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Christmas in Sicily

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An unforgettable Italian escape

8 daysSold out

2019 Tour code: PTX20

About the tour

Explore stunning Sicily in winter on a relaxing holiday by rail. Discover Grecian ruins and Italian traditions, explore the charms of Erice and the 'living Nativity' of Custonaci on Christmas Day, and witness the majesty of Mount Etna as we circle the volcano's base on the Circumetnea Train, all during our unforgettable Italian escape.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London to Taormina

We meet at the airport today, where we board our flight to Catania in Italy. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel in Taormina, the 4-Star Hotel Villa Diodoro. On Day 2 you will have a guided tour of the city before spending the rest of the day at leisure.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2: Breakfast
Flights
Day 3 - Mount Etna and the Circumetnea Train

Our excursion today takes us to the indomitable Mount Etna. We approach this spectacular mountain by rail before travelling around the base, enjoying superb views from our carriage, before lunch at a local winery.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mount Etna
Day 4 - Arriving in Palermo

Today is Christmas Eve and we head to beautiful Palermo by rail, enjoying the Sicilian sights on our journey. Enjoy some free time in the city for lunch, before we all meet up again to discover Palermo on a guided tour. The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a fascinating place to explore with our guide and we see both its old medieval quarter and the newer district. We then check into our hotel, the 4-Star Eurostars Centrale Palace.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Palermo
Day 5 - Custonaci’s live Nativity scene on Christmas Day

Today is Christmas Day, and to celebrate, we take a tour of some of Sicily's most famous Christmas displays. Our first stop is Erice, a charming ancient town with medieval walls, perched atop Mount Eryx. Each year in December, the spirit of the season takes over the winding streets and quaint architecture of Erice, transforming the town into a delightful Christmas village, filled with delicate Nativity scenes and a bustling Christmas Market.

During our time here, we take in some of the intricate Nativity scenes dotted around the town, before continuing our Christmas celebrations in Custonaci. Custonaci is famed for its 'living Nativity scene', a popular Italian custom where residents or actors take on the roles of traditional figures found in the Nativity story. Known as 'presepi viventi', these special pageants are often on display for several days over the Christmas period, sometimes featuring hints or allusions to local customs in the props or scenery. Custonaci's presepi viventi, housed in a large cavern, is considered one of the best in Sicily, with over 160 costumed participants creating an immersive Nativity - the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. After time to explore this fascinating scene, we return to our hotel for a delicious Christmas Day dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Erice
Day 6 - The Valley of the Temples on Boxing Day

We continue today, on Boxing Day, to enjoy a visit to Agrigento, one of Sicily's oldest towns. This area is famous for the Valley of the Temples, a collection of magnificent Doric temples built in the 5th century BC. We enjoy a guided tour here and also take some time to visit the Archaeological Museum.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Agrigento
Day 7 - Monreale

Our final excursion is to Monreale. This charming hilltop village is home to an astonishing collection of architecture, including its incredible cathedral. After some time here, we return to Palermo to enjoy the afternoon at leisure. The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a fascinating place to explore. Tonight, there is a farewell dinner at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Monreale
Day 8 - Return to London

Today we bid a fond farewell to Sicily as we board our flight back to London from Palermo Airport.

Includes
  • Scheduled flights
  • Breakfast
Homeward bound flights

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Centrale Palace Hotel, Palermo

Centrale Palace Hotel, Palermo

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Hotel Villa Diodoro

Hotel Villa Diodoro, Taormina

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Train

The Circumetnea Train

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Upgrade to a sea view room in Taormina
Flight upgrades
London Hotels
Europe & UK by Rail 2020

Europe & UK by Rail 2020

The definitive guide to our 2020 summer & winter rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe.

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Christmas in Sicily

An unforgettable Italian escape

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Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke
Helen Laverack
Helen