From ancient cities and medieval villages to white sands and olive groves, this comprehensive road trip gives you the flexibility to explore Sicily’s richly varied delights. While the likes of its capital Palermo and mountaintop Taormina feature everything from remarkable cathedrals to Arab-Norman spectacles, there’s also Agrigento’s millennia-old temple wonders and Cefalù’s beaches, as golden as its fishermen’s houses. You’ll link it all with stays in iconic hotels and drives that bring you between spectacular coastal scenery and pretty backcountry routes.
Day 1: UK/Palermo
Begin your holiday with complimentary airport lounge indulgence before your flight out to Palermo. From its Byzantine mosaics and Arabesque domes to its frescoed basilicas and Gothic palaces, Sicily's effervescent capital wears its diverse history on its sleeve. No other European city has hosted such a wide variety of civilisations. In between, there's a buzzing restaurant scene, a wealth of the art galleries and the small matter of Italy's largest opera house. On arrival, you'll pick up your hire car at the airport to drive to your central accommodation. Along with the marbled Superior option, the sea views and historic frescoes of our Art-Nouveau Deluxe offering are particularly impressive.
Stay: Grand Hotel Federico II (Superior) or Grand Hotel Villa Igiea (Deluxe)
Days 2-3: Agrigento
Make the drive south, through the rolling Sicilian countryside, before weaving along the coast to your home for the next two nights – either a Superior-standard, 13th-century watchtower or a Deluxe, 18th-century villa just 200m from the Temple of Concordia. But, there's more to the Valley of the Temples than this masterpiece of Doric art. Dating back to the 5th century BC, it's a priceless series of golden-stone monuments strung out along a ridge line and backdropped by gorgeous views out over the sea. Together, it's the largest collection of early Greek architecture outside of the homeland.
Stay: Baglio della Luna (Superior) or Hotel Villa Athena (Deluxe)
Days 4-5: Cefalù
Swap coasts, back through Sicily's vineyard-dotted interior, to arrive at tiny Cefalù. Combining some of Sicily's finest beaches, all white sands and blue waters, with perhaps its greatest examples of Arab-Norman architecture, this medieval jewel is a true highlight. Wander its cobbled streets past honey-coloured buildings to discover a beautifully mosaicked 12th-century cathedral, charming squares and superb seafood restaurants that serve up the day's catch. Your luxury hotel even features its very own private beach along with an excellent spa and a fine restaurant housed in 18th-century stone.
Stay: Alberi del Paradiso (Superior/Deluxe)
Days 6-7: Taormina
Today's gorgeous coastal drive will bring you past secluded coves and yet more of those sandy beaches to Taormina in the island's northeast. Even 23 centuries ago it was famed for its beauty, with its ancient Greek amphitheatre commanding spectacular views out over to snow-capped Mt. Etna and the island's golden beach curves. It's a sight shared with the Monte Tauro hotel, while our Deluxe option, the Villa Sant'Andrea, excites with a private beach, infinity swimming pool and luxuriously marbled rooms. However, you'll want to head out and explore Taormina's varied past, evidenced in its medieval cathedral-fortress, English gardens and Gothic palaces.
Stay: Monte Tauro (Superior) or Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea (Deluxe)
Day 8: Taormina/Catania/UK
Continue down the coast to Catania, dropping off your hire car at the airport to make your flight home.
Valid for travel: March to November 2018
Local one way drop off fee will apply for car rental from Palermo to Catania
Alberi del Paradiso has supplements for July and August stays
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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