Want to visit Sicily? Book Culture Trip’s 10-day adventure, where you’ll be able to eat local cuisine, bounce around Mount Etna in a 4×4 and be guided through the ancient towns of Noto, Ragusa and Modica by our local insider.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Italian cuisine varies greatly between regions, and Sicily’s has been heavily shaped by Arabic, Greek, French and Spanish influences over the years. You’ll still find typical pizza and pasta dishes – particularly in Palermo and Catania – but why not sample some delicious Sicilian delicacies for a more authentic experience?
Arancini (deep-fried stuffed rice balls) and cannoli (tube-shaped pastries filled with sweet ricotta) are ubiquitous across the island. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try a pane con la milza (pork spleen sandwich) before cleansing the palate with a scoop of granita (a semi-frozen dessert made with ice, sugar and fruit).
Although not quite as expansive, Sardinian cuisine features numerous specialities you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in Italy. Culurgiones (pasta stuffed with creamy potato, fresh mint and pecorino cheese) and spaghetti ai ricci di mare (sea urchin spaghetti) are two traditional favourites.
If pristine sandy beaches are what you’re looking for, Sardinia certainly won’t disappoint. There’s a vast array to choose from around the 1,849km (1,148mi) coastline – with Cala Goloritzé, Porto Istana, Cala Brandinchi and Spiaggia del Principe among the highlights. Swim in calm, clear waters or lie back and catch some rays – it’s one of the prime spots in Europe to do so. Sicily has no shortage either, with many of its beaches characterised by pebbles and craggy rock formations – as well as a handful of sandier shores more suitable for sunbathing, such as San Vito Lo Capo and Mondello.
Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe at around 10,826ft (3300m), dominates the northeastern skyline of Sicily and offers an ideal vantage point for panoramic views. Follow one of the easily accessible walking trails or take the cable car for a more relaxing route up the slopes. On the northwest coast, the Zingaro Nature Reserve contains several excellent hiking routes if you want to experience a totally contrasting side to the natural landscapes of Sicily. Hikers are also spoilt for choice in Sardinia, with coastal, mountain and forest trails aplenty. Neptune’s Grotto – an awe-inspiring stalactite cave – is well worth exploring, too.
Sicily’s complex history of invasion and foreign rule is reflected in the varied architectural styles of the towns and cities. You can admire the intriguing blend of Norman, Arab, gothic and neoclassical influences at Palermo Cathedral, which – together with the Cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale – form part of a Unesco World Heritage list of religious and civic landmarks. The late renaissance-style Teatro Massimo – the largest opera house in Europe – is another impressive sight, both inside and out.
For one of the most extensive and best-preserved sites of ancient Greek temples and monuments in the world, take a trip to the Valley of the Temples – where the Temple of Concordia bears a powerful resemblance to the Parthenon of Athens. Syracuse, a picturesque city on the southeastern coast, is similarly steeped in Greek and Roman culture.
Vibrant towns and cities
From the grand religious buildings and rambunctious food markets of Palermo in the north to the baroque piazzas and exuberant nightlife of Catania in the east, the urban hubs of Sicily are teeming with life – but there are plenty of smaller towns and villages with a different kind of charm. Drive an hour east from Palermo and you’ll arrive at Cefalù – a laid-back town on the Tyrrhenian coast set against the dramatic backdrop of La Rocca, an 879ft (268m) cliff with a castle at the top.
In Taormina – an idyllic hilltop town on the east coast lined with medieval cobbled streets – you can visit the ancient Greek-Roman amphitheatre with spectacular vistas of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean. Venture up a little higher to Castelmola for an even better observation point.
In Sardinia, Cagliari is where you’ll find the richest selection of accommodation, restaurants and bars. It’s an attractive city which tends not to be overly crowded with tourists, and the historic centre – Quartiere Castello – is a delightful area to take a stroll. On the north coast, the harbour village of Castelsardo is especially eye-catching with a hilltop castle and colourful houses.
Unbeknown to some, Sicily is an island with its own set of islands. Reachable by ferry from Milazzo, the Aeolian archipelago comprises seven islands – each with a unique appeal. Sample the nightlife of Panarea, walk up an active volcano on Stromboli or soak in the mud baths and hot springs of Vulcano. A day trip to the Aegadian Islands off the northwest coast is also seriously worth considering to access secluded beaches and scenic nature trails.
Sardinia’s Maddalena archipelago shouldn’t be overlooked either. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Caribbean, with turquoise lagoons and swathes of unspoilt beaches – including Spiaggia Rosa renowned for having peculiar pink sand. It takes just 20 minutes to get there by ferry from Palau.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Gillian McGuire.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.