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Hiking – suggestions for tours


Hiking is the most authentic way of exploring and discovering the island.
The best traveling seasons for hiking tours on Sicily are from mid March to end of May and from mid September to mid November.

 

Hiking – suggestions for tours


Hiking is the most authentic way of exploring and discovering the island.
The best traveling seasons for hiking tours on Sicily are from mid March to end of May and from mid September to mid November.

Spend an unforgettable hiking holiday on the island of Sicily

Although the island is still what you might call in its infancy with regard to hiking and hiking tours, lovers of nature might appreciate walking the magnificent countryside with its fantastic panoramic views without encountering crowds of tourists.

From Sicily’s landmark, Mount Etna, to the mountainous hinterland and to the northwest with its lush green hilly landscape waiting to be discovered – you can go on quite a number of unforgettable trekking tours on Sicily.

Please mind that signposting is not always the best and that a bit of hiking exercise in advance might not be bad.

Mount Etna

The area around Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano, is a particularly charming scenic landscape. Hiking up the mountain, you meet with spectacular views of a landscape characterized by black lava rock and fertile ground and of the Mediterranean Sea. Here are some interesting tours.

Guided hiking tour

Inexperienced hikers are recommended to go on a tour of the volcano with a local guide and to start on the tour early in the morning and when visibility is good. 
What you should take along: hiking equipment, enough to drink and warm clothes for the higher elevations. 

Hiking to Monte Zoccolaro

To experienced climbers we recommend a hiking tour to the peak of Monte Zoccolaro, which rises up to 1,739 m. Starting point is the turning area below Refugio Zoccolaro. Difference in altitude is 920 m, finding your way is easy, the ascent is steep.

Particularities you encounter on your way are the „dykes“, quite bizarre-looking vertical sheets of basalt rising from the rock. Your efforts of climbing the peak are rewarded by a breathtaking view.

Hiking on northern slope of Mount Etna 

Bizarre fields of lava and ice grottos can be admired during a hiking tour on the northern slope of Mount Etna. The marked trails are, however, only found when visibility is good. Starting point is the Piano Cavoli parking lot. Flashlights and a warm coat/jacket are absolutely necessary if you want to visit Grotta del Gelo with its stunning ice stalactites.  

Hiking near Taormina

From Taormina via Castelmola to Monte Veneretta 

From Sicily’s most famous mountain village you start on a beautiful and easy hiking tour along medieval mule trails up to Monte Veneretta. The trails are good to walk along, except for the back part on top of Monte Veneretta, where it becomes a bit more difficult because there are no paths. The ascent to Castelmola is already 'rewarded' by a spectacular view of Taormina, the bay of Mazzarò and Mount Etna.

Refreshment in the gorge of Alcántara

Starting point is a medieval town in the hinterland of Taormina – Castiglione di Sicilia with its Norman fortress. You walk along clearly marked trails. However, you have to ford a river, which might even be a welcome refreshment. Mount Etna is within sight most of the time.

Hiking in southern Sicily

The Necropolis of Pantálica

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pantàlica is located in the hinterland of Syracuse; it is an impressive landscape of gorges in Monte Iblei. The unique shape of the gorge was formed by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers. There are over 5,000 chamber tombs dating from the 13th – 8th centuries BC.  

Cava Grande del Cassibile

Vacationers staying at Avola are not far from the Sicilian Grand Canyon. The coastal town is only 12 km from the limestone gorge which was formed by the Cassibile river and which fascinates visitors with its lush vegetation and millennia-old chamber tombs. At the end of the valley, the gorge opens upon a view of the sea. The tour is rather demanding, partly you hike along very narrow trails. 

The Maddalena coast

A unique and magnificent 'piece' of Sicily lies hidden south of Syracuse. It is for good reason that the peninsula of Plemmirio was declared a protected area in 2005; it is an Eldorado of nature for hikers and divers alike. The tour starts at the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. 

Hiking in the area west of Palermo

Pilgrims’ trail to Santuario di Santa Rosalia

The pilgrims’ trail around Monte Pellegrino runs up to pilgrimage church Santuario di Santa Rosalia. The bones of the saint, who is said to have freed Palermo from the plague, were discovered up there. On your way up, you meet with breathtaking views of Sicily’s capital city and of the gulf of the glamorous bathing resort of Mondello.

Experiencing nature at Riserva dello Zingaro

Thanks to the Sicilian people, the nature park was saved from building development on the peninsula and it is still one of the island’s most beautiful spots. The easy, but quite long hiking tour, which starts at Scopello, should rather not be undertaken when it is very hot, even though it runs along the coast with its fantastic bays where you can stop for a swim in the sea. Supplies cannot be acquired anywhere in the park, so take along enough to drink and to eat. 

You can also start on this hiking tour from San Vito Lo Capo; you are simply walking the other way round. 

Monte Cófano

Monte Cófano is located at the seaside, rises from the landscape like the peak of a rock and is easy to recognize even from afar. You can hike around the mountainous headland on trails near the shore. Experienced hikers might also climb the peak.

Volcanic Lipari Islands

Picture postcard motif Lipari

On Lipari, your hike takes you to the most photographed picture postcard motif of the Aeolian Islands; the belvedere of the island’s capital opens upon a fantastic view of the sea. Your hike starts at the harbor of Lipari. There is not much shade along the paths and ways, so take along enough to drink and some kind of headgear.

On Europe’s most active volcano: Vulcano

During your hike towards the peak on the island of Vulcano, you come across fire-breathing and smoking craters as well as fumes of sulfur. Tip: Take along your swimwear and relax in the natural springs.

More hiking tours and detailed information about the hiking tours we have suggested are found in Rother Wanderführer by Dorothea Sänger and Michael Gahr