Sicily 2024

Sicily 2024

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tourhub | Riviera Travel | Sicily 2024 | SY
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Sicily 2024

8 Days Starting and ending in Catania, Metropolitan city of Catania, Italy

Visiting: Catania, Valley of the Temples, Monreale, Palermo, Piazza Armerina, Taormina, Free municipal consortium of Syracuse, Mount Etna

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

SY

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Physical rating:

Please contact Riviera Travel if you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility.

Age range:

18-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Riviera Travel with specific dietary requests.

Tour operated in:
English

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Its scenery possesses a natural and varied beauty that is truly breath-taking. Rugged, sometimes snow-capped mountains reaching for the sky are interspaced with rich meadows, adorned with wild flowers: during spring and autumn, spectacularly green and lush, yet during the sun-scorched summer, transformed into pastel shades of greens, yellows and browns. Citrus and olive groves stretch into the distance and abundant pine forests lend the air that unmistakable Mediterranean aroma. Punctuated by the occasional farmhouse and Tuscan-like hilltop village the countryside is remarkably empty. The island has a spectacularly indented coastline, with sweeping bays and blood-red volcanic rocks plunging into the deep blue sea, and snowcapped Mount Etna providing a magnificent backdrop.



Although very much Italian today, Sicily has been at the crossroads of almost every Mediterranean civilisation for thousands of years and still retains traces of them all. Founded by the Phoenicians, home to the richest cities in the Greek Empire, Sicily was then over the centuries conquered by the Romans, the Moors, Normans, Spanish, French and finally the Italians. Their magnificent relics include temples, ancient amphitheatres, churches, monasteries, villas and atmospheric old towns, with many being the most outstanding of their type in the world and, due to the climate, in a truly remarkable state of preservation.



Our tour visits the finest this remarkable island has to offer. We start in Agrigento, founded by the ancient Greeks, and famous for its remarkable Valley of the Temples. Next we visit Palermo, chaotic and vibrant capital of the island, and in a beautiful setting with an atmosphere of both Europe and the Orient. The pretty little town of Piazza Armerina possesses one of the true archaeological gems of the ancient world: the Casale villa dating from Roman times, covering a huge area, decorated with the largest expanse of ancient mosaics ever discovered and, having been covered by a mud slide many centuries ago, their condition belies their age. We also visit Taormina, one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns. Select and tasteful, Taormina retains its medieval charm, with its main street a lovely collection of 15th to 19th century townhouses, small and intimate piazzas and twisting alleyways. D.H. Lawrence was aware of its charms, making his home here for several years. Taormina’s greatest claim to fame is its Greek theatre dating from the 3rd century BC, with its breath-taking views of the bay and Mount Etna.



Italians are famous for being a friendly and accommodating race and Sicilians especially so, so there is no doubt you will be made welcome on this beautiful island.

Highlights

  • Guided tour of Agrigento’s ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites - entrance fees included

  • Visit stunning Taormina, one of Italy’s most beautiful and stylish hilltop towns

  • Visit Palermo, Sicily’s capital with its gorgeous medieval and baroque centre, Italy’s finest outside of Rome

  • Guided tour of Piazza Armerina’s Roman villa, remarkably preserved with stunning frescoes and ancient mosaics - entrance fees included

  • Enjoy authentic Sicilian food at a farmhouse

  • Visit Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe

  • Guided tour of Monreale Cathedral with the world’s finest medieval mosaics – entrance fees included

  • Visit Siracusa, one of the ancient Greek empire’s richest cities and home of Archimedes

  • Seven nights in 4-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and dinner

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrival In Sicily

Location: Catania

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner

You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Catania. On arrival a coach will take us to the hotel, where we stay for three nights with breakfast and dinner. Depending on the date of departure you will stay at either the Kaos Hotel or the Hotel Baia di Ulisse.

Day 2 : Valley Of The Temples

Location: Valley of the Temples

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we visit what can truly be described as one of the wonders of the ancient world: the amazing Greek remains in the Valley of the Temples. There are six of them in total, situated largely on a ridge looking out to sea. Visible for miles and standing proud as they do, they must have made a statement of sheer absolute power and confidence to any passing mariner or shepherd, leaving none in doubt as to who were the masters. The best of them, Concordia, similar in design to the Parthenon in Athens, is almost perfectly preserved, with just the roof missing. With its wonderful tapering columns and beautiful light golden colour it is absolutely captivating. One can only wonder as to what was going through the builders’ minds thousands of years ago, toiling under a hot sun whilst creating a masterpiece. We enjoy a guided tour of the site and you may also visit the excellent museum, displaying finds from both the temples and surrounding area, including a unique collection of vases. We also visit Agrigento itself, awash with medieval atmosphere, swimming in tiny stepped streets and quiet shady piazzas overlooking the blue Mediterranean in the distance. We return to our hotel during the afternoon to relax.

Day 3 : Monreal & Palermo

Location: Monreale, Palermo

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we visit the north coast of the island and during our journey we will experience some wonderful scenery. A rugged wild landscape, scorched by the sun and remarkably empty of both man and beast. Firstly we visit the magnificent Benedictine Abbey at Monreale, founded in the 12th century. Still used today, it boasts outstanding medieval mosaics covering almost the entire interior, depicting stories from the Old Testament. If you can manage the steps to the roof you will have a superb panoramic view of Palermo below, the surrounding countryside and onwards to the sea. The cloisters are another highlight, surrounded by columns, no two of which are alike, almost Moorish in appearance.



During the afternoon we visit Sicily’s capital, Palermo, which under Saracen and Norman rule became one of the most important cities in Europe, famous for the wealth of its court and as a great centre of learning. Today it has more of a 17th century appearance and during our visit we will pass the Norman Palace, a gorgeous former Royal residence, now the seat of the regional government and see the Cathedral dating from the 10th century. We return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 4 : Piazza Armerina & Taormina

Location: Piazza Armerina, Taormina

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

We leave Agrigento and take the drive to the small town of Piazza Armerina, where one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries of the last century was made: a 4th century Roman villa, possibly owned by one of the joint Emperors, which explains its size and richness of decoration. Buried for centuries, you can still see the remains of pastel-coloured frescoes on the walls, but the mosaics, showing animals and hunting scenes, are simply the finest we have from Roman antiquity. This palatial building, complete with its baths, illustrates with great clarity the evident high standard of living of the Roman elite. We have a guided tour of the villa before continuing our drive to Taormina.



Taormina is one of the most beautiful towns on the island towering 250 metres above the sweeping coastline below, where we have a choice of three hotels in three different locations, staying for four nights with breakfast and dinner



Neighbouring Taormina is Giardini Naxos, a charming typically Sicilian town with a seashore lined by seafood restaurants and fishing boats drawn up onto the beach and the beautiful family run fourstar Hotel Sant’Alphio Garden, situated just a few minutes’ walk from the sea itself. This hotel sits in a very picturesque spot with views of nearby Taormina and Mount Etna.



In Taormina itself, you can choose the four-star Hotel Excelsior Palace, a classic building, over a hundred years old, which during its long history has welcomed guests as diverse as the King of Italy to Antonio Banderas! It is superbly situated on a promontory with panoramic views of the sea to one side and Mount Etna on the other, set in its own lush, extensive landscape gardens and yet centrally located in the old town.



Finally, just eight kilometres north of Taormina, built in Sicilian style and set into the coastal cliff itself, overlooking the stunning Bay of Taormina, is the luxurious, four-star Hotel Baia Taormina. It is a member of ‘Charming Hotels – Independent Luxury Hotels of the World’ one of the world’s most stylish hotel chains. This superb hotel with its stone-faced walls, terracotta tiles and wide arches has a wonderful welcoming atmosphere. Outdoor pools are open summer months, weather permitting.

Day 5 : Free Day

Location: Taormina

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we are free in Taormina, one of the smartest and most exclusive small towns in Italy – it has everything!



Retaining much of its medieval charm, wonderfully situated on a high balcony, facing Etna and overlooking the sea, it is renowned for its beautiful gardens and charming atmosphere. Today, its main street is lined by smart, designer boutiques and exclusive jewellers, with the tiny side streets, some of which are so narrow you can touch both sides at once, leading to intimate piazzas, lined with atmospheric family-run restaurants. As you would expect in a country so famous for its cuisine, speciality food shops are everywhere, selling fresh pasta, olives, Sicilian wine and the local Marsala. Taormina’s greatest claim to fame is its amazing theatre, a legacy of the ancient Greeks and still in use today. Wonderfully preserved with its panoramic view of Etna in the background; to attend one of the occasional classical music concerts in this most special of venues must rank as one of life’s more pleasurable moments. This afternoon you are free to explore as you wish.

Day 6 : Siracusa

Location: Free municipal consortium of Syracuse

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we take the drive to Siracusa, once one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, even rivalling Athens. Its most famous resident was Archimedes, that genius of a man who, whilst in the bath discovered the principle of displacement, ran through the streets naked, exclaiming “Eureka” (I’ve found it!) in a story that has entered folklore. Today the city is one of Sicily’s most attractive, a wonderful collection of limestone buildings, dating mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is an extraordinary Baroque Cathedral incorporating an ancient temple, with a lovely interior, and just opposite is the Bosco Palace. The old port area is extremely attractive and very traditional, full of small fishing boats unloading their catch. You will be free to explore the old town at the eastern end of the city, called Ortygia; actually an island, connected to mainland by three bridges. You will have the option to take a boat trip around the bay before returning to the hotel.

Day 7 : Mount Etna

Location: Mount Etna

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Dominating eastern Sicily is Europe’s highest volcano, Etna, and this morning we take the drive to as near to the snow-capped summit as possible. Ascending the winding road, the landscape becomes increasingly eerie and alien, with razor sharp black rocks in contorted formations, and some areas devoid of almost all vegetation. As we near the cable car station itself you can enjoy extensive views over the whole area. Subject to certain regulations you will have the opportunity to take the cable car, jeep and guide to explore even higher levels. We return to our hotel during the afternoon.

Day 8 : Return Flight

Location: Catania

Meals Included: Breakfast

At the appropriate time a coach will return us to the airport to take our return flight home after a very varied tour.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    Seven nights’ accommodation

  • Fully Guided

    The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

  • All tours as mentioned

  • Meals

    Daily breakfast and dinner

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • International Travel

    Return fights from the UK with checked luggage

What's Not Included

Check out our Q&As

  • What currencies are required for this tour?

    Euros

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Yes. Single prices available upon request

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    4*

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Mrs Bodnarec (Google Reviewer)  

Thankyou Riviera and all the...

28-Apr-2024

Thankyou Riviera and all the staff on the William Wordsworth Danube River cruise. My husband and i have just travelled on the Danube to celebrate my husbands 60th and we had such a lovely experience. We were younger than most of the travellers but we met so many lovely people so this wasnt a problem. The staff were so lovely and professional. The service we experienced was so high. The boat was beautiful, the food amazing and the excursions were informative and well managed. I would definately recommend riviera as a company. In fact we are now considering their Japan holiday.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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