Explore Sicily's Arab-Norman highlights, mouthwatering cuisine, and ancient ruins with this weeklong foodie trip to Italy's "boot. " Delve into Palermo's vibrant culture and history, cook up a storm with a four-course masterclass, then head to elegant Taormina to hike the summit of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna. Your whirlwind trip concludes in Catania, where you'll sharpen your taste buds with a tour of Sicily's famous street food amid the city's famous Baroque architecture.


  • Tour Palermo's labyrinthine streets and Arab-Norman architecture by Segway
  • Master the art of Sicilian cookery with a four-course cookery masterclass
  • Hike Mount Etna's volcanic terrain and crater
  • Taste ancient Sicilian varietals at a family-run winery
  • Stroll among ancient Greek ruins overlooking the Bay of Naxos in Taormina

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive Sicily's Capital Palermo, Guided City Tour Palermo
Day 2 Discover Palermo by Segway, Sicilian Cuisine Masterclass Palermo
Day 3 Transfer to Taormina, Guided City Tour, Teatro Greco, Cannoli Masterclass Taormina
Day 4 Full-Day Mount Etna Hike Taormina
Day 5 Transfer to Catania via Local Winery, Explore at Leisure Catania
Day 6 Foodie Walking Tour of Catania Catania
Day 7 Depart Catania  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sicily's Capital Palermo, Guided City Tour

Welcome to Palermo!
Welcome to Palermo!

Welcome to Palermo! Upon arrival at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in the historic center. Sicily's regional capital has long been popular with travelers thanks to its wonderful climate, rich blend of ancient history, delicious North African-influenced cuisine, and famous street food. 

Settle in after your flight and then get to grips with Palermo's Arab-Norman architecture and food-focused culture with a guided tour of the city. See sights such as the ninth-century Palazzo dei Normanni, the oldest royal residence in Europe, and La Martorana, an Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. You'll also visit the Piazzas Bellini and Pretoria to see their Arab, Norman, Byzantine, and Spanish art and architecture. 

Your tour continues across Palermo's oldest street, the Cassaro (fortress in Arabic), to the Piazza Marina, directly opposite. Explore the 13th-century Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi and saunter in the shade of the square's impressive ficus tree (Europe's largest) while your guide regales you with the history of the nearby ancient palaces used by the Spanish Inquisition. Part ways with your guide and enjoy a refreshing drink in the piazza before finding a local trattoria for delicious seafood washed down with a glass of the local vino bianco

Day 2: Discover Palermo by Segway, Sicilian Cuisine Masterclass

Shop for delicious fresh produce in Palermo's food market
Shop for delicious fresh produce in Palermo's food markets

Hot on the heels of yesterday's guided walk of the city, today's tour is an adventure in itself, with a guided Segway tour through Palermo's narrow medieval cobbled streets. In anticipation of this afternoon's cooking class, you'll head through the bustling Capo Market, where you'll get a sense of just how seriously Sicilians take their food! Pass by the Gallery of Modern Art and the Piazza della Vittoria, then finish your whistlestop tour at the city's seafront gardens, Villa a Mare, to admire the beautiful views.

This afternoon is dedicated to Sicilian cuisine, and you'll start with an immersive walk through Palermo's lively souk-like Vucciria and Capo markets. Accompanied by a local chef, you'll purchase ingredients for the afternoon's cooking class, enjoying tasty morsels along the way. Continue to weave your way through the back streets to an 18th-century kitchen where you'll cook alongside the chef to produce an authentic four-course meal, including dessert. At the end of the workshop, sit down with your fellow chefs and enjoy your creations over a glass or two of local wine. 

Day 3: Transfer to Taormina, Guided City Tour, Teatro Greco, Cannoli Masterclass

Explore Taormina's enchanting Old Town
Explore Taormina's enchanting Old Town

Bid farewell to Palermo this morning and take a three-hour transfer to Taormina. This chic and popular town in the shadow of Mount Etna occupies an enviable position overlooking the Bay of Naxos and the Ionian Sea. After settling in at your hotel, meet your guide for a tour of the town and its world-famous Teatro Greco, a Greek amphitheater dating back to the third century. See highlights including the 10th-century Palazzo Corvaja, named after one of the city's most influential families, and the beautifully restored 17th-century Chiesa di Santa Caterina.

Your final stop is the Teatro Greco, whose impressive ruins were carved directly from the rock of Mount Taurus. Hear from your guide how the Teatro evolved from its classical Greek origins to its setting as an arena for gladiatorial battles. Later on, try your hand at mastering the perfect cannolo, a typical Sicilian dolce combining sweet fried dough and filled with delicious ricotta cream. In the safe hands of a local pastry chef, you'll learn how to prepare and fill the crusty shell with the delicately flavored cream and savor your creations over a glass of wine with your fellow chefs.

Afterward, stroll over to Piazza IX Aprile, the town's elegant main square, for aperitivo. As the sun goes down, dine at one of the many restaurants on nearby Corso Umberto, where you'll find plenty of great dining options and shady courtyards to relax in.

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Day 4: Full-Day Mount Etna Hike

Hike Mount Etna's incredible crater
Spend the day getting up close and personal with Mount Etna's crater on a guided tour

Taormina's elevated position gives sweeping views across to Mount Etna, and today you'll get up close and personal with the volcano on a full-day guided hike to Etna's crater. Your adventure starts in the Rifugio Sapienza, the southern access point to the volcano, where you'll meet your guide and ride the cable car up 9,5000 feet (2,900 m) to Torre del Filosofo. Spend a couple of hours hiking around the crater and pause to admire the vistas of solidified lava flows, fumaroles, and views that stretch out to the Mediterranean. 

There's more to see as you make your way back down and see some of the larger craters, such as Cisternazza, as well as the Valle del Bove, which receives the lava from Etna. Reach the rifugio (mountain refuge), and your guide will drop you back in Taormina, where your last evening in the town is yours to spend at leisure. Find a local enoteca and settle in for piatti (plates) of delicious formaggi and prosciutto, washed down with a glass or two of one of the excellent local varietals such as nero d'avola, sirah, moscato, and insolia.

Day 5: Transfer to Catania via Local Winery, Explore at Leisure

Vie Etnea with Mt. Etna
Welcome to Catania!

Get ready for the last leg of your whirlwind Sicily trip this morning with a transfer to Catania, a city on Sicily's east coast, founded by Chalcidian Greeks in the eighth century. Occupying a position near the base of Mount Etna, the surrounding landscape is awash with vineyards and home to some of the island's best producers. En route, you'll get a chance to experience some of Etna's varietals with a tour of a local family-run palmento (winery) in idyllic vineyards nestled just outside the city. 

Spend a leisurely hour touring the grounds and learn how traditional winemaking methods are fused with modern production before touring the centuries-old palmento—one of the largest and best preserved in the area. You'll get a rare glimpse of a 230-year-old grape pressing machine and hear stories of Sicilian life in the 1800s, gleaned from the discovered diaries of the family's ancestors. Then, you'll get down to the serious business of tasting four distinct wines from Etna's slopes, each accompanied by freshly prepared bites specially prepared by the resident chef. 

It's a short twenty-minute drive from the winery to Catania, and after checking in at your hotel, the day is yours to explore at your own pace. Start with a caffè in the Piazza Duomo, a great spot to get your bearings and admire the elegant architecture. Then, see the 13th-century Castello Ursino, the ancient ruins of the Teatro Greco and tour the UNESCO-listed Monastero dei Benedettini. Finish at the Piazza Università, the town's lively main square, filled with plenty of Baroque architecture and a great place to soak up the atmosphere, sip a cold drink, and people-watch. 

Day 6: Foodie Walking Tour of Catania

Sample delicious Cannoli on today's foodie tour

Sicily's cuisine is a heady mix of traditional Italian techniques and robust Sicilian flavors sprinkled with an enticing blend of North African ingredients particular to this region of Italy. After breakfast, you'll embark on a mouthwatering discovery of Sicilian culinary traditions and Catania's gourmet hotspots on a half-day food tour through the city. Accompanied by a local foodie, you'll experience the island's legendary cuisine as your guide introduces you to the vendors at the local markets and steers you through back streets laden with artisanal bakeries and street food sellers.

Weave your way through the alleyways and visit local bars savoring delicacies, including panelle (chickpea fritters), pani câ meusa (sesame-flavored bread stuffed with fried veal and spleen), and arancini (deep-fried balls of rice stuffed with meat, vegetables, and cheese). Refresh with a glass of local Sicilian wine or a soft drink before ending the tour with delicious cannoli (deep-fried pastries filled with sweet ricotta cheese), gelato, or a refreshing granita (a semi-frozen treat made with fruit, sugar, and water). 

In the evening, head to the Piazza Università for aperitivo and stroll down Via Etnea, Catania's main street, and a great spot to duck into a local restaurant and feast on local specialties as you raise a toast to your trip. Buon appetito!

Day 7: Depart Catania

Piazza del Duomo at sunset
A la prossima, Italia

Say goodbye, or ciao, to Italy for now. Take advantage of any extra time with one last morning stroll around Catania before heading to the airport in time to catch your flight home or continue your European adventure. Safe travels!

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Map of Best of Sicily: Palermo, Taormina & Catania - 7 Days
Map of Best of Sicily: Palermo, Taormina & Catania - 7 Days