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A Snapshot of Western Sicily – Exclusively Solos

8days from
£1,608*per person

Overview

ANCIENT TEMPLES AND REMOTE ISLES

Journey through Western Sicily with equally curious and compatible travellers, surveying the historic, culinary and cultural highlights. Whether you’ve visited this sun-drenched island before or it’s your first time, this well-paced exploration will cover some of the country’s lesser-known areas as well as famed hotspots, including the Valley of the Temples and Monreale. From the smaller towns like Sciacca, with its famous fishing port and intricate ceramics, to Palermo, one of the most historically diverse cities in all of Europe, a local expert will guide and enlighten you throughout.   Each day of the itinerary is designed, so you can learn about how the invasions and wars shaped this destination, marvel at Greek, Roman and Islamic architecture, and gain insights into the traditional processes of local produce, like cheese, salt and wine. Personal time allows you to explore at your leisure and carefully planned excursions encourage you to connect with other classical civilisation lovers. Never miss out on a sight, or an interesting fact, and relax at the end of each day knowing that the next is taken care of. 

Itinerary

  • Upon arrival at Palermo airport, you’ll be greeted by your tour manager who’ll transfer you to your hotel. After check-in, you’re free to unwind and take advantage of the hotel’s amenities before enjoying a welcome dinner and drinks at the hotel’s restaurant. This presents an ideal opportunity to meet with your fellow travellers ahead of the first excursion.
  • After breakfast, the first full day of the tour includes a visit to the medieval town of Erice, one of the few typical medieval towns in Sicily, set on Mount Erice. The group will wander around the historic and cultural highlights of this unique area of Western Sicily, including the scientific culture centre, and the Gothic cathedral, Chiesa Madre. There’ll also be time to take in the panoramic view of the Egadi Islands and the city of Trapani that divides the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll then break for a tasting of typical almost sweets, a Sicilian speciality before travelling to Trapani. Here, a guide will escort you around the historic centre, home to several fascinating sights, including the Torre di Ligny, the fish market, and the church of Sant'Agostino. Lunch will be enjoyed back at the hotel and the afternoon will be free to unwind at the resort, perhaps sip on a cocktail by the pool alongside the other travellers.
  • Have breakfast and then depart for Palermo, Sicily’s capital, on a guided excursion with a difference. Instead of focusing specifically on the architecture and art of the city (which you’ll still see), this tour will showcase the culinary highlights. On foot, you’ll survey the markets selling fresh produce and eateries popular with the locals and sample the typical street food for which Palermo is known. Savour freshly cooked rice balls, arancini, tuck into a traditionally made cannoli, and cool down with a refreshing granita. During your exploration, you’ll still have ample time to take in the city's rich artistic and monumental heritage, including its UNESCO-recognised Arab-Norman architecture. Later, the group will head to Monreale and call at its famous cathedral, a masterpiece of Arab-Norman style adorned with stunning mosaics that tell stories from the Bible and the New Testament. You'll also have the chance to examine the Benedictine Cloister and its beautiful arches, capitals, and columns decorated with colourful polychrome ornamentation. 
  • Once you’ve had breakfast, the tour will embark on a journey to Segesta, a town founded on the slopes of Mount Barbaro by the Helimes between the 12th and 11th centuries BC. The wild and mountainous site offers a spectacular view of the magnificent and solitary Doric Temple of Segesta, a true masterpiece in a Greek style. The group will also stop off at the theatre, which is positioned at the top of the mountain and reachable by a shuttle bus. The next destination will be a local dairy that has been built inside an old tuff quarry. You’ll learn about the traditional processes of cheese production before tasting several of the cheeses. Lunch will be enjoyed at the farm and feature dishes made from locally sourced produce. In the evening, you’ll return for dinner and to take it easy at the hotel.
  • Following on from breakfast, you’ll travel along the ‘salt road’ towards the coastal town of Marsala, passing by famous salt pans. You’ll then arrive at the Salt Museum, which provides an insight into the production of sea salt and the importance of this mineral to the area. This town is also known for its wine production, which was held in very high regard by the British at the end of the 1700s. The group will call at a historical winery here, where you’ll be able to taste for yourself and compare notes with the other travellers. You’ll then have time to wander around at your leisure in the historic centre, observing its ancient ruins, spotting migratory birds flocking to the beachfront, and perhaps drinking some more wine at one of the many pavement-fronted cafés. Afterwards, the group will head back to the hotel for dinner.
  • Enjoy breakfast and set off on a memorable excursion to the fishing port of Sciacca. Known for its fine artistic ceramics, this town is awash with boutique shops displaying these wares. You’ll get to stroll around its old town and visit some of the ceramic exhibitions while learning about this art form. The tour will continue to the hilltop city, Agrigento, home of the famous Valley of the Temples. This area is a breathtaking archaeological site that contains some of the most well-preserved Greek temples in the world. Erected during the 5th century BC, these monuments are now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are unmissable on a trip to Sicily. As you’re guided through the valley, you’ll see one remarkable shrine after another, including the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concordia, and the Temple of Hercules. The sheer size and magnificence of these structures is awe-inspiring, and your tour manager will help you gain a new appreciation for the history and culture of the Greek civilization that once thrived in Sicily. The Temple of Concordia is particularly impressive, as it is considered to be one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. Its intricate carvings across the stone columns and walls are a testament to the skill and artistry of the ancient Greek architects and craftsmen. Post-adventuring, you’ll be dropped back at the hotel for dinner and to relax.
  • It’s your final day, and you can make the most of it by doing as little or as much as you like at your leisure. Alternatively, you can join an optional excursion to the Egadi Islands, a group of three small islands located off the western coast of Sicily, encompassing Favignana, Levanzo, and Marettimo. You’ll get to cruise to two of these islands, with the first being Favignana, the largest one, which is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning beaches, as well as its tuna fishing industry. There’ll be time to visit its small fishing village of narrow lanes and beautiful architecture before continuing to Levanzo. The smallest of the three islands, Levanzo, is mostly uninhabited and features idyllic bays and rocky cliffs, which are perfect for hiking and exploring. The cruise is subject to weather conditions and the period of stay, as the area often gets strong winds and it’s not always possible to guarantee the crossing. Back on land, the tour will return to the hotel and conclude the trip with a farewell dinner. Over a traditional Sicilian meal and some drinks, you can reflect on the week, sharing personal highlights with the other travellers.
  • After breakfast, you’ll check out of the hotel and be transferred to Palermo airport for your flight home.  

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the medieval town of Erice with panoramic views and visit Trapani's historic centre
  • Discover Palermo's food markets and culinary scene, as well as the city's artistic and monumental riches on the Arab-Norman route
  • Visit Monreale Cathedral, Benedictine Cloister, and the Valley of Temples in Agrigento, one of the greatest treasures of the Greek heritage in Sicily
  • Observe the magnificent Doric Temple of Segesta and the theatre located at the top of the mountain
  • Experience a dairy built inside an old tuff quarry and indulge in traditional Sicilian cuisine with a cheese tasting and typical appetisers.
  • Survey the salt pans in Marsala, learn about the production of sea salt, and sample local wines at a historical winery
  • Embark on an optional excursion to the mountainous, Mediterranean Egadi Islands

Our Price Includes

  • Seven nights' half-board accommodation at the four-star La Tonnara Di Bonagia Resort, Valderice
  • A welcome dinner and drinks, and a farewell dinner
  • Seven dinners (in total), six breakfasts and one lunch
  • A visit to Erice and Trapani
  • A culinary walking tour of Palermo
  • An excursion to Segesta
  • A visit to a local dairy, with a cheese tasting
  • A visit to Monreale
  • A visit to the town of Marsala and the Salt Museum
  • A visit to a local winery and wine tasting
  • An excursion to Sciacca
  • A guided tour of the Valley of the Temples
  • Return flights to Palermo
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
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Dates and Prices

 
September 2024
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Departure Airport:
London Gatwick (LGW)

Number of Passengers:

Price from:£1,608
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Accommodation

La Tonnara Di Bonagia Resort, Valderice -

★★★★

Positioned across from the Port of Bonagia and the Tyrrhenian Sea, this resort, with views of Mount Cofano, offers an idyllic coastal escape.

Facilities & Amenities
Guests have direct access to the sea via a jetty or small rocky cove, there is an airy, sophisticated restaurant, and an expansive outdoor swimming pool, ringed by sun loungers.
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Other Information

Combining hotel transfers

We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

Special requirements

If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

Meals and dining in Italy

Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant. In some instances, individual guests who have booked with the hotel independently may be offered a different menu from those who are staying at the hotel as part of a package tour. An authentic dining experience in Italy can often be a bit different to the Italian food that international tourists might be used to, but it’s one of the best ways to truly appreciate the finer cultural differences of this tourist hotspot. From simpler, but more frequent, courses to regional dishes, here are some points to note when dining in Italy.   The first major difference you’re likely to notice is that the dining experience as a whole is much longer; you’ll enjoy a much more social experience than the average dinner back home with multiple smaller courses spread across a longer period of time. While each meal will be prepared to order, you may notice that dishes are served cooler than you might be used to – Italian dishes are rarely served piping hot to preserve the more delicate flavours of each ingredient and to provide a more enjoyable dining experience. The final thing to bear in mind is that it may be tricky to find Italian classics in the same form as they are at home. For instance, while Spaghetti Carbonara is a staple in historic Rome – and made traditionally using egg yolks rather than cream – you’ll often find it replaced with a wild boar ragù in Tuscany.

Disabled access

The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Itinerary changes

Occasionally we may have to change the order of the hotel stays and excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.  

Foreign Office Travel Advice

Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

Italian hotel room tax

Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1€ and 3€ per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your tour manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.

Travelling to Europe

Rules may have changed since you last travelled to European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure. You do require government issued passport to travel. Names - It is very important that all passenger names are exactly as per your passport although we do not require middle names. Passport - Your passport must meet two requirements to travel to an EU country and to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It must be: Less than 10 years old on the day you return home (please check the "date of issue") and valid for at least 3 months after the day you return home (please check the "expiry date"). Visa - You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period. European Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) - Commencing in late 2023 or 2024, all citizens of the United Kingdom will require a ETIAS electronic form completed prior to their arrival into the EU and Schengen member countries. The cost for this travel authorisation will be €7.00 per person with exceptions for under 18’s and over 70’s. The latest information and further details can be found at www.etias.com.

Holiday code

N2494

Holiday provided by Newmarket Holidays

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: This holiday is sold and operated by Newmarket Holidays (ABTOT 5509, ATOL 2325, ABTA V7812), you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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