Sicily in Depth

Italy

Regional Journey

Sicily in Depth with 4-day Malta Option (Summer 2019)

Duration: 11 days Visiting: Italy, Malta

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

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

Uncover the legacy of this culturally-rich island, once occupied by ancient civilisations and continue on to Malta with its ancient temples, sunny beaches and warm-hearted people.

  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

    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 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner with wine.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Free Time in St Julian's.

    Today is free for you to laze by the pool and enjoy the marvellous seascapes from the beachfront hotel. Perhaps take a relaxing stroll at Spinola Bay, wandering through the seaside promenade filled with restaurants and bars. Watch out for the Love monument in the centre of the walkway, a hot spot for photographs. 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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Southern Delights.

    Venture south to Valletta, Malta’s striking capital, with a Local Expert. Once here you’ll visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens and 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. 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?

  11. Day 11

    Depart Malta.

    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.

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.
  • Catania: Board your included flight from Catania to St. Julians, Malta.
  • Valletta: Enjoy time to explore the capital at your leisure. Get lost in its beautiful 16th century buildings including St John’s Co-Cathedral, designed in a baroque fashion.
  • Marsaxlokk: See the Luzzus lined along the waterfront and enjoy time to browse the market, a staple for locals after fresh seafood and other tasty delicacies.

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.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Breakfasts (B), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 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

Full Day Excursion To Gozo

Drive to the north of Malta for a twenty minute ferry crossing to Gozo. Smaller, greener and more rural, Malta's sister island is a haven of tranquillity. Visit all the popular natural landmarks, such as the Inland Sea and Azure Window at Dwejra. Explore the imposing Citadel in Victoria and the world's oldest stone temples, predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids by hundreds of years. A stop is made at a pretty seaside village for lunch, with time to shop for local hand made lace and woollen goods.

Adult Price: EUR 58.00

Code: MAL0001

Blue Grotto Tour

Enjoy a ride in a traditional Maltese boat to the famous Blue Grotto, where you'll see these beautiful sea caverns off the southern coast.

Adult Price: EUR 8.00

Code: MAL0002

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.

Radisson Blu Resort, St. Julians.

St. Julians (Resort) - MALTA

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.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

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

  • 25 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We saw all the great spots and some hidden jewels

    Service: Organized , great hotel locations , great optional experiences , travel leader was the best

  • 23 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: sicily was excellent. Although the dinner in Palermo (By the sea) was the worst meal I have ever had. Malta the included tour to Gozo. The only drink offered at lunchtime was wine. As a non drinker I thought it was unfair that I had to pay for a soft drink or water.

    Service: Insight have always been good

  • 20 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Reasonably good...Early morning flight to Malta rather difficult.to comprehend

    Service: Basically no negative issues

  • 19 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Touring was excellent- prepaid meals (dinners) were average.

    Service: Excellent tour manager

  • 14 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Beautiful scenery great girl travel shared room very good guide great hotels and fun times perfect holiday will send s great photo but not sure how to do that but will post it to you un times perfect holiday

    Service: I always go with insight cost good hotels good mostly room with someone who is ok l enjoy food scenery different to Australia unusual countries Leone

  • 22 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Very well planned itinerary with best sightseeing and dinning experiences and good choice of optional extras!!! We don't think we would have enjoyed Sicily so much had we done it on our own. The tour with Insight Vacations made the difference. They were very well planned and organized and got us good value for money.

    Service: I have sent an extensive email (copied below) to Francesca our tour director detailing my feedback about the tour which captures my sentiments. Dear Francesca Thank you so much for sending this email. Hope you are keeping well. We would like to say a big thank you to you for making our trip to Sicily so interesting and memorable. A lot of factors contributed to the successful conclusion of the trip - a well planned itinerary with optional extras, the nice clean spacious modern technology bus with free wifi, strategically located hotels (though we wished we had Hilton size rooms everywhere lol!), the group in itself (although consisting of people from various countries) was friendly and their company was most enjoyable - but most important of all it was you Francesca and the driver Roosario. You were no doubt very well organised, caring and a good problem solver. You had a calming affect on us all resulting in us being able to enjoy our trip to the maximum. A positive person only emits positive energy and you proved that to be so true. So much so that even the weather behaved itself during our tour of Sicily. Apart from being knowledgeable you also have a great sense of humour which kept us entertained during our road trips. I must mention that Roosario is a very efficient and experienced driver. He was always all smiles, polite, soft spoken, well mannered (never heard him swear even on the toughest of roads) and like you very patient. And a non smoker which was a bonus! The local tour guides we met like Emily and Francesca 2 & 3 and others (sorry cannot recall the names of the two male guides) were all very professional, knowledgeable and nice. Especially Emily we thought was brilliant. You know Francesca... we were so apprehensive about going on a tour with a big group but now we are so glad we did it. You’ve set the standard so high and by far have exceeded all of our expectations. Although we are already booked to travel with Insight Vacations again in the near future but we doubt that anyone can exceed the bar you’ve set. Wish you had travelled with us to Malta too!!! Francesca dear please take care and we wish you all the best in retirement. Please feel free to share our views with Insight Vacations. And tell them we said you and Roosario are the best! We will always cherish the fond memories we made with everyone on this trip and how much fun we all had. Thank you so much to all in the group for their friendship. Every now and then we will have to take a trip down the memory lane about our tour of Sicily through the photos we took or through Paul & Sonya’s blog.

  • 16 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Sicily tour was good. However Malta tour needs to be much more structured. I feeel tours could be organised from the sicily end before we leave for Malta. First day was a bit of of a waste. A really early flight. Meet by rep, taken to hotel, explained what was invovled in tour, two tours booked. missed a tour on arrival day as they were booked out. Then left on our own, which was fine for us, but older travellers were left confused. Hotel transfer was arranged, but when we tried to confirm phone number given was incorrect.

    Service: Tour Director did a good job, maybe showed that she had been doing the job for a long time. Patience was a bit short on Sicily tour. Local guides were good but very hard to understand so missed out on lots of information.

  • 16 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Sicily and Malta were fascinating destinations and I learnt a lot about their history and local lifestyles from the tour. More thought needs to be given by Insight to the details of the Malta add-on.

    Service: The Sicily in Depth experience was excellent. A knowledgeable, experienced and caring tour director and clearly well considered itinerary. Coach generous in legroom and good travelling companions. The Malta add-on less successful. As we were based at on hotel (an excellent hotel) the itinerary was in the hands of a local agent whose role was to organise optional tours and the end of tour airport transfer. In common with others I missed the presence of a tour director and it would have been good to have been advised of this in the pre-booking information from Insight. There should have been a Valetta walking tour included in the core tour. While the content of the Gozo optional tour was good, the local guide was difficult to understand. My airport taxi pickup was late but got me there in good time and with good humour. I have happily booked another Insight tour in 2019.

  • 15 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: The hoyel was great and the tours were very good.

    Service: The long walk with your hand luggage from the hotel in Cantaia to the bus location should be replaced with a shuttle service. The walking tours should have two groups , a slow walkers group and the regular one. Those two items were enough to remove the 5th star. The were two many early starts .Breakfast was served at 7:00 and the tour started at 8:00.

  • 01 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: The Sicilian itinerary covered most general sights within the week but was rushed. The Maltese itinerary was not so well communicated.

    Service: The Sicilian service was excellent, the Maltese service had a way to go

  • 01 October, 2018

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    Trip: Sicily and Malta were fantastic, had it not been for the flight from hell going home.

    Service: the trip was wonderful, flight up was ok, tho the flight home was a disaster. the seats that we had on our itinerary were changed at the airport, from an iesle and window to a window and middle. me being 225lbs and broad smoldered needed the isle seat. consequently I had to find a seat and sit apart from my wife, for the whole trip. also the only seat I could find had a broken tv. I will never fly delta or it's sister air line again. on top of that, our connecting flight to Rochester NY was cancelled and we had to sit in the cold airport for eight hours waiting for a 6:30 am flight. needless to say it was a disastrous flight home from a wonderful vacation.

  • 01 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: I would have preferred to skip Cantania and Palermo and had more days in Malta.

    Service: Our Tour Guide was wonderful and all the local experts were extremely knowledgable. The bus drivers were excellent and maneuvered the tight winding roads very well. I do have two suggestions: 1. The name tags were hard to use and most people stopped after the first day so we didn't really get to know each others names. A better option would be something to wear around the neck. 2. We found it bothersome to have to worry every day about whether we had the right change to pay the local experts and bus drivers, especially in Sicily where banks were few and far between. I would have preferred to have their tips included in the cost of the optional excursion.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.