are treated to fresh Mediterranean cuisine.

Accommodations

Relais Santa Anastasia
Castelbuono, Italy

Set amid the picturesque vineyards of a highly regarded wine estate, this converted 12th-century abbey boasts comfortable, spacious rooms, each named after a type of grape. Amenities include an expansive pool terrace with views of the Aeolian Islands, and two restaurants serving food and wine from the estate.

Day 5

Madonie Mountains

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours (approximately 3 miles)

Our morning hike in the interior Madonie Mountains reveals Sicily's deeply rustic culture. Interior Sicily is a completely different world, and to many Sicilians, it's the "true" Sicily of tiny mountain villages, farms, shepherds, and fresh-made cheeses. After our morning hike in the countryside, we enjoy a lunch at a favorite local spot, before returning to our inn. 

This evening you may do as the Sicilians, and stroll through the streets of Castelbuono, perhaps stopping for an aperitivo, before enjoying dinner on your own. 

Accommodations

Relais Santa Anastasia
Castelbuono, Italy

Set amid the picturesque vineyards of a highly regarded wine estate, this converted 12th-century abbey boasts comfortable, spacious rooms, each named after a type of grape. Amenities include an expansive pool terrace with views of the Aeolian Islands, and two restaurants serving food and wine from the estate.

Day 6

Cefalù to Taormina

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3 hours (approximately 6 miles)

Our day begins with a walk through the Relais Santa Anastasia vineyards to the farming countryside above Cefalù, interspersed with small villas, orange groves, and private vegetable gardens.

In Cefalù, we might refresh with a lemon, coffee, or almond granita while strolling the medieval streets. We may also choose to visit the Cathedral-Basilica, or the Mandalisca Museum, and perhaps take a stroll on the beach before driving to Taormina.

Taormina also has some of the most spectacular views in the world—its Greek and Roman origins, medieval streets, and magnificent position overlooking the Ionian Sea have made it a favorite destination for centuries.

This evening you are free to walk through the winding streets of Taormina and dine at one of the many charming restaurants in town.

Accommodations

NH Collection Taormina
Taormina, Italy

Featuring a roof-top terrace and panoramic views, the 5-star NH Collection Taormina is set in the heart of Taormina’s historical center. It features spacious rooms, a modern wellness center, and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the bay. The hotel has an exclusive spa area that comes with a sauna, a Turkish bath, and therapy showers. It also includes a tea room.

Day 7

Mount Etna

  • Activity Overview: Walking along country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours (approximately 8 miles)

Today we drive through graceful, dusky towns built of black lava stone to the lower slopes of Mt. Etna, the powerful volcano that the locals have learned to love despite its many spectacular eruptions. Our exciting hike takes us across lava fields from the 1983 eruption, and through pine forests and shady chestnut groves. Part of our hike is strenuous because we ascend on lava ash, which can make for rough footing, but the volcanic landscape is breathtaking. At the highest point of our hike, we have views down into a huge lava-covered valley, with Etna's main crater visible above.

This evening we toast to our week in Sicily with a farewell dinner in Taormina, enjoying, one last time, the flavors of a region we have come to revere.

Accommodations

NH Collection Taormina
Taormina, Italy

Featuring a roof-top terrace and panoramic views, the 5-star NH Collection Taormina is set in the heart of Taormina’s historical center. It features spacious rooms, a modern wellness center, and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the bay. The hotel has an exclusive spa area that comes with a sauna, a Turkish bath, and therapy showers. It also includes a tea room.

Day 8

Depart from Catania Airport

Today we say ciao to this spectacular island and return home with stories of ancient times, astonishing scenery, and fine Italian wine. A transfer is provided to the airport at Catania after breakfast.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2017
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

May 6-13, 2017

Sep 23-30, 2017

2017 Land Cost

$4,995 Per Person


Single Supplement

First two reserved:$325

Additional:$825

See single supplement policy below.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals except two dinners (Days 5 & 6)
  • Local beer and wine with included dinners
  • All on-tour transportation
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

* This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Italy: Ancient Sicily Hiking is rated 2+, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). It features walks of varying length and difficulty that average 3-6 hours per day.

Meeting Point

Palermo, Italy at 9:00 a.m.

Departure Point

Taormina, Italy; after breakfast

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Palermo, Sicily, Italy (airport code PMO) for the tour meeting point; and Catania, Sicily, Italy (airport code CTA) for the tour departure point. You should plan your flight itinerary to fly into Palermo (PMO), and out of Catania (CTA).

Meeting Time and Place:
Your guide(s) will meet you on Day 1 of your tour after breakfast at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Centrale Palace Hotel in Palermo. Please be checked of your hotel and ready for a day of walking.

Departure Time and Place:
Your guide(s) will provide transportation to the Catania airport (airport code CTA) by 9:00 a.m. on the final day of the tour. Please schedule your flights accordingly, and do not plan your departure time prior to 11:00 a.m. unless you plan on making your own arrangements to the airport. If you have an earlier flight, we will be happy to assist you with arrangements at your own expense.

Preparing for This Trip

It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well-prepared you are for the activities, the more you will enjoy yourself. As a general guideline, we suggest that you engage in easy to moderate aerobic activities (such as walking, hiking, jogging, or cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability (consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program). Please contact us if you have any doubts regarding your physical match with this tour.

What the Trip is Like

Ancient Sicily Hiking will expose you to the finer aspects of this special area, and allows for an intimate experience as we set out on foot through the beautiful landscape. The accommodations we have chosen are among the finest in the region, and are in ideal locations offering exceptional views of broad valleys, rolling countryside, and dramatic coastline. Our meals are chosen to introduce you to regional specialties and they may be taken as a picnic, in a lively trattoria, or as a multi-course meal in an elegant setting; all will be memorable!

Transfer Days

On this tour we have the opportunity to visit both the east and west coasts of Sicily. In order to see the highlights of this diverse island, we will be spending some time driving from one town to the next, with driving times of 1.5 to 3.5 hours on transfer days.

Weather

The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot summers, and short, mild winters. The weather in late spring and early fall is usually very pleasant, with daytime temperatures that range from low 60s to upper 80s, and the 50s and 60s at night. While these months are not in Italy's "rainy season" there can be cool breezes or showers at any time. Please come prepared to walk rain or shine. We will always walk unless weather conditions make it dangerous to do so.

You may obtain more detailed weather information on www.weatherbase.com.

Sicily

May

High: 72
Low: 61

September

High: 81
Low: 72

When to Go

Sicily has a pleasant sunny climate and the spring and fall months tend to be the best times to visit, avoiding the very hot summer months and peak tourist season. Mountainous areas can be surprisingly cool, especially in the evening. A swim in the sea is possible from April to October, with water temperatures increasing throughout the summer months.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

$4,995 / person* *airfare not included
8 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: May 6-13, 2017
    Sep 23-30, 2017
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Activity Level 2+ Easy to Moderate

Easy to moderate walking and hiking, 4-6 hours per day.

  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

Prefer a Custom Tour?

Questions?

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1-800-941-8010

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