Northwestern Sicily Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The island of Sicily is for the most part mountainous, subtropical, diverse, and engaging--as the many northwestern Sicily tours attest. Best known of the cities and towns on this densely populated Italian island (population about five million) is Palermo, which lies off the northwestern coast. Like so much of the Mediterranean, Sicily has a long, varied, and rich history that goes back 10,000 years. It is well worth visiting with as much time as you might have to spare, whether that means one week or two, whether you're traveling solo or with a group of friends.

What Northwestern Sicily Tours Have to Offer

The fact is, the island of Sicily is not large, and while northwestern Sicily tours are usually centered around Palermo, they are not restricted to it. Visitors can enjoy the basalt formations of the Alcantara Gorge to the southeast, which shows very well the effect of a volcano (Mount Etna) has on the surrounding countryside. Near the middle of Sicily's southern coast are the unique mud geyser flats of Maccalube.

Mount Etna itself, of course, is Sicily's grandest nature reserve and geological claim to fame. It is Europe's highest active volcano and was the home of Vulcan, the god of fire for ancient Greeks. More than 1,200 square meters of its surface are covered in solidified lava. If you envision Sicily as the narrow triangle that it essentially is, lying with its point to the west and its base to the east, you will find Mount Etna in the center of the base. It is a strato volcano, that is, has relatively cool lava temperatures and numerous openings. No one ever knows when the next eruption will be.

Palermo's archaeological museum is well worth a visit, with important relics from numerous of the island's eras--the Phoenician, Punic, Greek, Roman, and Saracen periods. While there are many old buildings and some ruins in Sicily and Palermo, most date from the Middle Ages, but to the enthusiast, all are well worth a visit. Of course, participants of northwestern Sicily tours often find themselves distracted by the olive and lemon groves, splendid vineyards, and especially fine cuisine and local wines.

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