Sicily in Depth

Italy

Regional Journey

Sicily in Depth (Summer 2019)

Duration: 8 days Visiting: Italy

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Enjoy warm Mediterranean hospitality, as you journey from picture-perfect fishing villages to ancient Greek temples. Witness the rich legacies of the ancient Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Ottoman Turks and even uncover a few secrets about the local Mafia. Taste Sicilian wine, feast on delicious seasonal cuisine and meet passionate locals along the way.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Sicily.

    On arrival at Catania airport, transfers leave for your hotel at 10:00, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in to your seaside hotel. After time to relax, join your Travel Director at 17:30 for an exploration of this bustling port town. See the magnificent Duomo and Piazza and the elegant noble buildings of the Palazzo Senatorio. Get to know your fellow travelling companions during your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

  2. Day 2

    Ancient Syracuse en route to Ragusa.

    Sightseeing with your Local Expert takes you to Syracuse’s Paradise Quarry with its unusual Ear of Dionysius, an ear-shaped grotto with an unusual echo. Continue to the superb Greek theatre, carved out of solid rock, one of the largest of the ancient world. There is time to explore the atmospheric Old City, a maze of narrow streets lined with palaces, sprawling over the island of Ortygia. It was here that the famous geometrician Archimedes ran naked through the streets, crying ‘Eureka!' Continue around the southeastern corner of Sicily to Ragusa.

  3. Day 3

    Explore the Valley of the Temples and on to Palermo.

    Journey along the southern coast of the island, past the oil producing town of Gela to Agrigento. Join a Local Expert to explore the Valley of the Temples, Sicily's finest Greek sanctuary. Especially impressive is the massive Temple of Concordia and the clifftop Temple of Juno overlooking the sea. Your travels continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.

  4. Day 4

    Palermo & the Golden Age of the Normans.

    Your Local Expert shows you the highlights of the city. Pass through the Baroque Quattro Canti and admire the beauties of the Fountain of Shame. Visit Palermo Cathedral which has been altered may times over the years and observe its unique blend of architectural styles. In Monreale, visit the finely-decorated cathedral and see its magnificent gold mosaics, a masterpiece of Arab-Norman art. Return to Palermo and enjoy a free afternoon exploring the rest of the city. For your dining pleasure, you are offered a selection of local restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening, each with their own ambience and cuisine.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring Erice.

    Wind your way up to the charming hilltop walled town of Erice. Walk through the labyrinth of quiet alleyways, past medieval churches and enjoy sea views from the gardens next to the Castle of Venus! At a farm near Trapani, sample some of the freshest olive oil produced on the island and savour a tasting of Sicilian wine, followed by a light lunch of delicious local produce. Back in Palermo the evening is at your leisure.

  6. Day 6

    Cefalu and the Taormina Riviera.

    Travel to the quaint fishing town of Cefalu. The town's imposing cathedral was erected to fulfil a vow made by the Norman King Roger II. Stroll down to the medieval stone fountain and seek out the Gothic arch of the Porta Marina for a picture-perfect view of the little harbour. Maybe try the restaurants down by the beach, before continuing on to the Taormina Riviera?

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Taormina and the Dawn Coast of Europe.

    Your hotel faces east, so early risers may experience why D.H. Lawrence christened this 'The Dawn Coast of Europe.' After breakfast, perhaps take an Optional Experience through the vineyards to Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano. The excursion includes a stop in the typical hillside village of Savoca, chosen for the filming of The Godfather. Travel to the old town of Taormina, which clings to the side of Mount Tauro overlooking the Ionian Sea and the snowy peak of Mount Etna. With your Local Expert, visit the Greek theatre set on a cliff and open to the sky. Take a moment to sit in this ancient theatre and absorb the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna. Stroll on to the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina’s grandest building and further along the elegant Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile offers panoramic views. At a local restaurant, rejoice with your new-found friends over your Celebration Dinner of delicious, freshly prepared Farm-to-Table cuisine, accompanied with exquisite Italian wines.

  8. Day 8

    Depart Catania.

    Appreciate the vistas of Mount Etna one last time on your departure transfer to Catania Airport. Transfers arrive at the airport at 06:30 and 08:30.

Highlights

 

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Catania: During an exploration with your Travel Director see the Duomo, Piazza and the noble buildings of Palazzo Senatorio.
  • Syracuse: Walk through the gardens of Paradise Quarry, listen to the acoustics in the mysterious Ear of Dionysius and visit the Greek theatre.
  • Syracuse: Explore the ancient streets and delightful squares of in the Old City of Ortygia.
  • Ragusa: During your orientation with your Travel Director see the famous Baroque buildings and churches.
  • Agrigento: A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples. See the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno.
  • Monreale: The sombre exterior of the cathedral at Monreale gives away few clues to the riches inside. Step into a world where the walls glitter with 12th century mosaics, the best of their kind in the world.
  • Palermo: Discover the Sicilian capital with your Local Expert. See Teatro Massimo, the Quattro Canti Square and the Fountain of Shame. View the composite architectural styles of the Palermo Cathedral and visit the Palatine Chapel, showcasing some of the finest examples of Norman art.
  • Erice: Led by your Travel Director, explore the quiet alleys of this ancient walled town, as if you've stepped into the Middle Ages. See the medieval churches and marvel at the sea views from the gardens of the Castle of Venus.
  • Cefalu: Your Travel Director will show you the cathedral, built to fulfil a vow. Walk to the medieval stone fountain in the old fishermen’s quarter, find the Gothic arch of the Porta Marina and see the harbour.
  • Taormina Riviera: Should you awake early, you may see why this is known as 'The Dawn Coast of Europe.'
  • Taormina Riviera: Visit the ancient Greek Ampitheatre with your Local Expert. Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna.
  • Taormina Riviera: During your orientation with your Travel Director, visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Palermo: Choose between a variety of restaurants and cuisines on your Dine-Around Evening.
  • St Julian's: Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers at your luxury hotel in St Julians. This Radisson Blu resort is famous for its delicious Mediterranean flavours.
  • Trapani: At a local farm, sample the olive oil produced on the island paired with a tasting of Sicilian wine and a light, rustic Highlight Lunch.
  • Taormina Riviera: Enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine, reflecting some of Sicily’s top culinary heritage.
  • Dining Summary: 7 Breakfasts (B) 1 Lunch with Wine (LW) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • St Julian's: Situated in the pretty seaside town of St Julian’s, The Radisson Blu Resort is a worthy getaway for travellers looking for tranquillity by the coast. The hotel offers gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea and a wellbeing spa for those looking to relax and rejuvenate in the indoor pool, jacuzzi, gym and sauna.
  • Taormina Riviera: Enjoy traditional Mediterranean hospitality on the rocky coast of the Ionian Sea at the Hilton Giardini Naxos.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Guided Tour Of Ragusa Ibla

Join a local expert to explore the jumble of churches, houses, old squares and civic palazzi that make up Ragusa Ibla. Devastated by the earthquake of 1693, this part of town was rebuilt along the lines of the old medieval layout. With most of the nobility and wealthier citizens choosing to live in the new upper town, the fortunes of Ibla waned. Now you can step back three hundred years into the past, where every turn of the winding streets and stairways comes with the promise of another fantastic discovery.

Adult Price: EUR 25.00

Code: RAG0001

Dinner In Ragusa

Indulge in the varied and complex flavours of Sicily, at this evening's dinner. Sicillian shores are washed by three different seas, so fish is a must (meat alternative available). The large greenhouses around Ragusa also produce a wide range of fruit and vegetables to enjoy. Arabian settlers brought sugar with them and now the island's dolci are considered among the best in Italy. Of course any Italian meal wouldn't be complete without the wonderful local wine. Buon Appetito!

Adult Price: EUR 54.00

Code: RAG0002

Hidden Palermo

Walk the ancient streets of the historical centre and learn, through the eyes of a local, how the Palermitani live. You’ll discover hidden treasures of this fascinating city that most visitors don't get to see, like a private visit to the palace of the family of the Counts of Palermo, whom we’ll meet and who will share their amazing experiences with us. This unique tour also includes a drink and light snacks.

Adult Price: EUR 46.00

Code: PAL0005

Dinner in Palermo

Sicilian dining is one of life's true pleasures! We'll indulge in great food made from the freshest ingredients, accompanied by the island's delicious wines.

Adult Price: EUR 60.00

Code: PAL0001

eatwith Experience

eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65

Adult Price: EUR

Code: PAL0006

Dinner in the Clouds

With one of the most incredible rides of your lives, you will arrive high above the sea, a world apart from the areas that tourists tread. You'll arrive in your terraced authentic local restaurant for a truly educational meal of delicious regional specialties, with accompanying local wines.

Adult Price: EUR 68.00

Code: TAO0003

Mt Etna & The Godfather

Join a local expert to experience the unhurried pace of life in this rustic village chosen by Frances Ford Coppola for scenes in his movie “The Godfather”. Amid stunning mountain views, visit the charming wedding church and Bar Vitelli, where Al Pacino fell in love (famous for its ice cold granita di limone!) Then continue to Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Ascend through the lush fertile foothills to the craters and barren lunar landscapes nearer the top. The views over the eastern Sicilian coast and Ionian Sea are spectacular.

Adult Price: EUR 56.00

Code: TAO0001

Accommodation

 

Il Principe Hotel

Catania (Historic) - Italy

The Il Principe Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Catania's historic centre, surrounded by Baroque architecture. The beautifully refurbished rooms feature high ceilings and have been designed with your comfort in mind.

Mediterraneo Palace

Ragusa (Contemporary) - Italy

A hotel next to the Santa Domenica Valley and crossed by three historic bridges. Located in a strategic position of the city, just a few minutes away on foot to the Municipal Gardens of Villa Margherita.

Hilton Giardini Naxos

Taormina Riviera (Traditional) - Italy

Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11428 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 11 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I enjoyed everywhere we went. Palermo is a bit large and unwelcoming, especially at night, so perhaps a little less time there and more time in Siracusa would be an improvement.

    Service: Our tour guide and driver, Lynn Meadows and Claudio, could not have been nicer or better at their jobs. Lynn provided all of the necessary service and went above and beyond to resolve additional challenges. She shared a wealth of information about everywhere we went. Claudio's driving and baggage handling were excellent and always done cheerfully.

  • 30 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary exceeded our expectations! We loved the little places where we stopped along the way between the main cities.

    Service: We were well taken cared of from the moment we arrived at the airport until our departure from the hotel to the airport. Our tour director Lynn was very knowledgeable and amazing in the way she treated her “family of 39”! Each of us were given personal attention. We loved the way she narrated the history and stories of the places we visited in a clear and soothing voice. The local guides were also excellent!

  • 29 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Wonderful itinerary---loved Siracusa, Ragusa, Taormina and especially Cefalu!

    Service: Great tour! Tour director was knowledgeable and was able to adjust itinerary when necessary. Coach driver was excellent!

  • 26 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We saw wonderful places. Taking off 1 star because the hotels were not especially unique or nice and were not as centrally located as we would have liked.

    Service: Our tour guide went 'above and beyond' many times to make our experience flawless.

  • 20 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Lynn and your guides made the adventure come alive. Each location was better than the last one....... History uncovered with factual explanation......

    Service: your agent Lynn was spectacular. looking after every detail. As a good corporate employee. she made us part of your family. And was spot on for all the details..............

  • 17 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was very intensive and we visited mostly everything we needed to see in the time we were there

    Service: Fantastic service as always. They were always attentive and letting us know if we needed anything

  • 16 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The sites that we viewed were amazing and well thought out.

    Service: The Trip was amazing and it was planned out efficiently and effectively.

  • 16 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: This was my first land tour ever. I didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised at all the details.

    Service: The tour manager Lynn Meadows was wonderful. She went over and beyond to make our tour extraordinary

  • 16 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Overall a good tour considering the places challenged by the weather, by under developed tourism and economy.

    Service: Good

  • 13 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very good. Well balanced. Only disappointing part was that we felt the optional tour on the last day to Mt Etna should be part of the core itinerary, given that it is an icon of Sicily.

    Service: The tour director, coach driver were outstanding. However, the standard of hotels selected for this tour were generally not up to the standard that we have experienced on previous Insight Vacations. In particular, the room that were provided at the Il Principe Hotel in Catania had a defective shower that rendered the bathroom unusable, as evidenced by the attached photographs. The tube from the water source to the shower head was slipt and, we suspect, had been in that condition for a prolonged period of time! Clearly, this defective situation had been in existence for some while and begs disbelief that the hotel cleaning staff and management would still consider that the room was suitable for use when clearly it was not. The hotel reception staff were not the slightest bit interested in our situation, when we asked for another room that we may take a shower and were told "we don't have other rooms available" which we found extraordinary as we were the only group staying at the hotel on that night! They clearly were not interested in our plight!

  • 12 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Extensive itinerary. Sights and experiences that made vivid and fond memories.

    Service: I would recommend Insight, and I would use your services again. Sicily in Depth tour. Covered a lot of territory. Saw a wide variety of spectacular sights. Our tour guide, Barbara, and our driver were excellent. Hard-working, smooth, insightful. Exceptional leader and bus pilot. Fun and educational tour.

  • 09 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I would have liked more time in Catania but then we may not have seen Erice so... very busy schedule but that is what we expected.

    Service: Very good guide and driver. Busy but good itinerary. Good hotels and meals. Lots of very interesting history (Barbara shared her knowledge with us). We had a great time.

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