Best of Sicily


Your Escape Details

Wine, chocolate, delicious cheeses, markets, cathedrals, amazing landscapes and the sea! What’s not to like about a trip to Sicily?

8 amazing days!

Our small group tours are specifically curated to bring you deeply into the destination. Food, drink, people, customs and soft adventure activities to get you close to the natural surroundings. Specifically on this trip you will enjoy food and wine tastings, walking tours and a hike up Mt. Etna.

Our service is second to none, from your decision to join our tour, throughout the trip and when you get home, we will be there for you.

Each escape brings you experiences you wouldn’t find on your own.

Tour begins June 21 – 28, 2020

Picture yourself amidst the sights, sounds and aromas of the local markets. You will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ragusa and learn about the Baroque architecture. Famous for delicious Aztec chocolate, enjoy a delicious tasting in Modica. Then venture on to another UNESCO listing, the seaside village of Siracusa. Always with some adventure thrown in, hike up the south side of Mt. Etna, past lava flows and gazing out on magnificent views. All this is yours for the taking with warm sunny days and delightful fresh air on the beautiful island of Sicily.

  • 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
  • Engage in local experiences like public buses and markets

Escape With Us

Our escapes are unique in offering you an adventure filled itinerary with a local flavor. We work with local guides, planners and connections to make sure you do, see and even eat and drink things you may not have even thought of on your own.

Small Groups

We keep our groups small so we get to know each other and travel together, unified by the destination and our experiences.  Often lifelong friendships are forged. If anything, our growing group of like minded travelers start traveling together on future trips. “Where should we go next?” is often the last question asked as we depart for home.

Are you traveling solo? It is our pleasure to welcome you to our small group. We will match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If you wish, you may choose to pay a solo supplement to have your own room. Please check for availability.

For each trip, you will be invited to our Facebook group so you can chat with fellow travelers, dream about the upcoming trip together, maybe prepare together, hiking, practice a useful skill, etc. Usually, we also organize a get together about a month before the trip to share information, pass out travel documents, and ‘break the ice’ so when we embark on our trip we already know each other a bit. If you don’t live in the area, no worries, we will Skype you into the party and mail you your travel documents.

Why negotiate and plan yourself. Even the best guidebook can’t give you the freedom to embrace and immerse yourself in the destination. Enjoy the pleasure of travel without having to think about the details, leave the planning to us, your job is to fully embrace the journey without the hassles! We are so happy you are considering being our guest and can’t wait to deliver your fantastic experience!

Our Itinerary

Day 1 Catania

Arrive at any time.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Accommodation

Below is an example of the hotel we may use in this city. You will be notified closer to departure of the actual hotel. Hotels are 3*.

Hotel Gresi (or similar)

Day 2 Catania/Palermo

Visit the local fruit and fish market in Catania before traveling by public bus to Palermo. Enjoy an orientation walk and savour a streetfood lunch.

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. Opt to 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.

Optional Activities – Day 2

Catacomb of the Capuchins Visit

Palermo1h-2h 3EUR per person

Visit these creepy catacombs to see the skeletons, still dressed in their burial best, lining the walls of this deep cavern.

Accommodation

Hotel Alessandra (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 3 Palermo

Visit Monreale, built in the mid 12th century and check out the beautiful views of La Conca d’Oro Valley. Visit the Norman cathedral with Byzantine architectural influences, with stunning glass mosaics covering the interior, before enjoying a free afternoon back in Palermo.

Head back to Palermo to enjoy a free afternoon wandering around this busy southern Italian city.

Accommodation

Hotel Alessandra (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 4 Palermo/Ragusa

Travel to Ragusa and take an orientation walk of the old town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Baroque architecture. Part of the eight Sicilian towns of the Val di Noto. Enjoy an included wine tasting with local snacks.

Your Foodie Moment: Wine Tasting

Sip some local vino and learn about the process of turning grapes into wine. Enjoy some local snacks alongside the tasting. Salute!

Accommodation

Hotel Montreal (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 5 Ragusa/Siracusa

Head to Modica, famous for its Aztec chocolate and Baroque architecture. Visit the historic center, catch a glimpse of the stunning Church of San Giorgio and enjoy a chocolate tasting, a cheese tasting, and a light lunch. Continue on to Scicli, another charming ancient town set in a gorge near the coast. Opt to see the fantastic Church of San Matteo and the traditional piazzas before continuing on to Siracusa (Syracuse).

Your Foodie Moment: Chocolate Tasting

Enjoy a taste of the delicious Aztec chocolate Modica is famous for.

Your Foodie Moment: Cheese Tasting

Enjoy a cheese tasting in Scicli followed by a light lunch.

Accommodation

Hotel Centrale Siracusa (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 6 Siracusa/Randazzo

Enjoy a free morning in this UNESCO-listed Greco-Roman seaside city. Opt to visit the historic center 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 afternoon, drive to Randazzo, a town on the outskirts of Catania. Stay in a farmhouse and enjoy a local dinner and the lovely setting.

Accommodation

Parco Statella (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7 Randazzo/Catania

Leave early to visit famous 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 on to Catania.

Accommodation

Hotel Gresi (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 8 Catania

Depart at any time.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Your Investment

Your Investment is $1799 per person based on double occupancy. (we will match same gender roommates) If you want your own room, the single supplement is $279 and space is limited.

The deposit to hold your space is $350 per person.  Final Payment is on April 1, 2020.

If you prefer to make payments, please contact us and we will arrange a plan that works.

Your Trip Includes

  • Accommodations
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tours as listed in the itinerary
  • Your Foodie Moment: Wine Tasting, Ragusa
  • Your Foodie Moment: Chocolate Tasting, Modica
  • Your Foodie Moment: Cheese Tasting, Scicli. Short orientation walk in Palermo. Walking tour of the city. Cathedral visit (Monreale). Orientation walk of Ragusa. Historic centre visit in Modica. Scicli visit. Free time in Syracuse. Mt Etna hike.
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Your Trip Does Not Include

  • International Flights
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional tours
  • Gratuities

How We Make Your Escape Awesome!

We are ready to answer your questions throughout the process via phone or email.

Once you sign up and pay your deposit:

  • We will send you a link to your My Trips account. You can view your trip details any time from your PC or Mobile Phone.
  • We will send you arrival and departure details so you can make your flight arrangements.
  • We will email you your final payment reminder about 1 week before it is due.
  • About two-three months before the trip we will send significant details like packing lists, further itinerary details, etc.
  • One month before the trip we will mail you your travel documents (or pass them out at a gathering for those local).

Facebook Group

You will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can meet, virtually, your fellow travelers, discuss the trip, make any preparation plans together, and share your excitement.

Our groups are typically 10-15 travelers. We aren’t a ‘big bus’ tour and don’t want to be. We don’t just look out the window and drive by the sights. Typically, our tours are custom and private. The advantage is, we can say, ‘stop here, we want to see this’ and we can stop and explore, even if it isn’t in the plan. Yes, we have an itinerary, but we also feel it’s important to take advantage of unexpected moments that arise. We attract travelers who are flexible and adventurous. A bit of spontaneity is a good thing!

You should know, our travelers are like you, they don’t want a canned tour, they like a sense of freedom on their trip, they understand the value of flexibility in travel, and they love the idea of working with a planning team that understands and respects their travel values.

So, Is this Trip for You?

  • You love traveling with like minded people and a tour company that is focused on traveling deeply into a destination, knowing how to read the group and make the best decisions for a perfect trip.
  • You find joy in trying new things, food, activities, etc.
  • Plans are good, and important to a great trip, however, flexibility sometimes brings a deeper experience and it’s OK with you.
  • You enjoy meeting and traveling with new people.
  • Some moderate physical activity will bring you the memories that make your trip special.

This Trip is Not for You If…

  • Travel is stressful and sometimes you find yourself anxious and frustrated when things don’t go perfectly as planned.
  • New things, new situations, aren’t really your thing.
  • You don’t like trying unusual local foods.
  • You feel uncomfortable and unsafe in places that are ‘foreign’ to Western culture.
  • Too much walking for long distances is tough.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will I change accommodations during the trip?

Please refer to the itinerary. Accommodations change almost nightly as you explore the island.

Can I extend my stay?

Absolutely, adding a pre or post stay always enhances a trip. You spent the money to get there, why not stay a while? We will be happy to help you make plans.

What airport do I fly into and out of?

You will fly round trip to Catania.

What are VISA requirements for these countries?

There are no visa requirements for Italy.

What type of currency is used in these countries?

The currency used in Italy is the Euro.

Who do I contact for other questions and travel advice?

Call us at 860-779-6531 or send an email to lwhittemore@cruiseplanners.com

What is the age group of my potential fellow travelers?

Our guests typically range in age from 45-75. They tend to be of an age where they are either already retired and traveling is an objective for them, or are getting close. There are some tours that attract a younger group, sometimes adult children of a traveler in the group will join the tour.

Groups tend to be predominantly female, although we are wanting a good mix of men and woman, solo and couples traveling.

In any case, our travelers are in good health, active and adventurous.

I’m not a tour person, will this be too much of a standard tour for me?

No worries here, your fellow travelers feel exactly the same way and so do we, your tour curators. Of course there are some parts of our tours that are standard, we travel often by a van or motor coach, we eat together and do activities together. What makes us different, are two critical things, we don’t like traditional touring either, we work hard to be different. And two, you will always have the opportunity to choose. If you want to do something on your own or different than the group plan, you are welcome to do that.

We would love to have you join us! We will do our best to provide the opportunities and activities that allow you to make amazing memories and lasting friendships. We are looking forward to traveling with you.

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