- Mount Etna and Taormina
- Baroque architecture
- Coastal Cefalù
- New holiday
- All breakfasts and more
Discover the island’s sights, scenery and traditions
As the largest island in the Mediterranean just over ten nautical miles from mainland Italy, Sicily has been a crossroad of civilisation throughout the ages. It’s a melting pot of culture with a history of Norman, Phoenician, Greek and Roman settlement. Explore UNESCO-listed baroque towns, unearth centuries of tradition, and take in picturesque landscapes of olive groves and vineyards, mountains and gorgeous coastline.
You’ll stay in a selection of hand-picked, welcoming hotels in the northern capital of Palermo, seaside Mazara del Vallo in the west, hilltop Ragusa in the southern region, and in the popular east coast resort of Acireale.
12 nights in hotels
22 meals: 12 breakfasts (B) and 10 dinners (D)
Saga tour manager
- Return flights and transfers
- Welcome drink and drinks reception
- Porterage at all hotels
Excursions and visits
- Scicli and Noto tour
- Walking tour of Ragusa Ibla
- Modica with chocolate tasting session
- Villa Romana de Casale archaeological site
- Walking tour of Palermo
- Mazara del Vallo walking tour
- Island of Mozia and archaeological museum
- Marsala with wine tasting session
- Visit to Cefalù
- Walking tour of Taormina
- Mount Etna tour
Use of audio headsets on selected guided tours
- Day 1 UK-Catania-Ragusa
- Day 2 Scicli and Noto
- Day 3 Ragusa Ibla and Modica
- Day 4 Ragusa-Palermo
- Day 5 Palermo
- Day 6 Palermo
- Day 7 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo
- Day 8 Marsala and Mozia
- Day 9 Mazara del Vallo
- Day 10 Mazara del Vallo-Acireale
- Day 11 Taormina
- Day 12 Mount Etna
- Day 13 Acireale-Catania-UK
Hotel Mediterraneo Palace
Grand Hotel Maugeri
Day 1 UK-Catania-Ragusa
Fly to Catania and transfer to Ragusa (65 miles, two hours). This hilltop city was rebuilt in two separate parts following an earthquake in 1693 – Ragusa Ibla on the original site, and Ragusa Superiore in a new location, and then merged in 1926 to form one city.
Stay three nights, on a half board basis, at the 4-star Hotel Mediterraneo Palace (4Q), located in Ragusa Superiore. The modern hotel has a restaurant serving Sicilian cuisine and a bar. Enjoy a welcome drink and meeting with the tour manager this evening. D
Day 2 Scicli and Noto
Today visit two of Sicily’s UNESCO-listed baroque towns in the south east region. Begin with a visit to lesser-known Scicli, a small town with both Moorish and Norman origins which rests in a gorge overlooked by a rocky outcrop. It’s also one of the filming locations for the hit television detective series ‘Inspector Montalbano’.
Spend the morning exploring the charming streets lined with baroque palaces and churches, then continue to Noto. Like others in the regions, this beautiful town was destroyed in the 1693 earthquake, and almost entirely rebuilt in the Sicilian baroque style you see today.
After free time for lunch, explore the cobbled streets with your tour manager. B, D
Day 3 Ragusa Ibla and Modica
This morning take a walk through Ragusa Ibla with a local guide. The eastern part of the city is famed for its cultural attractions, which include 14 UNESCO-listed monuments. Marvel at the jumble of houses clinging to the walls of the gorge as you make your way to see the Duomo di San Giorgio, an imposing baroque-style church.
Continue to nearby Modica, another of the region’s baroque towns which is also famous for its chocolate production. The town has a 400-year-old tradition of Sicilian chocolate making, following Aztec methods and recipes imported by the Spanish. Visit Modica’s oldest chocolate producer to see how it’s made and enjoy a tasting of the chocolate and other sweet treats. B, D
Day 4 Ragusa-Palermo
Today, travel to Palermo on Sicily’s north coast (160 miles, four hours). You’ll stop in Piazza Armerina en route for a guided visit of Villa Romana de Casale. This UNESCO-listed archaeological site houses some of the richest and most varied examples of Roman mosaics world-wide. You’ll also have free time here to get lunch.
Continue to Palermo where you’ll stay for three nights at the 4-star Hotel Garibaldi (4Q), on a bed and breakfast basis. The contemporary hotel is housed in a 19th-century building, and is well-placed for exploring the historic city centre.
Dinner at a local restaurant is included this evening. B, D
Day 5 Palermo
Begin the day with a walking tour of Palermo. This exotic city has a fascinating history reflected in its varied architecture which encompasses Arabic, baroque and art nouveau styles. Coupled with its glorious coastal setting, it's quite unlike any other Mediterranean city. Visit the Cappella Palatina and the exquisite Royal Palace for a tour of the Royal Apartments of King Roger, which date back to the 12th century, and his ornate chapel.
The afternoon is free to spend at leisure in the city. B
Day 6 Palermo
Spend the day at leisure in Palermo. Perhaps continue exploring the city independently or simply relax at your hotel.
Alternatively, an optional excursion visits the Norman cathedral at Monreale. B
Day 7 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo
After an early breakfast, travel through olive groves and Sicily’s largest wine-growing region to Mazara del Vallo (78 miles, two hours). The town was an ancient Phoenician trading colony and has an old town reminiscent of a North African kasbah thanks to its location on Sicily's south-west coast. Join a local guide for a walking tour through the labyrinth of narrow streets, then find a spot for lunch, before checking into your hotel this afternoon.
Stay three nights at the 4-star Hotel Mahara (4Q), on a half board plus basis with wine included at dinner. Located on the seafront, the hotel was originally a winery belonging to a British family in the 18th century, and features an outdoor pool and wellness centre. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. B, D
Day 8 Marsala and Mozia
Rise early again this morning, and take a scenic drive to Laguna Stagnone, an area known for its traditional saltworks and coastal scenery dotted with windmills. From here, take a boat trip to the tiny island of Mozia to see the ruins of the Phoenician city which stood here between 800 and 397BC, and pay a visit to the island’s archaeological museum.
Return to the mainland by boat and continue to Marsala, where you’ll have free time for lunch. Marsala is famous for its fortified wine, and after time at leisure to explore, you’ll visit Cantina Florio for a tasting session. B, D
Day 9 Mazara del Vallo
Spend the day at leisure in Mazara del Vallo, or choose to join an optional excursion to a local ‘agriturismo’ farmhouse restaurant. B, D
Day 10 Mazara del Vallo-Acireale
Make the long but scenic journey across the island today, to Acireale on the east coast (250 miles, five hours), visiting Cefalù en route. This unspoilt seaside town is set on the northern Tyrrhenian shore, and combines beautiful beaches with fine examples of medieval, Norman and Arab architecture. Enjoy free time for lunch and to explore the cobbled streets of the honey-coloured old town – don’t miss the UNESCO-listed 12th-century cathedral.
Continue to Acireale, and take a short orientation tour of the town before dinner. Stay three nights at the 4-star Grand Hotel Maugeri (4Q) on a half board plus basis, with wine included at dinner. The welcoming hotel is centrally located, opposite a small public garden. B, D
Day 11 Taormina
Head north to Taormina this morning for a guided walking tour. This resort town overlooks the sea, and boasts impressive views of Mount Etna. Visit Taormina’s centrepiece, the Greek Teatro Antico, built in the 3rd century BC and still used as a venue for music events and theatre.
Return to Acireale for an afternoon at leisure, or join an optional excursion to the historic city of Catania. B, D
Day 12 Mount Etna
Today discover the lava-covered slopes of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Setting off early this morning, drive up to Rifugio Sapienza on the lower level of Mount Etna. From here, the Silvestri Crateri are within walking distance and you can admire the older frozen lava flows and breathtaking views on clear days. You can also choose to ascend higher up the volcano via cable car (not included).
Return the hotel for an afternoon at leisure, and you can look forward to a farewell dinner this evening. B, D
Day 13 Acireale-Catania-UK
Transfer to Catania (20 miles, 30 minutes) for your return flight to the UK. B
Visit neighbouring Monreale to tour its UNESCO-listed cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture on the island. Built in the 12th century, the cathedral's Norman-style exterior gives little indication of the glorious decoration you’ll find inside, where walls are bedecked with ornate mosaics and masterful frescoes in a myriad of colourful shades. Golden mosaics depicting biblical stories and Jesus and his disciples, are emblazoned on the walls of the nave, aisles, transept and apse – covering an area of over 68,000 square feet.
Optional on 12 nights itinerary
’Agriturismo’ farmhouse restaurant
Head inland to a local ‘agriturismo’ farmhouse restaurant for a typically Sicilian lunch. You’ll get to taste the home-grown and home-made produce, including a tasting of the wines produced here.
Optional on 12 nights itinerary
Spend the afternoon exploring Catania, an ancient port city on Sicily's east coast which sits at the foot of Mount Etna. It’s Sicily second city, after Palermo, and was rebuilt after the 17th-century earthquake.
Take a guided walk through the historic city, taking in Catania’s central square, Piazza del Duomo, which is known for its Fontana dell'Elefante statue and the ornate Catania Cathedral.
Optional on 12 nights itinerary