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The Essential Sicily

Daily Schedule
Tour Dates & Cost

Join us at the peak of the wildflower season to explore the biggest and
probably the most interesting and varied island in Europe, Sicily.


A real surprise package, Sicily is a mere 3km from the Italian mainland,

but bears very little resemblance  to it – the people look different and

behave differently, the food is different, the architecture is different.

Why is Sicily so appealing? 
Over the centuries Sicily has seen many civilisations come and go from
Greeks and Romans to Moors, Normans and Spaniards. Even the Nazis
and the Allies left a lasting legacy. All have made huge impressions on the
landscape, and especially on the food.


Each area has a distinctive food style but everywhere there is a heavy emphasis on using the abundant produce we’ll drool over in the local markets. With the assistance of local people we’ll unlock the secrets of the food from the coastal lands and the countryside surrounding the mighty Mt Etna.


Three cooking sessions are included for those keen on the hands on approach and we will visit several exhilarating markets.


Sicily is a rapidly-rising star in the world of wine. Grapes were first planted here many centuries ago, but with modern cultivation and wine-making techniques, great progress has been made.


We will have at least three wine tastings during our stay.


Our accommodation ranges from small family-run hotels to a 4 star resort set in beautiful countryside. All are run by friendly, enthusiastic Sicilians.


For the energetic, there will be many chances to explore the countryside on foot, by bike or even by quad bike. The beaches are superb, Etna a constant fascination and the sight of the golden orb of the sun sinking into the sea over the ruins of an ancient Greek temple will stay with you forever.

Interested in this tour? Contact Gail for more information.


Sicily Cooks and Friends Tour – Daily Schedule


Come to Sicily with The Active Gourmet Travel – you'll be so glad you did!

Day 1
Meal/s included: DINNER

To Mondello (the sophisticated beach suburb of Palermo). Stay in a hotel
with the water lapping at its feet, and watch the fishing boats heading
out from your balcony.


Tonight enjoy an introductory Sicilian feast.


Day 2
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH

Visit Palermo’s markets and secret alleyways guided by a local – an
amazing day out. Then back to Mondello to soak up the sun and sea.


Day 3 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Transfer to Scopello via Monreale. In coastal Castellamare, enjoy the
first of our famed picnics, then tonight, before dinner at the hotel, there
will be a surprise tasting session.

Day 4
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH 

Head to Lo Zingaro National Park and walk through spring flowers on the coastal track. Alternatively, inspect the coastal grottoes from a high-speed boat! Later, a picnic beside sparkling coves before returning to lounge by the pool, or to gobble gelato in town.
Choose your own dinner spot in Scopello.


Day 5 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Transfer to Erice via San Vito Lo Capo, self-proclaimed

world capital of fish couscous. Explore Erice, a mountaintop

town reputedly first settled by Greek gods. The tiny cobbled

streets are home to quality shops and fine medieval buildings.

Tonight a tutored tasting of the wines of West Sicily with

local food treats.

Day 6
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST 

Choices today: head over to the island of Favignana, once

centre of a huge tuna fishing operation, perhaps hire a

scooter to explore the island where wild capers grow or

visit the salt pans and the town of Marsala. Return to Erice

by funicular

Day 7 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

Off to the south coast at Marinella di Selinunte via a sea of grape vines.
Dinner tonight at the resort.

Day 8
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH 

This morning, a cooking session at the resort, using local produce. Lunch – you've made it. In the afternoon, relax on the beach.

Day 9
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

A tutored wine tasting at the best-known local winery and an optional trip to the nearby Selinunte Temples and a walk in the reserve. Dinner tonight at one of the best restaurants on the south coast.


Day 10 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH

Transfer to the art deco city of Modica, to explore its magnificent
buildings and its cheese making and chocolate production.
On the way stop at Donnafugata Castle.
Choose your own spot to dine tonight.

Day 11
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

In the Modica area admire the Baroque architecture. A special
visit to a top local dairy farm to see production and ageing of
the famed Ragusan cheese.


Day 12 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH

Transfer to Siracusa where you will be staying in a hotel a stone’s
throw from the water. En route, visit the sitewhere the Allies landed
in Sicily, and lunch at a fisherman's cottage before visiting the
beautiful old former tuna settlement of Marzamemi.


Day 13
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

To the very colourful Ortigia market with the rest of the day free to explore the Greek and Roman monuments, the modern shops or to take a boat trip around the coast. Dinner tonight will be created at a local cooking school from produce bought at the market.


Day 14
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

Spend the morning in baroque Noto hunting down the island’s best gelato and take note of the rapid rebuilding programme being skilfully undertaken after the long-ago earthquake. Afternoon at leisure.
Pre-dinner aperitivi overlooking the sea.


Day 15 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Explore the rugged slopes of Mt Etna by four-wheel drive,
ski-lift, and on foot. Pause in Catania before heading to Linguaglossa,
a small typical Sicilian town on the northern slopes on Mt Etna.
Before dinner you will have a tutored tasting of the wines of the
Etna region

Day 16
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

A day to soak up the Etna region – walk on the slopes, mountain bike, visit reputed wineries, or see the beautiful Alcantara Gorge. Later, a cooking school conducted in a famous local manor-house, followed by dinner in the house accompanied by wines from the count and countessa’s carefully-stocked cellar.

Day 17
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

A free day out in the glorious hilltop town of Taormina. Descend by funicular to the beach to enjoy a wine before heading back for our arrivederci dinner at a historic villa with a Michelin star.

Day 18
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST

Pass through unruly fields of pistachios around the town of Bronte as you head to Catania airport and the rest of your travels.


For a larger tour map click here.


The island of Ortigia in Siracusa

Sicilian seafood feast

Mt Etna from a distance

Exploring the Selinunte Temples

The beach at Scopello

Explore Palermo markets

 Wander around Mondello harbour


Tour Dates & Cost

26 April to 13 May, 2021
NZ$9995 twin share or double basis 

A single supplement applies (if you prefer an individual room)

Included in each 18-day tour: 
  • Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed).

  • Luggage transfer between localities.

  • Option to drive your own rental vehicle (surcharge applies).

  • Any purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can
    easily be transferred.

  • Hire of quality mountain bikes (if required).

  • Quality accommodation in properties of character, mostly with private                                          facilities. We stay two to three nights on average

  • in each place, using the base to explore the environs.

Food and wine
  • Eleven gourmet dinners featuring the best of regional specialties – not forgetting the special arrivederci feast on our final night.

  • Eight lunches including spectacular picnics.

  • Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.

  • All breakfasts, including exquisite homemade preserves.

  • Four wine tastings, three themed cooking sessions conducted by Sicilian cooks.

  • An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.

  • Our active gourmet tours offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t essential though reasonable fitness is preferable.

  • Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).

  • Daily briefing and guidance.

  • Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).

  • Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.


A sense of adventure is compulsory!


  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

  • Transfers and flights

  • Castle and museum entry fees – you choose which to visit

  • Gratuities (tips) and drinks

  • Golf club hire and green fees, kayak hire where applicable

  • Visas and passports (as necessary)

  • Personal items, eg. laundry, telephone, internet charges

  • Optional extras


A limited number of days available?

You can join in for a shorter time. We also offer associated walking or car itineraries for non-cycling partners.


Footnote: Please note that there may possibly be changes outside the organiser's control, such as fluctuations between the NZ dollar and the overseas supplier's currency, or changes in prices or services. Prices shown are correct as at  July 2019. The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary, at any time until full payment is received. 


See our FAQ page for more information or email Gail to book.


Sicilian couscous

Wildflowers in Sicily

Seafood stand at Ortigia market

Keen on a personalised tour?


We will design an itinerary for you, tailormade to suit your needs, interests and time frame. You decide when and how long you wish to tour for, who with and on what mode of transport.


Or we can help you select the most suitable tour from our extensive portfolio of the very best of worldwide activity holidays.

Sicily schedule
Sicily dates and costs
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