Highlights
  • Explore Monreale
  • Visit Ancient Greek site of Segesta
  • Experience Syracuse Ortygia island neighborhood walk
  • Explore Neapolis Archaeological Park

Rick Steves' most popular off-season tour immerses you in the culture, cuisine, and history of Sicily. On your spring or autumn ramble across the island, your Rick Steves guide will introduce you to the tasty pleasures of local fruits, pastries, and traditional cooking, Italy's brightest pottery and boldest wines, Europe's most amazing ancient Greek ruins, the steamy power of Mount Etna, and picture-perfect hilltop villages. Join us for the Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days!

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Rick Steves Travel Reviews & Ratings
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100% Recommend

5.0 out of 5
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Value
4.9 Guide
5.0 Activities
5.0 Lodging
5.0 Transportation
5.0 Meals
5.0
Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days Tour

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M

Recommends

Our Rick Steve's "Best of Italy Tour," starting in Varenna, October 18, through Rome, November 3, 2015. January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We flew into Milan and toured the town on our own a few days. Then we took the train to Varenna on Lake Como to formally start our Rick Steves tour with our guide, Lisa Anderson. She was excellent; very organized, helpful to a fault, and took us to a lot of out-of-way places not on the itinerary. What I liked most was the mixture of planned activities and time our own own; a nice balance which I believe gave us a good feel for the people, culture, and historical places we toured throughout Italy. You can read any itinerary for this trip and learn about what you're going to see, but getting to know your traveling companions (there were 28 of us) well, share food (and a cold- achoo!) made it all the better. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who would really like to get a taste of Italy from Rome north. I had no interest in visiting Italy before, but would go back in a heartbeat. I especially enjoyed our time high up in a ski village in the Dolomite Mountains. Seeing the "big three" of Venice, Florence, and Rome was great, but I also enjoyed seeing Pisa and Assisi, and spending time in places I had never heard of before - Cinque Terre , Siena, and Orvieto. While I know you can't pick your tour hosts, I would give the highest marks to our guide Lisa, her assistant, Alex, and our bus driver extraordinaire, Adrian. They helped put an excellent adventure over the top. Kudos to you Rick Steve's! We'll book another one of your tours in the next few years.
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Operator Rick Steves

M

Recommends

Great Tour of Paris July 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
My family and I took the seven day Paris tour run by Rick Steves and had a great time. Excellent guide and perfect mix of scheduled events and free time. The specialist guides in the museums provided essentially a college level class on art history and appreciation which made it all the more special. The accommodations were well located and nicely sized. The mix of free time was excellent for my photography so I never felt rushed nor did we hold up the group. We look forward to booking another Rick Steves tour sometime in the future.
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Operator Rick Steves

BH

Recommends

Excellent! October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We went on the My Way Best of Euope 14 day tour last month. Excellent tour. So much to see!!! We loved it!! I would highly recommend it if you are an independent traveler who doesn't want any stress.

Operator Rick Steves

M

Recommends

Absolutely fantastic tour! October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Just got back from the Best of Scandinavia Tour. It was absolutely fantastic in every respect: Great venues and sights, great food and lodging, great local tour guides, a wonderful group to travel with, but the best part was having two fantastic professional guides with us every day to make everything come to life and help us connect in a very meaningful way with the cultures and lands we were there to experience. This is my second RS tour and I would say both have exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend RS tours to anyone looking to travel in this part of the world!!
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Operator Rick Steves

CW

Recommends

Rick Steve's tours are the best! October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We had a glorious time in Europe. Rick Steve's tours are the best way to learn about the various country's history, people, and culture. Great recommendations for places to eat when you're on your own. Fun meeting people in the tour group.
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Operator Rick Steves

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Sicily

We'll gather at our hotel in Palermo at 3 p.m. for a welcome meeting. Then we'll begin our Sicilian adventure together by joining a contessa for a personal tour of her family's home, the Palazzo Federico. We'll end our evening getting to know one another at a "Welcome to Sicily" dinner together. Sleep in Palermo (2 nights). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Palermo and Monreale

Let's meet our local guide for a tour through Palermo's colorful and bustling Ballaró street market – spiced with an evocative whiff of Africa. Then we'll greet our driver and hop aboard the coach bound for the hill-topping town of Monreale, renowned for its Arab-flavored cathedral, blending Byzantine, Arab, Berber Jews, Gothic, and Norman tradition, heritage, and art. We'll tour the cathedral's interior of glittering, golden mosaics as well as the story-telling columns of the cloister. After lunch, we'll return to the city, where your guide will show you their favorite part of Palermo, before setting you free to explore more of this exciting, energetic city, and discover that perfect trattoria for dinner on your own. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Ancient Segesta and Mountaintop Erice

This morning we'll head toward the island's western coast, stopping at the ancient Greek site of Segesta to meander through its magnificent Doric temple and hilltop theater. Then we'll continue to the enchanting medieval mountaintop town of Erice. Believed by Romans to be the home of Venus, Erice eventually evolved into a center for Christian convents and home to heavenly pastries (which we'll learn about and taste). This afternoon we'll enjoy a tasty lunch that includes the region's specialties: sun-dried tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, and Marsala wine, before driving to the bustling port town of Trapani and checking into our hotel. After an evening orientation walk, we'll set you free for dinner. Sleep in Trapani (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Salt Harvesting and Seaside Trapani

Today we'll drive down to the Trapani "salt-pans" — a coastal wetland and nature reserve where sea salt has been harvested for nearly 3,000 years. We'll tour the ancient Phoenician island of Mozia and learn about this bygone civilization. Then our guide will explain the history and process of salt harvesting as we tour the area by boat. You'll be free to spend the rest of your day exploring the seaside town of Trapani. This evening find that perfect terrace, savor your favorite apertivo, and watch the sun dip below the horizon. Boat: 1 hr. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Ancient Agrigento and Country Living

This morning we'll take a magical history tour through the ruins of Agrigento, one of the richest of the Greek colonies and a thriving democracy 2,500 years ago. We'll also tour the vast collection of artifacts at Agrigento's Archaeological Museum. This afternoon we'll head to our tranquil countryside hotel. You'll have plenty of time to soak in the scenery before tonight's dinner together. Sleep in or near Agrigento (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Roman Mosaics and Ragusa

The Romans also colonized Sicily, which we'll learn about at today's first destination, the Villa Romana del Casale. Here we'll spend much of our morning surrounded by the world's most rich and colorful collection of Roman mosaics — including the time-bending "bikini girls" mosaic, discovered less than 60 years ago. This afternoon we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch in the countryside. On the road again, we'll head to the hilltop town of Ragusa. After we check into our hotel, we'll take an orientation walk through Ragusa, where you'll be free for dinner. Sleep in Ragusa (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Charming Ragusa

The day is yours to wander along Ragusa's narrow streets and soak in the simple pace and traditions of everyday Sicilian life. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of this delectable hill town. Tonight we'll gather for a family-style cooking lesson featuring the region's traditional recipes. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 8: Hill Town Visit and Ortygia

This morning we'll experience (and taste!) the ancient technique of chocolate making, introduced to Sicily by the Spanish colonists. Then we'll take a drive to your guide's favorite hill town in the Ragusa region. After free time for exploring and lunch, it's on to Syracuse, in ancient times "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all." This evening we'll take a walk through the city's historic old town on the island of Ortygia, ending with a lively performance of Sicily's traditional puppet theater, where language is no barrier to entertainment. Sleep in Syracuse (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Syracuse, Past and Present

This morning we'll experience the roots of modern drama with a tour at Syracuse's impressive Neapolis Archaeological Park, where an ancient Greek theater is carved into the rock. Then the afternoon is yours to wander through Syracuse's delightful jumble of Greek, Roman, medieval, and Baroque layers — or settle on a quiet park bench with a harbor view. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: War, Wine, and Catania

After breakfast, we'll head north to Catania, where we'll tour the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily (Museo dello Sbarco). We'll learn how, nearly a year before D-Day, Allied troops found themselves fighting against — and at the same time liberating — their Italian adversaries. Then, after a tour of Catania's famous fish market, we'll take a drive up the slopes of Mount Etna to a local winery. We'll gather tonight back in Catania for a farewell dinner, to say arrivederci, share travel memories, and toast to new friends. Salute! Sleep in Catania (1 night). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Catania's airport by shuttle bus or taxi. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 1,995

Price Per Day:

$ 181 per day
 
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 575
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Sicily come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 22 group sightseeing events , Palermo walking tour , Palazzo Federico tour , Monreale Cathedral and Cloister tour , Segesta , Erice orientation walk , Trapanese regional tasting , Sicilian pastry lesson , Marsala Salt Flats boat cruise (weather permitting) , Island of Mozia visit , Valley of the Temples tour , Agrigento Archeological Museum tour , Villa Romana del Casale , Ragusa orientation walk , Sicilian cooking class , Chocolate-making demonstration and tasting , Hill town visit , Syracuse Ortygia island neighborhood walk , Neapolis Archaeological Park , Puppet theater performance , Museo dello Sbarco tour (WWII) , Catania fish market tour , Wine tasting at Sicilian winery… and more
  • All group transportation from Palermo to Catania
  • 10 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2017
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
Trip Excludes
  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses
Optional Activities

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Sicily before your tour begins, use the Sicily guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Palermo that we do not do as a group: Cappella Palatina, Teatro Massimo (closed Mondays), Marionette Museum, Museo Archeologico Regionale A. Salinas, Palazzo Abatellis, Capuchin Crypt, Palazzo Mirto, Galleria D'Arte Moderna (GAM).

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Maximum Number of People in Group: 28
Start City
Palermo
End City
Catania
Additional Information:

Activity Level

This is one of our most active tours! Most days are strenuously paced with 2–8 miles of walking, including hilly terrain and lots of stairs.

Trip ID#: BesSioRic

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