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Sicily, Etna & The Aeolian Islands

4.3 stars(12 reviews)
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Explore an enchanting part of Italy

8 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: 21SCF

About the tour

An enchanting part of Italy, Sicily boasts a wonderful combination of stunning scenic coastline, historic cities and breathtaking landscapes. Visit Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands on this magnificent holiday.


What’s included


Day 1 - London & Giardini Naxos

Your holiday begins today with a flight to Catania. From here, you transfer to Giardini Naxos, a beautiful resort just outside of Taormina. On arrival, check in for your 7 night stay at the UNAhotels Naxos Beach.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Taormina

You enjoy a guided tour of Taormina today, which includes a visit to the stunning Teatro Greco. This incredible brick amphitheatre dates back to the 3rd century BC, yet still hosts performances today. Built during Roman times in a Greek style and the second largest of its kind in Sicily, it is immaculately preserved. From the top of the auditorium, there are views of Mount Etna in one direction, and the peaks of Calabria in another.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Syracuse & Ortigia

Today you head to Syracuse, a prestigious port city with a rich history. Here enjoy a guided tour of Neapolis - which was once the 'New Town', but now an important archaeological park with many of the city's centuries-old public buildings. Amongst the incredible findings here are a Greek amphitheatre that dates back to 500 BC, and the Latomia del Paradiso - a series of limestone caves that haver served a number of purposes over their long years, including serving as a prison during the war between Syracuse and Athens, and as a catacomb.

Later continue to Ortigia, a tiny island connected to Syracuse by a bridge. You can visit its superb cathedral which was built from a former Pagan temple and is reputedly Europe's oldest Christian church. Ortigia is also the home of the majestic Fountain of Arethusa, on Ortigia's seafront. This freshwater spring has been celebrated by poets from Virgil to Milton, and is fascinating to see.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Giardini Naxos

Your day is free for you to relax in the hotel, or perhaps revisit Taormina, to explore the many attractions of this town. Perhaps visit Villa Comunale, to take in Taormina's lush public gardens. Here gorgeous blooms line the paths, shaded by magnolia trees. Otherwise you could shop for souvenirs in the glamorous boutiques along the Corso Umberto and the side alleys around it.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Mount Etna

Take an excursion to mighty Mount Etna today, Europe's largest active volcano. Pass through the rugged lava plains along the higher slopes and see the impressive Silvestri Craters where the ash has created a depression in the mountain's flank - making an awe-inspiring sight. From here, you are free to take in the view, or perhaps take the cable car to the top, where the summit's active crater is clearly visible - often casting out smoke, accompanied by lumps of tiny red and grey lava, an incredible phenomenon to behold.

Later take the Circumetnea train around the mountain's base, taking in the delightful surrounding villages as well as the breathtaking landscape. Established in 1898, the train's route allows passengers to soak up wonderful views of Etna and the surrounding landscape.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - The Aeolian Islands

Today you take a boat cruise to the Aeolian Islands, a small volcanic archipelago boasting UNESCO World Heritage status. You stop at Lipari, the largest and most active of these islands, though Lipari Town - a colourful seaport town - is the closest thing to a capital city. The further away from the bustling harbour, with it's pastel-coloured houses, the scenery turns wilder, with dense greenery and rugged hillsides rising out of the water.

Continue to Vulcano, which is famed for its hot springs and volcanic peaks emitting their visible sulphurous smoke. Believed by the Romans to be a byproduct from the God of Fire's underground workshop, the island was named in his honour. Even today the black beaches, natural mud baths and rugged coastline have a touch of mythology in them.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Giardini Naxos

Enjoy a free day today, perhaps taking advantage of the hotel's two swimming pools. Otherwise you might like to relax on the hotel's private beach. If you enter the water there is plenty of sea life to admire amongst the fossilised lava flows from age-old Etna eruptions. For a more sedate way to pass the time, why not make your way to the pedestrianised seafront, lined with shops, restaurants, pizzerias and cafés.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast
Day 8 - London

Transferring to Catania Airport on Day 8, fly back to London where your holiday ends.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


UNAhotel Naxos Beach, Sicily

UNAhotel Naxos Beach, Sicily

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The Circumetnea Railway

Enhance your holiday


Flight upgrades
UK rail connections
London hotels


4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 12 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mrs M Mix

4 stars

Submitted 18 Oct 2018

Lovely holiday, beautiful Hotel. Lots of very interesting trips. But too much coach travel, not enough trains

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr D Joynson

4 stars

Submitted 03 Oct 2018

Good hotel. Strong points were food, swimming pools and size of room and other facilities. Weak points:- excessive charges to use ombrellones etc on the beach and no baths in the rooms even though it was a four star hotel. Mostly very good day trips. Some minor adjustments would improve particularly having to get up too early in the morning.

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mrs P Scarsbrook

5 stars

Submitted 27 Sep 2018

fanrastic holiday food was excellant and the overal holiday was well organised

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr D Skertchly

5 stars

Submitted 06 Jul 2018

Everything was great and enjoyable

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr G Wykes

5 stars

Submitted 31 May 2018

Kate Muir, our tour manager was exceptional! She knew exactly how to control our large group, which made for a hassle free experience. Also the Hotel Ata Naxos Beach was beautiful with extremely helpful staff. We did have a problem in as much as the original accommodation was situated far away from the main building up a sharp incline, and my 82 year old companion found the walk too difficult. Without hesitation, the hotel manager arranged for us to stay in the main complex which was much more convenient. Top marks!

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr A Watson

4 stars

Submitted 11 May 2018

The whole tour was excellently planned and managed by the tour manager, Patricia Isaac.

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Show all 12 reviews
Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

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Sicily, Etna & The Aeolian Islands

Explore an enchanting part of Italy


Luke Simpson
Lynne Broadley
Helen Laverack