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Ancient Sicily

Enjoy this magnificent taste of Italy on this incredible Italian island

From $ per person


Experience exclusive excursions that simply would not be possible with a larger group, on an intimate tour that takes you around Sicily's most beautiful sights. From private tours of beautiful gardens and palaces, to tastings of incredible Sicilian wine, enjoy this magnificent taste of Italy on this incredible Italian island.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Days 1-2 – Taormina and Mount Etna
Mount Etna

Meet your Tour Manager at the airport today, ready to begin your fantastic adventure in Sicily. After arriving in Palermo, we transfer to Cefalu for some free time, then journey on to our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Excelsior Palace in Taormina, where we enjoy our first dinner together of the holiday.

Mount Etna is one of the most iconic Sicilian sights, and we visit it on Day 2 on a wonderful full day excursion. You have plenty of time at leisure here, and you can choose to go all the way to the top by either cable car or 4x4 (payable locally), or you could spend your time enjoying lunch and looking up at the beautiful scenery of the volcano. We journey on the Circumetnea Railway after our visit, viewing this iconic volcano from a wonderful and different way. The unique soils of Mount Etna also mean the slopes are an excellent place to grow grapes for wine, and we visit the Frank Cornelissen Winery this afternoon. We take a tour of the winery, and taste 5 different wines, then transfer back to our hotel, where your evening is at leisure.

Day 3 – Exploring Taormina
Taormina

On Day 3, we explore Taormina with a half day guided tour. Taormina has many sites of historical significance, including the amazing Greek Theatre, whose origins are disputed. Thought to have been built in the 3rd century BC, the theatre also shows signs of Roman architecture. This afternoon, you are at leisure to enjoy the rest of your day.

Day 4 – Biviere di Lentini Gardens and Syracuse
Syracuse

We begin today with a transfer to the Biviere di Lentini Gardens, for an undoubted highlight of our tour. These gardens have been meticulously cared for and maintained by the owner, the Princess Maria Carla Borghese. It is the Princess that shows us around today, and we enjoy an aperitif with her before we travel to Syracuse for a walking tour. This stunning UNESCO listed place has numerous fascinating features, including the natural Fountain of Arethusa, named after the nymph in Greek mythology. The tour also includes entrance to the ancient Cathedral of Syracuse, which was once a temple of Athena, as well as the archaeological park. This evening, after checking in to our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Albergo Alfeo, we enjoy dinner in a local fish restaurant.

Day 5 – Ragusa Ibla, Modica, and Noto
Ragusa Ibla

After breakfast this morning, we transfer by coach to Ragusa Ibla, where we enjoy a guided visit of this stunning hilltop town, home to an abundance of incredible Baroque architecture, including the Cathedral of San Giorgio. We then head over to Modica for a guided tour, and there is also some free time for lunch here, as well as a free tasting of famous Modica chocolate, which has been prepared for many years using the original and ancient Aztec recipe. Our final excursion of the day is to Noto, where our visit includes entrance to the magnificent Sala Degli Specchi. We dine in our hotel this evening.

Day 6 – Villa Romana del Casale and Palazzo Conte Federico
Ruins of Villa Romana del Casale

Our first excursion today is to the ancient Piazza Armerina, including the ancient Villa Romana del Casale. This Villa is famed for having the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world, with some being discovered as recently as the 1960s. The mosaics have been remarkably well preserved, and are fascinating to behold. We enjoy lunch today in an agriturismo on our way to our next destination, the Palazzo Conte Federico in Palermo. One of the oldest buildings in Palermo, its roots date back to the 12th century, and the halls are filled with a variety of incredible architectural examples and artwork of past centuries. We are shown around by a family member, and after, we enjoy a glass of wine together. After our visit, we check into our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Palazzo Sitano. You are at leisure this evening.

Days 7-8 - Monreale, Palermo and home
Palermo

We visit Monreale today, originally a small village that rose to prominence after the Norman kings of Sicily chose Palermo as a hunting resort. The magnificent Monreale Cathedral is one of the stops on our tour, an amazing example of Norman architecture that was built in the 12th century. Inside, it is filled with intricate mosaics and an incredible cloister that has been marvellously well preserved since its building around 800 years ago.

We return to Palermo, where we enjoy a wonderful guided tour. This is the perfect time to explore some of Palermo's most famous sites, including the cathedral and the Palatine Chapel. This evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. After breakfast on Day 8, we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

Trains
The Circumetnea Train
The Circumetnea Train

On our trips in Sicily, we have the chance to travel around the base of one of the world's tallest active volcanoes, Mount Etna. Here, we travel on the Circumetnea, a narrow gauge railway, opened in 1898, that travels from Catania to Riposto, and offers spectacular scenes of the volcano. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and on occasion it produces smoke rings, which are extremely rare. Mount Etna also features prominently in Greek mythology, as it was thought to be where Vulcan, the god of fire, kept his Smithy.

Hotels
Palazzo Sitano, Palermo
Palazzo Sitano

Located a stone's throw away from the harbour, and therefore looking out over the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea, as well as in the middle of wonderful and historic Palermo, the 4-Star Hotel Palazzo Sitano is where we stay whilst in Palermo. The hotel features some wonderful amenities, including a restaurant and the lounge bar. The elegant and modern rooms come well equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, a television, and an in-room safe.

Hotel Albergo Alfeo, Syracuse
Hotel Albergo Alfeo

The 4-Star Hotel Albergo Alfeo is our delightful base whilst in Syracuse. Located just a short walk away from the stunning Island of Ortigia, as well as close to the centre of the historic city of Syracuse, this is the perfect base for our explorations. The rooms are decorated with light, neutral colours, and come with an en-suite bathroom, a television, air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an in-room safe. The hotel itself offers a reading room, a hotel bar, and a restaurant, and there is also a laundry service available for a fee.

What's included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

Characterful accommodation in your destination

Delicious meals included

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

Not Included

 

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

Flight upgrades
Flight upgrades

Flight upgrades are available. Please see the information regarding the types of upgrades offered by the various airlines we use in the Add-ons section of 'Things you should know' or call us for details.

London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel       Room Rate From Price 
The Ambassador Hotel      From £65 per person
Pullman London St Pancras      From £110 per person
Studios2Let, Cartright Gardens  From £55 per person

 

Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

Door to door luggage from £100
Door to door luggage from £100

Whether as an added luxury, or essential to your enjoyment of the tour, door-to-door luggage collection and delivery services can really enhance your holiday experience. Travelling across Europe by train is so much more relaxing without the burden of your suitcase, and we can help arrange for your case to be collected from home prior to the holiday and for it to be waiting for you at your first main hotel in Europe.

We are pleased to provide the services of the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man, offering luggage transport from as little as £100 for one suitcase and £200 for two suitcases.

Please contact us for details of this service.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/ancient-sicily/#PSJ19 on 21 September 2019.
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