Anapo Valley: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Catania: Pantalica & Sortino Guided Tour

1. From Catania: Pantalica & Sortino Guided Tour

Explore the historic Pantalica Nature Reserve and the scenic town of Sortino in the Anapo River Valley. Visit Pantalica, one of the most impressive prehistoric and Paleo-Christian settlements in Europe. Then, explore nearby Sortino and see the town’s memorable architecture. Get picked up from your accommodation in Catania, then head to the first stop: Pantalica Nature Reserve. Pantalica is located on a limestone promontory surrounded by a deep gorge formed by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers between the towns of Ferla and Sortino in Sicily. Pantalica was founded by Sicilian populations where they settled for over 2400 years until the end of the 12th century. This charming place is the largest necropolis in Europe. Here, you'll find the Necropolis of Pantalica, a collection of historic tombs. Next, head to the second stop, the town of Sortino. Sortino has always been known for being one of the most scenic homelands with Sicilian Baroque. Marvel at the architecture of the town's buildings and churches, including Mother Church of Sortino that features the Baroque style. At the end of the tour, get dropped off back at your accommodation or another drop-off location in Catania.

Ferla: Pantalica Nature Reserve UNESCO Tour with Swim Stop

2. Ferla: Pantalica Nature Reserve UNESCO Tour with Swim Stop

Discover the natural wonders of a UNESCO World Heritage Site on this guided trip from Ferla to the Pantalica Nature Reserve. Visit an ancient Byzantine oratory, walk through the ruins of the Anaktoron, and swim while surrounded by nature at Calcinara River. After meeting your guide in Ferla, follow your guide in your own vehicle to the entrance of the Pantalica Nature Reserve called Sella di Filiporto. Park your car, then follow an ancient mule track to reach the Byzantine village. Admire the Oratory of San Micidiario, completely dug into the white rock, then continue to other highlights, including the so-called “Prince’s Palace,” a megalithic structure of the thirteenth century B.C. of which only a few ruins are visible. By car, you’ll head to another entrance of the Nature Reserve of Pantalica. Going downstream, visit another Byzantine village with its oratory, the Church of the Crucifix, where you can admire a Byzantine painting illustrating Christ on the cross. Thanks to the presence of your own naturalist guide, you’ll get to discover some of the 700 species and subspecies of plants that inhabit these fascinating places.  Continue along a rock path, reach the clear waters of the Calcinara River, the perfect place to take a regenerating swim. Afterward, your guide will help you make your way to the exit of the village.

From Ferla: Necropolis of Pantalica Guided Day Trip

3. From Ferla: Necropolis of Pantalica Guided Day Trip

During the excursion you will retrace the history of Sicily from the 12th century B.C. to the present day. You will visit the wonderful archaeological site of Pantalica, set in an imposing limestone bordered by the Anapo river and its tributary Calcinara.The route you will follow, develops between the waters of the two rivers and the walls of the Anapo valley. You will visit different parts of the archaeological site, including the largest final bronze necropolis in Europe, with its 5,000 grotto tombs; the Byzantine villages of San Micidiario and San Nicolicchio, which will fascinate you with their rock churches dating back to the 4th century; the Anaktoron, the palace of Prince Hyblon, seat of local power from the 12th century BC. You will also visit the remains of a Greek trench and the narrow-gauge railway, crossed by the small train that was in operation until the last century. If the climate allows it, you can refresh yourself in the waters of the Calcinara torrent, and visit one of the active karst caves in the area. Nature, history and archaeology enclosed in a unique experience in Panatalica.

Pantalica: memory in stone

4. Pantalica: memory in stone

The tour dedicated to the archaeological and natural site of Pantalica turns you into a traveller on the European Grand Tour to discover the wonders preserved in this place, declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2005. Ideal for those who want to combine a journey through history with a walk in nature. It will be an experience you will find hard to forget, I promise. From the town of Ferla, we access a portion of the Pantalica reserve that is a veritable treasure trove of stories. We will let you discover it starting from the necropolis of Filiporto and along a loop tour that includes, as a final stop, the Anaktoron or Prince's Palace, a megalithic building full of charm and mystery. Along the way, we will visit the remains of an ancient Byzantine village and the rock churches of San Micidiario and San Nicolicchio surrounded by the rich biodiversity of the Anapo Valley that we will explore from above and it will be like walking suspended, between sky and nature, in a journey back in time.

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Things to do in
Anapo Valley

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What people are saying about Anapo Valley

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 6 reviews

Everything was great. Pick up from hotel exactly as promised, very interesting and not too easy hiking at Pantalica. Our guide Andrea was very knowledgeable about the flora and history of Pantalica region. He was also able to adjust the tour a bit according to wishes and capabilities of the participants. Something which is quite rare and extremely valuable. I would certainly recommend this tour to anybody who is interested in hiking, nature and history of Sicily.

We had a lovely walk in spring Sicily and having had no hire car, we never would have got there without Andrea. He pointed out lots of interesting things and we had a very enjoyable time.