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Classical Sicily tour
Palermo Sicily Classical Sicily Trip

Classical Sicily

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 1,770 $ 221 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Syracusa - Discover the ancient ruins in the Neapolis Archaeological Park and the attractive lanes and piazza's of Ortygia Island
  • Agrigento - Visit Sicily's most famous Classical remains in the Valley of the Temples with its remarkable Doric architecture
  • Palermo - Explore the cultural melting pot of Sicily's capital and visit the majestic Norman cathedral at nearby Monreale
  • Taormina - Soak up the atmosphere of this popular coastal resort and visit its famed Greek theatre, with its postcard views of Mount Etna
  • Erice - This walled hilltop town feels very medieval with its maze of narrow winding cobbled streets and quaint shops
  • Villa Romana del Casale - This Roman villa is home to some of the best preserved and most extensive mosaics from this time period that are left in Europe

Short Description

Sicily is the largest of the Mediterranean islands and has been a favourite destination for travellers since ancients times with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Elymians, Romans and Greeks all having left their mark. As well as the wealth of historical sights, Sicily is home to Europe's tallest active volcano, Mount Etna, along with rolling hills and dramatic rocky coastlines. No visit to Sicily is complete without trying the islands renowned fresh seafood, mouth-watering cheeses and fine wines. This all-encompassing one-week trip takes in these highlights of Sicily.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Giardini Naxos

Travel Theme

Cultural

Destinations

Italy

Cities & Attractions

Palermo Sicily

Activities

N/A

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join trip in Syracusa

Description

Starting our trip in Syracusa, we will meet up with the rest of the group in our hotel this evening. During the Greek Classical Period, this east coast city was the largest in the ancient world - even bigger than Athens. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also notable as being the birthplace of antiquity's greatest mathematician, Archimedes.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - See Syracusa's historic Neapolis and Ortygia Island

Description

This morning we will visit the city's Neapolis Archaeological Park, with its famous Greek theatre hewn out of the hillside and the fine Roman amphitheatre where gladiators once fought. We then continue to Ortygia Island - a small island in the centre of the city which is home to many more historical landmarks. Leaving Syracusa, we drive for a couple of hours inland to Piazza Amerina, a charming market town set amid rolling countryside, which will be our base for the night.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Villa Romana and Agrigento's Valley of the Temples

Description

Just a short hop from our hotel, we will start our day by visiting the Villa Romana del Casale with a local guide. It's the ruins of a magnificent country mansion containing some incredibly well-preserved and beautiful Roman mosaics. Continuing to the west coast, we reach Agrigento - once one of the most prosperous cities in Sicily. The ancient acropolis, now the modern city, overlooks a southern ridge, misleadingly named the 'Valley of the Temples'. Visiting these temples, we walk around the ruins of the largest Doric temple ever constructed - the Temple of Zeus. We will also explore the perfectly-proportioned Doric columns of the Temple of Concord, as well as the oldest temple in the complex, honouring Hercules. Later this afternoon, a two-hour drive takes us north along the spectacular coastline to tonight's hotel in Marsala.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - Visit Erice and the Greek ruins of Segesta en route to Palermo

Description

This morning we drive to Erice, where we can enjoy the ambiance of this beautiful walled Medieval town. At 750 metres above sea level, we hope to have impressive views of the valley and sea below. It is also worth noting that Erice is home to Sicily's most famous cake shop - Maria Grammatic. Early afternoon will see us travelling on to Segesta - one of the best-preserved ancient Greek sites in existence. Here, the Doric temple and the amphitheatre sit on the slopes of Mount Barbar in a stunning natural setting. No modern day structures mar our appreciation of the site. On leaving magnificent Segesta, we drive an hour along the north coast to our hotel in Sicily's capital, Palermo.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 5 - Palatine Chapel and Monreale Cathedral; free time in Palermo

Description

Before departing Palermo this morning, we will visit the Palatine Chapel - the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily, packed with spectacular Byzantine mosaics. Driving into the hills just a short distance out of the capital, we go on to visit the majestic Norman Cathedral of Monreale. Founded in 1174 by William the Good, the cathedral is also famous for its extensive mosaics, as well as its beautiful cloisters showing both Romanesque and Islamic influences. Returning to Sicily's capital, our afternoon is free to enjoy Palermo at our own pace. The city stands at the foot of Monte Pellegrino, with the fertile valley of Concha d'Oro behind. It was one of the richest cities in Europe from the 9th to the 12th centuries AD when Islamic culture, Byzantine magnificence and the vigorous world of medieval Europe were merging into a fascinating civilisation. Today, the city maintains a sense of cultural diversity and is famous for its art, music and food.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Cefalu and coastal scenery en route to Giardini Naxos

Description

Leaving Palermo, we drive along the spectacular northern coastline to the picturesque fishing village of Cefalu. Here we stop to visit the Norman Cathedral, with its stupendous mosaic of Christ Pantocrator. We take a scenic drive along the coast via Messina, stopping briefly for an optional visit to the Archaeological Museum. Our base for the next two nights is the small beach resort of Giardini Naxos, just outside Taormina on the north east coast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Chance to travel to Mount Etna; afternoon in Taormina

Description

This morning, you have the opportunity to join a tour to explore the lunar landscape, craters and lava fields of Mount Etna - one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. Alternatively, you might prefer to enjoy a more sedate morning enjoying the coastal location of Giardini Naxos. This afternoon, we travel the short distance to Taormina, Sicily's most famous resort. Once a favourite haven for the likes of D. H Lawrence and Oscar Wilde, Taormina is still today a tourist honeypot. After a walk around this chic and beautiful town, with its pretty medieval churches and charming streets, it's easy to understand why. We'll visit the Greek Theatre in Taormina. Here, snow-capped Mount Etna acts as a spectacular backdrop to the remarkably preserved columned stage. It's easy to see why this is possibly the most famous view in Sicily, it makes for a superb photograph.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Trip ends in Giardini Naxos

Description

Our trip ends at our hotel in Giardini Naxos.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 1,770
Price Per Day: $ 221 per day
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Stride Featured in

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Classical Sicily

Write a Review

Outstanding tour leader and amazing trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Sue the tour leader was the high point. She did an outstanding job getting us from place to place. She had exceptional knowledge and was a delight to be around. I also thought the sites selected gave me a nice appreciation of Sicily. Our driver Enzo was also very good at his job.
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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.
Read more

Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your holiday. Whilst the trip price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions or to take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for you. Ortygia Island, Syracusa: Entrance to Castello Maniace on day 2, €4.00 per person. Guided your of the Jewish Baths on day 2, €5.00 per person. Boat trip along the coast on day 2, €10.00 per person. May not be possible in spring/autumn due to wind conditions. Erice: On day 4 entrance for four of the most famous churches €5.00 per person or each individual church €2.00 per person. Entrance to Castello di Venere on day 4, €5.00 per person. Palermo: Entrance to the Botanical Gardens on day 5, €5.00 per person. Entrance to the catacombs on day 5, €3.00 per person. Entrance to the cathedral on day 5, free of charge or €1.50 per person to see the Norman tombs. Tour of the Teatro Massimo on day 5, €8.00 per person. Puppet theatre performance on day 5, €12.00 per person. Messina: Entrance to the Regional Museum on day 6, €8.00 per person. Entrance to the Cathedral Museum on day 6, €3.50 per person plus €4.00 per person to climb the campanile. Giardini Naxos: There are three different options for the Mount Etna tour on day 7: 1. Bus to 1,900 metres €32.00 per person 2. Bus to 1,900 metres plus cable car to 2,500 metres €64.00 per person 3. Bus to 1,900 metres, cable car to 2,500 metres plus four-wheel drive coach up to 2,900 metres €96.00 per person Due to the volcanic dust and sulphur fumes on Mount Etna, we ask asthma sufferers or customers with heart conditions of any kind to take these factors into consideration when deciding if this optional excursion is right for you. Due to the colder temperature on Mount Etna it's possible to hire equipment at the top of the cable car: Quilted jackets €3.00 per person and walking boots €3.00 per person. In windy conditions the cable car might not be running, in which case the four-wheel drive coach normally operates from 1,900 metres up to 2,500 metres. Entrance to Giardini Naxos Archaeological Zone on day 7, €2.00 per person including museum entrance. Taormina: Entrance to the Villa Comunale Gardens on day 7 is free of charge. Please note that all optional excursions listed above are subject to change and availability and they may not all be possible to offer on every departure date.

Guides

An Explore Leader is an integral part of any Explore trip and your trip will be led by one of our experienced Explore Leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Explore Leaders are the key to the success of our trips; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your Explore Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this trip fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s)

Additional Information:

Tour Features

Combine your trip… Malta and Sicily combination Why not combine this trip with our Malta and Gozo Discovery (MLA) to make a two-week comprehensive holiday of these varied Mediterranean islands. Please refer to our website for details. (MLA + CS = trip code MLAS).

Trip ID#:

explore-CS

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