Sicily

Sicily

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Sicily

8 Days

Visiting: Sicily

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

SEC6

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Sicily is rich and unique in culture, possessing a natural and varied beauty that is truly breath taking.

Discover the Mediterranean's largest island, with its own distinct history, culture and cuisine. Citrus and olive groves stretch into the distance and abundant pine forests lend the air that unmistakable aroma, contrasting with sweeping bays, red volcanic rocks and the dramatic backdrop of snow-capped Mount Etna. 
 
We visit the stunning Greek remains in the Valley of the Temples, explore the Villa Romana del Casale in the small town of Piazza Armerina and discover the beauty of Taormina. In addition to the immersive Italian guided tours, we also offer the chance to enjoy authentic Sicilian food at a local farmhouse, visit Mount Etna - Europe's highest active volcano - and explore the wonders of the ancient city of Syracuse. 

Highlights

  • See the remarkably preserved frescoes and ancient mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale on a guided tour of Piazza Armerina's Roman villa

  • Step back through time on a guided tour of the ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites

  • Visit Mount Etna - the largest active volcano in Europe - on a drive towards the often-snow-capped summit

  • Explore the beautiful Sicilian towns and cities of, Cefalù, Taormina and Syracuse with time at leisure

  • Take a guided tour of Palermo, Sicily's capital city with a gorgeous medieval and Baroque centre and Norman palace

  • Guided tour of Agrigento’s ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples - one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites - and Piazza Armerina’s Roman villa, with remarkably preserved frescoes and ancient mosaics 

  • Visits to Taormina - one of Italy’s most beautiful and stylish hilltop towns - and Syracuse, one of the ancient Greek empire’s richest cities and home of Archimedes 

  • Visit Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe 

  • Enjoy authentic Sicilian food at a farmhouse 

  • Choose our Signature Tour to also get: 

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Itinerary

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Day 1

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

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.
 

Included experience: Guided tour of the Valley of the Temples.

Day 3

Piazza Armerina 

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. 

Included experience: Guided tour of the Roman Villa at Piazza Armerina.
 

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 four-star 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.

Included experience: Lunch at a traditional ‘agriturismo’.

Day 4

Today, we’ll visit Taormina with time to explore as you wish. It's 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, it offers panoramic views of the sea to one side and Mount Etna to the other. Taormina is renowned for its beautiful gardens and charming atmosphere but its greatest claim to fame is the ancient theatre. It’s a legacy of the ancient Greeks and still in use today, playing host to a wide array of performances from musicals to gladiatorial battles.
 

Included experience: Visit to Taormina.

Signature experience: Quintessential to the Italian lifestyle, the aperitivo is the moment of the day to relax with a drink. We’ll do this in style with a delicious array of delicacies, whilst enjoying the sensational views over Taormina and the surrounding coastline.

Day 5

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.


Included experience: Visit Mount Etna.

Signature experience: End your morning with a tour and lunch at an historic winery on the fertile lower slopes of Mount Etna with breath-taking views over the lush vineyards. You’ll learn about the unique conditions that produce such interesting organic wines. A wonderful lunch will follow, and local dishes will be paired with a perfect selection of robust red and fragrant white wine. 

Day 6

Today, is free to spend as you wish. You could spend the day in and around our hotel in Giardini Naxos. You could relax by the pool (open in the summer months, weather permitting), wander around the local area or spread out along the long sandy beaches this resort town is famous for.

Alternatively, you could travel back to Taormina, taking advantage of the local public transport or taxis, to peruse the main street lined by designer boutiques and jewellers. The side streets, some of which are so narrow you can touch both sides at once, lead to intimate piazzas lined with atmospheric family-run restaurants – the perfect place to stop for a spot of people watching over lunch. Or, perhaps, take one of Taormina’s very own cable cars down to the beach area of Mazzarò to explore the extensive beaches, rocky coves, tiny islands and sea stacks that make this coastline so enchanting.


Signature experience: Join us on a unique adventure today as we set sail around Ortigia. Get ready to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of golden-hued limestone cliffs and explore some of the most impressive caves. But that's not all - we'll be venturing towards the seafront for an up-close look at Ortigia's historic architecture. And what better way to experience it all than from the comfort of our boat while sipping a refreshing drink? Don't miss out on this unforgettable journey! 

Day 7

Today we take the drive to Syracuse, 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.

 

Included experience: Visit to Syracuse.

Day 8

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

Day 9

Free day

Today, is free to spend as you wish. You could spend the day in and around our hotel in Giardini Naxos. You could relax by the pool (open in the summer months, weather permitting), wander around the local area or spread out along the long sandy beaches this resort town is famous for. 

Alternatively, you could travel back to Taormina, taking advantage of the local public transport or taxis, to peruse the main street lined by designer boutiques and jewellers. The side streets, some of which are so narrow you can touch both sides at once, lead to intimate piazzas lined with atmospheric family-run restaurants – the perfect place to stop for a spot of people watching over lunch. Or, perhaps, take one of Taormina’s very own cable cars down to the beach area of Mazzarò to explore the extensive beaches, rocky coves, tiny islands and sea stacks that make this coastline so enchanting.

Day 10

Mount Etna

Dominating eastern Sicily is Europe’s highest volcano, Etna. This morning we'll take the drive 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.

Included experience:

Visit to Mount Etna.

Signature experience:

We'll end our tour of Mount Etna with lunch at a historic winery on the volcano's fertile slopes. Admiring the breathtaking views over the vineyards, you'll learn about the unique conditions that produce such interesting organic wines followed by a delicious lunch featuring local dishes paired with a perfect selection of robust red and fragrant white wine. 

Day 11

Return home

Today, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight, arriving back in the UK the same day with memories of rocky coastlines, mighty mountains and ancient cities.

What's Included

  • The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single and sea view rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:; Direct return flights; 10 nights’ accommodation; Daily breakfast, dinner and two light lunches; All local taxes and transfers; All tours as mentioned; Entrances to Valley of the Temples, Villa Romana at Piazza Armerina and Palermo’s Norman Palace; The services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager;

  • The price of this multi centre European holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single and sea view rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:; Return flights; Seven nights’ accommodation; Daily breakfast, dinner and one light lunch at a rural restaurant; All local taxes and transfers; All tours as mentioned; Entrances to Valley of the Temples Villa at Piazza Armerina and Monreale; The services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager;

Check out our Q&As

  • 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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