Eastern Sicily Explorer
Taormina - Syracuse - Ispica
Eastern Sicily offers beautiful towns rich in history, a smouldering volcano and miles of sandy beaches. May half term is a great time to explore this fascinating area before the heat of the summer sets in.
- Explore the pretty streets of Taormina and marvel at smouldering Mount Etna from the town's impressively positioned ancient Greek amphitheatre
- Enjoy a few days in Syracuse with its beautiful Baroque cathedral and Greek archaeological site
- See flamingos, herons and other bird life at the Vendicari Nature Reserve
- Finish near the south coast and explore some of the Baroque towns such as Modica with its historical chocolate shop or simply flop on one of the of sandy beaches
Eastern Sicily fly drive stopping in Taormina, Syracuse and Ispica
Fly into Catania and collect your hire car for the 1 hour drive north to Taormina. We work with a delightful family run hotel complete with swimming pool and wonderful views over the Bay of Naxos, just a short walk from the town centre.
Enjoy the sites of Taormina including the impressive Greek amphitheatre with its far-reaching views over the Bay of Naxos and towards smouldering Mount Etna. The theatre often holds plays, concerts and other events, please contact us for details. The town’s main pedestrianized street of Corso Umberto I is full of interesting shops and boutiques and also features the impressive Palazzo Corvaja showcasing Sicily’s Arab, Norman and Gothic heritage.
If the weather is hot, take the town’s cable car down to the beaches below for a relaxing afternoon on the seafront. There are several beaches to choose from and islands to explore such as the pretty Isola Bella, a protected nature reserve. The beaches below the town are pebbly but sandy beaches can be reached further along the coast.
Children will no doubt enjoy exploring Mount Etna where a cable car takes visitors close to the summit. The nearby theme park, Etnaland, is also a popular attraction with a water park and dinosaur park.
Today you will drive south for an hour and a half to Syracuse for a two night stay. We recommend staying in the heart of the historical centre, Ortigia. However, if your children are keen to have a hotel with a pool, there are several properties just outside Syracuse which have spacious gardens, outdoor swimming pool and interconnecting rooms.
Syracuse's historical centre, Ortigia, is almost entirely surrounded by sea and is reached via a causeway from the mainland. It is perfect for idle wandering with narrow streets, attractive Baroque palazzos and lovely sea views. Its spectacular central piazza, where the town's cathedral is located, is ideal for people watching with a cup of delicious Sicilian granita (a slushy fruity sorbet) or an ice cream.
The Greek and Roman ruins at the archaeological site on the edge of Syracuse are well worth a visit, the highlight being the 5th century BC Greek amphitheatre, still used for events today. The theatre holds a festival from mid-May to the end of June, please contact us for details.
Like many Sicilian towns, Syracuse has a puppet theatre, Piccolo Teatro dei Pupi, as well as a museum and workshop where visitors can see the puppets being carved and painted by hand.
Your final destination today is a family-friendly rural hotel near Ispica close to the south coast set in peaceful gardens with a swimming pool and small play area. It is only an hour’s drive from Syracuse but we recommend an early start in order to take in the Vendicari Nature Reserve just south of Syracuse. Home to flamingoes, herons and other birdlife, the reserve also has some lovely beaches and is a perfect place for a picnic lunch.
If it is not picnicking weather, we suggest stopping for lunch in Noto, its honey-coloured Baroque architecture reflect the best of the characterful Sicilian Baroque style which many towns in the region were rebuilt in following an earthquake in 1693.
Overnight: near Ispica
There are plenty of places to explore today, perhaps one of the impressive Baroque towns such as Ragusa, Modica or Scicli. Our favourite town is atmospheric Modica, perfectly positioned over 2 hillsides with its main street Corso Umberto I, set in the gorge between the hills. One of the highlights of Modica is the ornate church of San Giorgio, set atop one of the hillsides and reached via a long flight of stairs.
Modica is famed for its chocolate which has an unusual grainy texture and comes in various flavours. Head to the oldest shop in town, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto which has been family-run for over 100 years where you can often see the chocolatiers in action. One of the delicacies to be had here is the I’mpanatigghi pastry filled with meat and chocolate.
If all the sightseeing becomes too much for the children, long sandy beaches line the south coast of the island and are easy to reach for a relaxing afternoon at the seaside.
Overnight: near Ispica
Today is at leisure until your flight home. Allow around an hour and a half to drive back to Catania airport.
From £1,110 per person
Price is based on travel in mid-season and on 2 people sharing. Includes international flights from the UK, accommodation and car hire.
All of our itineraries are tailor-made to your specific requirements and therefore prices do vary. The above is an indication only. Prices will vary depending on the season of travel and the standard of accomodation used. Please contact us for a quotation and to discuss your holiday requirements in more detail.