Helping you plan your holiday...
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.
We meet at the airport today, where we board our flight to Catania in Italy. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel in Palermo, the 4-Star Grand Hotel Federico II.
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Monreale for a guided tour. This charming hilltop village is home to an astonishing collection of beautiful architecture including its incredible cathedral. After some time here, we return to Palermo. The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a fascinating place to explore and we see both its old medieval quarter and the newer district.
Today is Christmas Eve, and our tour takes us to Agrigento, one of Sicily's oldest towns. Agrigento is famed for its outstanding Valley of the Temples - an incredible complex of Greek Doric structures built in the 5th century BC. On arrival we enjoy a guided tour of the valley, which enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status, and its array of striking remains. Some of the temples are in remarkable condition, and during our tour we see the Temple of the Concord, which is the best preserved Doric temple in the Greek world. After time to enjoy Agrigento, we return to Palermo, where we enjoy a delicious Christmas Eve dinner - a traditional way to celebrate Christmas in Italy.
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.
We continue today, on Boxing Day, to Taormina, an ancient mountain-side city which enjoys incredible views of nearby Mount Etna. On arrival into Taormina, we check in to the 4-Star Hotel Villa Diodoro.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Taormina on Day 6.
Our final 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.
Today we bid a fond farewell to Sicily as we board our flight back to London from Catania Airport.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Helping you plan your holiday...