untold italy small group tours

Western Sicily Tour Overview

Prepare for a truly ‘off-the-beaten-path’ Italy experience on our tour of Western Sicily. Together, we journey through this lesser traversed coast that’s a little more wild, natural, and slower paced than its Eastern side. Invaded by Phoenicians and Greeks, Romans, Normans and Arabs, these cultures have all left their mark on the landscape, food, and way of life. Whilst Eastern Sicily has noticeably Greek origins, the West’s landscapes, food, and culture feel more Arabic. West Sicily is home to hilltop vineyards, stunning beaches, coastal saltpans and picture perfect islands off the mainland and our tour encapsulates the very best of all this coast has to offer.

We begin in the vibrant and somewhat gritty (but always incredible) capital Palermo with bustling market visits, delicious street food, a cooking class, and walks past one-time noble palazzi. A detour to enchanting Cefalù is a delightful contrast before returning to Palermo to soak up more of its cosmopolitan atmosphere.

cefalu street scene

From Palermo we journey to our second home base on tour – the beautiful coastal town of Castellammare del Golfo via UNESCO Heritage listed Monreale Cathedral known for its impeccable mosaics. From our coastal retreat we discover the ancient ruins of Segesta, magical Medieval Erice, the famous salt pans near Marsala and picture perfect Tonnaro di Scopello. 

The final base for our Sicilian adventures is down south in Menfi nestled between vines, olive groves and white sandy beaches. Famed for outstanding wines, we’ll visit a small producer who practices ‘slow wine’ principles, visit a cheese farm, and end our journey with the magical Selinunte archaeological site. 

Of course, food and wine is central to any Untold Italy tour and we take you on a culinary adventure like no other. From meat ragu, rice filled arancine balls, fresh tuna and aubergine rich pasta alla norma, to decadent, beautiful cakes and fresh ricotta cannoli, foodies will find themselves in total paradise. The West Coast also offers interesting flavor combinations like pine nuts, raisins and saffron paired with fresh sardines and wild fennel. We also taste African and Moroccan flavors in the  famous couscous dish of the region. It’s all paired perfectly with glasses of crisp Catarratto wine and sweet Marsala with dessert. 

Get off the beaten path with us on this trip to the wonderful Western Coast of Sicily, where the landscape is dotted with Mediterranean pine trees, exotic prickly pears, and imposing rocky cliffs meeting the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. We promise it will be an unforgettable adventure!

Upcoming Western Sicily Tours

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Tour of Western Sicily Highlights

Vibrant Palermo • Mouthwatering Sicilian food and wine • Enchanting Cefalu • Ancient Selinunte Temple Ruins • Local Cooking Class • Sicilian Sweets • Wineries • Artisan ceramics • Beautiful Tonnaro di Scopello

palermo sicily
best cannoli in sicily
marsala salt pan windmill
erice pastry shop
sicilian fried seafood
palermo street scene

What Our Guests Say About Untold Italy Tours

Magical! Beautiful! I’m a bit of a dreamer and I just got lost there last night. Lost in this beauty.. Magnificent! I just loved it – view video

Vicki / Australia

We have been to Italy several times, but never like this. It has been a wonderful experience – view video

Pati / USA

Aside from every little surprise around every corner, I’ll remember Cosimo and the genuine excitement and pride that come out of him and his storytellingview video

Steve / USA

Tour of Western Sicily Itinerary

palermo

Day One

Arrive in PALERMO

Our adventure begins when we meet at our beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Palermo. You have time to introduce yourself and meet your fellow guests before we head out for a wonderful evening together.

Tonight, you have your very first tantalizing taste of some of what this incredible city has to offer. We tour Teatro Massimo together – it’s the third largest in all of Europe and has a spectacular auditorium waiting for us.

Enamoured by the theater’s bright lights, we head off to a local wine bar nearby for aperitivo just as the locals do. Open since 1946, we sample our very first Sicilian wine together and get to know each other.

With appetites opened (the original purpose of this Italian custom), we head to a fabulous restaurant to feast on local specialties including eggplant caponata, swordfish involtini, and garlic clams in perfectly cooked spaghetti, all washed down with crisp local white wine.

  • MEALS: Welcome aperitivo, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Teatro Massimo visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: Luxury 4 Star hotel in the heart of Palermo – check in from 3pm
cefalu beach

Day Two

CEFALÙ AND A COOKING CLASS

This morning we are off to one of the prettiest towns on the Tyrrhenian Sea – Cefalu. This tiny town has one of the most charming views over azure water and soft sand towards the whitewashed buildings and imposing rocky promontory beyond. Enjoy some freetime to wander the Medieval streets, explore the Norman cathedral, and stop for a granita.

All that exploring has worked up an appetite so we meet again for a delicious lunch at a restaurant nestled at the foot of the spectacular Norman Cathedral. Arabic flavors mingle against Greek and Italian influences with dishes of fish falafel, pasta with anchovies, saffron and wild fennel, and plenty of sweet and sour aubergine on the menu. Enjoy catching up with the group and sharing your impressions about this wonderful town over glasses of local white wine.

This afternoon, we head back to Palermo, but not without a stop at an 18th century Villa known as the ‘Villa of Monsters’. This one-time Royal residence was commissioned by Prince Ferdinando Francesco I. Together, we’ll find out just how this noble villa got its name…

Back in Palermo for the evening, we head out for a traditional Sicilian cooking class. The memories of this experience, and the recipes you learn, are the perfect souvenirs to take home. Together we roll up our sleeves and learn to make typical dishes like pasta al forno, arancine, cannoli, cassata and more. We hope you’re in the mood for a digestive too – we’ll be learning how to make authentic Sicilian limoncello.

After our hands-on cooking class, enjoy the fruits of our labour with a delicious home made feast accompanied by matched local wine.

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Cooking class and Villa of Monsters guided visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: Luxury 4 Star hotel in the heart of Palermo

Day Three

EXOTIC PALERMO AND SICILIAN PUPPETS

When in Palermo you must visit its two famed markets – the Capo and Ballaro. Fascinating sights and smells of freshly caught fish, just picked fruit and vegetables, vibrant Sicilian citrus, spices and wood-oven baked bread are just some of the delights that await us. We enjoy tastings along the way as we chat to local vendors and explore some of our guides other favorite foodie places in town – hint, pastry and the local nuns are involved.

Have some time to relax back at the hotel, indulge in a siesta or hit the pavement for some shopping – the choice is yours this afternoon on our final day in Palermo.

Later this afternoon, we meet for a leisurely historical walk through mesmerizing Palermo. Our local guide will bring its Arabic/Norman roots to life and enchant us with stories of King Roger II, the Palazzo Royale and its extraordinary private chapel, and the impressive cathedral that holds the remains of the city’s patron saint Rosalia.

We continue our walk to meet a very unique artisan preserving a centuries’ old Sicilian tradition – the Opera dei Pupi (Puppet shows). Telling the stories of Charlemagne and his knights as they fight for religion, glory, and love, the puppets themselves are works of art. Together we venture to a prolific puppeteer to understand a little more about this uniquely Sicilian art form.

Inspired by the stories, legends, and people of this fascinating city, this evening we head for a fun aperitivo in a lively palazzo near Palermo’s old Vucciria Market, where there is plenty of music and atmosphere. Soak in the scenes of Palermo nightlife with your new friends before we head to our final dinner in town.

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Food and historical tour, Puppeteer show
  • ACCOMMODATION: Luxury 4 Star hotel in the heart of Palermo
monreale cathedral

Day Four

monreale  and THE SEA FORTRESS

Today we head west and continue on our journey of Sicilian discovery making a stop at one of the region’s absolute must-see towns – Monreale. Prepare to be impressed by breathtakingly beautiful Monreale Cathedral, as our local guide provides important context and its multicultural symbolism. It is perhaps the very best example of Sicily’s Arab/Norman heritage in the whole region.

Next, we journey onwards but not without a stop at a local farm for lunch with incredible views overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare. This family-run estate has produced organic extra virgin olive oil, organic wine, and fruit and vegetables for generations. The matriarch of the family is an American who moved to Sicily many years ago and has written some beautiful narratives on life there.

We enjoy a tour of the property and interesting conversations with our hosts before sitting down to a lovely organic homemade lunch with wines from the estate.

In the afternoon, we make our way to the city of the ‘sea fortress on the gulf’, also known as Castellammare del Golfo. This pretty coastal town is centred around an Arab-Norman castle and sparkling turquoise sea. We check-in to our coastal boutique hotel where you have free time to relax or go for a walk through the old town. 

We meet again this evening for our first venture out into gorgeous Castellammare together. It’s all about fresh fish here, so we head out to enjoy a delicious local dinner with perfectly paired wines to match!

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Monreale cathedral visit and tour, Organic farm visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: 4 Star hotel close to the sea in Castellammare del Golfo
medieval erice sweet pastry

Day Five

MEDIEVAL ERICE AND SICILIAN SWEETS

Have you got a sweet tooth? Indulge your cravings with an incredible pastry making lesson this morning! We set off for medieval Erice, renowned for their dolci. Our teacher today is a local woman with ‘the’ pastry shop in the atmospheric hilltop town. Together, we make the famous Genovesi Ericine, a buttery shortcrust pastry filled with lemon scented pastry cream, and all kinds of deliciousness. It’s the perfect sweet start to our morning.

Armed with pastry making skills we can’t wait to show off back home , it’s back on the bus for a leisurely drive to the beach one last time. This isn’t just any beach though – it’s an Ancient seaside village and jaw droppingly beautiful. Tonnara di Scopello is nestled between gorgeous faraglioni (seaside stacks), Mediterranean pine trees and crystal clear waters that lap around the shore. It has an important tuna fishing history that has left its mark on the culture. 

Our destination is surely the best seat in town – lunch at a very local restaurant on the terrace overlooking the incredible view of the sea and surrounding mountains dotted with prickly pears and pines. We feast on bowls of lemony linguine with the freshest red tuna of our lives, busiate pasta with earthy aubergine, plates of perfectly cooked tuna and sea bass, and zingy sides of fresh vegetables. Of course, all paired with glasses of local Catarratto Bianco and more. 

Before we head back to Castellammare, we have time to take a dip in the sea or soak up the sea breezes in this picturesque town.

Later you have time to relax back at the hotel or go and explore our lovely home base. This evening, we head off for our final night in Castellammare together. Sit back and relax over an aperitivo together as we take in the view.

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Apericena (light dinner) with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Pastry cooking class, Tonnaro di Scopello visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: Charming 4 Star hotel close to the sea in Castellammare
marsala sicily salt flats

Day Six

MARSALA AND THE SALT PANS

We head off this morning, bound for the intriguing Trapani Salt Pans. Take in the spectacular sight of windmills, the lagoon, and the glimmering salt as we approach. In the summertime, there are giant mounds of white salt that were used to preserve tuna from the local fishing industry. We’ll enjoy a guided tour and of course have a chance to taste the salt.

We couldn’t leave the West coast without the land of sweet wine – Marsala. The town is famous for its fortified wine, and in fact it was Sicily’s first DOC wine. We indulge in the number one thing to do here – wine tasting. Together, we enjoy a visit to the vineyards and a wine tasting at one of the most historically important wineries in the area and enjoy local specialties paired with our Marsala wine.

 

This afternoon, we set off for our final base of the trip – Menfi. This gorgeous town is very important for wine and nestled between the rolling hills covered in vineyards. Take some time this evening to relax after a big day.  We all meet up a little later for another delicious dinner together to reflect on our journey thus far. 

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Salt pan tour, Marsala winery visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: Charming country house near Menfi

Day Seven

CERAMICS, WINE AND SELINUnTE

It’s our final day on tour together, and we promise it will end with some incredible moments that will leave you thinking of these moments for years to come. 

Our morning starts with a visit to an artisan ceramics maker in nearby Sambuca. Traditional Sicilian ceramics are colorful and inspired by ancient stories and mystery. Learn the story of the famous Sicilian head vases while you admire the craftsmanship of the ceramic creations.

Inspired, we head off in search of lunch. We’re taking you to a nearby winery and olive grove with an amazing story of passion and continuing family tradition. This winery is run by four young women who took over the family business in 2017 and are making wonderful organic wines. Sit back and enjoy Sicilian hospitality and the vineyard’s local wine as we learn about their story.

After a tasty lunch, we return to Menfi where we have time for final shopping, sightseeing, photo taking and relaxing. Later on, get ready for a very romantic evening together with stunning sunset views over the Selinunte archaeological site. We’ll explore this once rich and powerful 5th century BCE Greek city with our local guide. Take in the ruins, and the fascinating stories against the backdrop of the Sicilian countryside as the wonderful aroma of Mediterranean herbs settles around us.  

Awe-struck by this captivating ancient site, we head out for a final dinner together at a special local restaurant where we have the chance to reflect on the week that was and our impressions on this wild, magical coast of Sicily. Raise a glass as we have a ‘brindisi’ (toast) to new friendships and memories to last a lifetime. 

  • MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • ACTIVITIES: Selinunte visit, Ceramics Workshop and Winery visit
  • ACCOMMODATION: Charming country house near Menfi
trapani salt flats

Day Eight

Arrivederci WEstern Sicily

Enjoy one last view of the gorgeous Menfi countryside over a delicious breakfast this morning. With heavy hearts, we pack our bags and checkout, determined to find our way back to Sicily one day, even if just in our memories. 

Group departure transfers to Palermo airport or train station will be arranged for a morning departure.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Transfer: Group transfer to Palermo airport or train station
artisan ceramics erice
wildflowers sicily
sicily street scene

Tour of Western Sicily Inclusions

We have strived to make our Western Sicily tour as all inclusive as possible with no hidden surprises. Included in your tour are:

  • 7 nights in luxury 4 star accommodation – 3 nights at a city hotel in Palermo,  2 nights close to the sea at a classic hotel in Castellammare del Golfo and 2 nights at an elegant country house in Menfi
  • Unique experiences: Wine tastings, Palermo food and walking tour, Cooking class, Teatro Massimo visit, Monreale cathedral visit, sweets demonstration and class, puppeteer show, ‘Villa of Monsters’ tour, ceramics workshop visit, Selinunte ruins, farm visits and more
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 aperitivo and 6 dinners as specified in the itinerary, wine and bottled water is included with meals other than breakfast
  • Luxury air-conditioned mini-bus
  • Group departure transfers to Palermo
  • Tips and gratuities for drivers and guides

Western Sicily Tour FAQ

Accommodation on Tour

We have three accommodation stops on our tour of western Sicily. Our home base in Palermo is a stunning boutique 4 star hotel in the heart of the city with an an amazing rooftop terrace. In Castellammare del Golfo we stay close to the water in a lovely 4 star hotel so you can soak up the sea breezes. Out final stop is a stunning country house near Menfi surrounded by olive groves and vineyards.

Meet Your Host

Olivia is an Australian woman living in Rome, with a passion for the land of la dolce vita, cooking and wine. Her super powers include finding the most charming villages and delectable cheeses.

Olivia is your local host that ensures your trip is memorable for all the right reasons.

Arrivals and Departures

Our tour begins in Palermo when you check into your hotel from 3pm. Our activities conclude on the morning of our final day near Menfi when we check out of our hotel. Group departure transfers to Palermo are included in your tour price. 

Upcoming Tour Dates

  • 2024 – October 15 – 22 – book now
  • SPRING 2025 – April 09 – 16 – book now
  • SPRING 2025 – May 13 – 20 – book now
  • FALL 2025 – October 1- 8 – book now
  • FALL 2025 – October 25 – Nov 1 – book now
  • Exclusive tours available on request for groups of 6-10 – inquire

Booking information

  • Price from $US 7,390 per person based on double or twin share accommodation
  • A supplement applies for solo travelers wanting a private room
  • 30% deposit required to reserve your spot
  • Cancel for a full refund up to 120 days before departure
  • Read complete terms and conditions
GENERAL TOUR FAQ

Discover Sicily

Italy’s largest island has a long and rich history marked by waves of invasion and immigration that informed its culture – from architecture and art to food and wine. Combined with stunning natural assets – from Mount Etna, the central hills to the surrounding sea, this colorful past makes Sicily one of the most exciting Italian regions to visit.

Sicily Travel Guide

Uncover the highlights of the region

READ THE GUIDE

Palermo

A cosmopolitan city

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