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With Best of Sicily, every tour is unique...
We don't believe that there's just one "perfect" tour of Sicily, and neither should you! The itineraries on this page can be customized to your preferences with your own start date, extra days or special excursions. Even our "scheduled" tours offer some latitude, and unlike most tour operators we don't have rigid requirements for minimum numbers of participants in a group to guarantee a departure. Most of our "groups" aren't much like groups at all, since they are limited to six participants, and can depart with just two.
This page links to descriptions of our most popular itineraries, but we can plan a special one for you on request, based on these or something completely different. If you can imagine it, we can probably arrange it.
Inspired by the popular book The Peoples of Sicily, and featuring a cocktail with one of the authors, these tours, to which additional days can be added, begin in Palermo (PMO) and end at Catania (CTA), with visits to some of Sicily's most interesting and appealing sites and sights. The usual start day (Day 1) is Sunday, but this can be personalized. These itineraries feature 4-star lodging, licensed tour guides at specific sites, all breakfasts, and other meals as indicated, a copy of Peoples of Sicily, and airport transfers for departures (arrival pick-ups in Palermo can be arranged). Purchase conditions are set forth in PDF form.
Unlike most of the vendors who sell tours of Sicily on the internet, here you're dealing directly with the Palermo-based agency that offers these services, with no "middle man" or intermediary (major international trip-planning sites) getting a twenty percent commission. That means the prices are fair and the service prompt and reliable. Our personnel consists of highly experienced experts in a real office, prepared to answer your questions and arrange your visit, not taxi drivers or tour guides misleadingly describing themselves as "travel agents." Best of Sicily, which promotes these tours and personalized services, has been online since 1999 as the most popular Sicilian travel and information publication, with some two million readers each year, earning the nickname "the encyclopedia." The Peoples of Sicily was published in 2015, followed by other books authored by Louis Mendola and Jacqueline Alio, leading scholars in the field of Sicilian medieval history.
Following these short outlines of our two most popular tours are frequently asked questions and links to more detailed descriptions. For something different, our Custom Travel page offers a world of additional choices for a trip that is truly unique.
Peoples of Sicily Highlights (7 nights)
• Day 1: Arrival at Palermo. Independent transfer into the city. Welcome cocktail and meet the author. Overnight at Palermo.
• Day 2: Guided tour of Monreale and Palermo with street food samplings.
• Day 3: Full day excursion to Marsala and Erice with lunch in a farmhouse on an olive farm.
• Day 4: Check-out from Palermo for Siracusa with stops for lunch and guided visit of the Agrigento temples. Overnight at Siracusa.
• Day 5: Half-day guided visit of Siracusa's archeological site and Ortygia district. Afternoon at leisure.
• Day 6: Departure for Taormina with stops to visit Baroque towns of Modica and Ragusa.
• Day 7: Full-day at leisure in Taormina with optional excursion to Mount Etna, other activities.
• Day 8: Check-out and departure; independent transfer to Catania airport.
• Read more...
Highlights | Grand Tour | Custom Travel | Contact
Peoples of Sicily Grand Tour (10 nights)
• Day 1: Arrival at Palermo. Welcome cocktail and meet the author. Overnight at Palermo.
• Day 2: Guided tour of Monreale and Palermo.
• Day 3: Full-day excursion to Cefalù.
• Day 4: Full day excursion to Erice and Segesta with lunch in a farmhouse.
• Day 5: Check-out from Palermo for Siracusa with a stop for guided visit of the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina. Overnight at Siracusa.
• Day 6: Half-day guided visit of Siracusa's archeological site and Ortygia district. Afternoon at leisure.
• Day 7: Full day at leisure in Siracusa with optional activities.
• Day 8: Check-out. Full-day excursion to the Baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa before arriving at Taormina. Overnight at Taormina.
• Day 9: Day at leisure in Taormina with optional boat excursion or Godfather tour.
• Day 10: Mount Etna jeep excursion with lunch in a rustic restaurant.
• Day 11: Check-out and departure for Catania airport.
• Read more...
Highlights | Grand Tour | Custom Travel | Contact
More About Us: These services are offered by Chat & Tour srl, Via Stefano Turr 38, 90145 Palermo, a registered tour operator (tel: +39 091 657 4539). Essential services are insured in compliance with Italian law. We welcome your questions about us, our services, or details of our tours. The Peoples of Sicily, published by Trinacria Editions (New York), is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fish Pond, Waterstones and other vendors.
Frequently Asked Questions
• How are these tours different?
• What level of physical mobility is required?
• Can dietary requirements be accommodated?
• Can I visit a place off the itinerary?
• How early must I reserve?
• Are the tours fully guided?
• Can you plan a fully customized tour? • What travel requirements are there?
• Is smoking permitted during the tour?
• Which hotels are used?
• What kind of weather can I expect?
• How can I speak with you?
How are these tours different?
A few details set them apart from most tours you'll find. The small group size makes them "semi-private," with more attention to your needs as a participant. The pace and planning have been carefully considered. The places visited have been chosen with an eye toward representing Sicily's complex multicultural heritage, which is one of the main reasons most visitors come to our island. That's the focus of the book, and the meeting with one of the authors lends this tour the kind of focus and "orientation" lacking in most tours, even many of those offered by museums and cultural organizations.
What level of physical mobility is required?
These tours are fairly "active" physically but not exhaustive. The ability to walk independently (unaided) is necessary. Certain sites have steps but no elevators (lifts), and in some localities, like Erice and Taormina, the slightly-sloping streets in the older districts consist entirely of stones.
Can dietary requirements be accommodated?
Of course! But please inform us of your requirements, including any food allergies, before your arrival. It is worth noting that most of the meals in these tours are at your leisure, leaving you far greater choice than you'd have on an "over-organized" tour with a larger group, but we can offer restaurant recommendations. Though strictly vegetarian restaurants are a rarity in Sicily, where fish and seafood are quite popular, most can meet the needs of vegans and vegetarians.
Can I visit a place off the itinerary?
Apart from time at leasure in specific localities, this is usually made easiest by scheduling a day in Palermo before the tour or in one of the "ending cities" (Siracusa or Taormina) after the tour. Of course, we can plan such an excursion with a private car and driver.
How early must I reserve?
We recommend at least four weeks but we may be able to schedule you as little as three weeks before a start date.
Are these tours fully guided?
In Italy a distinction is made between tour guides and tour escorts. Guides are specialized in the history of sites while escorts are licensed to accompany you from place to place along your itinerary. Some tour escorts drive small vehicles. Our tours are escorted, with local guides at some sites.
Can you plan a fully customized tour?
We do it all the time! Visit our custom travel page for some ideas about the kind of details that make such a tour unique.
What travel requirements are there?
Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of the tour. No visa is required if you're coming from a nation in the "visa waiver program," which includes most European Union countries, the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Japan. Please note that passports (not simple identity cards) are now necessary for travel from the UK.
Is smoking permitted during the tour?
Although our hotels offer smoking and non-smoking rooms, Italian law prohibits smoking inside restaurants, in most common areas in hotels, and in most buildings where there is access to the general public, including churches and museums. Smoking is permitted in most outdoor areas, including those at restaurants and bars.
Which hotels are used?
These are indicated in each tour's description. In the event of a change, you will be notified before the tour begins. These hotels are selected for quality, service, and convenience of location, being centrally located and close to restaurants.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Best of Sicily's weather page gives monthly averages for temperatures and precipitation.
How can I speak with you?
Contact us to set up a time to speak, or simply RING US UP (+39 091 657 4539). Our office is open from 9 to 6 CET Monday through Friday and everybody on our highly-trained staff speaks English.