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Italy, Sicily and MaltaRegional Journey
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 before meeting your Travel Director at 17:30, for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
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.
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.
Palermo & the Golden Age of the Normans.
Your Local Expert shows you the highlights of part of the old the city. Next, 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Fly from Catania to Malta.
During your private transfer to Catania airport, appreciate the vistas of Mount Etna one last time. Board your short flight to Malta where on arrival you are met and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and settle into your hotel. Join your Travel Director at 18:30 for a Welcome Dinner with wine.
Venture south to Valletta, Malta’s striking capital, with a Local Expert. Once here you’ll visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens and visit the impressive St. John's Cathedral, designed in a baroque fashion. Find yourself captivated by the abundance of history as you walk through the elegant streets to see why it is named The Fortress City with its restored golden-stone buildings that mould the cityscape. Continue to the pretty fishing village of Marsaxlokk and wander along its waterfront. Look out at the Mediterannean Ocean and feel completely relaxed as you watch colourful luzzu, traditional Maltese fishing boats, waft in the crystal blue water. For lunch, dine at Capo Mulini and feast on delicious seafood that has been freshly plucked from the ocean. After lunch, there's time to browse the local area. Perhaps head back to Valetta to wander on the pretty waterfront or to the National Museum of Archaeology. Objects here date back to Malta’s Neolithic period and include the iconic carved figurine of the Sleeping Lady. The evening is yours at leisure. Why not ask your Travel Director for some restaurant recommendations or make the most of your hotel’s amenities?
Free time in Sliema.
Today is free for you to laze on the rooftop terrace and enjoy the marvellous seascapes from the seafront hotel. Perhaps take a relaxing stroll along the promenade filled with many restaurants and bars. If you’re feeling more active, why not take an Optional Experience with lunch on Gozo Island? Calypso Cave, found on the island, is said to be the one Homer wrote about in his acclaimed epic poem, The Odyssey.
It’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful island and your fellow travellers, as a transfer takes you to Malta International Airport for your onward journey.
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.
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.
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.
Palermo (Traditional) - Italy
This charming hotel is located in the heart of the historical centre of the city, close to one of the main shopping streets in Palermo.
Taormina (Traditional) - Italy
Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the RG Naxos Hotel boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.
Sliema (Traditional) - Malta
Situated perfectly along the Sliema promenade, Waterfront Hotel Sliema provides guests with views of the incredible harbour and its central location is within walking distance to bars and restaurants and several shopping outlets.