Sicily history tour, Italy

“Our only cultural tour that does a full circuit of Sicily, traveling in a small group for 9 days around amphitheatres, cathedrals, Greek city ruins and a lot of wonderful restaurants. ”

Highlights

Catania | Mt. Etna | Siracusa | Neapolis Archaelological Park | Noto | Ragusa Ibla | Agrigento's Valley of the Temples | Selinunte | Erice | Zingaro Nature Reserve | Monreale Cathedral | Cefalu' |Taormina

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25 Mar 2017
US $ 1545
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01 Apr 2017
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15 Apr 2017
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29 Apr 2017
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06 May 2017
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13 May 2017
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20 May 2017
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27 May 2017
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03 Jun 2017
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10 Jun 2017
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08 Jul 2017
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26 Aug 2017
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02 Sep 2017
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16 Sep 2017
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23 Sep 2017
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30 Sep 2017
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07 Oct 2017
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21 Oct 2017
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31 Mar 2018
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28 Apr 2018
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09 Jun 2018
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16 Jun 2018
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30 Jun 2018
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01 Sep 2018
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08 Sep 2018
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15 Sep 2018
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22 Sep 2018
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06 Oct 2018
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13 Oct 2018
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20 Oct 2018
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Our top tip:
Bring hiking boots so you don’t miss out on the Etna climb. And always have swimgear in your backpack.
Trip type:
Small group, max.16p eople, min. age 16.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
3-4* hotels.
Included:
Flights from London, accommodation, all breakfasts, wine tasting, all transport, tour leader, entrance fees.
Meals:
Only breakfasts included. Allow €8-15 lunch, €20-30 dinner.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sicily history tour, Italy

Environment

Activity:
We try to operate on a ‘leave no trace’ basis, which involves being vigilant with proper disposal of waste and being sure to leave any flora, fauna and historical sites undamaged. By using local drivers for transfers, local restaurants and small shops, we make daily contributions to the economy and the community. Using local guides also has the mutual benefit of creating employment opportunities in the region, whilst clients have the advantage of in-depth expertise of the country. By visiting a number of archaeological sites, baroque temples, honey coloured towns and areas of natural beauty, we generate funds which support the maintenance of these important historical and natural places.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend the week using comfortable, locally owned hotels. All accommodation is locally staffed and sometimes family run, which has a positive effect on employment levels and economy in the region. Most lodgings are located in proximity to the UNESCO historic sites we visit, which reduces further the need for carbon producing transfer vehicles on the trip. Sicilians are very proud of their local produce and so where meals are provided, fresh, locally sourced ingredients are used as much as possible- which benefits suppliers in the area. Free mealtimes are a valuable chance to explore the wide variety of cafes and restaurants on our route, serving tasty and authentic dishes. If there is time, guides can also direct clients to the daily market in Syracuse, which sells seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and regional cheeses, sausages and preserves.

Local Craft and Culture:
Cuisine is a huge part of Sicilian culture and so we include frequent stops at locally owned businesses to introduce traditionally crafted produce and customary specialties. For example, At Mount Etna, we arrange a wine and cheese tasting in one of the famous wine cellars of the area. Made at local vineyards, we can sample a range of wines, including the famous Sicilian desert wine, Marsala. Locally crafted cheeses including ricotta and pecorino are also prominent. By purchasing these products and other handmade items (paintings, ceramics, embroidery), we help to sustain traditional methods of craftsmanship.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Sicily history tour, Italy

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 19 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The locations of the temples at Agrigento and Selinunte were truly spectacular. Entering the Cathedral at Monreale made everyone go "wow!"

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


When visiting Etna make sure you have adequate warm/ waterproof clothing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?




4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was an extremely comprehensive tour of Sicily. Though the tour was busy the earliest start time was 8.30 so you did feel that the morning was not too much of a rush. Our guide gave us free time in most locations and this gave us
time as individuals to explore the areas that we were particularly interested in. We had the choice to eat separately or with the group and we did both.

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Archaeological sites

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take your swimmers

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very much exceeded our expectations. Good value for money.

Reviewed on 16 Apr 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking in the Zingaro Reserve, making our way to Erice and back down Valderice.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Learn a bit of Italian, especially for food items - makes it just that bit easier
and more enjoyable! (Makes the locals happy too).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely benefited the locals economy-wise!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent.

Reviewed on 06 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Getting to see most of the Greek temples in Sicily, standing in some, on fallen blocks, massive

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


with this group?
The guides were totally unknowledge-able, utterly ignorant the tour leader knew the geography: that's it, that's all

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Well, we spent a few Euro's! Whether the locals got any? moot.
As to the latter 2: not really

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good itinerary, but now I will get some books from the Library.

Reviewed on 06 Apr 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The scenery is stunning. Our favourite day was walking on the coast in the Zingaro Nature Reserve. The tour of Agrigento was absolutely excellent all because of our guide, Giovanna who told us so much, so succinctly and in an interesting fashion.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go for it! Some long days but interesting sightseeing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We used local hotels, local guides and local shops so we hope it benefitted Sicilians. Our guide was dedicated to improving the environment and educating children about how to care for wildlife and nature.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A very good introduction to Sicily.

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It was an overview of Sicily which we thought was well paced. Very good guide,
(Salvo) enthusiastic about his country and very knowledgeable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for a busy schedule, but one that is perfectly manageable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The guide was conservation minded. I am not sure how you could have involved
local people more. It is not a developing country where home stays are more
common. Is there any 'agritourism' venue in Sicily which could accommodate a
group of 10+?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. In terms of short 'adventure' vacations it was one of the best we have
been on.

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