Sicily has more vineyards than any other region of Italy which makes it the ideal destination for a wine tour. There are plenty of beautiful towns to explore, over 1000 km of coastline and the interior of the island is a haven for nature lovers.
The capital of Sicily is Palermo, a popular place to fly into and a great starting point to explore the vineyards in the west of the island. Palermo boasts incredible Arabic architecture and a burgeoning gastronomy scene. A shopper’s haven, you will find an excellent choice of designer boutique stores, and a plethora of markets – a great place to find wonderful local handmade coral jewellery. Approximately a two-hour drive south will bring you to the salt flats of Trapani and the town of Marsala, well known for its production of Marsala wine.
East of Palermo is the beautiful tourist town of Cefalù. Famous for its gorgeous sandy beach and unfinished Norman Cathedral, you will love wandering through the picture-perfect old town with its cobbled streets and huge selection of cafés and restaurants.
Located off the north coast of Sicily are the volcanic Aeolian Islands, often referred to as the Lipari islands after the largest island in the group. For a truly unique wine break why not venture off the beaten track and book our hidden gem tour.
Along the east coast of the island the three main centres are Taormina, Catania and Siracusa:
Taormina is located to the northeast of the Etna National Park which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. Perched 200 metres above the sea with a spectacular view of Mount Etna, wandering the myriad of pedestrianised narrow streets is perhaps the best way to experience Taormina. A charming historical town not to be missed and the perfect starting point to discover the wines of Etna and beyond.
Sicily is perhaps best known for being home to Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, situated in the northeast of the Island. Granted UNESCO Heritage status in 2013, the volcano’s fertile soil provides ideal growing conditions for the vineyards, orchards, and olive groves around its foothills. There are several ways to enjoy a visit to Mount Etna including gentle walking routes around the base or adventurous hikes to the main crater. The cable car from Rifugio Sapienza will take you to 2500 metres and is the starting point for guided hiking tours to the summit or you can continue with a tour in a 4×4 vehicle. The main crater can only be reached with a licensed guide and is subject to strict safety regulations. If you are planning to reach the main crater, then it is advisable to check the status of the ascents in advance. Remember that there is a significant difference in temperature at the base to the peak. Whichever option you choose make sure to include a winery visit and a delicious lunch!
To the south of Etna is Catania, the second largest city after Palermo. Set in the shadow of the ancient volcano, Catania is the arrival point for most visitors to Sicily. Founded in the 8th Century BC by the Ancient Greeks, the old town of Catania was almost entirely destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 1693. Rebuilt in the Baroque style the city is often referred to as the grey city due to the unique use of lava as the chosen building material for the reconstruction.
We highly recommend exploring the old town; with its lavish architecture and impressive squares, the area is small enough to easily explore on foot.
Why not indulge in some street food as you walk or stop at one of the many tempting restaurants to order the city’s most famous traditional dish: Pasta alla Norma, named after the opera by Vincenzo Bellini, Catania’s most famous son. This delicious combination of aubergines cooked in a tomato sauce with herbs and ricotta cheese is one of our favourite Sicilian dishes.
Siracusa (Syracuse) dates to the first Ancient Greek settlement in Sicily during the 8th Century BC. The city’s rich Greek and Roman heritage together with its sheltered sandy coves make it a haven for history buffs and beach lovers alike.
The magic of Siracusa lies in the original old town, Ortigia Island. Crossing the bridge to the tiny centre is like stepping back in time. Take a morning to wander through the ancient streets and enjoy the many cafés, bars, boutique shops and art galleries on offer. For food shopping or a spot of lunch don’t miss the daily morning market (7.00am to 1.00pm except Sundays) and no visit to Siracusa would be complete without seeing the impressive Greek Theatre and Roman Amphitheatre, both located in the Archaelogical Park of Néapolis.
Noto is a stunningly beautiful town which, following the devastating earthquake of 1693, was entirely rebuilt in lavish Baroque style. In 2002 Noto and its church were declared a UNESCO heritage site. Located approximately 20 miles southwest of Siracusa, Noto is an extraordinarily beautiful place to visit.
Just a short distance from Noto is Ragusa. Also destroyed in the earthquake of 1693 Ragusa is an intriguing town split into two parts; Ragusa Superiore, rebuilt by the wealthy citizens of the town on a new site and Ragusa Ibla, a charming jumble of narrow streets and houses perched on the hillside, which was rebuilt on the original site. We highly recommend a visit to both towns as part of your stay in Sicily and can recommend visits and tastings at the many exceptional wineries in the surrounding area.
"First class." We have had a fabulous time and can't thank you enough - the attention to my requests and the detail of the trip was great - the perfect mix of wine tasting and time to explore.
Sarah - Milton Keynes, UK
Around half of our trips are completely bespoke. Our expert team would be delighted to discuss your requirements and create your perfect trip.Contact Us