Day 1 UK - Pantelleria
Today we'll fly to Pantelleria and on arrival we'll transfer you to your hotel, which is located in a tranquil spot overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.Meals included: D
Day 2 Gadir & MursiaAfter breakfast we'll head off for a tour of Gadir, whose name – derived from Arabic – means 'water basin'. A traditional fishing village with a long history, here you can bathe in the thermal waters of the Bay of Gadir in tanks that have been dug into the rock. Temperatures rise to 40-55℃ and numerous therapeutic minerals enrich the waters to ease aching muscles and soothe mind and body alike.
On a stroll you might see fisherman weaving their 'nasse' – traditional fish traps made from rushes – before we pass by the Arch of the Elephant, a stunning rock formation that gives the impression an elephant is dipping its trunk into the sea. We'll then tour the Bronze Age archaeological site at the village of Mursia, where the necropolis features fascinating circular tombs dating back more than 4,000 years. Meals included: B,D
Day 3 Mirror of Venus Lake & Pantelleria
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before we leave for today's first truly special destination – one of the many jewels of this island that make it so unique. The heart-shaped 'Mirror of Venus' Lake stands out from the middle of the island like a blue-green gem, with a stunning aquamarine hue that changes throughout the day. For an unforgettable natural spa experience, cover yourself in the mineral-rich mud here before bathing in the wonderfully warm volcanic waters of the lake.
This afternoon, the museum of Punta Spadillo offers a fascinating insight into volcanology, telling the story of Pantelleria's turbulent geological past and present. Later, we'll visit Pantelleria's imposing, sandcastle-shaped castle, the Castello di Barbacane. Built entirely of lava stone, it's thought to date back to the 13th century, with impressive 15th century bastions and a distinctive central circular clock tower. It houses some of the archaeological finds found during excavation campaigns on the island, as well as various permanent exhibitions.
An astonishing Roman acropolis at the archaeological site of San Marco and Santa Teresa is also in our sights today – a unique reminder of Pantelleria's ancient past as the island of Cossyra. Its strategic position, between Africa and Italy in the central Mediterranean, means the island has always been a sought-after destination. Here, in 2003, the heads of Roman statues dating back to the first century AD were found.
Day 4 Pantelleria Island Cruise
The best way to appreciate Pantelleria's wild, rugged coastline is by sea, and that's just what we'll do today on a cruise that also includes lunch. We'll head to the port of Pantelleria to board our boat, and you can expect to see dazzling white pebble beaches, hidden inlets only reachable by boat and numerous caves, including the Grotto of Love and the caves of Macasinazzi, where impossibly blue waters meet smoothed-out, lava-grey rock. We'll stop and swim in the warm waters at Nika and at Scarpetta di Cenerentola – a creek called 'Cinderella's shoe'. After a swim, you can soak up the sun on the boat's sun deck, or retreat to a shady spot on board as you admire the hidden, unspoilt beauty of this island gem.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 5 Basile Farm Experience & Benikula Cave
Join your travelling companions for an exciting adventure to Cantina Basile, a vineyard located in the heart of the district of Bukkuram. Walk the vineyards and learn how the typical zibibbo vines are grown, then help to pick the grapes (during harvest). Alternatively, pick capers and learn how to preserve them in salt. Owner Fabrizio Basile will then give a demonstration of how the local pasta dish with pesto pantesco is made, before settling down to lunch of local produce and wine on the relaxing terrace.
This afternoon, the wildness of the island will be brought vividly to life as we travel to an area of outstanding beauty, where no human intervention has ever occurred. We'll take an ancient mule track to Benikulà cave, where we'll enjoy the unique phenomenon of a natural sauna. Sit on the lava-stone seats and enjoy the healing underground vapours – the deeper into the cave you venture, the hotter the vapours become. You're sure to emerge feeling rejuvenated! We'll also learn about the medicinal Mediterranean herbs that grow in the area.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 6 Mursia - at Leisure
Spend today at leisure enjoying the hotel's seawater swimming pools, or why not take an optional trip to experience the famous Favare of Pantelleria. These steam emissions come out of the rocks, reaching temperatures of up to 100℃. We'll take a hike along a rocky path to reach them, through lush vegetation abundant with wildlife and flowers. When we arrive, you'll be treated to some fantastic views. Admire the deep red-brick colour of the rocks at this amazing location, affected by the sulphurous gases released here, and learn about the ingenious systems farmers have put in place to utilise the steam, providing water for their animals.
Later, we'll head to a restaurant where we'll taste some local delicacies. Pantelleria is known for its delicious caper pesto, pasta with tomatoes and pistachios, luscious ricotta cheese and sweet passito wine, made from Zibibbo grapes dried in the sun.
Day 7 Mursia - at Leisure
Pantelleria's rocky coastline makes it ideal for snorkelling, with a seabed undisturbed by sand. Today, perhaps you'll join our optional snorkelling excursion to discover more of the island's gems. The seabed here features rich fauna and marvellous submarine landscapes – with the geological movements and lava flows in the area creating a dramatic backdrop under the surface of the sea. Alternatively, spend a lazy day at the hotel or explore at your own pace.Meals included: B,D
Day 8 Pantelleria - UK
Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.Meals included: B