Best of Sicily
If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Sicily” is "The Godfather” we’re here to expand your horizons. Sicily is a very different Italian experience, and we’re excited to introduce it to you – everything from UNESCO Heritage sites and stunning cathedrals to creepy catacombs and the majestic Mt Etna. This trip moves at a good pace but still gives you the perfect mix of fun activities and free time – and incredible cuisine, of course. Find out why Sicily is one of Italy’s true hidden gems.
Short orientation walk in Palermo. Streetfood lunch in local markets. Walking tour of the city. Catacomb of the Capuchins visit. Cathedral visit (Monreale). Orientation walk of Ragusa. Wine tasting with local snacks. Historic centre visit in Modica. Chocolate tasting with light lunch. Scicli visit. Free time in Syracuse. Farmhouse stay (Randazzo). Mt Etna hike. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Visit UNESCO Heritage-listed Baroque cities, see stunning cathedrals and perfect piazzas, taste what makes Sicily special with delicious food and wine, climb Mt Etna for the best views of the island, sip espresso and devour gelato in small villages.
1. LOCAL GUIDES
It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.
In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in train stations, hotels or other public places. We use public transport on this trip, which means you will need to carry your luggage from platform to platform, in and out of trains and buses etc. and also possibly up several flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to stow your luggage safely on trains and buses. It is therefore essential that you pack light and bring luggage which is compact and lightweight, and which you can easily transport. The carrying of your luggage remains your responsibility at all times. We highly recommend travelling with a backpack or duffel bag over any wheeled luggage options.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, train, private van, walking.
About our Transportation
Intercity transport on this trip will be by local bus and train with occasional private van. Keeping to schedules is notoriously not one of the Italian transport system’s specialties, so pack in your MP3 player, a good book and some Italian phrases, and kick-back and enjoy the views with the locals.
Between transport and hotels you may be required to carry your luggage short distances (up to 15 min walk).
It is important to note that accommodation in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but rich owners houses, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather “thin” walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.
On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.
Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1, please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
Upon arrival to the airport, you may get transport to Hotel Gresi by bus. You can buy the tickets inside the airport at the Tabacchi store just before the exit or on the bus. Price is 4 EUR per person. Follow the sign in the terminal to reach the ALIBUS bus stop. It leaves every 20 minutes from 5:00 AM to midnight. The closest stop to the Hotel is at Via Etnea, which is the 8th stop. You can ask to get off in front of Villa Bellini public garden . Follow the main street to the first street on the left, Via Pacini, where the hotel is located at number 28.
The other option is to reach the hotel by taxi at a price of 20 EUR
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures UK office (manned UK 8am – 8pm)
+44 (0) 2072439878
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from within Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from within Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from within New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on public transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs.
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sturdy walking shoes or boots with good grip
•Watch or alarm clock
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Waterproof backpack cover
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
All visitors to the EU (European Union) and EEC (European Economic Community) countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to visit the Schengen area (see below), however they may not stay longer than three months in any 6-month period.
For other nationalities, travelling in Europe has been simplified with the introduction of the Schengen visa. As a visitor to the Schengen area (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Finland, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland) you will enjoy the many advantages of this unified visa system. Generally speaking with a Schengen visa, you may enter one Schengen country and travel freely throughout the Schengen region during the validity of your visa. There are limited border controls at Schengen borders, if any at all.
Please note that the UK and Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen agreement.
A Schengen visa is applied for at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country in which you will be spending the most nights on your trip to the Schengen space. If you are only visiting one country on your trip then you apply for your visa at the Consulate of this Schengen country.
Italy is in the Eurozone and the unit of the currency is the Euro.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Italy – check with your bank. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros, traveller’s cheques and cards is best. Avoid relying on traveller’s cheques alone as these are less and less readily cashed as clients use them very little.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2).
Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program, and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from €3-5 per day, depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €30-40 per person, per week can be used.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
Sicily can be very hot during the summer months. Ensure you stay well hydrated.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Demnad rating for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Trip Specific Safety
Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals. Southern italy is notorious for pickpockets. They are exceptional at their craft and target tourists. It’s easy to avoid falling victim, though. Never put valuables in your back pocket or backpack. Use a money belt whenever possible and hotel safes for passports and extra credit cards.
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
In Italy, shoulders should be covered while visiting churches and cathedrals. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD245-320 for meals not included.
7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
PRODUCT_LINE: EIBS, ID: 24322
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Catania
Arrive at any time.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Catania/Palermo (1B, 1L)
Rise early to visit the local fruit and fish market in Catania before boarding a public bus to Palermo.
Enjoy an orientation walk of the Sicilian capital and a streetfood lunch in colourful markets like La Vucciaria or Ballaró. In the afternoon, take a walking tour that includes Quattro Canti, Pretoria Square, the cathedral, and Marina Square. Visit the unique and fascinating Catacomb of the Capuchins for a walk on the creepy side.
Make sure to include a nightly ‘passeggiata’, a lovely Italian tradition.
Fruit and Fish Market Visit
Palermo Walking Tour
Catacomb of the Capuchins Visit
Day 3 Palermo (1B)
Reach Monreale after a short bus ride. The town has beautiful views of La Conca d’Oro Valley and is famous for its Norman cathedral with Arabic and Byzantine architectural influences.
Head back to Palermo to enjoy a free afternoon wandering around this busy southern Italian city.
Cathedral of Monreale Visit
Day 4 Palermo/Ragusa (1B)
Travel by public bus to Ragusa in the southeast. Enjoy an orientation walk of the old town.
Part of the eight Sicilian towns of the Val di Noto, this town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Baroque architecture and artistic creations.
Quench your thirst with an included wine tasting and local snacks.
Day 5 Ragusa/Siracusa (1B, 1L)
Ride a private van to Modica, a town famous for its Aztec chocolate and Baroque architecture. Visit the historic centre and catch a glimpse of the stunning Church of San Giorgio.
Taste chocolate made from a traditional Aztec recipe here before enjoying a cheese tasting and light lunch.
Continue on to Scicli, another charming ancient town set in a gorge near the coast. Don’t miss the fantastic Church of San Matteo and the traditional piazzas.
Travel on for a night in Siracusa (Syracuse).
Modica Historic Centre Visit
Visit Modica and Scicli along the way.
Day 6 Siracusa/Randazzo (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a free morning in this UNESCO-listed Greco-Roman seaside city.
Opt to visit the historic centre on the island of Ortigia, marvel at the Greek ruins, walk the winding and charming streets, visit the Duomo, or laze on the beach.
In the late afternoon, drive to Randazzo, a town on the outskirts of Catania. Stay in a farmhouse and enjoy a local dinner and the lovely setting.
Day 7 Randazzo/Catania (1B)
Leave early to visit the famous volcano, Mt Etna. Hike the south side past lava flows for a dramatic view of the four craters and the coast of Sicily.
Opt for a more strenuous trek with a local guide (weather permitting). Continue to Catania for a free afternoon in the city.
Mount Etna Hike
Day 8 Catania (1B)
Depart at any time.