7 nights starting from
• Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina
• Catania – Sicily’s dynamic 2nd city
• Mount Etna – which dominates the island
• Ancient Greek monuments in Agrigento, Segesta and Selinunte
• The pretty seaside resort of Céfalu
From Greek temples to the majesty of Etna, Roman villas, seaside towns, farmhouse lunches, wine-tastings – this tour truly has it all. In the company of a local expert, discover the breadth of history and culture that this fabulous island has to offer.
|17 - September - 2018||£ 1475.00||Travel Info Book Now||booking-journey/#/start/HSI/17 September 2018/|
Departing: 17th September 2018 at 11:45
Returning: 24th September 2018 at 16:30
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Catania.
On arrival transfer from the airport to Enna Bassa, in the centre of Sicily, for a four-night stay at the Federico II Palace Hotel on half-board basis. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Day 2: Full day to Piazza Armerina.
This morning we visit the magnificent mosaics in the Roman Villa of Casale at Piazza Armerina, with UNESCO World Heritage Status. Discover a land that has been, over the centuries, “the Sicilian granary”, from the Roman Empire until today, in which “la Masseria”, a fortified large farm, has been and still is, its symbol. Stopping in Caltagirone, a leading centre for the production of ceramics in Sicily, an art that locals have inherited from the Greeks, visit a local potters to see how local craftsmen work. We then go on to the main town square to admire the “Scala Santa Maria del Monte”, with its 142 steps, intricately decorated with ceramic tiles. Back to the hotel for dinner.
Day 3: Full day to Catania and Taormina.
Today we travel to Catania the dynamic and fashionable second city of Sicily. The city boasts one of the greatest Roman ruins - the Amphitheatre in Piazza Stesicoro, and fabulous baroque architecture: Churches, Convents, Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Santa Agatha, where the composer Bellini is buried. Catania also hosts the largest daily open market in Sicily “Fera o’ luni”. We then continue to Taormina with its superb position perched on a series of high terraces, an elegance and style created by a rich history which goes back to the Greeks and the Romans. There will be time for independent lunch and visits. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel.
Day 4: Full day tour to Etna.
Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, dominates the whole of Eastern/central Sicily, which most recently erupted in 2001 and 2002. You will take a breath-taking drive to the barren, eerie black lava landscape and see the damaging effects of these eruptions. Included is a typical Etna brunch with wine. The rest of the day will be at leisure in Etna. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel.
Day 5: Transfer to Castellammare del Golfo via Agrigento.
Our first visit will be to visit the magnificent remains of the “Valley of Greek Temples”, one of the most captivating archaeological sites in the world, with UNESCO World Heritage Status. We continue on to Palazzo Adriano, the setting of the classic Oscar-winning “Cinema Pariadiso”. Enjoy a Sicilian brunch with wine in a typical local “trattoria”. We move on to Sambuca di Sicilia, the home of the wine estate of the ancient family of Planeta, whose prestigious wines are renowned both in Italy and abroad. We will have a tour of this large wine estate and a tasting before reaching Castellammare del Golfo for a three-night stay at the Al Madarig Hotel.
Day 6: Morning visit to Cefalù
to enjoy this splendid, medieval picturesque town, which still retains his original Greek shape, dating back to the IV century BC. Admire the Norman Cathedral with beautiful Byzantine mosaics, and wander through the old fisherman’s houses clustered along the seafront. Afterwards we will visit Palermo, the bustling capital of Sicily, it has retained its historical centre, with architecture reflecting its tempestuous past with Norman, Renaissance and Baroque influences. Guided tour of the Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, the baroque Chapel of the Oratory of the Rosary of St. Cita, and the Cathedral in nearby Monreale to admire the remarkable gold Byzantine mosaics.
Day 7: Full day to the westernmost part of Sicily.
Stopping first at Selinunte for a guided tour of one of the world’s largest archaeological parks, the unnamed temples, all of which face the sun, and are the oldest and most outstanding examples from all of the Dorian colonies in Sicily, and indeed the whole of Magna Graecia. The tour continues along “la via del mare” to see some of Europe's oldest salt marshes with their windmills, once used to drain water from the ponds. Independent lunch in Trapani. After lunch we visit Segesta to admire the Doric temple from 5th century B.C., and one of the most important symbols of Sicilian archaeology, and its Greek theatre, before returning to Castellammare.
Day 8: Early morning transfer to Catania Airport for the return flight to London Gatwick.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 34 passengers.
Federico II Palace Hotel, Enna Bassa
Situated in the lower part of the city of Enna, the four-star Federico II Palace Hotel is perfectly situated away from the hustle and bustle of the main city whilst also being conveniently situated for the city’s main attractions. The hotels facilities include a bar and restaurant, and boasts a wellness centre and gym, as well as indoor pool and seasonal outdoor pool. Bedrooms are comfortable with private bath or shower, air-conditioning, TV, telephone, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
Federico II Palace Hotel Website
Al Madarig Hotel
This friendly three-star hotel in Castellammare’s historic main square is situated in the heart of the town which stands proud on a wide piazza which overlooks the sea. The hotel has a comfortable lounge and bar area to relax in after a long day. Bedrooms are comfortably furnished and overlook a square with palm trees which overlooks a lovely beach, accessible through a stone stairway. All rooms have a private bathroom with bath or shower, air-conditioning, TV, telephone, safe, minibar and hairdryer.
Al Madarig Hotel Website
OUR VIEW OF THE HOTELS
Both hotels offer an excellent standard of accommodation, well located for the myriad of visits on this fascinating and varied tour.
We love to receive feedback from our customers. Their views help us to keep improving the ours we offer. If you have been on this tour and would like to submit a review, please log in to our client area here and fill in the short form.
For us it was a return to Sicily after 11 years.we saw so many different places,walked and travelled more than we had anticipated but really enjoyed ourselves. Tullio was great. The only slight disappointment was the hotel in Ennis Bassa - meals below average, pool closed despite temperatures of 30 plus although comfortable rooms.
Review by Hockey who travelled 13-September-2017
Enna hotel remote from sites visited - bus travelling time too long - 2 hours at start amd end of day. Enna hotel isolated - no amenities. Dining room food adequate . Waiting staff morale poor. Very long travelling time to airport on final day. OTHERWISE very interesting tour, lots of places seen. (Although Taormina and Villa Romana sites very crowded)
Review by Barratt who travelled 13-September-2017
We booked this tour knowing that there would be a considerable amount of coach travel and there certainly was. Sicily is a big island after all. We saw some amazing sights. We had knowledgeable and interesting guides through out. Tullio the tour manager was amazing. Always working to ensure the party had a good time. The Al Madrig hotel was excellent, with wonderful breakfasts, helpful staff and a fine setting on the seafront in the middle of town. There was a good selection of restaurants within easy reach. The Federico Palace Hotel was disappointing. Rooms were fine but it is miles from anywhere. Evening meals were indifferent. Many items on the breakfast buffet did not get replenished fast enough. The swimming pool was closed . We were told on 13th September in 32C heat, that it was closed because "The summer is over" .
Review by Head who travelled 13-September-2017
A boldly and successfully-designed tour, embracing the full range of important Sicilian sights apart from Syracuse. Use of the central town of Enna for the first 4 nights provides central access to much of the island and the hotel half board is good and allows everyone to mix. However, some colleagues thought that Motorway commuting back to the Catania area for two days' activities was too much, as well as the remarkable inland route to Castellamare, and I agree with Frank (on the Baroque tour) that we should see and understand something of Enna itself ( we didn't, and the hotel is awkwardly placed with a bad planning permission). Use of "whisper radio" by town guides was mainly effective. Leader Tullio took 2 days before he replaced the bus in order to get a working microphone, but he used ample knowledge of Sicilian history: and was helpful when one of us experienced the problem of tripping up.
Review by Mr Alan Townsend who travelled 12-September-2016
Our knowledgeable guide Tullio prepared us very well for each visit. The range of interest on this tour was fascinating each day - topped off with the journey to the crater of Etna which I did not expect to be so inspiring. One small item of concern was the use of Enna for four nights' stay. One nearer to Catania would have been better, or only two nights there and two in Enna. The winery visit was also very interesting and peaceful. Some thought the afternoon visit to the ceramics and stairs was perhaps not necessary and maybe lunch and back to the hotel would have given people a break as a lot was packed into the week. Overall, a very memorable visit.
Review by Ms Mary Lapish who travelled 12-September-2016
The trip was excellent in nearly all aspects; Tullio our guide was extremely good as were all the other guides BUT there was too much travelling by coach! Staying at Enna was too far away from places of interest. We travelled from the airport to the hotel and then went back on the same road two more times. It would have been nice to have had some time off - I did decide to stay at the seaside hotel on the Sunday rather than face another whole day on the coach. I did enjoy the holiday but I know my fellow travellers felt the same.
Review by Mrs Mary June Brodie who travelled 12-September-2016
Our stay in Enna was disappointing as it was not possible to walk out in the evening and the food was not good. Long day 5 could be shortened to exclude lunch at 'Cinema Paradiso' village as this was beautiful scenery but not worth the extra 4 hours we spent in the coach. Castellammare was great.
Review by Mrs Carol Strange who travelled 12-September-2016
Review by who travelled 12-September-2016
The description of Federico Ii hotel in the travel info did match reality. The hotel was miles Enno Basso along a narrow unlit road hardly big enough for the coach, and lacked atmosphere, we could have been anywhere, disengaged dining staff bordering on rude, uninspiring ,passed produced food. Far better when we are near enough to town where we can choose our own restaurants. We loved castelomare for that reason and the al Madagascar hotel was perfect. Our other comment is we more or less were forced to pay for a brunch. We feel that we should either be given a choice of where we can eat or the price should be included in the trip as the other brunches were. We really feel we saw a lot and it would have been nice with a free day even if it meant extending the tout by one day. These are mainly just niggles because we really had a great holiday and leaned a lot about Sicily.
Review by Mr Lars Rose who travelled 12-September-2016
We enjoyed the tour immensely and learned a great deal about Sicily. Our tour guide, Tullio, was knowledgeable, charming and very efficient. He coped with a number of members with disabilities extremely well and when my wife and I got lost in Palermo he rescued us with minimal fuss. A number of us queried the two locations basis of the tour and were not entirely happy with the Enna location. The hotel was too distant from the town and we were effective;y confined to it.
Review by Mr Malcolm Ballin who travelled 12-September-2016
Tullio was an excellent guide but above all else I wish to place on record what a star our driver, Sebastiano, was. He was thoroughly professional and I knew I was in safe hands with him. Don't lose him!! Laura, the guide at Palermo, struck a perfect balance between informing us and allowing us to see the sights. That lesson would benefit Marco, the guide on the Selinunte day, who talked and talked and talked... Some among the group didn't like being based in Enna as we headed east from there two days on the trot. However, I felt it was a pragmatic central location. The only negative aspect for me was the appalling behaviour of two of the paying guests whose rudeness, selfishness and relentless queue-barging was very tiresome. Not a lot one can do about that!
Review by Mr Malcolm Hood who travelled 12-September-2016
We did feel that there was perhaps a bit too much coach travel in the first half of the week - perhaps the hotel was a bit out in the wilds - would have preferred a city/town location. But we thought the driver Sebastiano was excellent!
Review by Mrs Jennifer Hughes who travelled 12-September-2016
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