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Island of Ortigia

Island of Ortigia: Our most recommended tours and activities

Syracuse: Boat Trip to Ortigia Island with Caves

1. Syracuse: Boat Trip to Ortigia Island with Caves

Immerse yourself in Ortigia, the historical heart of Syracuse as on this guided boat tour. Enjoy listening as your skipper tells you about geological formations and step back in time with stories and information regarding the area's rich history. Board a comfortable boat and embark on your water adventure. Glide from the bridges of Ortigia and will enter the "big port" of Syracuse where you can gaze out of the the stunning Alfeo Promenade of Ortigia. Sail outside the port to circumnavigate the entire island. Follow the coast north of Syracuse to see some naturally-formed sea caves. Cruise into the "small port" and navigate inside the Ortigia canal that divides the island from the city. Have the chance to stop and take a dip in the turquoise waters with views of the shore. Pass under the bridges to return to the starting point of the tour.

Siracusa: Ortigia Boat Tour with Marine Grotto

2. Siracusa: Ortigia Boat Tour with Marine Grotto

Embark on a boat tour of Ortigia with this tour from Siracusa. View the historic center of Siracusa from the water. Travel along the coast to admire Maniace castle and several sea caves. Push off from Siracusa and pass under the Umbertino bridge. Take in sweeping views of the entire port. Go by the luxurious yachts at Foro Italico, and catch a glimpse of a cathedral dome. Observe the legendary Arethusa fountain. Exit the port and see the immense Maniace castle. Head out to the northern coast of Syracuse. Have some fresh fruit and juice as you travel to a spot where you can get out and have a 10 minute swim. Enter Capuchin cave, Coral cave, a stalactite cave, and the heart-shaped Cave of Love. Snap souvenir photos with the heart behind you.

Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

3. Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

Learn the ancient history of Sicily on a full-day sightseeing tour that takes you to the archaeological park of Neapolis where you can visit classical monuments of Greek and Roman Syracuse at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in Catania, transfer to the ruins of Syracuse, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walk, discover many old Roman streets, as well as monuments such as the Greek Theatre, whose cavea is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks. Near the Greek Theatre, you will see the latomie, including the limestone cave known as the “Ear of Dyonisius,” as well as the Christian Church of San Nicolò ai Cordari. Admire the Amphitheatre of the Roman imperial age, and more. Then, continue to Ortygia Island to experience the historic heart of Syracuse. Located at the park’s eastern end, and separated by a narrow channel, Ortygia is filled with Greek temples, Christian churches, and Arabian streets. Visit the Arethusa fountain and Piazza del Duomo, where the baroque palaces, such as Beneventano del Bosco Palace and Senate Palace are among the most beautiful in Sicily. After lunch (own expense), go to the small town of Noto, noted for its unique style of Sicilian Baroque architecture, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Wander the open-air museum and beautiful Corso Vittorio Emanuele to admire the many palaces and churches that, grouped together, are known as the “Stone Garden.”

From Catania: Syracuse, Ortygia, and Noto Tour

4. From Catania: Syracuse, Ortygia, and Noto Tour

Enjoy three beautiful places in Sicily with this full-day tour from Catania. Listen to historical facts and facinating anecdotes with your audio guide as you stop at the Neapolis Archaeological Park, Ortygia, and Noto.  Meet your driver in Duomo square in the center of Catania and sit back and relax in the comfortable van on the drive to the Neapolis Archaeological Park in Syracuse. Purchase tickets to the park to admire the magnificent Greek theater, Roman Amphitheater, and stone quarries. Continue to the ancient fortified island of Ortygia. Spend some time wandering the streets to discover the mythical Fountain of Arethusa, Piazza Duomo, the fortress walls, and stunning Baroque churches and palaces. Finally, drive to the town of Noto where you can discover the Sicilian capital of Baroque architecture. Have some free time to see sights like the Fountain of Hercules, and noble palaces like Palazzo Astuto and Palazzo Trigona Cannicarao. Return to the meeting point in Catania.

Siracusa: Ortygia Island Boat Tour with Grotto Visit

5. Siracusa: Ortygia Island Boat Tour with Grotto Visit

Meet your skipper at the convenient meeting point. A boat ride around Ortigia is one of the best ways to visit this beautiful place: between the sound of the wind and the intoxicating smell of the sea you will discover one of the jewels of the Sicilian tourist panorama. Admiring Ortigia by boat will allow you to admire some of its most significant monuments and historic buildings: the Venetian Palace, the Umberto I Bridge and the Small Port, the former Bourbon Prison, the Spanish walls and the Lungomare di Levante, the Viliena Fortress, the Maniace Castle and the Fonte Aretusa. Continue with the exploration of the sea grottos (the Capuchin Latomie, the Ear of Dionysius, the Heart-Shaped Lovers', and the Holy Spirit grottos) on the north side of Syracuse, entering the caves and admiring stalactites, stalagmites, and coral formations up close. This excursion in Ortygia will also offer you the opportunity, in non-adverse weather conditions, to take a short stop for a dip, where the water is a deep blue.

Syracuse: Ortigia Sunset Cruise with Aperitif

6. Syracuse: Ortigia Sunset Cruise with Aperitif

Discover the caves and coves of Ortigia Island and admire a spectacular sunset on a sunset cruise. Savor prosecco with a tasting platter showcasing the best of local restaurant produce during your boat tour. Begin the cruise by sailing toward the exit from the small port and heading toward the north coast. Here, meet the Capuchin cove and the first Capuchin cave before passing in front of the dolphin-shaped rock. Next, enter the Coral Caves and marvel at the walls of soft red coral in each cave. Continue to the Grotta Dell’Amore, where the local partner will take photos you can collect at the end of the tour. After, enter the largest cave on the Syracusan coast, the Grotta delle Stalattiti. See the impressive variety and play of colors formed inside the cave, as well as the strange shapes created naturally by the force of the waves and humidity. Then, tuck into the onboard platter and uncork a delicious prosecco as you begin to return to Ortigia Island. On the way, stop for a swim in crystal-clear waters near Maniace Castle. Hop back on the boat and wait for the sunset to arrive as you listen to the onboard music, played throughout the cruise. After admiring the sunset, conclude the tour by passing under the Umbertino Bridge.

Syracuse: Ortigia Island Guided Walking Tour

7. Syracuse: Ortigia Island Guided Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Syracuse on this guided walking tour of the island of Ortigia. Uncover how major Mediterranean civilizations have left their mark in this unique area as you pass by elegant buildings, sculptures, fountains, and grand squares. Meet your guide at Piazza Emanuele Pancali, 8 Siracusa. Follow your guide as they effortlessly navigate through a maze of narrow streets until you reach the 6th century ruins of the Apollo Temple. Walk to Piazza Archimede to admire a classical fountain that depicts the mythical goddess Diana. Pass through charming shops and alley restaurants as you make your way through downtown Ortigia. Finally, reach the Piazza Duomo which opens out into a wide space that is surrounded by breathtaking Baroque architecture. End your walk here, where you can take some time to admire the Cathedral of Syracuse which was built atop a Temple to Athena. 

From Catania: Syracuse and Noto Culture and History Tour

8. From Catania: Syracuse and Noto Culture and History Tour

Discover two of the most beautiful cities in Sicily on this guided history and culture tour of Syracuse and Noto. Syracuse is a UNESCO World Heritage Site while Noto is considered the most beautiful city of Sicilian Baroque. See Neapolis Archaeological Park, Ortigia, and more. Meet your guides who will lead to the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, an area rich in archaeological finds belonging to several periods of Syracusan history. Later, continue on the island of Ortigia, the historic center of Syracuse. Walk through alleys that are over 2000 years old and full of history. See the spectacular cathedral. Then, head to the historic center of Noto that's called the stone garden due to the architectural beauty of its palaces. See why this place is considered to have some of the most beautiful examples of Sicilian Baroque. After experiencing Syracuse and Noto, get transferred back to your pickup location.

Syracuse: Ortigia Boat Trip with Caves and South Coast

9. Syracuse: Ortigia Boat Trip with Caves and South Coast

Explore the breathtaking Syracuse coastline and navigate around its adjacent Ortigia Island on a fantastic scenic cruise. Come across the most stunning sights as you float along the shore and into the small harbor for a ride through the Ortigia canal. Embark on a fun sightseeing boat trip departing from Ortigia and travel around the whole island as you head toward the iconic sea caves located north of Syracuse. Enter the small port and discover the local marine infrastructure, crossing the canal and passing under bridges. On your way back to the south coast, cross the huge port of Syracuse and take in the combination of natural and man-made scenery before returning to the starting point.

Syracuse: Ortigia Island Boat Trip with Marine Grottoes

10. Syracuse: Ortigia Island Boat Trip with Marine Grottoes

See the natural beauty and old-world wonders of Ortigia Island from the water on this boat tour from Syracuse. See a heart-shaped sea cave, the Arethusa fountain, and the rock of the two brothers. Sip on two acholic drinks as you listen to ambient music on the boat. Meet at the activity provider's office and be escorted to the comfortable boat. Hop aboard and cruise around Ortigia Island. Capture pictures of its stunning ancient monuments from the water. Glide past the 13th century Castello Maniace and head towards a local cove where you can take a dip in the crystal clear waters. After your swim enjoy a glass of Sicilan prosecco.

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What people are saying about Island of Ortigia

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 9 reviews

It was great, you could see a lot and the shore line of the city is beautiful. The guide was great, he told a lot of interesting facts and could answer all questions, he is very knowledgeable. His English is great (the best I encountered so far in Sicily).

Nando was very helpful, courteous and was an excellent guide. We got to understand Sicily better because of his explanations and knowledge.

Stephen was great! Fun boat ride and tour of the caves and around ortigia. Would definitely recommend

Experience to be absolutely recommended. The cities of Syracuse and Noto are wonderful.

Overall nice trup across several beautiful cities.