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The real secret of this tour is that smaller is better. We never allow tours to exceed the maximum number of participants, even if it means dividing the clientele into 4 or 5 smaller groups. By thinking small you avoid the crowds. Attention to little details is important, too... When you compare tours, that's a BIG difference, but here's another: Our 2012 low-season price is the same as 2010, and we offer more start dates than any other company!!
Reservation info, hotel details and departure dates follow the itinerary and summary. Visit our general tours page for faqs about our company and our tours. Important purchase conditions follow on this page.
Enjoy the timeless history, culture, cuisine and sunshine of Sicily in a tour (very) conveniently planned with just two hotel check-ins and a cross-island itinerary --instead of a lengthy "circuit" around the island with the same place as starting and ending point. Your delightful itinerary crosses Sicily from Taormina to Palermo, meaning that your arrival will be at Catania airport with a departure from Palermo. (For a similar tour, but with a "reversed" itinerary which takes you from west to east, we offer Golden Sicily West-to-East.) Departures throughout most of the year are guaranteed with as few as two participants. Yes, 35 departure dates! No other agency in Sicily offers tours, every month of the year. Group size is 2 to 24.
(Please note: Summary follows. All breakfasts are included, other meals included are indicated in bold face. Locality and site names link to detailed descriptions on Best of Sicily.)
Monday: Independent arrival and check-in at Taormina from Catania airport. Day at leisure in this charming hilltop town, full of winding streets and enticing shops and restaurtants, that make it a great place to spend a day indulging personal tastes and unexpected curiosities. Overnight at Taormina.
Tuesday: Breakfast followed by a full day at leisure. Optional excursion up the slopes toward the summit of Mount Etna, Sicily's highest mountain and Europe's largest active volcano. Another option is a cooking class. (See optional excursions below.) Dinner at a local restaurant, overnight in Taormina.
Wednesday: Breakfast is followed by an excursion down the Ionian coast to Siracusa (Syracuse), home of Archimedes and one of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world. First you'll explore the old city, the island of Ortygia, where we'll have lunch. In the afternoon we'll discover the Syracuse archeological site. Return to Taormina for evening at leisure. Overnight in Taormina.
Thursday: Following breakfast and check-out, we embark upon a trip across Sicily's rugged interior. First, we visit Piazza Armerina's ancient Roman villa, well known for its mosaics. Then we'll visit Agrigento to visit its timeless Greek temples, with time at leisure for lunch. Evening will find us in Palermo, where we'll have dinner in a restaurant. Overnight in Palermo.
Friday: Following breakfast we'll venture into Sicily's wine region. We'll stop at hilltop Erice, famous for its Phoenician heritage, medieval atmosphere and delicious pastries. Next we'll travel to Trapani along the coast below, known for its salt pans (marshes) and wind mills. Following a light lunch at an olive farm, we'll visit hilltop Segesta's timeless Greek temple and amphitheatre, and then enjoy a wine tasting. Overnight in Palermo.
Saturday: Following breakfast, we'll visit the Norman abbey of Monreale, overlooking the city, famous for its Byzantine mosaics and Norman-Arab cloister. Then we'll discover medieval Palermo with a visit to the city's medieval Cathedral and Martorana Church, the Baroque Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria and a street market. In mid-afternoon, following a lunchtime break, we'll travel along the coast to visit seaside Cefalù, famous for its medieval cathedral. Evening at leisure. Overnight in Palermo.
Sunday: Independent transfer to Palermo Airport.
Summary & Accommodation (lodging):
Prices in Low Season (November through March):
Prices in High Season (April through October):
Includes: Six (6) nights accommodation in 4-star superior hotels listed here or the equivalent substitution (to be confirmed 20 days before beginning of your tour but usually Villa Diodoro, Miramare or Villa Angela in Taormina and the Palmes, Excelsior, Plaza Opera or Principe Villafranca in Palermo (which you can view here), transportation (coach or minibus) and tour escort for the entire trip, with all breakfasts, 1 dinner and 2 light lunches (beverages not included), 1 wine tasting, all taxes.
Does not include: Beverages, tips (gratuities) to escorts (or guides/drivers), airfare, meals not indicated, entrance fees at 6 archeological/historical sites (total approx. €50), trip insurance, airport transfers (may be purchased separately), porterage and baggage handling, options, anything not mentioned under "Includes" above, city tax (see below).
Accommodation: Double room with private bathroom. Single room with supplement ("single occupancy").
Guide/Escort Language: English.
Group Size: From 2 to 24 participants.
City Tax: Following the example of Rome, Paris and New York, a few Sicilian cities have begun to tax hotel stays. The law prohibits billing or collection of the "city tax" by travel agents, so you may be required to pay this tax of €2 - €4 directly to the hotel at check-out.
Dates offered: Departures from Taormina as indicated here. No other agency in the world offers a Sicily tour with this frequency and number of departures!
Tours begin on Monday at Taormina:
To reserve contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating "Golden CT" in the subject line, or by phone at +39 091 626 9685, or fax +39 091 380 9900. From the United States or Canada you may also contact us by Skype at 718-473-0803. (Please remember that there's a six-hour time difference between Central European Time here in Italy and American Eastern Time in Toronto and New York.) Or... you can pay online with a credit card (under "Notes" please indicate the tour, start date and number of participants). A 250 euro minimum deposit is required when you reserve.
This tour is organized by Chat & Tour (Tradizione Turismo), Via Gen. Sirtori 25, 90145 Palermo, Italy. Visit our general tours page for faqs and purchase conditions regarding this and other tours.
1) Etna Jeep Excursion & Country Lunch: You'll be taken by jeep to the higher altitude of the volcano slopes, including Fontana Peak the 'extinct' craters of the Sartorius Peaks and the lava flow from the 2002 eruption. Then you'll enjoy a light lunch at a farmhouse offering typical Sicilian cuisine. Returning to Taormina, the partially off-road drive will pass the Alcantara Gorge. €140.00 per person. We also offer a series of excursions on ATV 4x4 Quad Bikes (shown here) on the slopes of Etna and in the scenic Alcantara Valley nearby.
2) Market Gourmet Cooking Class: This is the epitome of food preparation from start to finish. Independent transfer to a local restaurant (near your hotel) where you'll be met by chefs Antonio Orlando and Maria. At an open-air market you'll select the fresh ingredients of your culinary creation - which (accompanied by the perfect wine) you'll enjoy as your lunch, followed by dessert. Preparing and tasting this piece of Sicily is an experience you'll never forget. The class runs from 9 AM to 1 PM (lunch time). €90.00 per person (available 15 March to 15 November).
Airport Transfers & Extra Nights:
Airport Transfer: While there are buses, trains and taxis into Taormina and Palermo from Catania's and Palermo's airports, we can arrange a personalized transfer at €70.00 per person (based on a minimum of two passengers) from 8 AM to 7 PM, or €90.00 per person from 7:30 PM to 7:30 AM. Travel time in each case is approximately 40 minutes.
Pre Night in Taormina: A night (or more) immediately preceding the tour. Double occupancy (double or twin) €120.00 per person, Single occupancy €195.00. Whenever possible, lodging will be in the same hotel used during the tour.
Post Night in Palermo: A night (or more) immediately following the tour begins. Double occupancy (double or twin) €70.00 per person, Single occupancy €99.00. Whenever possible, lodging will be in the same hotel used during the tour.
Conditions and Terms for 2012 Tours
If purchased directly from the Italian tour operator (i.e. Tradizione Turismo by Chat & Tour Srl) via this website, service shall be governed by the laws of the Italian Republic and the European Union. Local laws may also apply for any tour purchased through a travel agent outside Italy. It is the responsibility of each participant to be in possession of the necessary travel document, such as a valid passport. Basic services are insured in compliance with Italian law. Certain fees indicated (i.e. costs cited which are outside the actual tour price), particularly admission fees at archeological sites, are understood to be beyond the tour operator agency's control and therefore subject to change without notice.
Hotel ratings are those established by the Italian travel commission and may differ from those indicated in privately-published travel guide books or websites. Tours begin in Palermo or Taormina, as indicated, on the dates specified. Unless the tour is purchased by a travel agent representing us, billing is processed through the tour operator, based here in Palermo, Italy (i.e. Chat & Tour's Tradizione Turismo). In the event that the tour operator agency effects cancellation of a tour at any time prior to departure, its sole responsibility and liability is limited to refunding the client the amount it has received in payment for the tour up to that date. The tour operator reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any tour departure in accordance with operating requirements or circumstances beyond its control (force majeure).
LEGAL STUFF: Tradizione Turismo by Chat & Tour, Via Generale Sirtori 25, 90145 - Palermo, Italy. Full Travel Agency Licence Number: 996/VII/Tur-Sicily • IATA Tids 96 27583 0 • VAT (Partita IVA): IT04943140824 • ASTA Member Number: 900166379 • Site Member: ID 9310610 • NTA Member: TID 034 250.
©2011 Best of Sicily, Palermo, Italy. Unauthorized use
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