Tour Notes

Highlights of Sicily

Tour Notes

From Catania to Palermo, enjoy the sunny weather and the welcoming atmosphere of Sicily. You’ll walk up a volcano, stroll in the elegant alleyways of Taormina, explore Syracuse and the baroque valley of Noto, learn about the connection between Sicily and Greece in the Temple Valley, enjoy gelato and cannoli, visit the Favignana island and arrive in Palermo where a delicious dinner will wait for you.

Together with a small group of maximum 10 people and your local leader, the Grand Sicily Tour will be the ultimate adventure to see every corner of the island.

Starting point: Catania
End point: Palermo
Age: Min 15

All our tours are guaranteed to depart

What makes this tour a unique experience?

  • Explore Catania, Taormina, Syracuse and Palermo like a local. Your local leader will show you the authentic side of Sicilian cities
  • Wander around the historical town of Erice
  • Relax a full day on Favignana Island, the pearl of Sicily
  • You will admire the historical side of Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples
  • Enjoy a day trip to Etna, the biggest volcano in Europe
  • Explore the baroque and picturesque towns around Noto Valley
  • 1-night Agriturismo stay [top-quality country side guesthouse]
  • Our accommodations are centrally located, high-quality and comfortable

All of our LocalWonders Travel tours include a passionate expert local leader who will become your “local friend”, opening up for you the most authentic side of Italy. Our local leaders are professional and knowledgeable and take pride in providing hassle-free experiences for our guests.

Is this the tour I want?

Though no specific training or fitness level is required for this tour, there are a few things we suggest considering when choosing your LocalWonders Travel experience.
On this tour we do most of our travelling by private transfer with driver.
At LocalWonders Travel we pride ourselves on providing tours that allow our guests to explore cities by foot. Why? Because we believe that exploring by foot is the best way to get an authentic Italian experience. Sometimes we explore for up to three hours at a time. We do this at a relaxed and comfortable pace, stopping to rest once-in-a-while to enjoy an espresso or gelato, and promise that you’ll have a wonderful time, but guests should note that walking is a big part of our trips!
On our tours we stay in carefully-selected high-quality and comfortable accommodations. Accommodation arrangements for single travellers during our trips include an en-suite twin room, shared with a fellow single traveller of the same sex. However, if you’d prefer a single room to enjoy during your trip, you can purchase a “single supplement” (your own room).
If you are in pursuit of an authentic trip, planned and managed by local professionals with an informal and friendly style without foregoing professionalism and supreme quality, then you are in the right place.

Joining point

Asmundo di Gisira or similar
Via Gisira 40
95121 Catania
+39 095 097 8894

How to get to your hotel

From Catania Fontanarossa airport there is a shuttle bus departing every 25 minutes and connecting Catania airport to Catania city center in approx. 30 minutes. Within 2 weeks before your tour departs we will send you detailed instruction on how to reach your hotel. The price of the ticket is €4 and you can buy it at the ticket office in the airport arrival hall or on the bus.

Taxi from Catania Airport to your Hotel

Approximately 20 minutes trip, price approximately €30

Private transfer with driver

If you want us to arrange for a private transfer from the airport to your hotel you can choose the Airport Transfer Option while you’re booking and we’ll get back to you, to let you know our best rates and to arrange your airport transfer.

Finishing point

Hotel Quinto Canto or similar
Via Vittorio Emanuele 310
90100 Palermo
+39 091 584913

How to get to your hotel

From Palermo there is a shuttle bus departing every 30 minutes and connecting Palermo city center to the airport in approx. 1 hour. The ticket price of the ticket is €6,30 and you can buy it at the ticket office in the airport arrival hall or on the bus.

Taxi form Palermo Airport to your hotel
Approximately 1-hour trip, price approximately €40-50

Private transfer with driver
If you want us to arrange for a private transfer from the airport to your hotel or other way round, you can choose the Airport Transfer Option while you’re booking and we’ll get back to you, to let you know our best rates and to arrange your airport transfer.

Notes on taxi
Taxis in Italy are generally white cars with the word TAXI written on the top. At airports and train stations, they are parked at Taxi Stations right outside the building. For your own safety, do not take unauthorized “taxis”.

Cancellation Policy

Carefully read the cancellation policy in section 11 of the Terms&Conditions before booking.

Accommodation and Single Supplement

Accommodations on our tours include a double or twin room with en-suite bathroom for our guests. Single travellers are matched with a fellow traveller of the same sex to share a room. If you’d prefer a single room to enjoy during your tour, you can purchase a “single supplement” (your own room) for €650.
We are proud to offer our guests accommodation at some of Italy’s charming hotels. We have painstakingly chosen distinguished locally-run boutique hotels that are quality, comfortable and clean – full of character for an authentic Italy experience – but without the rigid formality that comes with “luxury”.
Note: We do our best to book your single room in the same hotel as the rest of our group; however, on the rare occasion that space is not available at that hotel, you will be booked into a different hotel of the same or higher class located within walking distance from where we’re staying.
Occasional alternative accommodation: on rare occasions, it might happen that we have to make a change to the hotel reservation or split the group between two different hotels. Please be assured that in all cases we book in replacement rooms at hotels of the same or higher calibre. Those new hotels will adhere to the same strict quality criteria we always use.
Daily City Tax: depending on the hotel and the city, sometimes there’s a city tax added to a room charge (between €1 and €10 per person per night). Our tour costs include this City Tax – no additional charge
Extra Nights: should you wish to add extra nights to your stay here in Italy, either before your LocalWonders tour begins or after your tour has ended, we can help to make those arrangements. Simply select “additional accommodation” when filling in your Booking Form and we’ll be in touch to finalize the details.

Travel Insurance

We want our guests to have a truly care-free experience on our tours, and safety and comfort are our main focus. In that sentiment, travel insurance is compulsory for all our tours and we require our guests to have travel insurance medical and repatriation coverage with a liability limit greater than €200,000 (or corresponding currency in your country of origin).
Further, while not compulsory, we also highly recommend that our guests’ insurance also covers damages against third parties, property and people, as well as damages stemming from any trip-related events (loss of luggage and personal effects, theft, physical harm or delay).
Need help? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the LocalWonders team at any time. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about our insurance policy and, while we don’t sell insurance, we can suggest a variety of good travel insurance providers should you need.

Passport and Visa

Non European Union citizens are required to bring along a passport with an at least 6-month validity from the date of entry in Italy and – depending on nationality – travel visas. For more information on visas, please check on the following link of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you’re not sure about the documentation that you’ll need for your trip, we highly recommend contacting the Italian Embassy or Consular Offices nearest to you for further information. LocalWonders Travel tour participants are responsible for having required travel documentation (see Section 17 of our Terms&Conditions). LocalWonders Travel cannot assist you in getting the passport or visa required to travel to Italy.
Though in other countries might be different, in Italy for safety reason, at your arrival at the hotel, your passport will be required by the receptionist for the check-in and the registration procedure.

Professional liability insurance

LocalWonders Travel carries Professional Liability Insurance as well as Tour Operator’s Insolvency Insurance (required by European law). For more information see our Terms & Conditions.
None of these cover passenger’s medical and repatriation insurance.

Transport Means

On this tour we travel aboard comfortable high-speed trains and sometimes regional trains. Besides being fun, trains are an ecological means of transport and they are often the fastest and most comfortable means to get to destination. Other means of transport used during this trip also include buses, subways, boats and taxis.

Health Conditions

Please read the itinerary and tour notes carefully to see whether or not this tour is right for you. Though no specific training is required for this tour, all of our guests need to be in good physical health. In order to ensure the safety of all of our guests, those with certain medical conditions or limitations might not be able to join parts of our tour. As concerns vaccinations, please contact your personal doctor.

Cultural Heritage and Stairs

In a country like Italy of such rich heritage, there are many amazing buildings and structures to explore. To do so, there might be some stair-climbing involved.

Conduct Guidelines

When moving as a group and – especially – when traveling by train, timeliness is extremely important. In order to ensure that all of our guests are able to enjoy each of the activities planned for this tour, we ask that everyone makes sure to be on time. Should one of our group members be late on the day of departure from the hotel and therefore expose the group to risk of missing the train, the local leader and the rest of the group will go ahead without them. (Of course, that group member will be encouraged to join us again later but will have to cover any associated expenses.)

The following activities and behaviours are strictly forbidden during our tours:

  • Use or possession of illegal substances or drugs (including marijuana)
  • Exploitation of prostitution
  • Any form of discrimination or verbal and physical violence towards anyone, including other group members, the local leader, and hotel personnel

Failure to follow these rules shall lead to direct dismissal from the tour with no right to any refund whatsoever.

Local leader

A professional LocalWonders Travel local leader will accompany you on your trip. The local leader will plan trip details and logistics taking all of the hassle and worry out of organizing travel (from trains, tickets, restaurant recommendations, reservations and tips for how to make the most of your free time). Your local leader will be your trusted point of reference throughout the entire trip, making sure that everything goes smoothly.
The local leader will provide authenticity and fun introducing you to the authentic side of Italy, providing interesting (and entertaining) information about the places you are visiting and showing you the best spots, usually only discovered by the locals (including favourite local restaurants).
During “free time”, the local leader is not compelled to join the group; however, he will always be available in case of need.
Note: In Europe there is a difference between LOCAL LEADER and TOUR GUIDE. If you’re looking for an in-depth introduction to Italy history or art (like a guided museum visit, city tour, or similar), your local leader will be happy to help you to find a skilled and certified tour guide.

Safety

Italy is a very safe country, so long as common sense is used. In busy places like train, bus and metro stations pick-pocketing may be an issue, but following some simple rules will help to ensure you don’t lose your valuables:

  • Never leave your belongings unattended
  • Keep your documents and money in a neck wallet or money belt
  • Keep your purse or daily pack in front of you when traveling by train and bus
  • Do not accept help with your luggage by anyone not wearing a uniform

Luggage tips

What you bring is up to you however, we recommend that our guests travel light. We don’t have baggage restriction, but on our tours our guests are responsible for carrying their own luggage (including on and off of trains) so we suggest luggage that’s 15-18kg at the most. (That weight is a good compromise between having everything you’ll need and ease of movement.) Our guests comfortably use a variety of luggage types, including backpacks, suitcases, duffle bags and trolleys.
Do not forget:
– Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, tour notes
– Photocopy of main passport pages, visa and travel insurance
– Money belt
– Personal medications/prescriptions and a small travel first aid kit
– Comfortable and good walking shoes (better if with non-slip soles)
– Small day-pack for daily excursions
– Electrical adapter plug (see below for electrical outlets information)
– Sunscreen (summers can be very hot, even more than 30° C)
– Swimsuit
– Sunhat and Sunglasses
– A shawl (in churches exposed shoulders and arms are not permitted)
– Clothes and personal effects as you prefer (evening attire not required on our evenings out)
– Attire in case of rain and wind (i.e. a folded and lightweight poncho with a hood)
– A lightweight sweater in case of chilly evenings
– A warm sweather and a jacket if travelling from late October to April

General Useful Information

Electrical Outlets: in Italy electrical current is 220-230 volts at 50 hertz. Italy uses a round, 2-prong plug, type C or F.
Italy Country Code for international calls: the country code for Italy is 39. When calling Italy from abroad dial +39 followed by the area code and the phone number you desire to call. Alternatively you can replace the + with the National Exit Code of the country from where you are calling.

Weather

Italy’s climate varies based on season and location. Italy has got hot summers and cold winters, with the southern areas of the country experiencing milder winters and hotter summers. Italy has got four seasons, winter (21 December – 20 March), spring (21 March – 20 June), summer (21 June-20 September) and autumn (21 September – 20 December). Winter is generally cold and rainy (average temperature in the northern areas 0-6°C and 10-14 °C in the southern areas), spring and autumn are mild and dry (average temperature in the northern areas 13-20°C and  15-20°C in the southern areas) and summer is hot and generally without rain (average temperature in the northern areas 20-23°C and  22-27°C in the southern areas). For more information check The Climate in Italy.

Currency and Budget

The Euro is the official currency in Italy. There will be ATMs in almost all the places we visit.
Your tour with LocalWonders Travel includes transportation and activities as per itinerary, several meals, and accommodation. It does not include tips/gratuities, additional meals, attractions, or personal expenses. For the meals not included on this tour, we suggest budgeting a daily amount, and while that will vary for everyone, €30-40 per day is considered a reasonable amount.

Tipping Guideline

Should you wish to tip for excellent and professional service, you should feel welcome (though not required).Tips are not compulsory in Italy (as they are in other parts of the world) though they are becoming more common and they can be significant for the people who have taken care of you during the tour. Here are a few guidelines:

Local leader: €4-6 per person per day
Local guides: €1-3 per person
Restaurant €1-2 per person (or 10% of the service in case of high class restaurant)
Hotel porters (if present) €1-2 per person
Please feel free to tip higher, lower or not tip at all depending on your judgement on the service and what you deem right.

Free Time and Optional Activities

We’ve incorporated free time throughout all of our tours so that our guests can relax or explore at their own pace, indulging in their own special interests – museums, shopping, dining, concerts, wandering and more. Your local leader will be able to provide lots of suggestions.
We’ve included some of the most popular activities in the list below:

CATANIA

  • Historical Museum of the landing in Sicily 1943 – €4
  • Fish market – free
  • Sant’Agata Cathedral – free
  • Bellini Theatre – it depends on the show
  • Bellini Garden – free
  • Museum Ursino Castle – €7
  • Pupi (puppet) Museum and Theatre – from €4

TAORMINA

  • Greek Theatre – €10

SYRACUSE

  • Cathedral – €2
  • Maniace Castle – €4
  • Neapolis Archaeological Park – €10

PALERMO

  • Normanni Palace and Palatina Chapel – €12
  • Palermo Cathedral – free
  • Martorana Church – €2
  • No mafia Tour (operated by AddioPizzo) – from €30
  • Day trip to Mondello beach
  • Street markets – free

CEFALÙ

  • Cefalù cathedral
  • Beach time

LIPARI

  • Aeolian Islands Tour
  • Beach time

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Catania
Benvenuti in Italia! Welcome to Italy. Your adventure starts in Sicily’s second biggest city, Catania.
Your tour starts at 6:00pm with a Welcome Meeting where you will meet you local leader and fellow travellers. (Upon arrival at the hotel you will find a note telling you where this welcome meeting will take place). After the meeting you will start your Italian experience with the first highlight, a typical Sicilan meal.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Habitat Hotel or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: Welcome Dinner 

Day 2: Mount Etna and Catania
After breakfast, an exciting half day adventure around Mt. Etna begins. A volcanologist will pick us up and, on a 4wd vehicle, we will make our way to the biggest volcano in Europe. We will cross lava fields, hundreds-years old forests and we will take an easy walk to the impressive “Monte Fontana” and to the spectacular Bove Valley.
In the afternoon you still have time to explore Catania, shopping or perhaps join your local leader on a Like a Local walk.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Asmundo di Gisira or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: Breakfast
– Guided half-day trip to Mount Etna (including 4wd transport)
– Catania “like a local” walk

How long is the trip today?
Approx. 30-min. drive from Catania to Mt. Etna
Approx. 30-min. drive from Mt. Etna to Catania

Day 3: Taormina and Syracuse
Elegance, scenic terraces overlooking the Ionian Sea and a theatre that links Sicily directly to the ancient Greece: today adventure is called Taormina, a magnificent town that the greatest artists, writers and movie stars of XIX century elected as the place to be. After breakfast a private car/minivan with professional driver will take us to Taormina, where you will have a like a local walk with your local leader and sometime at your leisure. In the afternoon we will travel to Syracuse, a magnificent town easy to fall in love with. Elegant baroque buildings, origins connected to the Greek history and the lively atmosphere of its centre will be a very pleasant surprise.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Alla Giudecca or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meals:Breakfast
– Day trip to Taormina
– Taormina “like a local” walk
– Syracuse “like a local” walk
– Private transfer with professional driver from Catania to Taormina and Syracuse

How long is the trip today?
Approx. 1-hour drive from Catania to Taormina
Approx. 1.5-hour drive from Taormina to Catania

Day 4: Syracuse
Wake up in one of Italy’s most beautiful towns and enjoy a full day at your own leisure. Visit the famous Neapolis archeological park of Syracuse where you can admire an ancient Greek Theatre, visit the Pupi theatre (traditional Sicilian puppets) or have a lovely stroll of the Ortigia peninsula. Syracuse offers a lot of optional activities and your local leader will be available for any help you might need during the day.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Alla Giudecca or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: Breakfast

Day 5: Noto Valley and agriturismo stay
Just after breakfast you will say goodbye to Syracuse and a professional driver will take us to the “Val di Noto” a geographical area with Arabic and Turkish influence. This picturesque area is famous for the excellent baroque buildings and you will have plenty of time to discover the two towns of Modica and Ragusa. Your local leader will show you the highlights before we continue our journey to a special Italian experience, a stay in an Agriturismo [comfortable and top-quality country guesthouse]. Tonight, dinner is included and together with your fellow travelers you will enjoy a freshly made meal, using products from the region.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Special Agriturismo stay in the area of Gela
– Daily city tax
– Meal: breakfast
– Private car/minivan with professional driver from Syracuse to Val di Noto and to Agritursimo accommodation

How long is the trip today?
Approx. 1 -hour drive from Syracuse to Val di Noto
Approx. 1.5-hour drive from Val di Noto to agriturismo stay

Day 6: Valley of the temples/Trapani
After a relaxing morning start on your farm stay, our private transfer will take us to the Valley of the Temples, the largest archeological site in the world. A local leader will show you around this area included in the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE list since 1997. The Valley of the Temples is a great example of Greek architecture and a magical place to explore. After the visit your private transfer will take you to Trapani, your home for the next two days.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Hotel San Michele or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: breakfast
– Valley of the Temples Guided Tour and entrance
– Trapani Like a local walk
– Private car/minivan with professional driver from your agriturismo accommodation to Valley of the Temple and to Trapani.

How long is the trip today?
Approx. 1-hour drive from agriturismo stay to Valley of the Temples
Approx. 2.5-hour drive from Val di Noto to Trapani

Day 7: Favignana/Trapani
In the morning we’ll head down to the port to take a local ferry to Favignana, Sicily’s pearl, with its crystal clear water and beautiful beaches. Definitely a day you will never forget. Favignana offers a wide range of activities and your local leader will help organizing your perfect day. Favignana is best discovered by bike, so perhaps rent a bike and cycle around the coast, visiting a few of the stunning beaches around the Island. In the afternoon the ferry will take you back to Trapani, and the rest of the day will be at your leisure.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Hotel San Michele or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: breakfast
– Ferry ticket to Favignana and back

Day 8: Erice/Palermo
After breakfast and check out, you will store your luggage at the hotel and join you local leader for your next adventure: a Cable Car ride up to the medieval town of Erice. This fascinating mountaintop village was named after Eryx, son of Venus, goddess of love and beauty. From here you will have the most beautiful view over Trapani and Egadi Islands. Back to Trapani, a private transfer will take you to Palermo.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Hotel Quinto Canto or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: Breakfast
– Cable car to Erice return ticket
– Taxi from hotel to train station in Trapani
– Taxi from train station to hotel in Palermo

How long is the trip today?
Approx. 1.5-hour drive from Trapani to Palermo

Day 9: Palermo
Buongiorno in Palermo! This morning a local leader will unveil for you the most beautiful part of Palermo’s historic center of Palermo, an incredible city rich in history and colorful alleyways, offering a wonderful mix of styles. In the afternoon you will have time to relax or ask your local leader for suggestions, for example a trip to the famous Monreale Cathedral. Later in the evening you will meet your group and local leader for a special farewell dinner rich in delicious flavors.

What’s included?
– Accommodation: Hotel Quinto Canto or similar
– Daily city tax
– Meal: Breakfast, farewell dinner
– Palermo guided tour

Day 10: Palermo Departure Day
Our tour has come to the end. We hope you’ll have had the time of your life! Enjoy one more Italian coffee with its unforgettable aroma, and then head towards your flight home (or your next destination). Arrivederci!

What’s included?
– Meal: Breakfast

Important notes for Day 10
Our tour ends with breakfast. There are no activities planned for today. If you need help in organizing your airport transfer or purchasing train tickets, just ask. Your local leader will be happy to help you in making these arrangements. Note: If possible, plan for and purchase transportation to the airport a few days in advance – organizing same-day travel can be difficult.

What is included?

  • The assistance of a professional local leader for the entire trip
  • Accommodation: comfortable and high-quality boutique hotels (3 stars superior and 4 stars)
  • “Like a Local” walk of Catania, Taormina, Syracuse, Trapani, Palermo, Cefalú
  • Half Day trip to the Mt. Etna [the biggest Volcano in Europe]
  • Day trip to Noto Valley
  • Private guided tour of the Valley of the Temples
  • Cable car to Erice
  • Day trip to Favignana island
  • 1-night Agriturismo Stay
  • Guided Tour in Palermo
  • Walk to “La Rocca” in Cefalú
  • A stay on Lipari Island
  • Several Meals:
    • 9 breakfasts
    • 5 dinners
  • All transfers between cities
  • All hotel daily city taxes

What’s extra?

The following items are not included in the tour cost:
– Flights
– “Single Supplement” (but you can add this!)
– Anything that is not specified to be included