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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 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.
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.
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 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.
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. Maybe try the restaurants down by the beach, before continuing on to the Taormina Riviera?
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.
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.
Free Time in St Julian's.
Venture south to Valletta, Malta’s striking capital, with a Local Expert. Once here you’ll visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens and 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. 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?
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Where myth and legend merge to reality! With a local expert we'll drive up Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Ascend through the fertile foothills, bypassing small villages, lush forests, ancient craters and lava flows to see amazing lunar landscapes and houses surrounded by lava. Admire astonishing panoramic views over the eastern Sicilian coast and Ionian Sea whilst discovering the history of Sicily’s most popular attraction and its eruptions.
Adult Price: EUR 56.00
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. See all the popular natural landmarks and choose to take a small boat to the Inland Sea (not included) or enjoy some free time relaxing in the sunshine. Explore the imposing Citadel in Victoria and the world's oldest stone temples, predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids by hundreds of years. We will also make a stop here for a light lunch before returning to Malta. Please note this optional requires a minimum number to operate and prices are subject to change if under 12 guests, please confirm with your Travel Director at the start of your trip.
Adult Price: EUR 75.00
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.
Hotel Palazzo Sitano/Mercure Palermo Centro.
Taormina Riviera (Traditional) - Italy
Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.
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.