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Syracuse

Culture & history

Our most recommended Syracuse Culture & History

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: Greek Theater and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

3. Syracuse: Greek Theater and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

Visit one of the largest Greek theaters in the Mediterranean, the Ear of Dionysus, the Latomie, and the Cordari Cave with a guide. Step back in time as you learn about the history and myths of the Neapolis Archaeological Park. If you choose a tour in Italian, attend the show Il mito di Aretusa. After reaching the entrance of the Neapolis in Syracuse, you will meet our guide waiting for you. You will carry out a short briefing, where the origins of this city will be explained to you and then enter inside the archaeological park of Neapolis. Here it will be possible to visit the Latomie, the ancient stone quarries from which the material for the construction of the city has been extracted for centuries. Formerly places of heavy work and imprisonment, today the Latomie have changed their faces by covering themselves with greenery.  Visiting the latomie you will meet the legendary Ear of Dionysius, known for its typical shape and for its particular acoustics. You will be told the story of the tyrant Dionysius and the legend of this cave. You will continue with the view of the Grotta dei Cordari and then reach the Greek Theater. From the upper terrace you can admire the suggestive Fountain of the Nymphaeum and the wonderful panorama overlooking the large port. After leaving the theater, you will move to the Altar of Hieron II, the largest stone altar built in the Greek world. The last monument you will visit in Neapolis is the Roman Amphitheater. At this monument the guide will show you the Roman phase of the city, the characteristics of the building and the particularities of the gladiatorial games. If you have chosen the option with the theatrical show, stick around after your tour to watch Il mito di Aretusa.

Syracuse: Ortygia Walking Tour

4. Syracuse: Ortygia Walking Tour

Embark on a walking tour crossing the picturesque streets of the old part of Syracuse and discovering the traces left by all the different people who governed Sicily. You will meet your guide at the ancient Greek Apollo Temple where you will be given a short introduction to the history of the town. After a short walk, you will reach Cathedral Square and be surprised by the magnificent bright limestone buildings: the town hall, Palazzo Beneventano, the bishop's palace, and St. Lucy's Church, but most of all the Cathedral itself. It is the only church still in use today which many years ago was a pagan temple, and you should not miss the opportunity to visit its interiors (optional visit, admission fee not included). The tour then continues to Aretusa Fountain near the sea. The myth of Aretusa was told by Ovidius and in its clear fresh water grows papyrus which was probably brought here when Archimedes lived in town. The way back leads through the Jewish Quarter to Via Maestranza, the street where the nobility of the town had their pompous homes. On Archimedes Square, the neoclassical Fountain of Diana remembers once more the glorious past of Syracuse. The tour will end at the local fish and fruit market where you can take a breath of local life, colors, and scents.

Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

5. Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

Explore ancient Syracuse on a 3-hour guided tour and learn about early Greek history through architecture and religious practices. The evidence of Syracuse as capital of the Mediterranean is ever-present, and seen in the glory of its Cathedral, the ancient Temple of Athena, the Greek Theater and the Roman Amphitheater. Admire the beauty of the Cathedral of Syracuse, which incorporates the pagan Temple of Athena. Learn about its various architectural styles from your guide. Continue to the Archeological Park to see the Paradise Latomia and the Ear of Dionysos. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Ionian Sea from the Greek Theater.

Siracuse: Guided Velobike Tour

6. Siracuse: Guided Velobike Tour

After being collected from your Siracusa accommodation, your Velo Bike tour around the city will begin. You will be taken to various parts of the city, and as well as the island of Ortigia. Siracusa has a unique ecological system, both inside and outside the city. Aboard your electric bicycle, your driver will introduce you to inside the city's magnificent labyrinth, providing you with the opportunity to find and to photograph the history left by different populations at each stop. The tour also includes explanation of historical places, as well as views of impressive panoramas. At the conclusion of your experience, you have the option to be dropped off at any location of your choosing within the city.

Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

7. 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.”

Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Entrance Ticket

8. Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Entrance Ticket

The Neapolis Archaeological Park is a must-do for anyone interested in archeology and the classical world. Skip the lines with this entrance ticket and discover its many ancient wonders for yourself including the Greek theater, the Ear of Dionysius, and the Altar of Hieron II. Check out the Greek theater, one of the park's most famous attractions and a truly impressive example of classical civic architecture. Another one of the park's most iconic sites is the Ear of Dionysius, a man-made cave named by the painter Caravaggio. Continue on and discover the fascinating history of some of the park's other key sites. Visit the Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 3rd-4th century AD, the Cave of the Cordari, and the Altar of Hieron II which is dedicated to Zeus Eleutherios.

Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Tour

9. Syracuse: Neapolis Archaeological Park Tour

Meet your certified guide at the entrance gate of the Neapolis Archaeological Park and visit the most important ancient Greek and Roman monuments in Syracuse. Discover the history and archaeological importance of this ancient Greek sight from your knowledgeable guide. During your walking tour, see the ancient Greek theatre, cut in the rock of the Yemenite Hill, and explore the "Latomie del Paradiso", an ancient stone quarry with beautiful local flora. Next, marvel at the legendary "Ear of Dionysius", located inside the quarries. Be amazed by this grotto famed for its shape and echoing sounds. Finish your tour with a visit to the altar of Hieron and the Roman amphitheater.

Catania: Syracuse, Ortigia and Noto Transfer and Tour

10. Catania: Syracuse, Ortigia and Noto Transfer and Tour

After being picked up from your accommodation in Catania, visit the magnificent Neapolis in Syracuse. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this famous archaeological park houses a Greek theatre. With the help of a guide sheet, admire the impressive ruins of this stunning site.  After visiting Syracuse, journey to the lovely peninsula of Ortigia. Starting from the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, enjoy a gentle stroll to reach the spectacular white cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Take in this idyllic cathedral, before stopping off at the Fountain of Arethusa, a legendary fresh water spring. For lunch you have the option to enjoy a classic sicilian snack made of Tavola Calda, with water and red wine. Or, if you prefer, you will have 1 hour of free time to have lunch in one of the amazing restaurants in the alleys of the city. Upon reaching Noto, you will explore this jewel of Sicilian Baroque architecture, which is often considered to be an open-air museum! Admire the extraordinary architecture of its many palaces, churches and stairways. After an exhilarating day, sit back and relax as you are taken back to your hotel in the comfort of a luxurious vehicle. 

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What people are saying about Syracuse

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 235 reviews

Our guide, Galina, was extremely knowledgeable, personable, and concerned with the welfare of one of my guests. It was very hot and we did not bring water with us. Warning to all: bring water! Being in the full sun for 2.5 hours was draining. Other than that, Galina provided every detail (including word origins!) as well as the best vantage points for taking photos. Highly recommend!

Thank you for the great trip. Steven was a great skipper, showed us beautiful parts of the coast and the caves. He even brought fresh fruit from his own garden for all the guests. We had some nice opportunities to go for a swim and go snorkeling. Highly recommended!

Great tour with Eva, we were the only English-speaking people so we had a private tour. Very interesting, especially when you’re interested in the history of a place. We recommend this tour!

Great to see Siracusa & Ortigia from the water & to have the opportunity to swim in special places.

Giuseppe was outstanding. Knew everything about Syracuse and Ortigia and was a delight!