SICILY SMALL GROUP TOUR
Experience the Sicilian lifestyle and tradition with a Sicily small group tour limited to 12/14 travelers only! Travel to Sicily with its idyllic climate, archaeology treasures, dramatic vistas and hearty cuisine that embodies all things Sicilian. On this small group tour journey, you’ll delve into one of the most fascinating and coveted regions in Italy.
Stare face to face with some of the world’s best Byzantine mosaics in the cathedral of Monreale. Marvel at the rich archaeological ruins of Siracusa dating to the 5th century BC. Explore the brilliant Roman floor mosaics in the Villa del Casale. Be enchanted by a fun cooking class in the house of a Sicilian lady.
Sicily has some of Italy’s best beaches and on this tour we make sure that you’ll have time to enjoy them.The cuisine of Sicily varies from one province to the next as do the wines. Perhaps the most beautiful and ornate churches in the world, extraordinary seafood markets and incredible pistachio pastries, cassata gelati, home of the Mafia and amazing wineries alongside the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in Europe. This is the contradiction and enigma of Sicily;”Italy’s best-kept secret”.
We have a real passion for touring in Sicily and look forward to sharing it with you !
- Guaranteed departure group travel: small, friendly group limited to 12/14 participants only!
- Guided tour of SPICY PALERMO and MONUMENTAL MONREALE
- TAORMINA – Mediterranean garden in the foothills of Mount Etna
- Guided tour of ORTIGIA ISLAND & NEAPOLIS archaeological area
- SIRACUSA OPEN MARKET with local tastings
- Visit unique VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES
- CRUISING ISOLA BELLA in TAORMINA (weather permitting)
- Included discovery of SEGESTA TEMPLE and stunning hill town of ERICE
- Visit the treasures of Sicilian Baroque: NOTO & RAGUSA
- Enjoy a visit to the romantic village of CEFALU’
- Cherish an included visit to majestic GREEK THEATRE in TAORMINA
- Majestic MOUNT ETNA and WINE TASTING in local wine estate
- Lunch on the golden sandy beach of GIARDINI NAXOS
- HOME-HOSTED MEAL in a quaint Sicilian village
- Discover unknown Sicily -the hill town of SAVOCA
- Enjoy a lecture on the MAFIA in CORLEONE
- Experience the SALT PANS & MUSEUM OF THE SALT
- Authentic and personalized COOKING CLASS in an ANCIENT VILLA
- Magical NEOCLASSICAL PALACE in RAGUSA
- Fall in love with the ITALIAN OPERA (available from September onwards)
- Included CABLE-WAY from ERICE to TRAPANI (weather permitting) and much more
- Visit popular UNESCO World heritage sites
- Exceptional native tour director to accompany you throughout your journey
- Main Sicilian archaeological sites entrances are included
- Transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned 21 seats motorcoach
- Local guides included in Palermo,Monreale, Corleone,Agrigento, Roman Villa, Siracusa,Taormina
- Hotel city tax and service charges at all properties and restaurants are included
- No hidden extras
- Our regional meals: All breakfasts,4 dinners, 4 lunches (main meals include regional wine, mineral water, espresso coffee or tea only)
- Early arrival/Late stay options: We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour.We’ll be happy to make these arrangements for you.
- Tour package does not include transfer from Palermo airport to your hotel, airfare, or any other personal travel expenses.We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour.We include a final transfer to Catania airport.
- Activity level: Light/Moderate
- Terms & conditions/Single supplement: (View Here) and FAQ ( View Here)
- Trip Interruption and Cancellation insurance is not included. We highly recommend Travelex-Insurance.com to protect your vacation.
- Purchase of European Travel & Health Insurance is strongly recommended
12 DAYS SICILY SMALL GROUP TOUR
SICILY SMALL GROUP TOUR LIMITED TO 12/14 PARTICIPANTS FROM PALERMO TO CATANIA
DAY 1 : HIGHLIGHTS OF PALERMO
Vibrant Palermo sprawls around a sweeping natural harbour, dominated by the limestone bulk of Monte Pellegrino. The city was the seat of the Arab Emirate in the 10th century and Middle Eastern influences can still be seen in the architecture of the churches and in the narrow streets and alleys of the old Arab quarter. At 09.30 commence your discovery of Sicily from the “CENTRALE PALACE HOTEL” (3 nights) with a guided walking tour of PALERMO, a crossroads of history, being the world’s most conquered city and a melting pot of civilizations. We have included today a visit to the striking and evocative PALATINE CHAPEL, dating back to the 12th century and some of the rooms of the ROYAL PALACE. We end the morning tour with a visit to the popular CAPO MARKET and the striking OPERA MASSIMO theater, the biggest one in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner in a local bistro where you will feel like one of the family. Eat like a local!!! Overnight in PALERMO
DAY 2 :ALONG THE AFRICAN COAST:ANCIENT SEGESTA, SLEEPY ERICE & TRAPANI SALT PANS
Today, we’ll take a panoramic drive to SEGESTA, a unique archaeological site famous for its magnificent never completed 5th century Doric temple. We then continue travelling to the perfectly preserved treasure hill town of ERICE which combines medieval charm with astounding 360-degree views. It boasts a breathtaking setting high above the Tyrrhenian Sea and an imposing Castle with views over the Egadi Islands. After an included lunch in the best local tavern, we’ll descend by cable car (weather permitting) to the Trapani countryside, passing salt pans and windmills, learning about the history and process of salt harvesting at the MUSEUM OF THE SALT. Rest of the evening is on your own. Overnight stay in PALERMO
DAY 3 : BIBLICAL MONREALE & BELLA CEFALU’
Today’s tour takes you to uncover the beauty of MONREALE, known for one of Sicily’s great sites – the stunning 12th century Norman cathedral literally wallpapered with golden mosaics that tell the stories of the bible. Afterwards,depart to the pretty seaside medieval town of CEFALU‘ dominated by a huge rock known as La Rocca- once the site of a Temple of Diana- and by one of the finest Norman cathedrals in Sicily. The squares, streets and churches are so postcard-pretty that it’s no wonder director Giuseppe Tornatore chose to set parts of his much-loved film Cinema Paradiso here. The evening is at leisure to mingle with the locals in beautiful Palermo. Overnight in PALERMO
DAY 4 : INTRIGUING CORLEONE & VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES IN AGRIGENTO
This morning’s visit takes you south-west from Palermo to the town of CORLEONE, well-known as the birthplace of several Mafia bosses. Here you’ll learn about the MAFIA, during an informative discussion with a member of the community. Afterwards, arrive to the ancient city of AGRIGENTO, a UNESCO heritage site where a local expert will shed light on the VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES, an incredible concentration of Greek temples in varying states of ruin and reconstruction. This historic site was the heart of one of the most important cities in the ancient world and is the prime example of the magnificence of MAGNA GRECIA. Tonight you’ll be staying in a charming country hotel, with an included dinner. Overnight stay in AGRIGENTO
DAY 5 :ROMAN VILLA MOSAICS & SIRACUSA’S ELEGANCE
Your transfer to SIRACUSA features a stop at the ROMAN VILLA ,one of the 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy, built in the first quarter of the 4th century. It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Following a hearty included lunch in a family restaurant, your journey continues to the town of SIRACUSA for the next three nights at the 19th century boutique “ALGILA’ HOTEL” or similar. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to make your own discoveries or simply wandering its colorful winding streets and alleys. Overnight stay in SIRACUSA
DAY 6 : “TAPESTRY OF CULTURES” IN SIRACUSA
In the morning, you’ll explore this major outpost of the Greek empire with a local expert guide.The city boasts an incredible historical heritage, starting from the Archaeological Park, featuring the ancient Greek Theater now used for classical performances, the Latomie del Paradiso, the largest quarry in the ancient urban settlement and the Ear Of Dionysus, a subterranean artificial cave quarry used as a prison. You’ll see numerous elegant Baroque town houses, rebuilt after the earthquake that severely damaged the city in 1693, the elegant Piazza Duomo, dominated by the Cathedral’s baroque façade and the Temple of Athena from the 5th century BC lying behind it. After a small tasting experience at the lively market, you’ll have the rest of the day and dinner on your own. Overnight in SIRACUSA
DAY 7 :BAROQUE TREASURES OF NOTO & RAGUSA
A full day’s journey today takes you south-east to witness the splendors of the Sicilian Baroque architecture, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1693 this corner of Sicily was devastated by an earthquake. Towns were rapidly rebuilt out of the glowing local limestone. Visit the stunning UNESCO town of NOTO, with its remarkable architectural integrity, honey-color buildings and famous domed Cathedral. Following this, drive to the ancient town of RAGUSA IBLA, famous for its labyrinth of crooked lanes and tiny squares. Here we’ll stop by an ancient PALAZZO for a visit followed by time on your own for sightseeing and lunch. Dinner is included this evening in a local bistro. Overnight stay in SIRACUSA
DAY 8 :VOLCANIC CATANIA, CYCLOPS COASTLINE & TIMELESS TAORMINA
This morning, depart for TAORMINA, one of the island’s most ancient destinations in Sicily. On the way you will discover the vibrant city of CATANIA, which owes its Baroque architecture in gloomy black lava to the last quake of 1693.During your free time, you might consider visiting the Cathedral of St. Agatha, where the reliquary of the patron saint is housed, the cathedral square, the Bellini theatre, the Villa Gardens, or the lively fish market. Continue along the panoramic cyclops coastline to reach the fishing village of GIARDINI NAXOS, the site of the first Greek settlement in Sicily for an included lunch on a private sandy beach. Drive to TAORMINA for an included tour of the old town and its stunning ancient theater. Its origins go back to the time of Dionysius in about 400 BC. It remained an important city during the Greek and Roman periods and the Theatre and Odeon still survive as reminders of those times. Taormina also boasts a number of elegant mansions and palaces dating back from the Middle Ages, and several interesting churches including the 15th century fortified cathedral, and St Pancras’, which incorporates part of a Greek temple. Spend the last 4 nights at the central “HOTEL VILLA PARADISO” or similar, with breakfast included. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in TAORMINA
DAY 9 :UNKNOWN SAVOCA, CRUISING AROUND ISOLA BELLA & HOME HOSTED LUNCH
This morning tour takes you to visit the trapped-in-time picturesque village of SAVOCA, set on the foothills of the Peloritani Mountains to discover the real Sicily. Seems unchanged since medieval times, with its gated walls, stone cottages, and haunting churches. Here you will view the 18th century bar Vitelli, one of Coppola’s favorites’ spots and the church of St. Lucia. We then return to TAORMINA for a memorable PRIVATE BOAT TOUR around the Isola Bella in Mazzaro’ followed by an included lunch in the house of a real Sicilian family. Rest of the day is at leisure in beautiful Taormina.Overnight in TAORMINA
DAY 10 : IN THE SHADOW OF MOUNT ETNA & WINERY VISIT
Explore majestic MOUNT ETNA, the highest and largest volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most active. The peak changes in size over the years. It currently rises at 11,000 feet above sea level and literally towers above Sicily’s Ionian coast. Due to its scientific value supporting endemic flora and fauna, and its historical significance, Mount Etna was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Descend to the village of LINGUAGLOSSA to visit a family run winery to taste excellent wine accompanied by local appetizers. Overnight stay in TAORMINA
DAY 11 : DOLCE FAR NIENTE IN TAORMINA & HANDS ON COOKING EXPERIENCE
Clamped to a rocky bluff planted with cypresses, pines, and lush subtropical vegetation, the exquisitely maintained medieval town of TAORMINA is Sicily’s glitziest and most dramatically situated resort. The morning is free to shop, explore and relax in this beautiful town. Maybe go for a dip in the azure ocean or simply wander through Taormina’s elegant gardens, posh cafes or explore the nearby mountain top village of MADONNA DELLA ROCCA with your tour director. In the late afternoon, celebrate your Sicilian adventure with a COOKING CLASS followed by a unique dinner in a splendid villa of our friend Luisa sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Overnight stay in TAORMINA
DAY 12:ARRIVEDERCI SICILIA
A Great Tour of Sicily
We traveled with the same group that included Joe and Judi, who left a separate evaluation of the Sicily tour. My wife and I agree with Joe and Judi’s comments. Giusi was a phenomenal tour guide – always on top of everything and very helpful with ideas and planning. The meals arranged for the group on the tour were outstanding, and the tour pace was just right. We were able to see and experience a lot of Sicily but not feel pressed. This was very well balanced between touring, experiencing local culture and having time to ourselves. Hotels were all top notch. It is very apparent that Aldo and Katrin have taken close personal interest in making these tours very well-planned and fulfilling. We would definitely be enthusiastic about doing another tour with Secret Italy – extremely good value for the cost.
We loved Sicily!!!
Thank you for arranging a fantastic tour! I hope your trip to NY is going well. We loved Luca and especially enjoyed his singing!! Victor was also an excellent driver and very good-natured. Both were an excellent fit for our family. The tour was well organized and all of the accommodations and transportation were excellent. The courtyards at Palazzo Santamarina and Baglio della Luna were charming. The staff at Santamarina were particularly lovely. We also appreciated the balconies in the rooms at the Grand Hotel Ortigia and Hotel Villa Paradiso. Most of the local tour guides were extremely knowledgeable, especially the guides in Agrigento and Siracusa. The guide in Palermo was a bit redundant, which considering Palermo’s rich history was unfortunate. But overall we had a wonderful cultural experience! in addition to the ancient sites (Agrigento, Siracusa, Piazza Armerina), we particularly enjoyed the winery visit. It was different than the usual winery tours. Sebastiano’s passion and enthusiasm was infectious. Our favorite meals were Osteria Ballaro in Palermo, the family restaurant in Piazza Armerina and the lunch in Giardini Naxos. As fans of the Godfather, visiting Savoca was very high on my brother and my list, so was really happy it was a destination!I was truly surprised by Palermo. I don’t know what I expected, but I found such a beautiful dynamic city. I felt similarly about Siracusa. It was a wonderful introduction to future visits with longer stays…The people of Sicily were very welcoming and generous. So, thank you for all of your efforts in creating a seamless, enriching and fun tour!My mother already has plans to refer many more clients.
In Love with Sicily
Aldo & Katrin, Joyce and I want to thank you for putting together such a wonderful tour. It was amazing from start to arriving back at home, and the memories will last forever. The sights we saw from Palermo to Siracusa and everything in between were just wonderful.We were so impressed with Sicily, the lack of crime, the wonderful hotels, the great food and restaurants, the night life and the list go’s on. You and Katrin thought of everything from having someone meeting us in Rome to all of our needs. Our tour guide Giada was absolutely wonderful, so much knowledge but most of all how she cared for all of us, what a Gem. Andrea’ our driver was just great, please let him know much we appreciate his professionalism and attention he gave us.We had a wonderful time in Sicily and thanks to you and Katrin our memories will last a lifetime. Oh, please let Rita know that we loved how she shared her house with us, just great.
We returned from our trip to Sicily two days ago. I must tell you I was so sick of hearing about Sicily since Ralph had previously taken our oldest son there a few years ago. He raved about this and that and even right before we left on this trip I would have gladly stayed home.Wow, was I wrong!! The trip was wonderful! We invited dear friends to go with us and they cannot stop thanking us for inviting them and for everything about the trip!We loved the boat ride, the restaurants and of course, all the places we visited!! There was nothing we did not love!!Giusi was amazing!! She has the perfect personality for this job. We absolutely loved her!! We also enjoyed our bus driver, Adreano! He was a super driver and we really enjoyed him when he was able to join our group.You have a great team working for you and I thought it was important for you to know this.Thanks again, Aldo. If the subject comes up among our family and friends I will be singing the praises of you and Secretitaliatours!
Sicily - Amazing Tour
Secret Italia’s Sicily small group tour is probably the best tour I have ever enjoyed. The hotels, dinners, and attention paid to every detail of our tour was much more than 5 stars. My favorite spot was Taormina and Mt. Etna but all 12 days were simply amazing. Thank you Aldo!! Your tour manager Ambra was amazing as well. Her knowledge base was remarkable at every location in Sicila. Traveling with Secret Italia is truly like traveling with the locals.