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. From here, you transfer to Giardini Naxos, a beautiful resort just outside of Taormina. On arrival, check in for your 7 night stay at the UNAhotels 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.
Continue to Vulcano, which is 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, the island was named in his honour. Even today the black beaches, natural mud baths and rugged coastline have a touch of mythology in them.
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.
Transferring to Catania Airport, fly back to London 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.
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Explore an enchanting part of Italy