This 30-day, self-drive itinerary takes in the best of Malta (5 days), the highlights of Sicily (2-week itinerary), a brief visit to the Amalfi Coast and a week in Tuscany (staying on the outskirts of beautiful San Gimignano). 

Take a photographic tour of Malta, Sicily, Amalfi Coast and Tuscany.

Day 1
Depart 9.55pm overnight flight Sydney to Dubai on Emirates

Day 2

Depart 7.55am Dubai to Larnaca, Cyprus (3hrs 40mins) then onto Valletta, Malta (2hrs 20mins) arriving 2pm

On arrival in Valletta we transfer to our hotel in Sliema. Accommodation is generally much more affordable in Sliema than in the historical, walled centre of Valletta.

The old town of Valletta is easily accessed by a regular 7-minute ferry service (every 30 minutes) across Marsamxett Harbour. Spend afternoon exploring Sliema.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Ta Gianni Guest House, Sliema

Day 3 
Take morning ferry across to Valletta – and spend the day exploring Valletta.

We take a 2-hour walking tour of Valletta with City Walking Tours Malta – an informative and extensive guided tour by Nadine. There is much to see in Valletta and this tour is a good introduction as Nadine takes us through the streets explaining the history of Malta, the architecture, the traditions, etc. Some of city highlights we saw include:

  • Republic Square – where tour begins
  • New parliament building
  • Opera house site
  • Our Lady of Victory Church (we had time to see the interior)
  • Church of St Catherine
  • Auberge* de Castille (office of the Prime Minister)
  • Upper Barrakka Gardens – amazing views of the Grand Harbour, the ‘Three Cities’ and the Saluting Battery
  • St John’s Co-Cathedral – a highlight (we had time to see the interior)
  • Auberge D’Italie (National Museum of Fine Arts)
  • Merchant Street Market (good place to eat)
  • Café Cordina
  • St George’s Square, site of Grandmasters Palace, where tour ends

After the tour we have a delicious lunch at d’Office Bistro on Arch Bishop Street, before visiting:

  • Lascaris War Rooms
  • Casa Rocca Piccola

This is a big day as there is so much to see and enjoy in Valletta.

We recommend spending at least three days in Valletta, as we did not have time to explore the Three Cities, visit Manoel Theatre (the oldest theatre in Valletta) or any of the museums or galleries.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Ta Gianni Guest House, Sliema

Day 4 
Spend the day sightseeing on the island of Malta.
Hire a car from Hertz and visit:

  • Mdina – ancient walled city and old capital of Malta.
    After exploring, visit Fontanella Tea Garden and enjoy beautiful views. Near the car park, Crystal Palace sells delicious pastizza.
  • Marsaxlokk – fishing village where we enjoyed delicious lunch at il-Bukkett Restaurant
  • Blue Grotto – boat trips available in season
  • Golden Bay – one of the best sandy beaches on Malta

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Ta Gianni Guest House, Sliema

Day 5
Malta – Island of Gozo
Take taxi to Cirkewwa to catch ferry to the island of Gozo.
Hire a car to explore the island. Highlights include:

  • Dwerja Point and the Inland Sea
  • Ta Pinu Church
  • Salt Pans
  • Marsalforn – delicious dinner at Arzella Restaurant overlooking the bay
  • Return to hotel in Victoria via the pretty village of Xaghra

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): The Duke Boutique Hotel, Victoria, Gozo

Day 6
Malta – Island of Gozo

  • Tour The Citadel in Victoria
  • Do a Gozo Segway Tour guided by Kevin and visit Mgarr ix-Xini
  • Continue self-drive tour of Gozo including:
  • Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village,
  • Ramla Bay,
  • Ggantija Temples at Xaghra
  • Village of Nadur
  • Xewkija – to see Rotunda in parish church
  • Return to Victoria to explore the old town
  • Finish the day with a delicious dinner at Maldonado Bistro and walk up to Citadel

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): The Duke Boutique Hotel, Victoria, Gozo

Day 7 
Taormina, Sicily
Take ferry to Cirkewwa and then taxi to Malta Airport.
Fly Air Malta to Catania (Sicily) – a 30-minute flight.
Pick up Alamo rental car from Catania airport and drive to Taormina (about 1 hour’s drive). We park just outside the walls of the old town and walk to our centrally located accommodation.

Taormina is a beautiful hilltop town with amazing views – it is a spectacular introduction to Sicily.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Sweet Taormina Apartment

Day 8
Taormina, Sicily
Walk the beautiful streets of Taormina with its pretty shops, galleries, cafes and churches. Highlights include:

  • Corso Umberto – the main pedestrian street
  • Enjoy views from Piazza IX Aprile – the main square
  • Visit Tourist Information office
  • Church of St Catherine of Alexandria
  • Visit Roman Theatre
  • The Grand Hotel Timeo
  • Taormina Cableway to Mazzaro
  • Isola Bella beach
  • Enjoy granita at the Bam Bar, Taormina
  • Stroll through Villa Communale – public gardens of Taormina
  • Piazza Duomo

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Sweet Taormina Apartment

Day 9
Lipari, Sicily
Drive to Milazzo to take Liberty Lines hydrofoil to Marina Lunga on Lipari.
(We park the cars in a garage – Adige Car Center – nearby to ferry terminal in Milazzo)

It takes about 1 hour to get over to Lipari, where on arrival we have lunch at Fratelli Laise near Marina Lunga before checking into our accommodation.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): B&B Il Cappero, Lipari

Day 10
Lipari, Sicily

Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands. Today we explore the pretty streets of Lipari.

Highlights include:

  • Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, the main street
  • Marina Lunga – where ferries to other islands depart from (Volcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi)
  • Piazza Mazzino
  • Via Garibald
  • Marina Corta
  • Lunch at Ristorante Al Pescatore on Marina Corta
  • Take Via Del Concorddatao to the Castle
  • Rent boat with driver Angelo at Marina Corta to the grotto
  • Dinner at Restaurant Filipino

Hire a scooter or small car to explore the island. Highlights include:

  • Canneto
  • Chiesa Vecchia – lovely views
  • Quattrochi – views

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): B&B Il Cappero

Day 11
Cefalu, Sicily
Take the 11.40am Liberty Lines hydrofoil from Marina Lunga to Milazzo.
Collect cars from garage and drive to Cefalu.
Afternoon to wander old town Cefalu – beautiful town and beachfront.
Delicious dinner at Tinchite Taverna in Cefalu.

Accommodation: Sweet Home in Cefalu

Day 12
Palermo, Sicily
Drive from Cefalu to Palermo (approximately 1.5 hours)
Check into our accommodation and have lunch at Ruvolo Café.
Take the Pronto Bus – Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour – a good way to get an overview of the sights. There is so much to see in Palermo that we recommend a minimum of 2 to 3 days.

Highlights of Palermo:

  • Palermo Cathedral & Palatine Chapel
  • Royal Palace (Palace of the Normans)
  • San Giovanni degli Eremiti church
  • La Martorana church (Santa Maria Dell’Ammiraglio)
  • Church of San Cataldo
  • Casa Professa (Church of the Jesus)
  • Santa Caterina (Church of Saint Catherine)
  • Castello Della Zisa
  • Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas
  • Via Vittoria Emmanuele
  • Piazza Pretoria and Fontana Pretoria (fountain)
  • Quattro Canti – Piazza Vigliena
  • Teatro Massimo – the Opera House
  • Visit one of Palermo’s street markets (Cap, Ballaro or Vucciria)

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): La Finestra sul Massimo, Palermo

Day 13
Monreale & San Vito lo Capo, Sicily
Drive from Palermo to Monreale (about 30 minutes). Spend about 2.5 hours visiting the magnificent Monreale Cathedral, famous for its mosaics.

Leaving Monreale around 1.15pm we drive to Castelmare del Golfo for a delicious lunch at La Cambusa restaurant.

Visit Scopello village – beautiful views along the way.

Arrive San Vito lo Capo late afternoon.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): La Nicchia, San Vito lo Capo

Day 14
San Vito lo Capo, Sicily
Drive to Trapani (about an hour’s drive) and take the cable car up to the beautiful village of Erice – amazing views.

Spend about 3 hours in Erice exploring the streets, ceramic shops, buying delicious sweets and enjoying the amazing views before taking the cable car back down to Trapani and returning to San Vito lo Capo.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): La Nicchia, San Vito lo Capo

Day 15
Sciacca via Segesta and Salinunte, Sicily
We leave San Vito lo Capo and drive to Segesta (about one hour’s drive). We spend about 3.5 hours exploring beautiful Segesta – the temple and the amphitheatre. There is an excellent café near the temple for lunch.

Drive to Salinunte and take a guided golf buggy tour of this amazing archaeological site. We spend about 2 hours here.

Drive to Sciacca – a charming town where we stay at an excellent B&B and enjoy a delicious meal at Ristorante Porto San Paolo.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): B&B Porta Bagni, Sciacca

Day 16
Agrigento via Scala dei Turchi, Sicily
Pretty drive today from Sciacca to Agrigento via Scala dei Turchi.

Arriving at Agrigento at 1pm, we leave our luggage at our accommodation and drive to the Valley of Temples where we spend the rest of the day exploring the archaeological park.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): La Terrazza di Carolina, Agrigento

Day 17
Ragusa, Sicily
Leaving Agrigento, it is about 1.5 hours drive to Villa Romano del Casale – a well-preserved Roman villa with amazing mosaics.

From there it is about 1 hour’s drive, to Ragusa where we check into our apartment in the newer section of the town – Ragusa Superiore.

We spend the rest of the day exploring the beautiful old town – Ragusa Ibla.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Bella Giulia, Ragusa Superiore

Day 18
Syracuse, Sicily

Today our drive takes us through a number of beautiful hill-top towns including Modica, Scicla and Noto, arriving in Syracuse in the evening.

Our accommodation is located in the old section of Syracuse – Ortigia.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Aretusa Vacanze B&B, Ortigia

Day 19
Syracuse, Sicily
Today we explore Ortigia on foot before taking ‘The Official Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour’ of the city of Syracuse.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Aretusa Vacanze B&B, Ortigia

Day 20
Isle of Capri, Italy
Leave Sicily today – take an Easy Jet flight from Catania to Naples then take a ferry to the Isle of Capri.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Elisir B&B, Anacapri

Day 21
Isle of Capri, Italy
Explore the beautiful town of Anacapri, visiting Villa San Michele, St Michael’s Church, the Blue Grotto and Lido del Faro.

We have a delicious dinner at L’Angolo del Gusto, Anacapri

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Elisir B&B, Anacapri

Day 22
Isle of Capri, Italy
Explore the pretty town of Capri including Gardens of Augustus, Via Tragara and Piccolo Marina.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Elisir B&B, Anacapri

Day 23
Nocelle, Amalfi Coast, Italy
We take a Capri taxi down to get the ferry to Positano – beautiful views from the ferry along the Amalfi coast.

After exploring the streets of Positano and lunch at Capricci Tratoria, we take the a bus from Mulini Square to Nocelle – about a 20 minute ride.

In Nocelle we are met by our accommodation host, Amalia.

We enjoy a delicious dinner at the excellent local restaurant – Ristorante Santa Croce.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Villa Antica Macina, Nocelle

Day 24
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Today we use local buses to explore Amalfi and Ravello – two beautiful Amalfi Coast towns. Alternatively you could rent a scooter.

Accommodation (Highly Recommended): Villa Antica Macina, Nocelle

Day 25
Tuscany, Italy
Travel by minivan from Nocelle to Naples Railway Station then take a train to Florence. Normally we would travel by ferry from Positano to Salerno, then by train from Salerno to Florence, however all ferries have been cancelled due to bad weather.

Hire car in Florence for 5 days as we intend to self-drive in Tuscany.

Accommodation: Villa Il Borghetto, San Gimignano

Day 26
Tuscany, Italy
Today we explore San Gimignano and Volterra

Day 27
Tuscany, Italy
Explore Montepulciano, Pienza.

Day 28
Tuscany, Italy
Explore Sicelle, Pianzo in Chiantti, Greve in Chianti, Panzano with a delicious lunch at Osteria Le Panzanelle Osteria in Lucarelli near Radda in Chianti.

Day 29
Tuscany, Italy
Explore Siena and Monteriggioni.

Day 30
Tuscany, Italy
Explore Certaldo and Fontibuono with a delicious lunch at Taverna L’Antica in Certaldo.

Day 31
Return rental cars to Florence
Train Florence to Rome
Fly Rome to Dubai to Sydney

Best Month of Your Life
September-October 2018