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Get out and about on foot on our Sicily grand tour. Sicily is a magical island-museum full of unexpected treasures, spectacular scenery and superb food. On our Sicily Grand Tour, you will see some of the world’s most ancient and evocative monuments, experience local traditions, and taste delicious fresh flavours. We walk through incredible mountains and along coastal trails. Many of the places to visit are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This Caspin Journeys unique walking experience is a journey through time from prehistoric cave dwellers, into the classical world of the Greeks and the Romans and emerging gradually through food and folklore into our modern times. Depending on the season, we explore some more remote areas such as the volcanic Aeolian Islands (*in spring) situated to the north of Sicily and named after Aeolus the mythological god of the winds, or the southern-most isolated hill-towns of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla (**in autumn) which are sometimes described as islands within an island and famous for its rich artistic and archaeological riches and lively lost-in-time atmosphere. Our passion for guiding in Caspin’s unique style will deepen your historical knowledge of Sicily, the largest island and the heartbeat of the Mediterranean.
DURATION: 13 days
PICK UP & DROP OFF: Palermo Airport
“Sicily has had 13 foreign dominations and this is reflected in its culture. Nothing is quite like it! Sicily is a fascinating place, quite unlike any other.” Andrea Camilleri
We journey at a walking pace through scenery and monuments giving us time to enjoy and absorb each moment to the full. Sicily is a living testimony to the contribution made by different cultures over time. Sicily is also famous for hospitality, gourmet food, panoramas and not least tales, legends and curiosities re-evoked time and time again. Think of Homer’s Odyssey and Francis Ford Coppola’s infamous Godfather!
On this tour you will travel at a perfect pace. Our small group walking tour of Sicily is immensely popular. It is a large island and you are accompanied throughout by knowledgeable historians and archaeologists.
Sicily is a magical island-museum where you can see many unexpected treasures and walk in spectacular scenery. Picture the 2000-year-old columns of a superbly preserved Doric Greek temple standing at the foot of rugged mountains, bathed in sun and colorfully carpeted with wildflowers. Experience the remote Madonie mountains, encounter seas of wildflowers, visit a hidden cave with Paleolithic and Neolithic paintings, and enjoy picnic feasts among vines and olives.
We visit the forty mosaic floors in the finest Roman Villa ever to have been discovered. There are mosaics decorating fine Norman Cathedrals. And then walk along medieval cobbled streets where time seems to have stood still and dip your toes in the breathtaking blue and emerald green of the Mediterranean Sea while enjoying spectacular views of the active volcano Mt Etna.
Sicilian people are welcoming, warm and hospitable; the food embraces the aromas of the sun, sea and soil; a wonderful blend of woodland and sea flavours; swordfish, pine nuts, raisins and wild fennel; oranges and lemons simply bursting with sweet juices; ricotta cheese in specialties such as Cannoli; the ingredients are delicious, hearty and great fun at the end of every exciting day.
In Sicily everything is a high point: you are at the heartbeat of the Mediterranean; a mythical island of great enchantment, bathed in sun, blessed by its plants, flowers and fruit, and home to people who are warm and hospitable and greet the stranger as a far-flung friend.
If you would like to speak with us to know more about our Sicily Grand Tour and get help planning your trip, please write us an email. We would be happy to hear from you and help you plan your next adventure!
We meet at 13.00 at Palermo airport; drive to Scopello to walk in the Zingaro Nature Reserve (boots required). Enjoy the rugged, Sicilian coastline and learn how locals used to make a living from tuna fishing and basket weaving. If lucky, we may spot a peregrine falcon. High above the coast, admire the colours of the Mediterranean. In the afternoon enjoy a gelato or cappuccino in a local cafe and stroll around the charming narrow streets of Erice. The town has a sweeping view of the valley below and is famous for almond pastries. The cobbled streets of Erice are charming to explore and its roots date back to the Trojan refugees.
Meals: Dinner Walk: 4hrs / 7km; Elev. +/- 500ft
From Trapani we take a hydrofoil to Levanzo and walk across the hinterland to a hidden cave, the Grotta del Genovese (Cave of Genovese). Through an enlarged rabbit warren we enter the cave to admire a beautiful example of ancient art: the graffiti date back to 11-12 thousand years ago and they represent a treasure of Palaeolithic and Neolithic drawings. We continue around the island with views of Favignana and Marettimo, the other two islands of this archipelago, set in crystal clear blue waters. We return mid afternoon to explore the charming town of Erice.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 3.5hrs / 11km; Elev. +/- 400ft
We visit the Greco-Trojan city of Segesta at the top of Monte Barbaro to see the IV BC theatre which has a stunning view overlooking the countryside and sea, walking down afterwards to the unfinished Doric temple – situated one a truly incredible setting – and then on to a forest track on the other side of the river gorge for a delicious picnic lunch with a panoramic view of the temple. Afternoon drive down the south coast past vineyards, orange orchards and olive groves.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 3hrs / 10km
A pleasant morning beach walk takes us to the unusual Scala dei Turchi promontory (2hrs/6.5km). In the afternoon we visit the museum of Agrigento with a local guide. Inside is an excellent collection of artefacts, temple decorations, a giant statue from the temple of Zeus, votive offerings and a model of the largest temple in Magna Graecia. We then walk through the Valley of the Temples, UNESCO world heritage site, discussing Greek civilisation and why Pindar described Akragas as ‘most beautiful of mortal cities’.
FOCUS: The ancient city of Agrigento, 600 B.C., one of the greatest Mediterranean centres of antiquity. The remains of the Doric Temples which dominate the city and known as the Valley of the Temples are well preserved and are Testimony to one of the most prominent periods of Greek art and culture. They testify to the magnificence and supremacy of the ancient Greek culture.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 5hrs / 8km
We drive to Piazza Armerina, located in the heart of Sicily known as ‘the bread basket of Rome’. Here we visit the very fine Roman Imperial Villa Casale, another beautiful UNESCO heritage site, with over forty pictorial mosaic floors life of the rich roman citizens. A pleasant walk takes us over a hill, past fresh water fountains and enters the medieval town of Piazza Armerina where we stop for a delicious gelato. We end the day in Siracusa on Ortygia Island.
FOCUS: The Villa Romana, 300-400 A.D., a great example of luxury Roman living in Sicily. It is located far from the sea in the centre of the island at the foot of Mount Mangone. The exceptional beauty and quality of mosaic floors which decorate the villa illustrate its greatness and underline the importance of the island of Sicily in imperial Roman times.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 2.5hrs / 8km; Elev. +/-600ft
We head out for a vigorous, stunning walk in the Unesco World Heritage site, Pantalica, a marvel of archaeology and nature immersed in the breath-taking and silent gorges of the Iblei Mountains. This mysterious place is a deep limestone ravine that has been carved out over time by the Anapo river. At the top is a unique archeological testimony from the Prehistoric to the Byzantines ages; there are thousands of rock-cut tombs of various shapes and sizes on the steep cliffs of the canyon making it look like a giant honeycomb!
As we reach the bottom, we find lush vegetation and a plethora of flourishing flora and walk the old tunnels and trails of a disused railway with the river running by and the high walls of the canyon dominating the sky above. The day ends back in Siracusa just as the locals are emerging after their siesta to stroll and enjoy a tasty gelato!
FOCUS: the Necropolis of Pantalica containing more than 5,000 rock-tombs.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Walk: 3hrs/9.5km; Elev. +/- 200m
Enjoy a leisurely morning to explore the historic quarters of Ortigia. Don’t forget to stroll around the lively fish market and also admire the colourful fruit and vegetables on display – a great place to pick up something tasty for lunch!
We meet early in the afternoon to join a local guide in the archaeological park and explore the ruins including a Greek quarry, theatre & sacrificial altar and a Roman amphitheatre. We learn how Siracusa, as the arch-enemy of ancient Athens, became the capital of Magna Graecia and the most powerful city of the ancient Greek world.
We now travel up the coast and around the base Mount Etna to reach Taormina.
FOCUS: Greek Siracusa in 800 B.C. – the birthplace of Archimedes, the remains of Greek temples under the town hall and inside the Cathedral which has also been a mosque! and most amazing of all, a Greek theatre carved out of a single stone hillside.
Meals: Breakfast / Dinner Walk: 2hrs exploring the ruins
Free day to explore the charming streets of Taormina, Sicily’s most famous resort town and also Castelmola. Visit the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, do a little shopping, sit in a street cafe and watch the world go by. Optional guided walk along ancient mule tracks down into Taormina and then continuing down to Mazzaro’ beach for lunch.
FOCUS: Mount Etna Views– the most active and highest volcano in Europe is of geological, scientific and cultural value; with intense and persistent volcanic activity. Mount Etna dominates the skyline in Taormina and is visible from almost everywhere.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
We drive to Milazzo and catch a hydrofoil to Vulcano for the unforgettable experience of walking up a volcano, going around the rim and looking into the smouldering sulphurous crater (1280ft). Afternoon boat excursion to reach our accommodations in Panarea (transportation by hydrofoil and private boat).
FOCUS: the Aeolian Islands, a 7-island archipelago (Panarea, Stromboli, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari and Salina) located north of the coast of Sicily have volcanic origins and separated from the land of Sicily by 200 m deep waters. The two different kinds of eruption (Vulcanian and Strombolian) have given the science of volcanology a chance to enrich and improve their knowledge.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 4hrs/9km
Scenic circular walk around the island of Panarea and onto the ancient crater wall where a Bronze Age village has been discovered at the south-west end of the island.
In the afternoon we take a private boat across to the active volcanic island of Stromboli where you can still see the lava flows by night. These islands are inspirational to film makers and more recently Il Postino was filmed here. (walk 3-4hrs; private boat excursion).
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 3hrs/8km
We travel by hydrofoil back to mainland Sicily. Today we visit Cefalu’s charming old quarters, the Norman Cathedral with free time in the bustling fishing town. If you are feeling sprightly you can walk with us up to the Rocca promontory with walls and castle ruins offering magnificent views of the harbour, town and emerald blue sea. (hydrofoil; strolling day). *lunch independently.
FOCUS: the Arab-Norman architecture, 1130-1194, dates from the time of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. An architectural circuit winds its way through the civil and religious monuments of the city of Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu. This is a unique historical example of social and cultural syncretism (amalgamation of different religions and cultures) and testimony to the fruitful coexistence of different religions and cultures, Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Meals: Breakfast / Dinner Walk: strolling around Cefalù
A walk in the heart of the Madonie mountains, an area seldom visited and of ancient traditions. We stroll through the cobbled streets of Geraci Siculo where time seems to have stood still. Our hiking trail climbs through pine forests to Pizzo Corvo where we emerge and cross mountain pastures through awe-inspiring scenery with occasional views of Mt. Etna, the sleeping giant which looms at a distance of over 50 miles as we approach Petralia Soprana. (4hrs/13km) (Elev. +/-300m)
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner Walk: 4hrs/13km; Elev. +/-300m
Departure from our hotel at 9.00 to transfer to Palermo Airport.
We recommend you book flights departing after 14.00; allow about 2.5 hours to reach the airport. If you wish, we can help you to extend your stay or make other independent departure arrangements such as early taxis to the airport.
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We will create unforgettable memories!
A nice hotel and a good night’s sleep are an important part of your overall travel experience!
When considering a hotel, we look at more than just the rooms. We look for hotels or bed and breakfasts which are committed to ensuring their guests are well looked after and pay attention to detail, for example offering locally sourced breakfast produce, or a special selection of toiletries, or tea and coffee making facilities in the room. Wherever possible your hotel* will be perfectly positioned for exploring and will have a historical charm or maybe a new and innovative design. We choose the best possible places to stay ensuring that each night you are comfortably settled in a place that is welcoming and full of authentic local charm. We are on a mission to find the ingredients you need to wake up feeling rested and looking forward to each day of your Caspin Journeys tour!
Take a closer look at some of the places we have chosen for you…
*Hotels may vary
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You should fly into and out from Palermo Airport.
Pick up for this tour is at Palermo Airport.
Drop off is at Palermo Airport too.
If you plan on arriving a few days early and will not be flying in on pick up day, contact us and we can work together to arrange a more convenient pick up location for you.
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We believe that where you sleep is an important part of your overall travel experience. So, we put a lot of effort into carefully choosing the hotels for each tour.
Our priority is to find attractive, clean, and quiet rooms with private bathrooms in the best possible accommodation. We make sure that each night you are comfortably settled in a place that is welcoming and full of authentic local charm.
The result is a fabulous selection of delightful hotels, medieval palaces, family-run hotels, country residences, manor houses, historic inns, luxurious alpine hotels – sometimes with a spa, sauna, or swimming pool facilities – and all with character, tasty food and a friendly atmosphere.
You will have to keep coming back to experience them all! Sweet Dreams!
We love our jobs and personally lead all our small group tours. Italy, Spain and England are our homes and our passion. We bring that excitement with us on all our tours so that you too share our favourite places.
We are very experienced and handle all the logistics while you relax and become immersed in the local culture, history and traditions.
We know the locals on all our trips and they love meeting our groups. We are small enough to get into private homes, chat to villagers, fit in small restaurants and enjoy all kinds of unexpected events that aren’t accessible to large groups of tourists following a red umbrella.
Our customer reviews say that Caspin Journeys takes the best care of you. We are a sustainable travel company and the only thing we leave behind is our footprints!
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Getting out and about on foot is a wonderful way to slow down the pace, relax and get some healthy exercise.
When we walk we see so much more – grapevines, wildflowers, ancient oaks, wheat fields, avenues of cypresses and pine, time resistant hills and valleys.
As we stroll through historic towns we learn about the culture of the people; as we stand in the splendour of the countryside, beneath the soaring columns of ancient temples, abbey walls and turrets of medieval castles we marvel at man’s ability to conceive of and construct such monuments.
Food is an all important part of each and every one of our journeys. We are foodies, we love to savour the authentic flavours of each destination we visit. And let’s not forget the wine “the drink of the gods” which will accompany every meal, even picnics!
Picture yourself eating Buffalo mozzarella from a farm in Amalfi, tasting a Sicilian cannolo with fresh ricotta cheese, home-made pasta, organic vegetables, fresh fish and so on.
Or why not consider a Gourmet Cooking Holiday in Tuscany, where you will learn directly from the locals?
If all this sounds mouthwatering then look no further, you are in the right place 😉
On our small group tours we use a combination of gourmet restaurants, local trattorias, traditional pubs, tapas bars and farmhouse meals, to give you the best overall experience!
Each adventure combines fantastic hikes and authentic cultural experiences which make for a phenomenal and enriching travel experience. – admire Giotto’s frescoes in Assisi – walk in the Castle gardens of Henry VIII – stand at the tomb of St James in Compostela – gaze at and touch the columns of a Greek temple – visit the birthplace of Napoleon Buonaparte – see how a Duke lives at Blenheim Palace – tread the streets of Pompeii – admire mosaics in a Norman cathedral – understand more about the Roman Empire Travel in the richest artistic heritage in the world, many of which are part of UNESCO. What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on an unforgettable trip.
Our travel style attracts a similar type of people, outgoing, interesting, adventurous, cultured and curious.
You’ll enjoy the company of your fellow travelers on our small group tours. Italy’s food and wine, England’s local pubs, and Spain’s meditative and spiritual pilgrim route are best experienced amidst the camaraderie of the group.
Guests who join our small group tours become our friends. They return again and again to share new adventures as we explore these unforgettable destinations with like-minded travellers and build ever-lasting memories together.