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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

Maximum tour group size: 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.

Summer dates we love: June 16 & 23, July 21

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

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 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 $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, you’ll 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. Due to events surrounding the Holy Year Jubilee in Rome in 2016, we cannot guarantee entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica between December 8, 2015 and November 20, 2016.

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 $299 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

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: Free day in the Taormina Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

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

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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 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

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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

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 10/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Disappointing Adventure

We were very excited about our trip to Sicily. Our friends had traveled with Go Ahead before so we had great expectations. The first disappointment was not being able to it with my husband on the flight over. The fight was over booked. The food was a big disappointment over all. We some some good meals but those associated with the tour were terrible. The closing dinner consisted of turkey or fried fish and tomatoe soup or pasta. It was distasteful I could eat the fried fish it was tough. What about a traditional Italian meal? Accommodations were ok. Spotty WiFi . They were clean and staff was nice. It was a 12 day tour of 4 cities. We were too many days in Palermo? It's kind of a dirty city with stray dogs running all over pooping where ever. Our bus driver was great. Our tour guide was ok.The tours of the ruins and the guides were great. Accommodations at chosen rest stops were dirty and the bathrooms were pretty bad. No soap or toilet paper. Food was not great. We all felt like this was a thrown together last minute tour. I probably will not go with Go Ahead for another tour. I

 

Dear Sandra, Welcome home, and thank you very much for taking the time to write your review! We regret to hear this tour did not meet your expectations. Sicily is quite different from the mainland in almost every aspect. From the culinary traditions to the dialects to the culture, it is very much unique and well-loved for its distinct characteristics. For example, what constitutes a traditional Italian meal depends largely on what part of Italy you’re visiting. Sicily’s definition of “traditional” is quite different from Milan’s or Rome’s. Sicily is an island that preserves the idea of the ‘old world feel,’ and as such it has much less infrastructure than the rest of Italy. This is part of the cultural experience in this region. Regarding the itinerary, we have a well-researched team of Product Development specialists who thoughtfully designed this itinerary to scratch the surface of this small, yet historically and culturally rich island. We’re sorry you felt like you had too much time in Palermo. Being that it’s the capital city and boasts lots of history, many of our travelers enjoy the few days spent there. If you’re looking to have the quintessential “Italian experience," we suggest for your next travel experience that you head to Northern Italy, where the infrastructure is more similar to that in the U.S. and the cuisine may be more familiar to you. Thank you again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. We definitely appreciate and value and your feedback!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 31, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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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1 / 14

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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.

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1 / 8

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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.

2 / 5

2 / 5

Traveled On: 10/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Disappointment

This tour was a disappointment compared to the other tours we have been on. I don't think it was well planned. It seemed like an afterthought. The meals were very disappointing. My last meal in Sicily was tomato soup and turkey! Really! People from other tours were eating gnocchis!!!!! Our bus stops were small and dirty. Meals on the road were limited and also disappointing. At lunch I ordered a salad w/ mozzarella which turned out to be cut up iceberg lettuce w/ a ball of mozzarella in the center. Flight arrangements were poor. Time wasted. Bus and driver were good. Accommodations were fine. But as a total package I don't feel we received the best guidance or quality for what we paid.

 

Dear Diana, Thank you very much for taking the time to review your recent experience with Go Ahead traveling through Sicily. We are very sorry to learn that this trip did not meet your expectations. We keep very detailed records of the ratings given to each of our on-tour components, and are constantly evaluating all of our tours with our traveler feedback in mind. While we consistently receive positive ratings and comments about the culinary aspects of this tour, we will certainly continue to monitor their performance to ensure that they maintain a high standard of quality. Additionally, the laws in Europe that regulate Bus Driver hours and working conditions are much different than those in the US and Canada. While we always keep our travelers interests and comforts in mind, we do have to allow for the mandatory breaks that bus drivers are allotted. We thank you very much for providing your feedback on this matter, and we hope to welcome you onto another Go Ahead tour in the future.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 18, 2015

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