Sicilian Secrets Tour Sicily & Malta – Catania/Malta

Memorable journey to discover the hidden treasures of Sicily and Malta with their fascinating history, art, traditions, scents and flavours...

  • Central 4* hotels in Catania, Ragusa and Palermo, hotel in front of the sea in Agrigento. Hotel in St Julians Bay in Malta.
  • Tour leader and professional travel guide from day 1 to day 7.
  • Street-food tasting in Palermo at the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco; granita and brioche tasting in Catania; visit and chocolate tasting in Modica at Sabadì; honey tasting near Etna mountain.
  • Guided visit of the wonderful Castro-Polara Grimaldi Palace to discover habits and customs of the ancient Sicilian aristocracy during the belle époque. Lunch at the amazing Gli Orti di San Giorgio in Modica to taste some local delicacies.
  • Private visit, wine tasting and light lunch at Cantine Florio in Marsala.
  • Nice illustrated book about Sicilian culinary tradition with recipies in English as gift and souvenir of your journey.
  • Half day excursion in Malta with private driver and dedicated guide; possibility to choose a boat excursion to discover Comino and Gozo or full day guide visit of Cottonera, Marsaxlokk, Wied iz-Zurrieq.

Tour Sicily & Malta - Regular departures every Saturday from Catania11 days / 10 nights

Day 1 - Saturday: CATANIA (hotel in Catania)

Arrive independently to your hotel in Catania (optional private transfer on request). In the evening meet the tour leader and your travel companions and enjoy welcome dinner.

Day 2 - Sunday: SYRACUSE – NOTO (hotel in Ragusa)

After breakfast in hotel departure to Syracuse to visit the most beautiful and greatest Greek colony in Sicily and World Heritage Site! The visit will start with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, with its Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise and the Ear of Dionysius. Proceeding on and visit of the splendid Ortigia, a small island which is the historical centre of Syracuse. In Ortigia you will admire the beautiful Cathedral which dominates the square with its authoritative presence. The façade is a powerful Sicilian-Baroque composition but it gives no hint that this building was once a Doric temple! From Piazza Duomo you will reach a wide terrace on the waterfront surrounding the famous Arethusa’s Fountain, one of the most famous fresh-water sources of the Greek world. Free time for lunch. Departure to Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, famous for its fine buildings of the early eighteenth century and declared Unesco World Heritage Site. Inspired by Baroque ideals of “open city”, Noto is a rare masterpiece and the clearest example of theatrical tastes in 18th century architecture whose local limestone has been burnt gold by the sun. Noto’s Baroque is a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views, palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the facades of churches and monasteries. Visit of Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, beautiful noble residence in Baroque style. Free time for a walk along the town. Transfer to Ragusa for dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 3 – Monday: RAGUSA IBLA – MODICA – PIAZZA ARMERINA (Hotel in Agrigento)

Today visit of Ragusa Ibla and its historical centre cradle of Sicilian Baroque. Used as a location of the extremely popular Police Inspector Montalbano Tv series, it is today stated among the 44 Italian World Heritage Sites. This little precious ancient town hosts more than 50 churches and many Baroque architectural treasures! You will be fascinated by its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful Dome square and you will love the “Giardino Ibleo”, the oldest of the four main gardens in Ragusa… At 383 meters above sea level, from this beautiful garden you can admire a spectacular panorama! The tour proceeds towards Modica chest of innumerable Baroque architectural treasures and for this reason stated Unesco World Heritage Site. Walking along the tiny streets of this charming town, you will have a stop to visit Sabadì, one of the most renowned chocolate manufacturers whose chocolate has been awarded as the best Modica chocolate in the last 9 years! You will enjoy a multisensorial chocolate tasting discovering the authentic Sicilian perfumes… the local nepitella (wild mint), the orange blossom honey, the raw PGI - quality Sicilian lemon and the PGI – quality Sicilian red orange are just some of the many flavours you can taste! Proceeding on you will visit the beautiful and perfectly preserved noble seventeenth-century Palazzo Castro Polara Grimaldi. You will be astonished by its amazing balcony which dominates the town with a spectacular view and you will feel to be brought back to the past at the beginning of the XX century where time seems to have stopped. The style of the interior has the typical flavor of Sicilian noble palaces: frescoes of landscapes, wallpapers in splendid satins, vases and furnishings of the most precious manufacture, together with the private collections of Donna Grazietta Grimaldi are all signs which give you the impression that nothing has changed and that the ancient traditions of the house are still alive. You will then be brought back to present time savoring some local delicacies under the shadow of the amazing Orti di San Giorgio: 7 gardens suspended between light and beauty. A breath-taking panorama will be the setting of your relaxing lunch! The day goes on to the charming Piazza Armerina to visit the famous Villa Romana del Casale, Unesco World Heritage Site, to admire the splendid polychrome mosaics! This majestic villa, belonged to a member of the Roman Senatorial aristocracy, hosts prestigious mosaics representing mythological and historical episodes and scenes of hunting and entertainments: you will love it! Departure to Agrigento. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 4 – Tuesday: AGRIGENTO - MARSALA- SALT ROAD (hotel in Palermo)

This morning the tour continues in Agrigento visiting the famous Valley of the Temples stated World Heritage Site. It was defined by Pyndar “the most beautiful city of mortals”. As one of the most prosperous of the ancient Greek cities on the island, Agrigento presents a remarkable series of Doric Temples of the 5th century. Among hundreds of almond trees you will admire the rests of the ancient Akragas. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia” and the “Temple of Heracles”. Proceeding on, visit of the charming and well-known town of Marsala, where Garibaldi went ashore in May 1860. Marsala is a Mediterranean modern city, divided between sea and land, featuring unforgettable colors: bright yellow, intense blue, strong red, dazzling white and natural green. After a walk along the city centre, guided tour of the Florio Cellars. The visit starts in front of the majestic giant vats, built at the end of the 19th century and still used for the refinement of Marsala wine. It continues inside the 3 fascinating barrel chambers, 165 meters long and running beneath 104 arches, under which 1.400 small barrels and about 600 larger barrels and vats of different capacities are arrayed, as c. 5.500.000 liters of Marsala wines age in silence and stillness. After a thirty minute tour through the barrel vaults, where the ancient tuff stone floor has been restored, you will reach the avant-garde tasting rooms named Donna Franca and Duca Enrico. You will enjoy a delicious light lunch and a memorable wine tasting experience! The tour will continue visiting the popular Salt Road: here the salt marshes have given rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world! Between Trapani and Marsala, the Salt Road is now protected for its interesting birdlife, and also as an important site of industrial archaeology. Transfer to Palermo, accommodation in hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 5 - Wednesday: MONREALE - PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)

After breakfast in hotel, the morning will be spent visiting Monreale, its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! Later you will discover the stunning Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay dominated by Mount Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, there is a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past: Punic walls, Art Nouveau villas, noble residences, 17th century squares, including an elegant opera house. Visit of the wonderful eclectic Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, admirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, and a prove of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Ruggero II employed Bizantyne, Muslim and Latin workers. During the day, you will have a stop for a surprise to taste the local street food in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco. Free time for lunch. Along the path you will admire the famous Teatro Massimo and the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with 16th century sculptures. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 6 - Thursday: CEFALÙ- CATANIA (hotel in Catania)

After breakfast transfer to Cefalù, charming Medieval town situated at the northern coast of Sicily. Visit of its stunning Norman Dome and free time to stroll through the town or to visit the famous and well-known Mandralisca Museum. Arrival in Catania and free time for lunch. Later on the tour will continue visiting Catania’s historical centre stated Unesco World Heritage Site, with its original Baroque style and its unique streets built with black lava stone. The colour scheme of the city-centre buildings is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around doors and windows. The effect is extremely elegant! The walking tour will start from the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, antique lava-stone elephant, symbol of the city. Not far from here we will reach University Square and we will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site. Continuing the visit enjoy a break in a historical bar of the city centre to taste the typical “granita & brioche”. Dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby and overnight.

Day 7 – Friday: ETNA – TAORMINA (hotel in Catania)

This morning after a short visit of the famous “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) in Catania, the tour will continue with an excursion to the Mount Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its regional park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. Views of stunning landscapes will amaze you heading to Rifugio Sapienza. You will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands and Calabria. The spectacle is unique! You will have a stop to enjoy the local homemade honey and some typical products of the area. The tour continues towards Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon visit of Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre which will leave you breathless for its commanding view on Giardini Naxos bay and the Etna mountain! Free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, to go shopping and looking around the local handicrafts (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, pastries and much more). The day will end with an overview of the beautiful Riviera dei Ciclopi. Back to the hotel in Catania for dinner and overnight.

Day 8 - Saturday: CATANIA - VALLETTA (Hotel in Malta)

After breakfast, free time to discover the city centre of Catania. According to flights’ schedule, private transfer to the airport and direct flight to Malta. The tour continues now without the tour leader. Arrive to Malta and private transfer to the hotel. Free dinner and overnight.

Day 9 – Sunday: VALLETTA – MDINA (Hotel in Malta)

After breakfast in hotel, our guide will lead you through a half day excursion to discover the treasures of the charming capital Valletta. You will visit the wonderful Casa Rocca Piccola, ancient palace of the sixteenth century belonged to the Maltese nobility and still today private residence of the Marquis De Piro; proceeding on you will visit the Cathedral of St. John where you will admire the beautiful "Beheading of St. John the Baptist", Caravaggio masterpiece and the Barraca Gardens from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the picturesque port of Valletta. Later on, you will visit the Grand Master's Palace, nowadays seat of the Maltese Parliament. Your tour continues on to Mdina, the former capital of Malta. You will visit the Cathedral of St. Paul and then you’ll have free time to walk along its lovely streets and discover its viewpoint from which to enjoy a splendid view. After the visit, transfer to your hotel. Free afternoon. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 10 - Monday: COTTONERA - MARSAXLOKK – BLUE GROTTO – DINGLI (Hotel in Malta)

Today the tour continues with a full day excursion with private driver and guide to discover the beauty of this magical Island. You will reach Cottonera, also called "The Three Cities": the three fortified cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua. Afterwards you will visit the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk whose waterfront is decorated with traditional colorful fishing boats called "luzzi". Free time to stroll along the streets of the city centre and browse among the stalls of the famous local market. Continuing you will visit the town of Wied iz-Zurrieq where you will embark on an excursion sea towards the famous Blue Grotto, a beautiful and picturesque natural cave that reflects the fluorescent colors of the underwater flora. Your tour will continue on board of a private vehicle in the direction of Dingli through the Maltese countryside. Return to your hotel. Overnight.Alternatively: COMINO – BLUE LAGOON - GOZO – MALTA CAVES on boat/ motor vessel excursion (Hotel in Malta)After breakfast in hotel, a private driver will pick you up for another day of excursion in the Maltese archipelago. You will be accompanied to Bugibba, where you will board on a comfortable boat for a fantastic mini cruise. Sailing through the north of the Maltese coast to the island of Comino; you will stop at the famous Blue Lagoon for about an hour. Time to take some pictures, sunbathe and have a swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or, if you prefer, you can relax in the bar of the boat which is equipped with drinks and snacks. Afterwards you will reach Gozo for a visit of about 3 hours, discovering the most charming places of the island: Ta 'Pinu, Dwejra, the capital Victoria with its historic market square and the Citadelle St. Georges. At the end of tour, you will return on board to circumnavigate Comino and visit the famous caves. Return to Bugibba at late afternoon. Transfer to your hotel and overnight.

Day 11 - Tuesday: MALTA

After breakfast in hotel, check-out and end of our services.

 

HOTELS

Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels mostly located in the city centers of the main Sicilian towns, carefully selected for their location and design to combine tradition with comfort:

  • Catania city centre:Il Principe Hotel 4*/ Romano House Hotel 4* or similar
  • Ragusa:Mediterraneo Palace Hotel 4* or similar
  • Agrigento:Baia di Ulisse Wellness & SPA 4* or similar
  • Palermo city centre:Mercure Palermo Centro 4* / Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal 4* or similar
  • Malta:Hotel Argento St Julians 4* / Seashells Resort at Suncrest 4* or similar

Included

Sicily

  • Multilingual Tour leader and professional travel guide* (English, Italian, Spanish) from the evening of the 1st day to the evening of the 7th day, local guides or audio-guides where necessary.
  • Deluxe bus from day 2 to day 7.
  • Whisper kit
  • Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels mostly located in the city centre, international breakfast included.
  • 7 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (dinner – 3 main courses fixed menu – beverages not included) to have a taste of Sicilian and Italian cuisine.2 lunches: on day 3 light lunch in Modica; on day 4 in Marsala in the well-known Florio Cellars.
  • Visit of the main suggestive Unesco World Heritage Sites: Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, Monreale, Palermo, Cefalù, Catania city centre, Etna.Tasting of Sicilian typical products:Modica (day 3): visit of the well-known chocolate manufacturers Sabadì with tasting;Marsala (day 4): visit of the famous Florio wine cellar and wine tasting;Palermo (day 5): tasting of local street food;Catania (day 6): tasting of Sicilian “granita & brioche”;Etna (day 7): visit of a beekeeping honey company and honey tasting.
  • Private transfer from hotel Catania to Catania airport.

Private tour extension to Malta

  • 3 nights in 4* charming hotels, mostly located in the city centre, international breakfast included 
  • Direct flight Catania-Malta

Not included

Sicily: Transfers in/out, all lunches except for the one on day 3 in Modica and in Marsala on day 4, beverages, entrance fees for monuments/museums, city taxes (where compulsory), tips and extras in general, anything not specified under “The rates include”.

Private tour extension to Malta: All meals, entrance fees for monuments/museums, tips and extras in general, anything not specified under “The rate includes”.

Other Info

You will receive your travel documents by email 10 days before the departure. You will be given the names of the confirmed hotels, place and time of meeting with our guide for the day of your arrival and all the details you need for your unforgettable holidays in our amazing Island!

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