Multi-Day Tour | Private

Sicily, Italy | Ultra-Luxe Tour to highlights of Sicily and Aeolian Islands (11 days)

Blue Parallel

Palermo, Italy To Catania, Italy

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 Aug 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Palermo, Italy
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa None

Personal greeting by your Blue Parallel host at the Palermo airport, and taken by private transfer to your hotel in downtown Palermo. After settling into your accomodation, you will have the choice to relax at leisure or go on a brief walking tour with your expert guide. In the evening, enjoy dinner at one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 2
Agrigento, Italy
Villa Athena Breakfast, Lunch

Following breakfast, you will be taken by private transfer to Monreale (approx. 20 min transfer) to see the famous Norman cathedral with your personal guide. Monreale is a famous cathedral known for its Norman architecture and for the vast Byzantine-style frescoes which cover the interior. Following Monreale, continue to a private estate in the heart of the Sicilian countryside (approx. 1.5 hour transfer) where you can enjoy a special lunch and wine tasting. The estate is a restored 18th century farm villa built by Sicilian aristocracy. This property contains almost 1,000 acres of vineyards and its highest elevation level reaches almost 3,000 ft above sea level. The area is characterized by intense greenery that stretches over several hundred acres through the Sicilian interior between Palermo and Caltanissetta to the Sclafani Bagni hills. Here the fruit matures more slowly, and a greater range of grapes can be found – it truly is a breathtaking sight to see! Afterwards, continue to your hotel in Agrigento where you can enjoy dinner with breathtaking views of the Valley of the Temples.

Day 3
Agrigento, Italy
Villa Athena Breakfast

Following breakfast, your personal expert guide will take you to visit the astounding ruins of the Valley of the Temples. Enjoy a private tour of one of the most famous UNESCO attractions in Sicily. This splendid archaeological park consists of eight Greek temples built between 510 BC and 430 BC. Here you can find the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius.

Afterwards, continue by private transfer to the Scala dei Turchi, or “Stair of the Turks,” a rocky cliff on the coast of Realmonte. It is a dazzling white rocky cliff, rising 50 meters above sea level. Its gleaming color is eye-catching enough, but what makes it all the more remarkable is that it looks like a staircase carved by man, even though its shape is entirely natural. It was formed by marl, a sedimentary rock with a characteristic white color. It lies between two sandy beaches, and is accessed through a limestone rock formation in the shape of a staircase, hence the name. The latter part of the name derives from the frequent raids carried on by Moors.

In the evening, your guide will take you to one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 4
Vizzini, Italy
Castello Camemi Breakfast

Following breakfast, continue to the Val di Noto (the Noto Valley, also known as the Baroque Valley) where you will be staying at an enchanting castle that has been restored to surpass its former glory days (approx. 2 hr transfer). The Val di Noto has eight gorgeous late-Baroque cities and was granted the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. These cities already existed during the Medieval Age, but were rebuilt in the Baroque stylistic model after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693.Before arriving to your estate, stop in the nearby village of Vizzini where you can enjoy a traditional lunch. This village is rich iin architectural heritage and most known for being home to 32 churches and as the inspiration for many novels by Sicily’s most prized writer, Giovanni Verga. Afterwards. take a walking tour with your expert guide and enjoy exclusive access to one of these churches and the Osteria (or tavern) where Giovanni Verga wrote most of his novels.

Day 5
Vizzini, Italy
Castello Camemi Breakfast

Meet your Blue Parallel biking team and go over the day’s plan. A technician will be on hand to properly fit your bikes and equipment. Following the briefing, depart the property on a 22 mile bike tour in the heart of the Baroque Valley in Sicily. First, head through the rolling hills of Val di Noto to the charming village of Mineo, a place where one can experience the true flavor of Sicilian life. As you peddle through the valley, observe the surrounding hills dotted with orange groves and blanketed with wheat fields. Following Mineo, get back on your bikes and head uphill to the village of Caltagirone, a UNESCO world heritage site known for its Baroque architecture and thousand-year ceramic-making tradition. Here you are greeted by your personal expert guide and are taken to eat a local trattoria for a delicious seafood antipasto before a brief walking tour. Following Caltagirone, your host will pack up your bikes and take you on a private drive through the winding hills of Val di Noto to the village of Grammichele, located at the feet of the Hyblaean Mountains. In Grammichele, your personal expert guide will show you the main square of the town, a true architectural highlight, and later take you for coffee at the Circolo Giovani Operai.

Day 6
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning depart by private transfer for the beautiful Baroque city of Noto where you will see the city on foot. In 1693, Noto was completely destroyed by an earthquake and was rebuilt from scratch on a new site, about 6 miles from the old center. Later, head to Ortygia Island in Siracusa (or Syracuse) for lunch in a private apartment. Once there, enjoy a private cooking demonstration by Chef Fiora Piccione who will treat you to an authentic Sicilian experience with a family feel as you watch her prepare your meal and talk about the cooking process. We suggest trying the salted stuffed sardines, mouthwatering Pasta alla Vongole, and sweet Sicilian canolis! Afterwards, take a walking tour of the small island with your personal expert guide and learn about Siracusa’s deep history, known for its varying architectural styles which encompass Greek and Roman remains, medieval Norman buildings, and a great deal of understated Baroque buildings.

Following your walking tour, take a private transfer to Taormina where you can rest for the evening. After a dinner out, you will have the option to attend a prestigious show at the famous Greek Theater depending on the time of year.

Day 7
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch

Following breakfast, you will be greeted by your personal guide and taken by private transfer to Mount Etna for a morning hike to the Silvestri craters. Mount Etna is one of the world's most active and highest volcanoes in Europe. The cone of the crater rises to 11,000 ft above sea level and has been designated a “Decade Volcano” by the United Nations and added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2013. Begin your hike near the Rifugio where the two extinguished Silvestri craters that appeared after an eruption in 1892 are located. In clear weather you can see the Aeolian Islands. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch on a nearby vineyard where you can go on an exclusive tour of the vineyard and partake in a wine tasting with the house sommelier. The mineral rich soil surrounding the Etna volcano produces some of the Italy’s most unique and tasty varieties. The most commonly produced form of Etna wine is the standard Etna Rosso (red) and Bianco (white). Etna's wine producers are experimenting with vineyard sites further and further up the volcano's slopes, to gauge the effects of the richer, blacker soils and increased altitude. Some might say this is tempting fate, but the cachet of owning high-altitude vineyards is growing, and early results from these vines show promise.Later, return to your hotel to relax at leisure and have the option to enjoy a sightseeing tour of the highlights of the city. Founded in the 4th century BC, Taormina enjoyed great prosperity under the Greek ruler Gelon II and later under the Romans, but fell into quiet obscurity after being conquered by the Normans in 1087. Over the years it has seduced a whole army of writers, artists, aristocrats and royals, including Goethe, and DH Lawrence. The city is located on a plateau below Mount Tauro, for which it is named, where there are the ruins of two medieval fortresses. Taormina's ancient Greek splendor, medieval charm and unique views of Mount Etna and the Ionian coast afford the visitor a lasting impression of Sicily.

Day 8
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Hotel Breakfast

Following breakfast, you will be taken by private transfer to the helipad for your private helicopter flight to Salina Island, one of the seven Aeolian islands in the far south of Italy. Here you will be able to explore the volcanic landscape through breath-taking hikes and peaceful boating around the area. Salina is known for its raw scenic beauty with dramatic volcanic cliffs plunging into the sea, sleepy villages amidst verdant mountains, colorful fishing boats on pebbly beaches, hills covered in wild capers, and vines heavy with grapes for sweet malvasia wine. There are six volcanoes on the island, with Monte Fossa Delli Fecci and Monte dei Porri being the most important. and spend the rest of your afternoon at leisure. In the early evening, visit the village of Pollara (made famous by the movie Il Postino) and on the way stop to enjoy a spectacular sunset before heading to a recommended dinner at Il Cappero, an Azienda Agricola that grows all of its own vegetables on-site.

Day 9
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Hotel Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, take a private transfer to Pizzo Capo for a private hiking excursion at the center of the island. Start by exploring the high hills and valleys that make up the island of Salina. Discover the varying types of vegetation that develop into ever-green forests that are reminiscent of the Alps and as you reach the highest point of the volcano, Monte Fossa delle Felci, get a spectacular view of the mountainside of the island. The view encompasses varying depths of blue as the ocean changes across the bay and meets the sky in the horizon. Upon the conclusion of the hike, enjoy a well-deserved picnic lunch featuring delicacies from the nearby Alfredo Market and most notably the famed regional dish of Salina Island, Pane Cunzato. Blue Parallel will set up a private, white-cloth picnic with fine silverware and stemware on a natural table overlooking the coastline of Salina. As you enjoy your lunch, take in the crystal blue panoramic views of the ocean, overlooking the many surrounding islands and the lush vegetation of the surrounding peaks. After lunch, take a private transfer back to the hotel where you can relax at leisure.

Day 10
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Hotel Breakfast

Morning greeting by your personal expert guide for your trip to Panarea Island, Sicily’s trendiest island, frequented by Italian celebrities and socialites alike. On your private boat, navigate through Sicily’s azure waters and impressive volcanic formations as you take in the sun and visit secret swimming spots that are only accessible by boat. Upon arrival in Panarea Island, enjoy a delicious lunch on the terrace at the Raya Hotel with spectacular views of the sea. Later, get back on your private boat and head to Stromboli Island for your volcano excursion with your private expert guide. Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, famous for its normally small, but regular explosions complete with glowing lava from several vents inside its summit crater. The volcano erupts about every hour, spewing lava rocks and ash in a tight cone as high as 3,000 ft into the air. For this excursion, you will have two options to choose from depending on your activity level.

Option 1: Less Strenuous

Starting from St. Vincenzo’s square with your hiking guide, climb about 1,000 ft (300 meters) to the mid-point of the volcano. Afterwards, descend back to the shoreline and board your private boat and observe the sunset eruption from the sea. Watch the mouth of the volcano come to life with vibrant red and orange lava spewing out of its center. After sunset, return back to Salina Island for dinner.

Option 2: Strenuous

Enjoy exclusive access to “Old Route Trail” that is not open to the general public. With your volcano expert climb about 1,000 ft (300 meters) to the mid-point of the volcano. Continue on to the volcano’s summit, Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, at almost 3,000 ft (850 m) above sea level. Once at the summit, wait till sunset and watch the mouth of the volcano come to life with vibrant red and orange lava spewing out of its center. Afterwards, gear up in helmets and masks to descend down the volcano in darkness.

After the eruption, enjoy a recommended dinner at the best pizzeria on the island, Pizzeria da Giovanni. Afterwards, embark on your private boat back to Salina Island, and, later, take a private vehicle transfer to the hotel.

Day 11
Catania, Italy
None Breakfast

Following breakfast, greeting by your personal host and private transfer to Azienda Agricola Sapori Eoliani, a caper farm produced by Roberto Rossello near Pollara. Later, take a private transfer to the heliport for your helicopter ride to Catania where you will be taken to the airport for your international flight home. Alternatively, we can arrange for a ferry transfer back to Palermo or Milazzo.

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

Blue Parallel is a Virtuoso Preferred Tour Operator whose mission is to take discerning, time-constrained travelers to the most spectacular natural and cultural wonders of both Latin America and the Mediterranean. We create private, tailor-made journeys to UNESCO World Heritage destinations designed around the themes of insider access, privacy, breathtaking outdoor adventures, and white glove service. Virtuoso travelers receive amenities and VIP treatment on all Blue Parallel tours such as upgrades upon arrival (if available), Virtuoso-only amenities (spa credits, etc.), daily breakfast for two, and early check-in/late checkout (subject to availability).

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

Experience the authentic Mediterranean lifestyle, with all its historical riches, entirely unique culture, timeless culinary flavors, and awe-inspiring natural beauty, on the largest island in the Mediterranean: Sicily. From Greek temples, to Byzantine facades, to Roman arches, to Norman churches and Baroque palaces, this enchanting island harbors a complex history of 11 different civilizations leaving their mark throughout the 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Sicily. This journey begins in the bustling city of Palermo, then heads to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, continues to a small village in the Baroque Valley, spends time in the charming city of Taormina, and then heads North to the Aeolian Islands.

About Us

Blue Parallel creates private, tailor-made journeys designed around the themes of World Heritage destinations, outdoor adventures, gourmet cuisine, exclusive lodging, white glove service and insider access. We operate in Latin America: the Amazon, Antarctica, Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Easter Island, the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Panama, Patagonia, Uruguay and the Yucatan Peninsula. And in the Mediterranean: the Adriatic Coast, Andalucia, Corsica, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Morocco, Sicily & the Aeolian Islands, Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Contact supplier for detailed terms & conditions.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Blue Parallel

100%

of 1
guests
recommend


Virtuoso Verified Traveler

All reviews are from confirmed guests sharing exclusive insights

Sort reviews by

Argentina

By: Kate


Reviewed on: 31 Jan 2018

Blue Parallel was amazing! Our guides were outstanding and provided us with excellent service. Every detail was considered and thought of for us. We adored every minute of our trip.