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Sicily: A Cultural Journey

12 days (11 days in 2017)
In the midst of the Mediterranean, discover an island with personality all its own—full of flavor and teeming with one-of-a-kind art and architecture. From multicultural Palermo to breathtaking Taormina, each stop on this tour of Sicily reveals unexpected treasures.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and unpaved roads, at high altitudes.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Palermo today.

Palermo 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Palermo

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Transfer to your hotel and get settled in, then meet your group at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Palermo & Monreale

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, you’ll embark on a guided tour of bayside Palermo, situated at the foot of Mount Pellegrino.

• Visit the architecturally diverse Palermo Cathedral and see the stunning artwork of the Cappella Palatina

• Continue on to nearby Monreale where you’ll pay a visit one of the town’s magnificent cathedrals

Day 4: Free day in Palermo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Palermo or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Ruins: Segesta & Erice $99pp* Details

Journey to western Sicily to visit the ancient ruins of Segesta. Here, you’ll view a magnificent Doric temple and an ancient Greek theater. Next, visit the well-preserved village of Erice, perched on the summit of Monte San Giuiliano. The relics within Erice are fascinating, from its Phoenician walls to its Norman castles. Your guided tour of the town will take you past the town's churches, and will touch upon the role they played in Erice's history.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Agrigento 1 night Hotel info

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Agrigento

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel south through the Sicilian countryside to Agrigento for a guided walking tour of the city’s fascinating Greek ruins.

Syracuse 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Syracuse via Piazza Amerina

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On the way to Syracuse, stop for a guided tour of Piazza Amerina, viewing the stunning mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Syracuse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Embark on a guided tour of Syracuse, a historic city known for its rich Greek history.

• Visit the Greek theater, the most complete ancient Greek theater still in existence

• Tour the massive Paradise Quarry and gardens, featuring the cave that Caravaggio dubbed “The Ear of Dionysius” for its unique acoustics

• Visit the Roman amphitheater, then cross a bridge to the Island of Ortygia to see the Temple of Apollo and Syracuse Cathedral

Day 8: Free day in Syracuse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Syracuse or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village $89pp* Details

Start off the day in Noto, a quaint city at the foot of the Hyblaean Mountains. A local guide gives you the lay of the land, highlighting the UNESCO-recognized cathedral and the city's Baroque-style architecture. Next, travel to a rustic villa, Casa Bianca, owned and run by a Sicilian contessa. With its warm climate, open fields and fertile soil, Sicily is home to some of Italy’s finest foods, and today’s authentic family-style meal showcases many of the region’s delicious and varied flavors.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Taormina Region 3 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Taormina

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Taormina, where a local guide introduces you to this scenic town perched high above the sea.

• Enjoy views of Mount Etna, Taormina Cathedral and the Palazzo Corvaia, seat of the first Sicilian parliament

• Visit the town’s 2nd-century Greek theater

Enjoy a free evening in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Sicilian Dinner & Wine Tasting $89pp* Details

Venture into the foothills surrounding Mt. Etna for dinner and a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Like Sicily itself, Sicilian cuisine has been profoundly influenced by the myriad cultures that have made this island their home.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Day 10: Free day in Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

This evening, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Mount Etna: Sicily's Volcanic Landscapes $79pp* Details

Travel from Taormina to the base of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and highest active volcano. Here, a local guide will board your bus and you’ll ascend up to 5,000 feet, stopping at a scenic vantage point to snap photos and learn about the mountain’s long history of eruptions, as well as its native flora and fauna. Continue up to 6,600 feet, where you’ll have free time to walk among the volcanic craters and peruse the mountainside shops before sampling local delicacies at an included three-course lunch. Please note: Comfortable shoes and layered clothing are recommended. Temperatures on the mountain are cool in the summer and can be quite chilly the rest of the year.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 11: Free day in Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend another full free day in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Hidden Sicily: Medieval Savoca & Forza d’Agrò $49pp* Details

Delve into the traditional Sicilian villages that served as sets for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” First, visit Savoca and tour the Church of St. Lucia and the Bar Vitelli. Walk through this medieval village and marvel at its 15th-century buildings and panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea. Continue on to Forza d’Agrò, another “hidden” Sicilian village, where you’ll visit the Church of the Annunciation. Please note: The order of villages visited is subject to change. In the event that the Church of the Annunciation is closed, it may only be viewed from the outside.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $59)

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Rome.

Add Rome Starting from $409 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome 2 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Transfer to Rome

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Rome and check in to your hotel, then follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with a guided tour of the Eternal City.

• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, the city’s central hub

• Stop at the ruins of the Forum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire

• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Rome and the Temple of Venus

• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own

Day 13: Free day in Rome

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Rome or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $99pp* Details

This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you’ll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world’s most important Classical- and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, visit the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece. Finally, you’ll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors $79pp* Details

End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera’s best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun! Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs from February through November.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Italy

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Palermo today.

Palermo 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Palermo

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Transfer to your hotel and get settled in, then meet your Tour Director and group at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Palermo & Monreale

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, embark on a guided tour of bayside Palermo, situated at the foot of Mount Pellegrino.

• Visit the architecturally diverse Palermo Cathedral and see the stunning artwork of the Cappella Palatina

• Continue on to nearby Monreale where you’ll pay a visit one of the town’s magnificent cathedrals

Day 4: Free day in Palermo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Palermo or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Ruins: Segesta & Erice $99pp* Details

Journey to western Sicily to visit the ancient ruins of Segesta. Here, you’ll view a magnificent Doric temple and an ancient Greek theater. Next, visit the well-preserved village of Erice, perched on the summit of Monte San Giuiliano. The relics within Erice are fascinating, from its Phoenician walls to its Norman castles. Your guided tour of the town will take you past the town's churches, and will touch upon the role they played in Erice's history.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Agrigento 1 night Hotel info

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Agrigento

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel south through the Sicilian countryside to Agrigento for a guided walking tour of the city’s fascinating Greek ruins.

Syracuse 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Syracuse via Piazza Amerina

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On the way to Syracuse, stop for a guided tour of Piazza Amerina and view the stunning mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Syracuse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Embark on a guided tour of Syracuse, a historic city known for its rich Greek history.

• Visit the Greek theater, the most complete ancient Greek theater still in existence

• Tour the massive Paradise Quarry and gardens, featuring the cave that Caravaggio dubbed “The Ear of Dionysius” for its unique acoustics

• Visit the Roman amphitheater, then cross a bridge to the Island of Ortygia to see the Temple of Apollo and Syracuse Cathedral

Day 8: Free day in Syracuse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Syracuse or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village $89pp* Details

Start off the day in Noto, a quaint city at the foot of the Hyblaean Mountains. A local guide gives you the lay of the land, highlighting the UNESCO-recognized cathedral and the city's Baroque-style architecture. Next, travel to a rustic villa, Casa Bianca, owned and run by a Sicilian contessa. With its warm climate, open fields and fertile soil, Sicily is home to some of Italy’s finest foods, and today’s authentic family-style meal showcases many of the region’s delicious and varied flavors.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Taormina Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Taormina

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Taormina, where a local guide introduces you to this scenic town perched high above the sea.

• Enjoy views of Mount Etna, Taormina Cathedral and the Palazzo Corvaia, seat of the first Sicilian parliament

• Visit the town’s 2nd-century Greek theater

Enjoy a free evening in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Sicilian Dinner & Wine Tasting $89pp* Details

Venture into the foothills surrounding Mt. Etna for dinner and a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Like Sicily itself, Sicilian cuisine has been profoundly influenced by the myriad cultures that have made this island their home.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Day 10: Free day in the Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

This evening, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Mount Etna: Sicily's Volcanic Landscapes $79pp* Details

Travel from Taormina to the base of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and highest active volcano. Here, a local guide will board your bus and you’ll ascend up to 5,000 feet, stopping at a scenic vantage point to snap photos and learn about the mountain’s long history of eruptions, as well as its native flora and fauna. Continue up to 6,600 feet, where you’ll have free time to walk among the volcanic craters and peruse the mountainside shops before sampling local delicacies at an included three-course lunch. Please note: Comfortable shoes and layered clothing are recommended. Temperatures on the mountain are cool in the summer and can be quite chilly the rest of the year.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Taormina.

Add Taormina Region Starting from $419 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Extend your stay in Taormina and see for yourself why expatriate artists, writers and intellectuals were so inspired during the early 20th century when they came to call it home. Spend your time exploring its tiny villages, old churches, lively bars, fine restaurants and antique shops.

Taormina Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Free day in the Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy another full free day in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Hidden Sicily: Medieval Savoca & Forza d’Agrò $49pp* Details

Delve into the traditional Sicilian villages that served as sets for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” First, visit Savoca and tour the Church of St. Lucia and the Bar Vitelli. Walk through this medieval village and marvel at its 15th-century buildings and panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea. Continue on to Forza d’Agrò, another “hidden” Sicilian village, where you’ll visit the Church of the Annunciation. Please note: The order of villages visited is subject to change. In the event that the Church of the Annunciation is closed, it may only be viewed from the outside.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $59)

Day 12: Free day in the Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend another full free day in the Taormina region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Museo Storico dello Sbarco & Historic Catania $55pp* Details

Explore Sicily’s World War II history on a visit to the Museo Storico dello Sbarco, an interactive museum featuring striking photographs and a life-size model of a war-era bunker. Then, stroll past the Baroque architecture of Catania’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll see the bustling shops and cafes of Via Etnea and Via dei Crociferi, the grand Teatro Massimo Bellini and the historic Palazzo Biscari. End your tour at the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, home of the famous elephant statue and the large fish market, where you’ll have free time for lunch.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Palermo, Italy
  • Agrigento, Italy
  • Syracuse, Italy
  • Taormina, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Sicily. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Transportation / Walking on tour

Round-trip flights arrive in Palermo and depart from Catania (or Rome on the tour extension). When you first arrive in Palermo, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, most of Sicily’s locations are best accessed on foot. Local city buses in Palermo and Syracuse can break up periods of walking. Taxis are also useful, particularly in connecting downtown Syracuse (where most hotels are located) to the island of Ortygia (where most shops and restaurants are). In Taormina, local buses connect the beachfront city of Naxos to Taormina proper. You can also ride a funicular up to Taormina’s city center.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/ credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

How's the weather?

  • Palermo, Italy
  • Agrigento, Italy
  • Syracuse, Italy
  • Taormina, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa information

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Sicily. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Transportation / Walking on tour

Round-trip flights arrive in Palermo and depart from Catania (or Rome on the tour extension). When you first arrive in Palermo, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, most of Sicily’s locations are best accessed on foot. Local city buses in Palermo and Syracuse can break up periods of walking. Taxis are also useful, particularly in connecting downtown Syracuse (where most hotels are located) to the island of Ortygia (where most shops and restaurants are). In Taormina, local buses connect the beachfront city of Naxos to Taormina proper. You can also ride a funicular up to Taormina’s city center.

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/ credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/21/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Sicily... An Amazing Experience!

This was my 4th tour, my 3rd tour with GoAhead, and my second with Rita. GoAhead Tours provides an excellent tour experience in 4 and 5 star hotels. Our tour director, Rita, was with us through the entire trip, including optional excursions, when they ran. We had a small group so it was disappointing when optional excursions to which I prepaid, were cancelled. We were refunded, but I would have preferred to take the trips. After all, how many times am I going to be in these places... there are so many wonderful places to see in the world. Rita has over 20 years of experience in tourism and it really showed. She went out of her way to recommend good restaurants, sights, relaxation options, etc., always looking out for us to have the best experience, and the best "local" experience. In addition she was always looking out for our safety, especially when we were on our own... to make sure we used safe and reliable transportation, etc. She had a genuine interest in each and every one of us, making sure we were all satisfied with the accommodations, meals, and all our experiences (even for a "difficult" traveler in our group). Rita planned an excursion for a traditional "Sicilian fish dinner" in a nearby seaside town, our second night after arriving. This was a real treat! We feasted on a 10-course meal with water, wine and beer included. We were all stuffed and practically rolled back to our hotel. Rita's meetings and daily "posters" always kept us informed as to the day's and next day's activities. The included dinners at the hotels upon arrival were of high quality, and delicious. This is not always "a given" in the US. I was pleasantly surprised. In addition, the included lunches and dinners that were not in our hotel, were also delicious and of high quality. The optional excursions that ran were all worth the time and money. The personal "radios" made it easy to tune into a particular channel and be able to hear our guide! This totally made the sites more enjoyable, being able to hear the guide discuss relevant information, the range of these, however could be broader if GoAhead is looking to upgrade anything. All our local guides such as Lara and Giusy, were also very knowledgeable, personable, and funny... giving us interesting pointers about the sights around us. The food on the Sicily tour was amazing! There was not a single bad meal. All the hotels were beautiful, and the outdoor pools were large. The pools in 2 of our hotels overlooked the Mediterranean, this was in Agrigento and Taormina... We had a great time in the hotel and pool in Siracusa. Overall I think those of us in my group on the tour really loved Ortigia in Siracusa. However, we wish our hotel was closer to Ortigia, or closer to something (it really was not near anything, we always needed to take a cab or bus into the town center). The hotel in Taormina was also beautiful, with views of the Mediterranean, but it was also a long walk to the beach, or into the town center. My experience with GoAhead (now that I've done 3 tours with them), is that there is often at least one hotel on each tour that is far from the "center of the action." I would pay more to be closer to the action. Our bus driver Fabio was excellent and a very safe driver. He made the driving look easy and the Sicilian roads were steep like the Amalfi Coast... but probably even more treacherous. One negative comment is that the Wifi was not ideal in some of the hotels, particularly in Taormina... and the hotel staff were not very accommodating. There were also some issues with the air conditioning not working, which was eventually fixed and some of the rooms were small. Two people who share a room should have a larger room than a single person in a room. This was not always the case on our tour, we actually switched rooms with a friend in one of the hotels, due to a small room size. We saw a lot of ruins on the tour, I had no idea there were so many in Sicily. An indoor archeological museum or historical museum, similar to Napoli, could have been included in lieu of some ruin site. We were also disappointed that GoAhead cancelled the option extension to Rome very early in the process. It was cancelled late last year. Many of us on the tour would have taken the option in Rome. There was a lot of walking, more than the 1.5 hours daily noted on the tour description. Overall however, Sicily is very beautiful and well worth it with GoAhead. We made new friends we will keep in touch with and it didn't hurt that the dollar (exchange rate) was really strong compared to the Euro. I would do any of the tours that I've already done with GoAhead again. The other tours included (1) Naples, Sorrento, Rome; and (2) Barcelona, French Riviera, Italian Riviera, and Florence.

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Hi Michele! Thank you very much for your thorough review. We're glad that your Tour Director’s knowledge and eagerness to help positively impacted your tour experience. It sounds like her tips and suggestions were a great resource for you, and we are glad she was able to plan some extra excursions such as the Sicilian fish dinner. Sounds delicious! While on the subject of food, it’s great to hear that you enjoyed all the meals you had on tour. It’s certainly hard to go wrong with food in Sicily! We regret that some of the optionals you had signed up for did not run. We understand your frustration about this, which is why ensuring more optionals are able to run in the future is a high priority for us. For the optionals that did run, we’re pleased that you felt they were worthwhile, and we’re also happy that the headsets helped you hear the guide better. We appreciate your feedback on your hotels, as our Operations team works hard to secure the ideal accommodations for our travelers. We regret that you feel the location of the hotel in Ortigia could have been better, and we will be sure to communicate this to our team. We do try to secure hotels that are as centrally located as possible; however, there are many factors, not only location, which factor into our decisions. Quality and reputation are among the other criteria we look for, and of course, availability is crucial. Regarding wifi, we understand that this is very important to travelers, particularly for purposes of getting in touch with family, friends, etc. However, wifi standards are very different in other countries, especially in areas with less infrastructure and modernity. Other cultures also view the necessity of internet access in a different light than we do here in North America. Hotel standards, in general, are very different in other countries, including room size, bedding, air conditioning, etc. For example, rooms in many European countries are smaller than those you might find in the U.S.. This is due in part to the fact that they have less space to work with. Taormina, for example, is very limited in terms of real estate because it’s built into a hilltop/cliff and therefore cannot accommodate large hotel properties. Regarding other components of your tour, it’s fantastic to hear that your bus driver impressed you with his driving and that you discovered many of the archaeological ruins Sicily has to offer. In terms of the extension to Rome, we can only run extensions with a minimum number of travelers and unfortunately we did not receive enough interest from your group in time to secure the space for it. That said, in the future, you can always arrange for a post-stay, which means that you will be able to stay longer in any place you’d like and we can arrange the hotels for you. The only difference is a post-stay does not include a tour or Tour Director. Regarding the amount of daily walking, the 1.5 hours merely refers to the required walking, meaning the amount of actual guided time. Of course, many travelers choose to walk outside of this time, in which case this number will be higher. Our itineraries are designed in such a way that you can make your tour as active or as inactive as you’d like, especially with all the built-in free time. We appreciate that you took the time to provide such a detailed review, and we’re glad that you had a good time on tour. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 15, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: QC

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tour Director non-informative

Our recent trip to Sicily was amazing, except for the fact that our Tour Director was not informative in any way. She did not know anything about our location, she was informed by the bus driver, on all counts, about our destinations. She did not speak on the microphone at all during our bus rides. The local guides, however, were very informative and entertaining. Also, choices of hotels were mediocre. They were lower-end 4-star hotels. We had a great time nonetheless.

 

Dear Rosa, We’re glad that you enjoyed your overall tour experience. It’s great to know that you found the local guides to be informative and entertaining. We will be sure to communicate that to their supervisors. However, we regret that your Tour Director did not meet your expectations. It looks like you were able to speak with one of our team members upon your return, and your experience has been communicated to the appropriate departments. Regarding the hotels, we regret that you felt they were mediocre and we will be sure to use this feedback to evaluate them for future departures. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 09, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/31/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

What an experience!

Before going I read a couple of books about Sicily, and talked with people from there who spoke fondly of their homeland, but I was not sure what to expect as this was my first time in Sicily. What a trip! I got to experience the history and culture of this wonderful island up close. The Tour Director and the local guides provided the historical background, while the people, the sights, sounds, the food, and the smells gave constant feedback that said this is special! I am certain I will live this adventure far into the future; and someday get to see more of this beautiful, charming and exciting place. A special thanks to the Tour Director for her unwavering concern that we have a great time; even arranging a most delicious lunch with a contessa.

 

Hi Luvaghn! We’re so glad you were able to experience the culture and history of Sicily. It sounds like your Tour Director was very informative throughout your tour, which we’re happy to hear. We’re also pleased to know that you will live this adventure far into the future, and we do hope that you will return to Sicily to discover even more. Let us know when we can make that happen for you!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 18, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: WV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tour Value

Sicily is beautiful!! You definitely get your money's worth. The accomodations for the most part were really nice and centrally located. The rooms in Siracusa were too small, once you got your luggage in the room, you could barely move around, especially with two people in the room. Otherwise, the other hotels were roomy, especially those in Toarmina - the best! I would classify this trip as a level four, a lot of walking and strenuous at times. Our tour guide, Barbara, and bus driver, Fabio, were wonderful!!!. I would recommend this trip to anyone. The people were friendly, and the food was very good, not excellent, but good.

 

Hi Debra! We’re happy to hear you enjoyed your time in Sicily and that you would recommend the tour. We appreciate your feedback regarding the hotel in Syracuse, as well as the physical demands of the tour. Regarding hotels, our Operations team strives to choose the best available accommodations based on criteria such as quality, location, and value. However, the infrastructure in Sicily is less developed than in the north, for example.. We will certainly communicate your thoughts to our team here for evaluation as we move forward. We thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 14, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Sicily...Amazing Part of Italy!

For me, this trip ended up being among my favorites. I thought nothing could compare with Greek Isles, Kenya, and Egypt. I was wrong. Add the beautiful coastal towns of Sicily to the mix of my favorites! Starting with Palermo, followed by Agrigento, Syracuse, and ending with Taoramina...this tour was perfect! The 4-star hotels were exceptional....one had been a palace, one had been a special villa built by a noblewoman for the "man of her dreams," and the hotel in Taoramina gave us a view of the Mediterranean that took our breath away! All the provided meals were wonderful and varied. The excursions were among the best of any of the 24 trips I have taken. An excursion to Savoca to visit spots where parts of the "Godfather" trilogy were filmed were a perfect finale for this "Godfather junkie!" I have loved all my travels to Italy...but Sicily is different....a delightful surprise. Treat yourself to this travel gem!

 

Hi Carole! Welcome home, and thank you for your great review! We’re happy to learn that you enjoyed your time in Sicily and that the unique accommodations and varied meals were to your liking. We’re also glad you found the optionals to be interesting and worthwhile, especially as a 'Godfather' junkie! You’re very right that Sicily is different from Italy, and we, too, think it is a delightful surprise. We hope that your review will encourage others to explore this beautiful island! Again, thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 29, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/2/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Exceptional tour and my favorite

What a fantastic tour. It's a winner, folks! I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves and has been on a grand tour of Italy and wants to see more. Sicily has now become my favorite overall and I know I will crave to go back on my own. The history is amazing and I learned a lot about how Greeks founded Sicily, Rome then conquered and repurposed the temples etc and then came the Byzantines etc. What amazingly well- preserved temples, almost pristine mosaics, outstanding scenery including countryside and rich agriculture but also epic vistas and cozy streets, grand cathedrals and a message that all civilizations can live and get along together. This tour has a star and funny "Americanized" tour director in Carmelo and an amazingly skilled bus driver, Salvatore. The hotels were all first class. I really can't strive enough to take this tour on the off season. We got very lucky and the weather in December was warm, sunny and there were no crowds whatsoever. We had wonderful private tours and our tour group of 13 were all very comfortable together and we just had so much fun as a whole. Just go, you won't be disappointed.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/2/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Sicily is a must see!

We went to Sicily in the off-season (early December 2015) and it was fantastic. The weather was very nice and we got to see many things up close with no crowds. Many places we actually had to ourselves with a few locals. It also was nice to see how they decorate and do Christmas. Very different than the states. Our Tour Director, Carmelo was fantastic. Could not have asked for a better guide. Helpful, fun, nice, very smart and thought-provoking at times. Our bus driver was also the best (this person is just as important as the tour director in my opinion). Salvatore was amazing. His bus was excellent. He was very kind and accommodating to our group. If you are going to pick one optional excursion make sure it is the Traditional Sicilian Lunch on the Farm at the Contessa's. This was homemade Sicilian food on her amazing farm...so authentic and relaxing. That alone was a 5 star experience. DON'T MISS OUT. Mount Etna was also fantastic and worth it as well. All hotels were amazing and 5 star experiences. Loved all of them. Taormina was the highlight of the trip. Take a day to yourself to enjoy the town. Skip that final excursion. Go to the beach or explore all that Taormina has to offer. Those will be better memories in my opinion. This is a beautiful and amazing island. We will be returning to Sicily on our own in the future. We took the Grand Tour of Italy with Go Ahead in 2012, but Sicily was more special and charming in our opinion. Amazing Greek ruins and structures that date back to 5 BC that are well-preserved.

1 / 8

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/2/2015

Number of Past Tours: 18

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Wonders of Sicily

I have been on more than 11 tours with Go Ahead and this on by far has been my favorite. Carmelo our tour guide made the tour unforgettable. He knows Sicily like he knows his name. He gave us suggestions on food, additional sights to see and where to see Authentic Sicily. Salvatore our driver drove the bus like it was a part of him and his bus was spotless. This was the first tour I took with knowing anyone in the group. I had so much fun that I forgot I was by myself. The people in the group was awesome. My favorite additional excursions on this trip was Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village. Noto Village was quaint and picturesque, the food at the Villa lunch was to die for. The Mount Etna: Sicily's Volcanic Landscapes was breath taking. If you love great food, good people and having a great time. I would really recommend this Tour.

 

Hi Rowynn! Thank you for your thoughtful review. We’re pleased to learn that you loved Sicily. Sicily is certainly one of our favorite regions of Italy, as it has a culture and feel all its own. We’re glad you found your Tour Director and driver to be helpful and knowledgeable and your group to be awesome. It’s also good to know you enjoyed the additional excursions offered on this tour, as we’re always keeping record of how they’re received. We thank you for your recommendation and for consistently choosing to travel with Go Ahead!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 07, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Above & Beyond

Our tour director went above & beyond, helping us find a specialty item made only in Sicily. He made our tour so up beat; sharing anecdotes about the island and it's people. He kept the travel pace enjoyable as well. We traveled a lot, saw many things but he never made us feel rushed. Our accommodations were above average & the food was abundant & fantastic! This was a great tour to relax & unwind.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 10/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best itinerary

We normally make our own arrangements; however since train service in Sicily is lacking we were uncomfortable depending on scheduled bus service. We chose this tour because: its itinerary spent more time in Sicily, the cities selected were excellent, and the total kilometers by bus was the shortest as compared to other tours.. The hotels were slightly lower rated than we would normally choose and only one was not to my liking due to its location and facilities

1 / 1
 

Dear Glenn, Thank you very much for taking the time to review your tour. We’re glad to learn that you enjoyed yourself and found the cities selected to be ‘excellent.’ We’re also thankful that you chose to travel with us, even though you normally make your own arrangements. We hope that overall you were happy with your decision! Though our Operations team does their best to maintain a certain level of quality and value, Sicily has different accommodation standards than the rest of Italy and these standards are often lower, as the island has less infrastructure than the mainland. We’re glad, though, that you were generally pleased with your hotels. We really value your feedback and will be closely monitoring the hotel performance for this tour as we move forward. Thank you again for your review!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 05, 2016

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