Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Private


Essence of Sicily

Taormina, Italy To Pantelleria, Italy

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 Feb 2019


Day 1
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo None

Arrival Catania Airport

Today you will be met upon arrival at Catania airport by your private Mercedes Vehicle and English speaking driver. You will be privately transferred to your hotel in Taormina. In the afternoon free time to relax, dinner at leisure and overnight.

Day 2
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast

Taormina and Granita Tasting

Breakfast at the hotel. Meet your guide and start a visit of Taormina. The town, founded by the Greeks in 358 B.C., was occupied by the Romans and then fell into Byzantine hands. The little town is located on the East coast of Sicily, overlooking the Ionian Sea. Taormina is called the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” for several reasons: nestled on Mount Tauro, it offers the beauty of Mediterranean architecture all the while surrounded by endless magnificent views of both sea and mountains. Thanks to its high position in altitude, Taormina offers visitors a breathtaking panorama. From its Greek theatre, you can admire the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, while on the other side you can gaze out over the coastline toward Messina and view the proximity of the Calabrian coast. At the end of the tour enjoy a Granita tasting in a local gelateria. Lunch and afternoon at leisure. Return at the hotel and overnight.

Day 3
Etna, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

Etna Volcano Tour with naturalistic Guide and Etna DOC Winery

Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up by your Private Jeep and naturalistic driver guide. Explore Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Discovering Mount Etna is one of the greatest adventure tours in Sicily, not only for the volcanic phenomena but also for the different kinds of vegetation visible during the ascent. This volcano has more than 400 craters, split all over the Catania county. The first stop of the tour is Valle del Bove, a wide valley located on the eastern slope of the volcano. Valle del Bove is part of the protected area of the Etna Regional Park. Proceeding, you will go through old lava flows that date back to 1979 until you reach Mount Fontana, 1300meters above the sea level. This is a great panoramic point, from which you can admire the majesty of the valley and of the Monti Sartorius. Afterwards, a short walk will lead you to the craters of the Sartorius Mountains, which date back to 1865 and are characterized by seven little eruptive cones. Halfway down from the top, you will reach another panoramic point which offers a breathtaking view of the Ionian Coast, from Riposto to Taormina and a glimpse of the Calabrian Coast, of the North-East crater and of the latest new lava flows and craters of 2002. Wine tasting and lunch will be served at an Etna Doc Winery. Return at Hotel.

Day 4
Agrigento, Italy
Sciacca, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast

Valley of the Temples and Scala dei Turchi

Breakfast at the hotel, pick up and departure to Agrigento. Meet your guide and visit the Archeological Park Valley of The Temples. Agrigento was one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mediterranean. Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., it became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy is demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples, much of which still lie intact and preserved in an exceptional condition. Its great row of Doric temples is one of the most outstanding monuments of Greek art and culture. The area was included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list in 1997. The Valley includes remains of seven Doric temples. You will visit the Temples of Juno, Concord, Castor and Pollux and the Necropolis. Then continue the drive towards Sciacca and enjoy a panoramic stop at the Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks), the famous white rocky cliff that according to the legend was used by the Moors to raid the island. Check in at the Verdura Resort, dinner at leisure and overnight.

Day 5
Sciacca, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast


Breakfast at your hotel. Relax and enjoy the Resort facilities and SPA during this second day.

Suggestion of the day: Late Afternoon walking tour of Sciacca city center famous for the ceramic production and coral handmade jewels. Live a typical Sicilian afternoon in the main Piazza “Piazza Scandagliato” that has an amazing view over the sea and taste a gelato enjoying the

Day 6
Palermo, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast, Snack

Palermo and Monreale with Street Food Tasting

After breakfast pick up by private English speaking driver and transfer to Palermo. This morning, follow your guide in a fascinating exploration of Sicilian culture and cuisine. The itinerary begins with a morning visit of the Capo market, the oldest in Palermo, where you will see and taste famous Palermo Street Food such as “panelle”, “arancine”, “crocchette” and “PaniCaMeusa”. Admire colorful stalls featuring an abundance of fruit, vegetables, seafood and meats as the sellers’ cry for our attention. Then, visit Palermo that stretches along a beautiful bay on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded by the Phoenicians in the VIIth and VIIIth centuries B.C., the city was conquered by Arabs in 831, and a period of immense prosperity commenced. You will be enchanted by the city’s wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. You will then visit the city's main sights, including the Norman section, Quattro Canti (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square and the twelfth-century Duomo (Cathedral). Lunch will be at your leisure and afterwards you will be driven to Monreale to discover the Arab-Norman splendour of the Cathedral and Cloister. This nearby treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population. Finally, you will return to your hotel.

Day 7
Pantelleria, Italy
Hotel Sikelia Breakfast


Breakfast and check out. Private transfer to the airport and departure to Pantelleria Island. Check in at the hotel and time at leisure. Pantelleria is part of Sicily, but the island actually lies much closer to Africa than Italy. It is precisely this privileged position (Homer called it “the navel of the Mediterranean”) which gives the island its look and its culture rich in contrasts, a place of Arabic forms and typical scents of Southern Italy. The island stands out, amongst other things, for its rugged coastline and the green countryside overhanging the sea. This isn’t a place of sandy beaches, but rather one of small coves with crystal clear waters, spectacular and mysterious caves and a descent to the sea over smooth rocks. Pantelleria’s volcanic origins are also to thank for its authentic open air spa facilities: from the hot springs of Gadir and the Benikulà Cave natural sauna to the mud of the Lago di Venere, every corner of Pantelleria offers regeneration for the senses and reconciliation with nature. The architecture too is unique, reflective of the fact that man has had to bend to the will of nature, which here reigns supreme: from the unusual Pantelleria gardens created to protect the citrus trees from the wind, to the typical dry stone walls which weave between the curves of the white dammusi dwellings, and the green and black landscape sloping down to the sea through ingenious terracing. Pantelleria is an island which you will only discover by abandoning yourself completely to its will.

Day 8
Pantelleria, Italy
Hotel Sikelia Breakfast, Snack

Visit of the Montagna Grande and Pic Nic at Lago di Venere

After an emotion-filled morning under the bright Sicilian sun exploring the marvels of the Montagna Grande, or absorbing the benefits of a mud bath at Lago di Venere, we offer you the option of a tailor-made picnic.

A special meal prepared by our Chefs, with guidance from the Maitre on your personal dining desires, and served by our staff at just the right spot on your tour. We will ensure that you have absolutely everything needed to transform you picnic into a unique culinary and scenographic experience. What better way to restore your energy without having to leave the wonderful outdoors of Pantelleria. Return at the hotel time at leisure.

Day 9
Pantelleria, Italy
Hotel Sikelia Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

Tour of the island

After breakfast meet your private guide and local car. The first part of the excursion includes a tour by car and a walking tour with a stop for a bath in the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. Then, continue with a walking through the vineyards and wine tasting. During the visit, you will observe the production of the Passito naturale, DOC, better known as the “nectar of the Gods”. Never fear, you will have ample opportunity to actually enjoy the Passito, as part of the exquisite lunch you will be offered at Coste Ghirlanda.

In an informal and intimate setting, at lunch you will sample the various wines of the Coste Ghirlanda, accompanied by typical and gastronomic specialities, all individually selected by local sommelier to exalt your palate. Continue the tour of the island with another stop for a bath and return to the hotel.

Day 10
Pantelleria, Italy
Hotel Sikelia Breakfast

Relax at Sikelia Hotel

Breakfast at your hotel. Relax and enjoy the Resort facilities.

Suggestions of the day:

Horseriding in Pantelleria

Among the hidden trails, groves, hills and valleys you will have the opportunity to experience horseback riding immersed in nature. A unique opportunity to combine wellness and fun, exploring the island in full contact with nature. Horseback riding takes an average of one to two hours, but on request it is possible to organize half-day itineraries starting from the lake Lago di Venere up to the trails in Montagna Grande.

Boat excursions

What better opportunity to experience an unforgettable day on the water in a power craft or sailboat, with an expert skipper? A local guide will accompany you in the discovery of breath-taking coastlines framed against the silver blue water, exploring our numerous grottos and sea caves, and curious rock formations that can only be appreciated from the water. Your sightseeing experience will be punctuated by multiple opportunities to swim and refresh yourself and an exquisite “box lunch” and featuring local specialities. Navigating along the cost is the best way to appreciate the volcanic structure of the island, with the evident lava layers and the fantastically complex cliffs and sea stacks rising directly from the water.

Pantelleria in mountain bike

For the experienced cyclist or those who wish to try their hand for the first time, virtually all of Pantelleria’s forest reserve trails are mountain bike accessible. Our expert guides offer a series of options at various levels of difficulty, and will match the itinerary to your skill and fitness level, for a personalized and memorable experience.

Kayaking adventures

Discover tiny coves of crystal-clear water, spectacular and mysterious grottos, and appreciate stunning views from a new perspective. Kayak excursions are an exciting experience for all, even those trying the sport for the first time. And our comfortable, self-draining and stable kayaks ensure perfect safety. A unique scenic adventure, with options for day and night tours.

Day 11
Pantelleria, Italy
None Breakfast

Arrivederci Pantelleria!

Breakfast and check out. Private transfer to the airport. Daily flights to main Italian Airports.

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests


Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily for up to two in room guests, served in restaurant
  • A EUR 85 Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

    Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full American breakfast (buffet)
  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full, to be utilized at the hotel restaurant for Lunch or Dinner)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Tour Features


    • Adventure
    • Culture, History & Arts
    • Food & Wine
    • Wildlife & Nature


    Sicily is the largest of the Italian islands and known as the pearls of Southern Italy. The island can be discovered, understood and experienced with several itineraries dedicated to areas of interest ranging from nature to history and traditions.

    Nature seems to have endowed all its wonders to this land: mountains, hills and above all the sea, with its incredible colours, its crystal-clear water and the beauty of its seabeds.

    The island has many little islands scattered around the coasts of Sicily and Last but not least, its great volcanoes are symbols of the irresistible beauty and vitality of this incredibly charming region.

    Fascination for this region grows with treasured archaeological sites that tell the story of the ancient origins of Trinacria (ancient name for Sicily).

    If you would like to live a tailor-made experience of Sicily and love wines, food, nature and sea than “Exploring Sicily and Pantelleria” will be the best choice for you.

    We will permit you to live the Sicilian quotidian life with a real and authentic overview of the different locations. The program is full of tasteful food and wine tastings, walking experiences and sightseeing.

    Welcome to Sicily or better welcome to the Essence of Sicily.

    About Us

    Essence of Sicily is a boutique DMC offering luxury and unique experiences in Sicily and Aeolian Islands to suit any individual or group. Our customized luxury tours are chosen to offer a balance of Sicilian history, culture and cuisine, bringing you all the best that the beautiful island has to offer. All of our tours go above and beyond the normal remits – with private guides, private transfers and a personalized service, tailoring the experience exclusively for our clients. We pride ourselves on the connections we have on the island, ensuring we can offer proven quality from start to finish.

    Insider Tip

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

    Terms & Conditions

    Terms and conditions vary by program. Details will be provided upon request.

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