School Geography Trips to Sicily
Sicily is the perfect destination for budding geographers to combine Mediterranean sunshine and warmth with an array of diverse and intriguing geographical landscapes. Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, dominates the skyline and a crater area visit is a memorable experience. For students who are looking to develop their understanding of volcanic landscapes, the Aeolian Islands offer the ideal opportunity.
This spectacular country also offers plenty of opportunities to witness river and coastal landscapes. The Alcantara River cuts an ancient lava flow, producing a spectacular gorge with superb basalt columns and Giardini Naxos’s coastal area offers an excellent case study of coastal management plus settlement/tourism study options. Combine your chosen visits with a trip to past Classical civilisation sites such as Syracuse and you are sure to have a mightily memorable tour.
Selection of Geographical Excursions
Mount Etna : Living with Hazardous Environments
An Etna Sud visit, travelling by cable car and 4x4 coach, enables you to see the area’s most recent lava flows as well as getting close to the present active crater area. In this area too it is possible to take an easy walk up either Cratere Silvestre Superiore or Cratere Silvestre Inferiore to see parasitic cones, volcanic rocks and to appreciate Etna’s extensive volcanic system. You can also take a contrasting visit to Etna Nord to explore the raw volcanic landscapes formed by the 2002 lava flows with their many craters and fissures and see where the 2002 eruption overwhelmed roads, forests and a ski resort.
New for 2013: The Aeolian Islands
Readily accessible from Sicily’s "mainland", this volcanic archipelago offers many options. Lipari presents very varied geology with its white pumice quarries, black obsidian outcrops and old, very colourful fumarole areas. Vulcano has Gran Cratare, yellow on top and steaming! Panarea offers the opportunity to travel back in time on an exclusive island where a well preserved, coastal Bronze Age settlement can be explored. However, Stromboli is the noisiest! Constantly and variously active for thousands of years, a moderate walk to look over the Sciara del Fuoco and its tumbling volcanic screes is most impressive.
Alcantara Gorge : Physical Landscapes
The deep, 150m long Alcantara River Gorge is a geographical gem. An ancient Etna lava flow once filled part of the river’s valley and river erosion has produced a classic gorge. The gorge walls have magnificent examples of black columnar basalt. River studies can optionally be carried out in this fantastic location. The nearby Mojo volcanic cone’s summit then provides wonderful views over the intensively farmed Alcantara Valley.
Aeolian Islands : Plate Tectonics
There is an enticing choice of volcanic islands to enjoy. Vulcano offers a guided trek up Gran Cratere where you can witness its active sulphurous fumaroles and huge volcanic bombs at its crater rim. A little further afield is Lipari, again offering fabulous volcanic vistas plus a very varied geology. The ultimate destination has to be Stromboli, a volcanic island that has been in continuous eruption for 2,000+ years. If conditions allow, a guided trek can be taken to its crater area and/or an evening visit to view its “rosy glow” is very exciting.
Giardini Naxos: Travel and Tourism
Study the social, economic and environmental impact of this coastal resort changing from a fishing based economy to one dependent on tourism, and meet local hoteliers to discuss various aspects of tourism. Additionally, Taormina, sitting on a plateau above Giardini, is a splendid contrasting ‘honey pot’ resort, very well worth a visit.
Giardini Naxos: Coastal Management
Coastal erosion and its consequences are very well exemplified in Naxos Bay. The nature of the bay and the movement of the beach deposits can be appreciated as can the first unsuccessful attempts to manage the coastline. Present-day procedures and the new mitigation techniques being put in place for a sustainable coastline can then be evaluated.
Gallodoro: Rural Change
Gallodoro is a traditional mountain village overlooking the developed coastal resorts. Detached from tourist areas, Gallodoro illustrates the factors that lead to rural depopulation. See how the village is being revitalised as previous residents, wealthy from working in Europe, return to renovate retirement homes.
Visit one of Sicily’s most famous settlements and, as well as strolling along the perfectly preserved Medieval streets, take a trip to the Greek Theatre which offers magnificent views towards Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea.
An evening meal at a traditional pizzeria
Visit a traditional pizzeria where the Pizzaiolo Chef prepares your pizzas in the authentic Italian way, hand pressing the dough before cooking in a wood fired pizza oven. This is a perfect chance to enjoy a delicious evening meal whilst soaking up some of the Sicilian culture.
Experience true Sicilian culture in a visit to Palermo where your students can take in the local culture at the museum, cathedral or local flee market.
The Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo
The Capuchin order of monks started in the sixteenth century and is so called for the hooded cloaks worn by the monks. Here at Piazza Cappucini you can descend into a forgotten world. Organised by age, gender and rank, the embalming process has left many of the buried souls in almost the same pose as when they were laid to rest.
Museum of Lava
Via many varied exhibits, a 3D cinema and a ‘live’ volcanic eruption, explore global geology and volcanism in this modern interactive museum, including their benefits and the risks they pose.
Bowling in Catania
An ideal way to unwind following a busy day is an evening group activity of Tenpin American style bowling located in the city of Catania. Facilities include a bar and pizzeria.
The Beaches and Isola Bella
Taormina is situated high above the sea with views over the beaches below, including the beautiful bay of Isola Bella. In high season there is also a cable-car running from Taormina down to Mazzarò.
Sicily Study Handbooks
The Sicily Study Handbook comprises a wide selection of Study Units, each one relevant to a particular itinerary day, each with full colour maps, diagrams, tables and photographs.
For more detailed information on all the study units available in our Sicily Study Handbook, and to view samples, please visit our Geography Tour Resources webpage.
What they did - Hagley Catholic High School
All of our tours are bespoke, therefore the itinerary below is simply an example; the duration, educational visits, leisure excursions and accommodation centre used will be selected to match the requirements of your group. Please contact us to discuss your bespoke itinerary.
The group took a late morning flight from London Gatwick to Catania Airport in Sicily. After leaving the airport, the coach stopped in the picturesque hillside village of Savoca where the group were able to stretch their legs before continuing on to their hotel for an evening meal and an early night.
After breakfast the group set off for a day trip to the island of Vulcano, which included a guided trek up Gran Cratere volcano, a dip in the natural mud pools and a ferry tour of the island.
Following breakfast the group boarded their coach bound for Mount Etna. From Etna Sud they ascended by cable car and 4x4 coach to the summit. After lunch the group returned to meet their coach for their onward journey to Taormina for sightseeing and shopping, which included a visit to the 3rd century BC Greek Theatre.
A bright and early start on their final day, the group headed for the town of Ortigia where they visited the Duomo. The group flew back to London Gatwick Airport, arriving at 7.30pm.
Why not choose a two-centre tour?
Consider a cross curricular tour!
- Great for smaller groups: combining your trip with another subject group allows you to keep costs low.
- Won’t affect your itinerary: when arriving at each visit groups will be able to split off into their subject groups to ensure they get an experience that is relevant to their subject.
- Share the organisation: combining your trip with another subject means you can share the organisation, form filling and planning between you.
- No competition with other subject groups: you won’t have to worry about organising your trip at the same time as another subject group, reducing the number of students travelling on each tour.
Sicily and Sorrento
A two centre tour including both Sorrento and Sicily enables pupils to see some of the world’s most famous and spectacular volcanic landscapes in one tour. In Sorrento pupils can climb to the crater rim of Mount Vesuvius, visit Pompeii and experience the sights and smells of the Solfatara geothermal area. On Sicily lies Mount Etna (the highest and most frequently active volcano in Europe) which can be ascended by cable car and 4x4 coach. Additionally, the volcanic Aeolian island of Vulcano with its dormant Gran Cratere and natural mud pool offers fascinating experiences.
Located in the picturesque village of Sant’Alessio Siculo, a popular destination for summer tourism, the Hotel Solemar is built on an unspoilt stretch of the coast with a spectacular view over to the castle of St Alessio.
- En suite rooms with air conditioning
- Satellite television and telephone in each room
- Restaurant seating up to 85
Latest Sicily News
The A Level geography students from University College School embarked on a 5 day, 4 night trip to the spectacular island of Sicily. A popular choice for the school as this would be their third trip there with Rayburn Tours and for a group that consisted of human geography students and physical geography students it’s ...Read more
Prices from £549pp*
Sicily tour includes:
*Price based on 40 paying passengers and 4 free places, travelling in low season for 5 days. Priced at 27/02/13.