• Sicily Italy small group tour
  • Sicily Italy small group tour
  • Sicily Italy small group tour

Sicily Tour

Small group tours of Italy

Sicily is an absolutely fascinating place to visit, being a crossroads of civilizations with a range of diverse influences. With our 7 day small group Sicily tours we provide a well rounded experience covering the diverse aspects that the island offers. This includes the wonderful food and wine, including a cooking lesson and winetasting; the lifestyle and culture of the people, with visits to markets and a farm; the art and architecture, seeing several Sicilian baroque towns. And of course the history, with visits to ancient Greek and Roman sites including Segesta and Agrigento. We enjoy long lunches, taking time over the multiple courses to enjoy the atmosphere and to relax. Our tours are in small groups to ensure a high quality travel experience.

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On The Sicily Tour You will experience:

  • Palermo - a crossroads of culture, living history.
  • Ragusa - famous for the ornate 16th century Sicilian baroque buildings.
  • Country Farmhouse Lunch - seeing the best of rural Sicily.
  • Siracusa - a treasure trove of faded grandeur on the harbour.
  • Baroque churches - typical of the region with their ornate edifices.
  • Taormina - a town that’s like visiting an elegant film set.
  • Agrigento - and the famed ‘Valley of the Temples’.
  • Golden Mosaics - in the cathedral at Monreale.
  • Erice - perched on a hilltop with charming cobbled lanes.
  • Segesta - with an almost perfectly preserved Greek temple and theatre.
  • Monreale - the incredible cathedral complex near Palermo.
  • Mt Etna - see this active volcano rising up and often erupting.
  • How to cook like a local - hands-on cooking lesson and take home the insider’s knowledge to add to your kitchen repertoire!

On The Sicily Tour You will taste:

The Sicily Tour also includes:

  • 'Italy With Pleasure' provides a Tour Manager for the duration of the trip, who will coordinate all activities and accommodation. We also use specialist local guides to provide specific insight into key features.
  • All accommodation is included. Accommodation is in 4 star hotels in Palermo, Ragusa and Taormina.
  • All breakfasts are included, plus a main meal each day (either lunch or dinner).
  • The meals included in the tour price are listed in the itinerary as: (B)-breakfast; (L)-lunch; (D)-dinner.
  • All costs/entry fees for the activities listed in the itinerary are included.
  • All transport during the tour is included. Transport is in our van/minibus.

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The hotels we use for this tour are good quality hotels and all are centrally located in Palermo, Ragusa and Taormina. This makes it easy for you to spend time independently discovering these wonderful places. All of the hotels we use are 4 star rated.

In Palermo we stay in the heart of historic centre in the Hotel Quintocanto. The hotel offers a refined atmosphere, including an in-house spa which is ideal for when you need a break from seeing the fascinating city of Palermo.

In Ragusa we stay in the heart of the baroque historic centre of Ragusa Ibla, amongst the unique Sicilian baroque palazzi. Here we stay in both the San Giorgio Palace Hotel and the Hotel Antico Convento.

In Taormina we stay in the Grand Hotel Miramare, which boasts wonderful views over the Straits of Messina. The hotel is a short stroll from the centre of Taormina. For cooling off, the hotel has a pool plus is adjacent to the cable car which takes you to the beach below.

Sicily Italy small group tour

Download 2019 Sicily Tour itinerary PDF

Day 1: Palermo & Monreale

Welcome to Palermo, with its many layers of civilizations and history. The city today is a vibrant, living testimony to this cultural heritage. Our hotel is located alongside the historic centre of town, and the vibrancy of this diverse city is all around you.

Starting the tour, we first look at a series of sights that provide an insight into both Palermo and Sicily – the Quattro Canti, the fountain Fontana Pretoria, and the exteriors of the Arab-Norman churches of San Cataldo and Martorana.

At this point we team up for the afternoon with a specialist expert who has a depth of knowledge about all things Sicily and Palermo. Together we travel a short distance to Monreale, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Monreale is on the outskirts of Palermo, a 30 minute drive away.

We start by visiting the cathedral at Monreale, with incredible golden mosaics. It is said to be one of the finest Norman buildings in the world.

We go on to visit the cloisters at Monreale, a particularly evocative setting lined with marble columns. You’ll be amazed at the detailed carved marble and inlaid stone.

On returning to central Palermo we visit the Church of Santa Caterina. This is a veritable jewel-box of ornate decoration – but you’d never know from the plain façade.

Later we view the largest opera house in Italy, the Teatro Massimo (external only).

In the evening we dine together, sharing a meal of Sicilian dishes where we start to discover the unique flavours on offer here: Mediterranean vegetables that combine with Arabic influences to create this unique cuisine, seafood fresh from the Tyrrhenian Sea, and distinctive local wines from grape varieties grown only in Sicily.

Meals included: Dinner (3 courses including wine)
Accommodation: Quintocanto Hotel (4 star), Palermo

Day 2: Erice & Segesta

For those that wish, we go together to walk through the Ballaro markets. These historic markets have formed a part of the fabric of this city for over a thousand years, and still do. Here we experience a fascinating array of sights and sounds – fresh produce from the fertile fields of Sicily, such as the ubiquitous vibrantly coloured aubergines, as well as some cuts of meat that could be described as ‘challenging’.

We depart for Erice, a charming town on a hilltop overlooking the western coast of Sicily. Erice is a medieval town, with beautiful cobbled lanes. There is a long history here, starting with a population that pre-dated the Greeks. We visit the site of the Temple of Venus, now a Norman castle. The views from this point are stunning, looking out over the Egadi Islands where the traditional tuna fishing grounds are.

Sicily is renowned for wonderful sweet pastries, and one of the best pasticcerias in Sicily is here in Erice. At the pasticceria we see the diversity and creativity of their products.

We have lunch in Erice, after which we continue on Segesta, where we have our first glimpse of the monuments that remain from when Sicily was part of Magna Grecia (the greater Greek empire). Segesta boasts one of the most intact Greek Doric temples anywhere, and an excellent Greek theatre, both from the 5th century B.C. In fact some performances continue to be held in this theatre during the summer

We return to Palermo in the early evening

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)
Accommodation: Quintocanto Hotel (4 star), Palermo

Day 3 - Agrigento

Today we depart from Palermo and travel first to Agrigento, with its famous ‘Valley of the Temples’.

This UNESCO World Heritage site features the beautiful Temple of Concordia is one of the most photogenic spots in Sicily. We are shown around by an expert guide, who explains to us the phases of civilisation here, as well as the current discoveries that are being made. Strolling through the archaeological area gives a sense of the gravitas of history, as well as a pleasant experience of continued traditions, surrounded by almond groves and olive trees.

For lunch we stop in at a farm in the countryside, where we get an opportunity to taste of good, wholesome rural Sicilian produce. Much of our lunch is grown right here on the farm. We enjoy a leisurely lunch in the courtyard of the farmhouse.

After lunch we continue on to our hotel in the town of Ragusa, arriving in the early evening.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

Day 4 - Ragusa and Modica

On waking in Ragusa, you can’t help but be charmed by the elegant palazzos and the picturesque winding streets.

Mid morning we meet for a walk together through the town centre, to look at specific elements of the baroque architecture that are a feature of Ragusa.

Ragusa is one of the best examples of the famous Sicilian baroque style, with ornate edifices and intricate detailing. Some of Sicily’s architectural gems are scattered through Ragusa. The buildings we see in this style were built from 1693 onwards, and feature elegant balconies and balustrades.

We depart from our hotel for a short drive to visit a cheese-maker. There are a number of renowned cheeses from this area, and we are at the source - we taste ricotta cheese as it is being made.

We then have a lunch that features a range of specialities from the Ragusa and Modica area, accompanied by the superb wine from here in south eastern Sicily called Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

After lunch we move on to the town of Modica. While Modica is another of Sicily’s famed baroque towns, here we also have an ulterior motive, and that is chocolate. Modica is an important centre for chocolate making, and has its own distinctive style known as ‘cioccolato modicano’. This is made using a different production method to regular chocolate. We have a tasting where you can appreciate the unique qualities of this chocolate.

We also take the chance in Modica to visit a very interesting church, the Chiesa San Nicolò Inferiore, which was re-discovered by chance in 1987. This fascinating church is carved into the rock and features Byzantine-style frescoes.

En route back to Ragusa we stop in at the high town, Modica Alta, where we visit the famed church of San Giorgio – the epitomy of Sicilian baroque.

We return to Ragusa in the late afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

Day 5: Siracusa

Today we visit Siracusa, a treasure trove of ancient palazzi, a fascinating old centre, and many harbourside restaurants where good living comes first.

The old town of Siracusa is the island of Ortigia, the heart of Siracusa, with the remains of the ancient Greek city. We first walk through the Ortigia markets. Here the particular speciality is seafood, with the fishing fleet heading out from the adjacent port and bringing the fresh catch here each morning – the huge swordfish are an impressive sight.

We visit the Duomo (the main church), elegant and domineering in the beautiful central piazza. This church has an intriguing history, going right back to its origin as the Greek Temple of Athena. We still see the ancient Greek columns forming part of the structure of the current church.

We also see a fine Caravaggio painting, the ‘Burial of Santa Lucia’. This was painted in 1609 by Caravaggio when he spent time here in Siracusa, and it depicts the patron saint of the town.

Taking advantage of our coastal location, lunch is in a restaurant that specialises in the seafood of the area. We dine on the waterfront overlooking the bay.

We leave Siracusa in the late afternoon to continue on to Taormina.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

Day 6: Taormina and Etna

We first visit the ancient theatre in Taormina, built first by the Greeks, and enlarged by the Romans. This theatre continues to be a premier location for music and drama performances to this day.

The rest of the morning and lunchtime is free time in Taormina. Visiting Taormina is like visiting an elegant film set, such is the combination of spectacular views (over the sea and Mt Etna), beautiful old buildings, plus a touch of the ancient (both Greek and Roman). We take full advantage of all three aspects (the view, the town, the ancient ruins) as we enjoy our time here. Located high on a hill, there is time available to take the cable car from Taormina down to the beach below the town, and the island Isola Bella. Around town, as well as the archaeological sites, there are numerous ceramics shops and cafes on the piazza.

In the afternoon we travel to the slopes of Mt Etna. We view the foothills of this active volcano before moving on to our cooking class, where you take an active part in preparing a complete four course meal. The dishes are typically Sicilian, a cuisine which has developed through the absorption of a myriad of influences through the ages. With today’s focus on Sicilian cooking, we have a local chef unlock some of the secrets and teach us the techniques used here. As well as this, we discuss the importance and provenance of the ingredients and produce used.

We also taste wines made from Etna’s unique microclimate and lava soils. Wine has been made in Sicily for over 2000 years, and the Etna DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) region is one of the key quality wine areas. The predominant red grape is called Nerello. Then we relax and eat!

We return to Taormina at the end of our evening.

Note: For groups of six or less this day has the cooking in Taormina, instead of on Mt Etna.

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner (3 courses including wine)

Day 7 - Arrivederci

Today is our departure day from Sicily. We travel to your departure point in Catania and bid you “buon viaggio”.

The tour finishes in Catania at 11 a.m.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Sicily Italian Lemoncello

Sicily Tour Dates 2019:

23 -29 May
24 - 30 June
05 - 11 September
09 - 15 September
07 - 13 October
15 - 21 October

Sicily Tour Price:

€2400 ( GBP£2050 / US$2700 / AUD$3700 / NZ$4100 / CAD$3600 )
* Price is denominated in Euros. Prices listed are based on twin share
* Single supplement of €200 for solo travellers

Tour Price Includes:

  • All accommodation is included, in 4 star hotels with central locations in Palermo, Ragusa and Taormina.
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary: breakfast every morning, plus a main meal each day of 3-4 courses including wine.
  • All costs/entry fees for activities listed in the itinerary are included.
  • All transport during the tour is included. Travel is in our van/minibus with a professional driver.
  • 'Italy With Pleasure' provides a tour manager for the duration of the trip.

Sicily Map

Sicily small group tour map

Sicily small group tour