Warm beaches, charming hilltop villages, fascinating history, and a relaxed atmosphere make the Mediterranean Island of Sicily the perfect vacation spot. Enjoy everything this beautiful island has to offer from the convenience of a single hotel in one of the most popular resort towns, Giardini Naxos. Nicknamed the "crossroads of civilization," Sicily contains some of Europe's finest archeological sites where you can see an impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. On a visit to Taormina, a picturesque village perched high above the Ionian Sea, you'll enjoy a guided tour of the Greek Theatre, the Duomo, and the beautiful public gardens. An unforgettable motorcoach ride will take you up to see the spectacular fire-shaped landscapes atop the largest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Edna, which continues to release smoke and ash over the island. Then visit a vineyard whose famous wines are produced from grapes grown in the rich volcanic soil. And of course, your trip just wouldn't be complete without experiencing a delicious Sicilian meal with local specialties, fine wines, and traditional folk music. On an optional excursion, see the true colors of the island's villages at a Sunday outdoor market, where vendors sell fresh local produce and foods. In the medieval town of Piazza Armerina, located in the breathtaking Erei Mountains, tour the Villa Casale with its collection of Roman mosaics that date to the 3rd century BC. You'll also visit a studio in Caltagirone to watch the traditional craft of pottery making. Even with all of these amazing experiences, you will have ample leisure time to soak up the sun on the gorgeous beaches, dine at lively sidewalk cafes, or browse the many local boutiques.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean Islands, offers a wonderful climate, spectacular landscapes, historic towns, charming hilltop villages, and some of the finest archaeological sites in Europe. You will enjoy this spectacular destination with a relaxing single hotel stay. Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Catania.
Day #2 Taormina Area, Sicily - Tour Begins - Your tour begins in the Taormina area, one of the most popular resort destinations in Sicily. Gather with your fellow travelers this evening during a welcome dinner at a local restaurant located in Giardini-Naxos’ port, offering beautiful views of the area.
Day #3 Taormina - Taormina is symbolic of the splendor of Sicily. History and beauty abound in this small town perched high above the Ionian Sea. Join a local guide to explore the many treasures of the town, including the Greek Theatre, the Duomo and the public gardens. The afternoon is at leisure for you to enjoy strolling around the town or shopping in the local boutiques. Later, learn to live La Dolce Vita the way Italians do…take a typical Italian coffee break in one of Giardini-Naxos’ outdoor cafes where you can relax as you sample local pastries and a cappuccino while enjoying time with new friends.
Day #4 Leisure or Optional Excursion* - Spend your day at leisure absorbing the charms of the region. Or, perhaps you would prefer to join an optional excursion* to the city of Catania. Join a local expert and discover the sights of Sicily's second largest city, famous for its vibrant fish market. This evening your group gathers for dinner in the true Italian tradition at a charming local restaurant.
Day #5 Mt. Etna - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. This morning you will experience the natural majesty of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mt. Etna. This spectacular treasure continues to release smoke and ash over Sicily. Travel up the mountain by coach to personally witness the spectacular landscapes sculpted by fire. This afternoon, visit a well-known local winery famous for producing wines from grapes grown in the volcanic soil on the slopes of Mt. Etna.
Day #6 Caltagirone - Piazza Armerina - This morning your journey will take you to Caltagirone, the capital of the Sicilian pottery industry. A visit to the center of town and its abundance of ceramic shops allows you to see first-hand how beautiful these traditional crafts are. After enjoying lunch on your own, you will travel to the medieval town of Piazza Armerina, located in the beautiful Erei Mountains. A guided visit of nearby Villa Casale showcases an extraordinary collection of Roman mosaics that date to the 3rd century BC.
Day #7 Leisure or Optional Excursion - A full day at leisure allows you to explore more of Sicily at your own pace. Perhaps you will enjoy a stroll along the local beaches or some last minute shopping. You may also wish to sign up for an unforgettable optional tour across Sicily to Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day #8 Siracusa - Walk in the footsteps of history and reflect on the magnificence of ancient Greece during an included excursion to Siracusa. The city boasts as fine a collection of archaeological treasures as any island in Greece. A local expert guides you through the Archaeological Park, featuring an impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and brings this incredible ancient world to life. Enjoy some free time in the historic old city before returning to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a special farewell dinner featuring a cooking demonstration in one of Taormina’s well-known restaurants. The chef will teach you how to make some of the most popular Sicilian delicacies, including cannoli. Take home these recipes and unforgettable memories of a spectacular stay in Sicily.
Day #9 Taormina Area - Tour Ends - Your tour of Sicily ends today.