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Uncover the legacy of this culturally-rich island, once occupied by ancient civilizations and continue on to Malta with its ancient temples, sunny beaches and warm-hearted people.
Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.
On arrival at Catania Airport, transfers leave for your hotel at 10 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Relax and settle into your seaside hotel. After time to relax, join your Travel Director at 5:30 pm 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 traveling companions during your 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 theater, 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.
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.
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 ambiance 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 savor a tasting of Sicilian wine, followed by a light lunch of delicious local produce. Back in Palermo, the evening is at your leisure.
Travel to the quaint fishing town of Cefalu. The town's imposing cathedral was erected to fulfill 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 harbor. Maybe try the restaurants down by the beach, before continuing on to the Taormina Riviera.
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 theater set on a cliff and open to the sky. Take a moment to sit in this ancient theater 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.
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 6 pm for a Welcome Dinner with wine.
Today is free to laze by the pool or stroll by Spinola Bay. Perhaps, take a short journey to the capital, Valletta, to spend time browsing the shops or enjoy one of the many other cultural attractions in the area.
Venture south to Valetta with a Local Expert to see the Upper Barrakka Gardens and St John’s Cathedral. Continue on to visit the pretty fishing village of Marsaxlokk and wander along its waterfront lined with Luzzus—traditional fishing boats painted in reds, blues and yellows. This peaceful bay was once the site of the first Turkish landing during the great siege of 1565. After lunch, there’s time to browse the local market stalls and perhaps take an Optional Excursion to visit the Blue Grotto, surrounded by turquoise water. It's a cathedral in stone, famous for its crystal clear water with beautiful colors passing through. Return to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
Enjoy a day at leisure. Perhaps join an optional to visit the megalithic temples Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.
Head to Mdina with a Local Expert in the late afternoon to explore this golden-stone walled city. Known as the Silent City for its shady streets and peaceful atmosphere, enjoy a Celebration Dinner at a wonderful local restaurant.
Bid farewell to this exotic island as you transfer to Malta airport for your onward journey.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|19 Apr 19||1 May 19||$4,375$3,954pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Apr 19||8 May 19||$4,495pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 May 19||22 May 19||$5,050$4,562pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|17 May 19||29 May 19||$4,525pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|31 May 19||12 Jun 19||$5,050$4,562pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|14 Jun 19||26 Jun 19||$4,550pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 Jun 19||10 Jul 19||$4,650$4,202pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Jul 19||24 Jul 19||$4,650$4,202pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Jul 19||7 Aug 19||$4,725$4,269pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|9 Aug 19||21 Aug 19||$4,725$4,269pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|23 Aug 19||4 Sep 19||$4,725$4,269pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|4 Oct 19||16 Oct 19||$5,095pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|1 Nov 19||13 Nov 19||$4,175$3,774pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 31||Request Quote Book Now|
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $1,180 per person
Triple Room Discount: $180 per person
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver from $129 per person.
The above prices include internal airfares.
Smaller vehicles without extra legroom, 40 seats or onboard washroom may be used in Malta.
Airport Transfers: On arrival at Catania airport, transfers will operate at 10 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm.
AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.
12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches with Wine and 6 Dinners with Wine, all with tea or coffee.
The currency in Italy is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in Italy, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Italy. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. While pizza and pasta are national favorites, few travelers understand just how varied Italy’s cuisine actually is. On your guided vacation, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a delicious array of cheeses, cured meats, seafood, rice dishes, breads, and marinated vegetables. And be sure to try Sicily’s decadent desserts, including the famous cannoli and cassata cake.
Lunch (pranzo) is traditionally the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then fruit. Finish with espresso and maybe a splash of liqueur.
Sicily enjoys a moderate Mediterranean climate. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. F For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.
At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.
At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director. Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit. A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.
Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.
You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions. All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers. In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.
If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.
We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.
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