Rugged, peaceful and not on the tourist trail, the Madonie Mountains are real back-to-nature stuff. Our first stop is Abbazia Sant'Anastasia Winery, a traditional vineyard. A full tour of the cellars is followed by a taste of their organic wines. Then it's on to Castelbuono. All cobbled lanes and medieval architecture, get lost in its maze of streets during free time, or stop by the 'borgo' and the chapel of Sant'Anna. There's a final stop in Fiasconaro to taste a typical panettone pastry treat and manna – a local sweetener made from ash tree resin.
Thanks to its mineral-rich volcanic landscape, Sicily's waters are full of life. And you'll get a chance to explore them on this half-day scuba diving trip. Making your own way to the port, you'll set off cruising along the coast into the island nature reserve of Isola Bella. Mooring up in the Grotta Azurra and Grotta Del Giorno sea caves, you'll slip into scuba gear and dive in. And your expert diving instructors will have you feeling like a pro in no time. The waters here are calm and clear so expect to see fish, sea urchins, starfish, shrimp and eels. Then, after a couple of dives, it's back on the boat for a leisurely return to the port.
'We're going to make you an offer you can't refuse'. Well, this used to be Mafia country, after all. First up will be Savoca, where you'll find the church that Al Pacino's character, Michael Corleone got married in. You'll walk in his footsteps as you discover the winding alleyways, and even sit in his chair in Bar Vitelli. After a ride through the countryside, you'll soon arrive in medieval Forza d'Agro, a small mountain village, where you'll see the Church of Annuncation, also of Godfather fame. Even if you're not a fan of the films, the views from these clifftop villages are second to none.
Palermo takes its food very seriously, so this tour combines a shot of sightseeing with a plateful of food tasting. Once you've arrived in the city, you'll need to be ready to take a bite out of Palermo. This walking tour will feature a nice mix of art, history, traditions and architecture while wandering around the main monuments and historical streets. You'll explore ‘Il Capo' market to try some authentic bites, and head to places only locals go such as typical bakeries and inns. There's the option to visit the Capuchin Catacombs, home to an extraordinary collection of mummies.
Europe's highest active volcano looms large over everyday life in Sicily. On this thrilling tour, you'll hop on a 4x4 off road Safari to explore some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the north slope of Mt Etna. You'll visit the Sartorius Craters as well as lava fields and caves, and also drop into a winery for a tasting. This is one of our TUI Collection excursions, which give you a local flavour of the destination while showcasing its unique, authentic and responsible values.After arriving at a quarry at the foot Mt Etna, you'll travel off-road in a 4x4 off-road safari along the lava flows from the 1928 eruption – the last to destroy a town – towards the Sartorius Craters at 1,800 metres above sea level. Stroll through lava fields and learn about what life is like next to an active volcano, and about the versatile vegetation that grows thanks to it.There's a rest at the Ragabo refuge – lunch optional – and a visit to a hidden lava cave before an afternoon tour of the Gambino winery to taste aromatic wines and typical products of Mt Etna's slopes.
The rustic villages in the hills around Taormina are steeped in history as you'll discover during this exclusive excursion culminating with a delicious dinner. Casalvecchio Siculo and Limina are the stars of this Sicilian-infused evening. This is one of our TUI Collection excursions, which give you a local flavour of the destination while showcasing its unique, authentic and responsible values.As you head inland along the Agrò valley, you'll encounter hilltop hamlets that have barely changed since the Middle Ages. This is the forgotten Sicily, just a short drive from the cosmopolitan coastal towns. At Casalvecchio Siculo, you'll visit the Norman-era church of Saints Peter and Paul, which looks much like it did back in the 12th century, and is exclusively opened for TUI guests.Next, head to Limina for a Sicilian dinner at the family-run U Lantirnaru – ‘the Lantern Maker' – restaurant. A cooking demonstration from Eleonora will show how macaroni and arancini are made. And then enjoy most homely dinner imaginable, with drinks and folk music included.
Watching the sky light up in a variety of orange hues and then burn out into darkness while standing atop a volcano is unique sensation. This dramatic tour takes you to Mt Etna – a must-visit when in Sicily. You'll head to a height of almost 3,000 metres to catch the sunset and then feast on a traditional meal. This is one of our TUI Collection excursions, which give you a local flavour of the destination while showcasing its unique, authentic and responsible values.As part of a select group of no more than 19 guests, you'll go on a minibus drive to Mt Etna. As the terrain becomes rockier, we switch to a 4x4 vehicle. There'll be stops to take in the harsh, lunar-like lava-smothered landscape as we make our way to 2,900m above sea level – the highest point that's safely reachable.Make sure you're wearing comfortable walking shoes and warm layers – it gets cold at high altitude. After admiring the views from what's almost the top, an expert alpine guide will take to a less exposed 2,500m, where you'll watch the sunset in comfort. Then on the way back, we'll stop at a chalet for a typical Sicilian dinner.
See two of Sicily's star turns in just one trip – the spectacular Alcantara Gorge and Europe's largest active volcano, Mt Etna. Your adventure starts with a drive to the ancient canyon at Alcantara. You'll have free time to take in the natural beauty of the 50-metre-high black lava walls or paddle in its crystalline pools. Surrounded by lots of lush vegetation, it's an amazing spot. After you've dried off, it's on to Mt Etna. The journey up the volcano will be by coach to the Sapienza refuge, 1,900 metres above sea level. Once there, you can admire the scenery or catch a cable car up to 2,900 metres for even better views.
There are many ways to enjoy the Sicilian sunset, and nothing quite beats an evening of sailing, aperitivo sipping and sunset watching – and that's exactly what this small-group trip promises. You'll also learn how to sail, take a swimming break and watch the sun go down from a vantage point with uninterrupted views.
Two of Sicily's highlights are in the spotlight on this exclusive-to-TUI tour. You'll visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valley of the Temples, to step back in time in amongst a captivating archaeological site, then head to one of the top ten most unique coastlines as named by TripAdvisor, Scala dei Turchi.First up will be one of the largest archaeological sites in the world, the immense Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. It packs in countless temples perched on a high ridge, all of which you'll see, including the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and Concordia Temple at the end of the Sacred Way. You'll be given headphones to hear your guide, too, so you'll not miss any details.Afterwards, you'll make your way to the bright white Scala dei Turchi, a natural limestone staircase that descends into the blue sea. You'll have time for a swim before heading back to the hotel.
The day will kick off with a scenic trip through the impossibly green Alcantara Valley to take in some of Sicily's famed panoramas. You'll stop by one of the gorges carved out by the river to take a photo and then continue to Randazzo, located on the northern foot of Mt Etna. Every Sunday is about its local market, which you'll get to browse. Time to wash it down with some Sicilian wine, which you'll try at Vini Patria winery in its vineyard overlooking Mt Etna. To end the day on a sweet note, you'll then swing by Linguaglossa to try some of Pino Azzuro's Sicilian almond delicacies.
If ancient cities, holy monuments and a touch of the macabre are your thing, then this three-in-one tour is a must. First up is UNESCO-listed Monreale Cathedral where you'll marvel at the architecture before a guide gives you the history of its pure-gold mosaics. You'll then stop by Palermo for a walking tour of some of the best-preserved historic landmarks in the world. After, you can take time to sip a cappuccino, browse the market, or grab some lunch in the famous Piazza Verdi. We'll round things off with an optional visit to the Capuchin Catacombs – home to the mummified bodies of local monks as far back as the 16th Century.
The beautiful simplicity of Sicilian cuisine has made it one of the island's best attractions, right up there with Mt Etna, classical ruins and baroque architecture. This cookery class in Taormina is a chance to learn more about the island's cuisine, and sharpen your cooking skills at the same time.The fun begins at Taormina market, where you'll be given tips on how to shop for the best meat, fish and vegetables. Your guide will then take you on a short walk through the town, to a nearby restaurant. There, you'll get a two-hour cooking lesson from an experienced local chef. He'll start by giving you a demonstration of how to prepare a Sicilian meal.Then, it's over to you to have a go at cooking it yourself. You'll get to judge your own culinary skills afterwards, as what you've prepared will be served for lunch. A sommelier will also help to pick out the best wines for your meal.
Take part in a walking tour of Cefalù to discover the city's historic center and its rich street food tradition!
Sicilians like to be direct. So when it came to naming the tiny islet of Isola Bella – it means ‘Beautiful Island' – there was only ever going to be one option. The pine-clad rocky outcrop that is Isola Bella is a nature reserve known for birds like kingfishers, peregrine falcons and herons. When you reach the island, the boat will moor outside the Grotta Azzurra and Grotta Del Giorno sea caves for swimming and snorkelling. After you've had the chance to spot sea urchins, starfish, shrimp and eels among the coral, the boat will transfer you back to the harbour for yet another chance to take in the great coastal scenery.
On this trip, you'll discover the best of the Aeolian Islands. Departing from Milazzo, we set off early to Lipari, the largest of the islands. One of the oldest settlements in Europe, there's plenty to explore here. Your guide will give you all the history as he tours you round the landmarks before free time to explore on your own. Over on the island of Vulcano, its volcanic origins are clear to see – you'll soon spot fumes spouting from its crater. It's a great place for a mud bath and you can smother yourself in the stuff before rinsing off in the sea. Then, spread out your towel and enjoy time on the sand before boarding the boat back.
Mt Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and a true icon of Sicily. By coach, cable car and minibus you‘ll ascend 1900 mts above sea level to one of the famous mountains main craters. On a clifftop overlooking sweeping bays, Taormina is home to some of the best-preserved historic landmarks in the world. Take time to sip a cappuccino in the piazza, browse the boutiques, or check out the town's ancient Greek-Roman theatre. Once you've had your fill of sightseeing, it's on to Mount Etna. You'll grab a cable car or an all-terrain vehicle and journey up to 1,900 metres for the grandstand views atop this historic landmark.
Steeped in legends, history and enough Greek drama to keep you on your toes, Syracuse will have you enthralled from beginning to end. You'll arrive at the island of Ortigia, the historic heart of Syracuse, for a tour. Unravel layers of history while admiring Roman, Greek, medieval and baroque architecture, and step into the UNESCO-protected Cathedral of Syracuse. What's more, you'll browse the market where locals flock to stock up on all their goodies. And after a tour in a typical ‘Ape Calessino' – a type of tuk-tuk – you'll head to the Archaeological Park of Syracuse.
The past comes to life in Syracuse – a city packed with classical heritage as well as flamboyant Sicilian baroque architecture. With more than 2,700 years of history behind it, Syracuse is one of Sicily's most fascinating cities. Your journey through time kicks off at the Archaeological Park in the west of the city. Discover the Greek Theatre, which held 15,000 spectators in its heyday, and still awes despite the ravages of time. There's also the Altar of Hiero, the Ear of Dionysius as well as the Roman amphitheatre. You'll then cross the bridge to Ortygia island. Its labyrinthine streets are packed with churches, palaces and castles.
Mother Nature's two greatest gifts to eastern Sicily were the spectacular Alcantara Gorge and Europe's largest active volcano, Mt Etna. Your adventure starts in the Alcantara Gorge, where you'll have free time to take in the natural beauty and paddle in its pools. Surrounded by lots of lush vegetation, it's an amazing spot. After you've dried off, it's on to Mt Etna. Most of the journey up the volcano will be by coach. You'll then transfer to a Unimog – a kind of 4x4 minibus - and a guided walk will take you to the Sapienza refuge at 1,900 metres above sea level from where you'll catch a cable car up to 2,900 metres for even better views.