May 27, 2024 — By a Blue Parallel Travel Expert

Things To Do In Sicily: 9 Exclusive Experiences & Insider Access

Sicily allures travelers with its promise of natural beauty, cultural grandeur and rich history. Despite its growing popularity, it is possible to enjoy the island’s highlights away from the crowds with insider access to Sicily’s exclusive experiences.

Sicily is nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean and is an island steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. This European gem beckons travelers with its ancient ruins, vibrant traditions, and stunning landscapes, not to mention its unique exclusive travel experiences.

Here, we unveil the best things to do in Sicily, inviting you to discover exclusive encounters and hidden treasures across this enchanting Mediterranean jewel.

1. Visit The Monreale Cathedral After-Hours

Built in 1174 by King William II, the Monreale is a famous cathedral known for its Norman architecture and vast interior Byzantine-style frescoes. Thanks to William II’s appreciation for Northern African and Middle-Eastern art and culture, the influence of the Arabic and Byzantine craftsmen who created the cathedral is evident in its architectural and artistic styles.

Looking up at Monreal Cathedral in Sicily

Visiting the cathedral is a great activity if you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of Sicily.

During your luxury tour of Sicily, we can arrange a private after-hours tour of this historic cathedral with an expert guide. Discover the highlights of the grand cathedral and enjoy exclusive access to areas not open to the public.

Details inside Monreale Cathedral in Sicily

This insider tour allows you to revel in the awe-inspiring sights, delve into the rich history of the cathedral, and savor the experience away from the crowds.


2. Take A Private Helicopter To The Aeolian Islands

There are few things more thrilling than a helicopter ride across the blue waters of the Aeolian Archipelago. Soaring along Sicily’s east coast, tracing the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, you will witness the Vulcano and Lipari Islands before reaching the captivating shores of Salina.

Private helipad near the sea in Taormina, Sicily

Salina is one of the most beautiful islands of the Aeolian Archipelago, a cluster of seven volcanic islands in the far south of Italy. An island of raw scenic beauty with dramatic volcanic cliffs plunging into the sea, sleepy villages amidst verdant mountains, colorful fishing boats on pebble beaches, hills covered in wild capers, and vines heavy with grapes for sweet Malvasia wine.

Sicily Luxury Tours, Italy

Once you’ve completed your exciting private helicopter transfer, step onto Salina’s picturesque terrain and begin a privately guided hiking adventure to Monte Fossa delle Felci. Traverse the island’s heart from Pizzo Capo, venturing through hills and valleys adorned with iconic Mediterranean flora.

Clear blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea with a small rocky island

If you prefer less strenuous activities, we recommend a private boat tour of the shores of Filicudi. With crystal clear waters, secret caves, and secluded coves, you’ll be enchanted with Filicudi’s timeless allure.

3. Trek The Exclusive “Old Route Trail”

Immortalized by Jules Verne in his book Journey to the Center of the Earth, Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is famous for its normally small, but regular eruptions, which are complete with glowing lava from several vents inside its summit crater.

View of sunset behind Stromboli Volcano in Sicily

The “Old Route Trail” is a stunning hiking route up to the volcano’s summit, Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, which is almost 3,000 ft (850 m) above sea level. While the trail is not open to the general public, we can arrange exclusive access so you can admire stunning views overlooking the valley covered in rich, colorful vegetation and an abundance of mountain goats that run wild in the area.

Glowing lava from Stromboli volcano erupting in the evening

Observe the craters, learn about the history of the island from your private guide and enjoy the sunset from the summit while witnessing vibrant lava emerge from the volcano’s center. This exclusive hike is an adventure seeker’s dream, filled with stunning views and once in a lifetime experiences.

4. Taste Granita With A World-famous Chef

Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its delicious flavors, fresh ingredients, and rich culinary traditions. Sicily is famous for its granita which is often enjoyed alongside a brioche for breakfast or as a refreshing snack on a hot day.

Authentic citrus granita in Sicily

A tour of Sicily would not be complete without experiencing this wondrous Sicilian dessert. During your tour, we can arrange a private tasting with a world renowned Italian pastry chef! Indulge in a private granita tasting in the city of Noto with Chef Corrado Assenza at his family-owned dessert shop, Caffe Sicilia.

Lemons growing on a tree

Chef Corrado Asseza has spent the last 30 years perfecting his granita recipe and uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients in his creations.

5. Embark On A Private Boat Tour to Panarea Island

Panarea Island is Sicily’s most trendy island, frequented by Italian celebrities and socialites alike. Just north-east of Salina, Panarea is populated with whitewashed architecture garlanded with bright bougainvillea flowers. As the smallest of the eight Aeolian Islands, only scooters and golf carts are able to drive here, making it a peaceful and secluded escape.

The quiet and pristine setting of Panarea Island is topped only by its calm and crystal blue water.

Stromboli Volcano seen across the sea from Panarea in the Aeolian archipelago

Our preferred way to witness this charming island is via private boat. As you navigate through Sicily’s blue waters and impressive volcanic formations, visit secret swimming spots that are only accessible by boat.


6. Enjoy A Gourmet Picnic In Spectacular Natural Settings

There is something special about being immersed in nature and connecting with the natural beauty that surrounds you. One of the best ways to reconnect with the natural world is to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy nature’s sights, sounds and smells in privacy.

A unique exclusive experience in Sicily is having a gourmet picnic in the Valley of the Temples Park.

View of ruins at Valley Of The Temples while enjoying an exclusive experience in Sicily

We can arrange for a private, white-cloth picnic with fine silverware and stemware on a natural table within the ancient Hellenic architecture of this historic site. As you enjoy your lunch, take in the shade of a grove of citrus and olive trees that dates back to the 1400s.

7. Indulge In Private Culinary Experiences…

Sicily is home to many unique culinary experiences, including private cooking lessons and one-on-one demonstrations.

If you’re a foodie, we recommend an exclusive cooking class with published author and chef, Fabrizia Lanza. Chef Lanza, a native Sicilian will guide you on an intimate culinary journey that explores authentic Sicilian cuisine.

Delicious seafood prepared during private cooking class in Sicily

During your private cooking lesson, Chef Lanza will explain the intricacies of Sicilian cooking and introduce you to the Slow Food Movement, which strives to create food that is great quality, healthy, and is produced using eco-friendly methods.

Authentic Sicilian cuisine cooked during private cooking demonstration in Sicily

Or, visit the house of Chef Fiora Piccione during your Sicily tour and enjoy a private cooking demonstration and delicious lunch prepared specially for you. During this culinary experience, you will have the chance to learn more about traditional Sicilian cuisine.

8. Visit The Most Beautiful Church In Vizzini

Step away from the busy beachside towns of Sicily, and enter the quiet country village of Vizzini. Despite its humble appearance, Vizzini is bursting with history and impressive architectural structures and is a place where one can experience the true flavor of Sicilian life.

View of house in the remote Vizzini village in Sicily

Established in the Middle Ages by the Chiaromontes and the Schittinos families, it was once part of the Roman Empire as the city of Bidis. Vizzini is most known for being home to 32 churches and as the inspiration for many novels by Sicily’s most prized writer, Giovanni Verga.

Despite having 32 churches, most of them are closed to the public as the village only has 2 priests. Our insider access allows you to visit the most beautiful church of the village with one of the priests where you will witness the spectacular architecture and learn about the history of the building.


9. Go Wine Tasting In Private

A luxury tour to Sicily would not be complete without a decadent wine tasting excursion. We recommend the Tenuta Regaleali Estate which is complete with almost one-thousand acres of lush vineyards.

Vineyards at the Tenuta Regaleali Estate in Sicily during private tour

For generations, the Tenuta Regaleali estate has been the most important location for the Tasca d’Almerita family’s wine production. Producing 3 million bottles every year, some of which are rare varieties, and others are varieties that were threatened with extinction and have been saved by Tasca d’Almerita’s vineyard workers and researchers.

After admiring the stunning views of this estate, take a private tour of the wine facilities and witness the delicate process of Sicilian winemaking. We can organize insider access to the winery where the house oenologist shares the wine-making process and methodologies that make the Tasca d’Almerita family’s wine an internationally acclaimed brand.

Aerial of wine tasting in Sicily with ocean views

Then, join your personal sommelier and try the different varieties of wine from the property’s reserve list.

The Best Exclusive Experiences In Sicily

Local culinary excellence, captivating outdoor excursions, and rich cultural and natural wonders make Sicily a singular destination for even the most discerning travelers.

Through our extensive network of local experts, esteemed historians, celebrated chefs, and custodians of heritage sites, we offer unparalleled access to the island’s unique excursions. Whether it’s exploring ancient Greek temples, indulging in traditional Sicilian cuisine with local families, or embarking on scenic adventures along the rugged coastlines, our connections ensure unforgettable experiences.

For more information on things to do in Sicily and to start planning your bespoke tour, contact one of our Travel Experts today.

Tailor-Made Itineraries To Sicily

Discover the exclusive experiences and insider tours we can include in your bespoke luxury tour to Sicily…