A ‘Grand Tour of Sicily’ from the capital to the ancient sites of Syracuse, Agrigento, Segesta and Selinunte, the Aeolian Isles, Marsala – and ‘in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano’
Palermo - 2 nights
Marsala - 2 nights
Agrigento - 1 night
Noto - 3 nights
Castelmola - 2 nights
Vulcano Island - 2 nights
Palermo - 2 nights
Following requests to combine our popular ‘Treasures of Sicily’ and ‘Secret Sicily’ tours, we decided to create a ‘Grand Tour’ covering the best of Sicily. This includes the features of both tours plus western Sicily, visiting all of Sicily’s UNESCO sites from the natural wonders of Mount Etna and the Aeolian Isles to the ancient wonders of Agrigento, Syracuse and Villa Romana and the religious heritage of Palermo, Monreale and Cefalù. The Baroque towns of the South-East are not forgotten, including sites and scenes featured in the atmospheric TV series, ‘Inspector Montalbano’.
Indeed Sicily is a large and richly rewarding island that repays detailed exploration, including the west which was exposed to contrasting influences through the ages from Punic and Byzantine to Moorish, Norman and Spanish.
Ancient Segesta and Mozia contrast with hilltop towns, traditional ports and Baroque and Liberty style villas, not forgetting Sicily’s most famous wine, Marsala.
Cultural & Natural Wonders
Jules Verne Sightseeing
9 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Local Guide Throughout
Group Size: 8 – 22
Day 1 Fly to Palermo. Two nights at the central 4-star Hotel Plaza Opera. Enjoy a welcome drink at the hotel.
Day 2 A city tour includes the cathedral, Palatine Chapel and churches of La Martorana and San Cataldo. Visit Monreale’s Gothic cathedral and Byzantine mosaics. (B)
Day 3 Travel to Trapani in the western province. Visit Segesta’s Greek temple and theatre, then the medieval mountain village of Erice. Two nights at the central 4-star Hotel Stella d'Italia in Marsala. (B)
Day 4 Visit Marsala town, known for its wine production. By boat to the island of Mozia to see the excavations by Joseph Whitaker who discovered the Phoenician settlement. (B)
Day 5 Follow the coast to Selinunte’s Greek temples. Continue to Agrigento’s famed ‘Valley of Temples’. Overnight at the 4-star Hotel Dioscuri on the waterfront. (B)
Day 6 Visit Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina. A private tour of Ragusa ’from the inside’, then visit the cathedral. Continue to Noto for three nights at the historic Villa Favorita, a country house still owned by the original noble family. (B, D)
Day 7 Visit Scicli, including the mayor’s office, then the ‘home of Montalbano’ at Punta Secca. Walking tour of Noto. Free time for dinner in Noto. (B)
Day 8 Visit ancient Syracuse with its castle and Greek and Roman theatres. Visit the historic centre on Ortigia peninsula and the Baroque cathedral. (B)
Day 9 Travel to Catania for walking tour of Catania. Continue to ‘royal’ Acireale to visit Palazzo Fiorini. Visit by coach Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe (extra charge for cable car and 4-wheel drive mini-bus ride towards the summit). Two nights at the historic Hotel Villa Sonia in Castelmola above Taormina with fine views of Etna and the coast. (B)
Day 10 Visit the small town of Savoca in Messina province, setting for ‘The Godfather’ film, perhaps call at ‘Café Vitelli’. Visit Taormina and its Greek theatre. (B)
Day 11 Travel to Milazzo and sail to the Aeolian Islands. Visit Lipari and sail around it to Vulcano island for two nights at the 5-star Hotel Therasia on the coast with wonderful views of all islands. (B, D)
Day 12 Free day to enjoy the island or relax at the hotel. Alternatively join an optional cruise (weather permitting) departing late morning to visit the islands of Panarea and Stromboli, with free time for dinner and then cruising back past Stromboli at sunset to see the lava flow (£55, pre-bookable). (B)
Day 13 Sail to the mainland then travel to Cefalù, a medieval town whose Norman cathedral has exceptional Byzantine mosaics. Free time before returning to Palermo for two nights at the central 4-star Hotel Plaza Opera. (B)
Day 14 Visit the Baroque part of Palermo including the Villa Malfitano and Teatro Massimo. Private palazzo visit. (B)
Day 15 Return flight to London. (B)
This is a full itinerary with some visits on foot and some uneven surfaces/inclines.
A 4-star hotel in the heart of Palermo, a few steps away from the historic city centre. Lounge bar, WiFi (free) and 47 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently per person per night: €2.
A 4-star hotel located in the historic centre of Marsala facing the cathedral and Palazzo VII Aprile. Breakfast room, bar (serving snacks) and WiFi (free). 35 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, safe, mini-bar and TV.
A 4-star hotel between San Leone harbour and Agrigento. Restaurant, bar, outdoor pool (chargeable)*, WiFi (free) and 102 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe and mini-bar. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently per person per night: €3.00.
*towel is chargeable and swimming hat is compulsory
A charming 18th-century country house near Noto. Restaurant, outdoor pool, terrace, gardens and WiFi (free). 30 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-fridge and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently €1.50 per person per night.
A historic hotel in Castelmola, near Taormina. Restaurants, bar, pool and WiFi (free). 44 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Located on the Aeolian Island of Vulcano the contemporary 5-star Therasia Hotel has an amazing location with fine views. A selection of restaurants, pools, spa and WiFi (free). 97 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
per person in a twin/double room
easyJet from Gatwick
Supplements per person
Single supplement £545
Sea view Twin/Double (Hotel Therasia) £75
Sea view Single (Hotel Therasia) £140
easyJet from Luton – nil
British Airways from Heathrow £45 (Jun - Sep)
British Airways Club Europe from £195 (Jun - Sep)
Cruise to Panarea and Stromboli £55
Arrival or departure transfer add £35
Air travel and taxes, entrance fees, transfers, 14 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 2 dinners, itinerary as described, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, tipping, porterage, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
An accommodation tax is payable locally at most hotels, currently between €1.50–€3.00 per person per night.
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