Sicily Geography Tour
Sicily is home to Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano and one which has contributed significantly to the geography of the eastern side of the island, ranging from distinctive physical formations to agriculture and human interaction with the landscape.
School Geography Trip to Sicily
Sicily offers the opportunity to discover Europe's most active volcano and one which has contributed significantly to the geography of the eastern side of the island, ranging from distinctive physical formations to the agriculture and human interaction with the landscape. As well as Mount Etna, our tours also explore the varied coastal features of the Cyclops Riviera and the unique Alcantara Gorge. We can also visit the Aeolian Islands such as Vulcano, Lipari or Stromboli, each of which have been formed by volcanic eruptions.
The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.
Flight to Sicily, Cyclops Riviera and Giardini Naxos
Flight to Catania: On arrival you will be met by your guide and private transport and transfer to the town of Aci Castello for lunch.
Cyclops Riviera: In the afternoon you explore this stretch of coastline which is surrounded by myth and legend. The rocky islets and volcanic outcrops seen off the shore were named for their role in Homer’s legend of the Odyssey. In the story, it was here that Odysseus encountered the cyclops and the lava rocks jutting from the sea are said to have been thrown by the cyclops.
Giardini Naxos: You continue to the town of Giardini Naxos, a seaside resort situated along a wide bay below the historic city of Taormina. You spend the late afternoon in Giardini Naxos which offers excellent opportunities to study coastal management, settlement and tourism. Due to coastal erosion, the beach has to be continually replenished with extra sand as no beach equals no tourists and no income. After check-in, dinner this evening is at your hotel.
Mount Etna Full Day
Mount Etna: This morning you have an early start for the excursion up Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano. You travel by coach to the Sapienza Refuge at a height of almost 2000 meters above sea level from where you take a cable car up the mountain to 2500 metres. From here you continue by rugged 4×4 vehicles to an altitude of 2920 metres at Torre del Filosofo. This is where the hiking and hard work begins. You will be led by a specialist guide who will speak to you about the volcanic processes and landforms to be seen here. The hike from 2900 metres to the summit crater at 3350 metres takes about an hour and is quite strenuous but on a clear day the rewards are tremendous, accompanied throughout by stunning views of the beautiful Ionian coastline.
Etna Volcano Museum: This afternoon you visit the Etna Volcano Museum which offers a fascinating display of the processes and history of the eruptions on Etna. The museum has an excellent restaurant ideal for an afternoon snack. You then return to your hotel for dinner.
Vulcano Island Full Day
Vulcano Island: This morning you travel by hydrofoil to Vulcano, the most southerly of the aeolian archipelago and famous for its hot springs which are located just a short walk from the harbour. Along with Stromboli, Vulcano is the only volcano still active in the archipelago. After disembarking at the harbour, you climb to the spectacular summit crater – the Grande Cratare – which rises to a height of 500 metres. The dusty trail takes you past lava flows and many active fumaroles with sulphurous deposits. You can feel the warmth from the volcano, and you are also rewarded with a spectacular view towards the rest of the Aeolian Archipelago. Seismic monitoring systems are also seen on the volcano’s flanks. You descend back to sea level where there are opportunities to discuss changing vegetation zones. Finally, you can relax with an enjoyable bathing experience in the mud pools and hot springs which discharge into the sea. At the end of the day, you take the hydrofoil back to Sicily and return to your hotel for dinner.
Alcantara Gorge and Taormina
Alcantara Gorge: This morning you explore the Alcantara Gorge, an imposing basalt cleft which has been carved out by water erosion over thousands of years. Formed by runoff from Mount Etna, the Alcantara River is one of the few rivers in Sicily that flows year-round. Several thousand years ago the river’s path was blocked by a large lava flow from the slopes of Mount Etna. The cool water of the river helped to quickly cool the lava, which resulted in the lava crystallizing and forming the unique basalt rock columns that are a feature here. Over the next few thousand years the river proceeded to carve a path through the columns resulting in the gorge that we see today. Alongside the volcanic features, you can discuss with students the water-carved formations that you see and the processes of erosion.
Taormina: This afternoon you visit Taormina, one of Sicily’s most popular towns. Perched on a rocky promontory high above the sea, Taormina overlooks the Gulf of Naxos. Beautifully restored mediaeval buildings, attractive winding streets and its well-preserved Greek Amphitheatre all combine to make Taormina unmissable. At the end of the day, you return to your hotel for dinner.
Catania, Flight Home
Catania City Tour: This morning you explore Catania including its famous street markets. You begin at the Elephant Statue in Piazza del Duomo, the main square of the city. The statue has been the symbol of Catania for centuries and was carved out of volcanic stone during the Roman era. In the eighteenth century an Egyptian obelisk was mounted on its back where it has remained to this day.
Catania Markets: The Fish market is the best example of street life that you can see in Catania. In the morning it is impossible not to miss the loud shouts that come from the fish merchants. The variety of fish is amazing and includes sword fish, sardines, octopus and tuna, while small food stalls fry-up calamari. A little further on there is a food market with fruit and vegetables, cheese and meats. There is also a flea market selling all manner of bric-à-brac.
Flight Home: After time for lunch you transfer to the airport for the flight home.
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