Explore an enchanting part of Italy
An enchanting part of Italy, Sicily boasts a wonderful combination of stunning scenic coastline, historic cities and breathtaking landscapes. Visit Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands on this magnificent holiday.
Your holiday begins today with a flight to Catania, the second largest city in Sicily. From here, you transfer to Giardini Naxos, a beautiful resort just outside of Taormina. Your home for the next seven nights is the 4* Atahotel Naxos Beach.
You enjoy a guided tour of Taormina today, which includes a visit to the stunning Teatro Greco. This incredible brick amphitheatre dates back to the 3rd century BC, yet still hosts performances today. Built during Roman times in a Greek style and the second largest of its kind in Sicily, it is immaculately preserved. From the top of the auditorium, there are views of Mount Etna in one direction, and the peaks of Calabria in another.
Today you head to Syracuse, a prestigious port city with a rich history. Here enjoy a guided tour of Neapolis - which was once the 'New Town', but now an important archaeological park with many of the city's centuries-old public buildings. Amongst the incredible findings here are a Greek amphitheatre that dates back to 500 BC, and the Latomia del Paradiso - a series of limestone caves that haver served a number of purposes over their long years, including serving as a prison during the war between Syracuse and Athens, and as a catacomb.
Later continue to Ortigia, a tiny island connected to Syracuse by a bridge. You can visit its superb cathedral which was built from a former Pagan temple and is reputedly Europe's oldest Christian church. Ortigia is also the home of the majestic Fountain of Arethusa, on Ortigia's seafront. This freshwater spring has been celebrated by poets from Virgil to Milton, and is fascinating to see.
Your entire day is free for you to relax in the hotel and enjoy the coastal views, or perhaps revisit Taormina, to explore the many attractions of this lovely town. Perhaps visit Villa Comunale, to take in Taormina's attractive public gardens.
Here gorgeous blooms line the paths, which are shaded by magnolia trees. Otherwise you could shop for souvenirs in the glamorous shops along the Corso Umberto and the side alleys surrounding it.
Take an excursion to mighty Mount Etna today, Europe's largest active volcano. Pass through the rugged lava plains along the higher slopes and see the impressive Silvestri Craters where the ash has created a depression in the mountain's flank - making an awe-inspiring sight. From here, you are free to take in the view, or perhaps take the cable car to the top, where the summit's active crater is clearly visible - often casting out smoke, accompanied by lumps of tiny red and grey lava, an incredible phenomenon to behold.
Later take the Circumetnea train around the mountain's base, taking in the delightful surrounding villages as well as the breathtaking landscape. Established in 1898, the train's route allows passengers to soak up wonderful views of Etna and the surrounding landscape.
Today you take a boat cruise to the Aeolian Islands, a small volcanic archipelago boasting UNESCO World Heritage status. You stop at Lipari, the largest and most active of these islands, though Lipari Town - a colourful seaport town - is the closest thing to a capital city. The further away from the bustling harbour, with it's pastel-coloured houses, the scenery turns wilder, with dense greenery and rugged hillsides rising out of the water.
Next up is Vulcano, famed for its hot springs and volcanic peaks emitting their visible sulphurous smoke. Believed by the Romans to be a byproduct from the God of Fire's underground workshop, they named the island in his honour, and today it still has a feel of the mysterious about it, with its black beaches, natural mud baths and rugged coastline.
Spend today at leisure, perhaps taking advantage of the hotel's two swimming pools. Otherwise you might like to relax on one of the town's beaches. If you enter the water there is an abundance of sea life to admire, all mixed in with the usually unseen, fossilised lava flows from age-old Etna eruptions.
For a more sedate way to pass the time, why not make your way to the pedestrianised seafront, lined with shops, restaurants, pizzerias and cafés.
You make the journey home today. Transferring to Catania Airport, fly back to the UK where your tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 12 verified reviews
Kate Muir, our tour manager was exceptional! She knew exactly how to control our large group, which made for a hassle free experience. Also the Hotel Ata Naxos Beach was beautiful with extremely helpful staff. We did have a problem in as much as the original accommodation was situated far away from the main building up a sharp incline, and my 82 year old companion found the walk too difficult. Without hesitation, the hotel manager arranged for us to stay in the main complex which was much more convenient. Top marks!
The whole tour was excellently planned and managed by the tour manager, Patricia Isaac.
I think the whole thing was excellent.
Wonderful part of the world to visit, great hotel, great food, great days out and great tour manager. Our trip up Mount Etna had to be the highlight but we could see Mount Etna from the hotel. Fantastic trip.
The over long days let this holiday down especially for the average age of the holidaymakers
Hotel meals Every thing else was fine.
We really enjoyed the holiday. Giardini Naxos is a beautiful place.
The Hotel was excellent. The food was excellent, plenty of choice, fresh fruit, variety of meat and fish dishes. Professional,attentive staff. Derek our rep.was helpful and friendly, and the holiday in general met our expectations. The excursions were a disappointment! The trip to Torimina although interesting,did not give us much time in the town. The trip to Mount Etna was well organised but we had too much time and not much to do once we had seen the crater. We were then driven to a deserted little train station kept waiting for an hour for a train that took us on a rather boring journey with nothing of interest to see.It would have been better to go back to the Hotel and spend a while by the sea especially as we had had a very early start. There were only 3 men interested in trains and they could have been offered an excursion to suit their interest instead of us all having to endure a tiring journey. The boat trip to the two volcanic islands were fun but again we would have preferred more time on the larger island and a lot less time on the smaller second island where we were taken on a POINTLESS Coach journey (costing us 10euros) where there was nothing of interest to see and then had over an hour to waste before catching the boat back to the mainland. Overall I had a good holiday. Thank you.
Location good, hotel could have been better. Very disappointing with the lack of gluten-free options, which were not always clearly labelled, and on one occasion for dinner, there was nothing I could eat. Tour guides were mixed; one good, the others far too rushed on which were very hot days. Our tour manager was not given enough information about the location where we were staying and also different for her given that the bus driver did not speak English, and she didn't speak Spanish. Awkward at times!
The location of the hotel was in beautiful grounds very well kept.Room had private patio where you could sit quietly in a garden area.The room was kept very clean and repairs done quickly. Getting up early for trips was a good idea because places of interest were visited before the main crowds. We had excellent local guides and a very good bus driver. Led by a friendly and helpful tour managerThe flowers and trees round Sicily were particularly beautiful and interesting and of course the weather was perfect.
Explore an enchanting part of Italy