men tying up boats along the coast

Walking Tour of Sicily's Archeological Sites & Egadi Islands hikes

Western Sicily’s rich archeological treasures and our undiscovered pathways through lush countryside are the focus of this unusual walking tour. Dominated for centuries by various rulers, Sicily’s turbulent history is evident in everything from the architecture to the aromatic cuisine, so you’ll find magical Greek temples of 2000 years ago and feast on sumptuous couscous left behind by the Moors. The Egadi islands, home to prehistoric cave paintings and sleek tuna, offer wonderful walks in a remote setting, where we truly get away from it all.

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Trip Length 6 Days
Walking Level Moderate
Trip Cost $4680

Walking Levels

Our walks are rated for their level of difficulty as follows:

  • Stroll – Daily distance of 2-5 km (1-3 miles) through archeological sites and in towns with stone stairways. Footwear: Lightweight walking shoes.
  • Easy – Daily distance of 8-10 km (5-7 miles) on dirt paths and gravel roads, with short ascents & descents. Good van access for assistance along the route. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes.
  • Moderate – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with longer ascents & descents. May include cobblestone paths and steps, or narrow paths along terraced hillsides. Some van access or options for shorter walks. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes or lightweight boots.
  • Fitness – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with steep ascents & descents. Walks are at altitudes of 1200-2450 meters (3500-8000 feet) on trails and forest service roads, some rocky or exposed sections. Limited van access, options for shorter or longer routes. Footwear: Lightweight boots.
ancient ruins with an exquisite view of Italy

“Our trip to Sicily was completely fabulous. It’s impossible to visit every interesting place in Sicily in one week, but we think we had a great itinerary and the selection of sites and activities was excellent.”

– R.M., U.S.A.

Trip Highlights

  • Duck through a narrow opening of a grotto to admire 7000-year old cave paintings on Levanzo island
  • Caress huge hand-chiseled stones in a Greek quarry, cut for an unfinished temple some 2500 years ago, and visit the Greek cities of Selinunte and Segesta
  • Walk in the protected coastal paradise of Zingaro Park then roam the stone-paved streets of hilltop Erice in search of the best almond biscotti
  • Watch fisherman unfold their nets for la mattanza, the tuna-fishing ritual, and taste sea salt drying in the sun
  • Meet a woman whose mission is to blaze trails through the roadless island of Marettimo, trek to the ruins of a Roman fort, and cool your face in a fresh water spring

Trip Details

Dates
April 16-21, 2019

Meet
Palermo

End
Palermo airport

Single Supplement
$760 USD

Meals
Daily breakfast /  6 lunches with wine / 4 dinners with wine

Maximum Participants
12

Accommodations
Blend

Itinerary
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Day-by-Day Itinerary

Western Sicily & Egadi Islands Placeholder
Western Sicily & Egadi Islands

Day One

Rendezvous in Palermo, and head out of the city across the vine-clad hills to the ancient Greek city of Segesta. Visit Segesta, with its majestic Greek theatre and solitary temple set in the quiet countryside.  Relax and enjoy a farm lunch by our friend Giuseppe, who brings us plate after plate of traditional antipasti made with the farm’s produce, warm crusty bread and pitchers of strong dark wine. In the afternoon, we visit the medieval hilltown of Erice, perched on the top of Monte Giuliano like a silent beacon for sailing ships, and admire the ruins of the imposing Norman castle.  Free time to explore the town’s charming cobblestone streets and enticing pastry shops before descending to the town of Trapani, our home for 3 nights.  Dinner together in a friendly trattoria.

Day Two

We head to the port of Trapani, and take a ferry* to the tiny island of Levanzo, where a local enthusiast accompanies us on a walk to a hidden grotto where amazing cave paintings from 7000 years ago are revealed by lamplight. A scenic walk takes us through the island past the romantic ruins of the Florio villa, and to a beautiful little bay lapped by crystal clear waters. After a lunch with fresh ricotta, we take a ferry past the island of Favignana where an ancient system of underwater nets was used to catch the prized bluefin tuna and hardy fisherman pit themselves against the thrashing tuna during the annual mattanza. Dinner in town.

Day Three

This morning we catch an early ferry* to the remote island of Marettimo, an idyllic mountain in the middle of the deep blue sea. One tiny village occupies a corner of Marettimo, while the rest of the island is a walker’s paradise. Fresh water springs gurgle forth from the steep slopes, nurturing an abundance of fragrant Mediterranean flora, making this the lushest of the Egadi islands. A narrow path hugs the craggy coastline with marvelous views out to the abandoned Spanish prison perched on a rocky outcrop. Here you feel the wonderful sense of getting away from it all, best enjoyed when not imprisoned! Return along the same route and enjoy lunch overlooking the port. Time to stroll through the little village or take an additional walk along the coast before boarding a late afternoon ferry. Free night for dinner.

Day Four

We head south along the via del sale, where sea salt is still gathered as it was 500 years ago, and huge piles of salt are drying in the sun. Here 15th century windmills, used to grind the coarse salt, harness the strong scirocco wind from North Africa. We take a short boat ride across the lagoon to the fascinating island of Mozia, once an astonishingly powerful Carthaginian stronghold destroyed some 2500 years ago. Here archeologists have unearthed some splendid finds that are on display, including the elegant, sensuous statue of the Young Man of Mozia. Our peaceful 5 km (3 mile) walk takes us through fields of wildflowers as we explore the ruins of this fascinating ancient city. In the afternoon, we visit Marsala, famous for the sweet wine of the same name, and taste some superb vintages in a tiny enoteca. Continue to our attractive hotel on a wine producing estate with a vast herb garden and a refreshing pool. Dinner by the sea.

Day Five

Take a countryside walk (7 km – 4 miles) through vineyards overlooking shimmering Lake Arancio, before a private winery lunch.  Visit the evocative Greek site of Selinunte with a grand, imposing temple, while the ruins of other temples are in huge pieces, looking like a giant’s abandoned toys. The sea is remarkably clear and blue here, and we can’t help but admire the Greeks for having chosen such a marvelous spot as we stroll down their ancient road.  Walk through the  incredible Greek quarries, where time seems to have come to a standstill 2500 years ago. Here we find the work in progress for the unfinished temples and sculpted columns that are still silently waiting to be transported! Enjoy a celebratory dinner with a wine paired menu created by noted chef Angelo Pumilia.

Day Six

Our walk immerses us in one of the most beautiful coastal areas in all of Italy, the Parco dello Zingaro, now thankfully protected from development. Here classic Mediterranean vegetation flourishes in a profusion of wild rosemary, capers and yellow broom above a clear, turquoise sea. After a rustic lunch of pane condito in a friendly café, top it off with a refreshing lemon granita.  Transfer to the Palermo airport by 3.30 pm. Arrivederci!

*Sea conditions may force us to alter the order of the itinerary and/or to eliminate trips to the islands. In this case, we will visit other sites and walk in the countryside.

Easter period itinerary will vary in order to take in the evocative Good Friday processions.

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