Day 1 – May 19th, 2024
Today begins our journey with our overnight flights to Catania, Sicily.
Day 2 – May 20th, 2024
Benvenuti in Sicilia!! Today you begin your Mediterranean experience you have long awaited. In Sicily, nature, history, and food is a dream you can experience with all your senses, a fairy tale that becomes reality, making a strong impression and leaving you with indescribable feelings. This is a destination where cultural immersion is key to the experience.
Arriving in Catania, Sicily we will transfer to our hotel which will be our stay for the next four nights. Our hotel is in the heart of Taormina. Located on Corso Umberto, the stylish and chic main street, just a few steps away from the Greek-Roman Theatre and the ancient Sicilian monuments of the town. The perfect location for evening strolls and shopping the local artisans in the area. Look forward to group dinner this evening, starting what will be the cultural culinary immersion you will look forward to each and every day.
Day 3 – May 21st, 2024
Today is devoted to discovering Taormina. Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today. Idyllically perched on a rocky promontory high above the sea, Taormina has been the most popular tourist destination in Sicily for a couple of hundreds of years, ever since it became an integral part of the Grand Tour. Beautifully restored mediaeval buildings, breathtaking views around every corner and a giddy network of winding streets strewn with shops, bars and restaurants make for a perfect holiday spot. Included visit to Teatro Greco.
Day 4 – May 22nd, 2024
After breakfast today we will make our way to the beautiful Isola Bella, also known as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea. If you are a fan of the “White Lotus” Netflix series, this will be a highlight for you. The first records of Taormina’s Isola Bella date back to 1806, when Ferdinand I of Borbone decided to give it to the Municipality of Taormina. After we will make our way down to the charming streets of Giardini in Naxos. Known for its colourful houses, quaint shops and excellent restaurants. We begin our visit at the Archaeological Museum of Naxos. This museum has a collection of artifacts that date back to the first Greek settlers in Sicily. You will find various ancient pieces including pottery, coins, statues, and other artifacts. After exploring the museum, take a stroll to the nearby ruins of the Temple of Apollo.
Day 5 – May 23rd, 2024
Enjoy a final day in beautiful Taormina. Get some last-minute shopping done, sightseeing, or enjoy a stroll by the promenade. Tomorrow we will make our way south to Siracusa.
Day 6 – May 24th, 2024 Taormina – Siracusa
Today we depart Taormina, making the scenic journey to the iconic Mount Etna for a short hike and exploration. Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, which is among the most active in the world, standing 3327 meters tall with an average basal diameter of 40 km which dominates the entire island with its size. A UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its globally important geological features, Mount Etna’s first eruptions date back to about 570,000 years ago. After we stop for a light lunch with wine tasting at a local vineyard all while taking in the breathtaking views of this exquisite location a short distance from Mount Etna, before we journey on to our next hotel in Siracusa.
Day 7 – May 25th, 2024 Siracusa & Ortigia
More than any other city, Syracuse (Siracusa) encapsulates Sicily’s timeless beauty. Ancient Greek ruins rise out of lush citrus orchards, cafe tables spill onto dazzling baroque piazzas, and honey-hued medieval side streets lead down to the sparkling blue sea. We make our way over to Ortigia, the historical centre of Syracuse located on Sicily’s south-eastern coast, where three bridges connect the island to the town. It is considered the heart of the city rich of impressive monuments and stunning foreshortenings. Also known as the Città Vecchia (old town), its name derives from the ancient Greek ortyx and it means Quail.
Day 8 – May 26th, 2024 Noto, Modica and Ragusa
Today we head to Noto, Ragusa and Modica, three charming cities located in the southeastern region of Sicily. All three cities offer visitors an authentic taste of Italian culture and history, with plenty of opportunities to explore stunning architecture, delicious food, and beautiful landscapes.
Noto is known for its stunning Baroque architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. One of the highlights of Noto is the Cathedral of San Nicolò, an impressive structure with a beautiful facade. Modica, A city of two cities. It was a deep gorge between the Iblei Mountains from which the town of Modica sprung, long ago when it was not traffic that flowed down Corso Umberto but the two rivers, Ianni Mauro and Pozzo dei Prun. Today Modica is best known for its chocolate making traditions. We will learn a little more about these traditions, and perhaps have a little taste?
Ragusa is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring stunning Baroque architecture as well. The town is divided into two parts: Ragusa Ibla, the historical center, and Ragusa Superiore, the newer part of town. One of the must-see sights in Ragusa is the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, which boasts an impressive baroque facade.
Day 9 – May 27th, 2024, Sicily to Malta
Today we say goodbye to our Sicilian adventure heading a little further south to Pozzallo, where we will board the Virtu Ferries catamaran to Malta. Our short 90-minute ferry will have us arriving in Malta with time to enjoy the day. Arriving in Malta, we will journey to the City of Mdina. You will feel the power as you enter the Old Capital City of Mdina and fall in love with it as much as the families who continue to live here. You will find a range of architecture that includes Baroque, Norman and Arabic features. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will recognize the main gates immediately. Ending our day with a delicious group dinner before retiring to our accommodations. The Hotel Falconeria is our home away from home for the next three nights, and is ideally located in the heart of Valletta, mere steps from shops, cafés, and museums.
Day 10 – May 28th, 2024 Valletta and Temples
This Morning we begin our day in the Capital city of Valletta, visiting St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta was built by the Knights of St. John after the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottomans in 1565. It is the fortified city that was said to be “Built by gentlemen for gentlemen”. It boasts over 320 monuments in a .2 square mile radius, is a Baroque capital and is being recognized as the European Capital of Culture in 2018. You will love what is in store within its main gates (in which you are staying) – a great mix of history and present-day lively culture. The austere exterior of St John’s Co-Cathedral has a
drastic contrast to its sumptuous, high baroque interior. You’ll be in awe at the artistic masterpieces found within – from its tombstone laid floors, to the vaulted, fresco ceiling depicting the life of John the Baptist. Around the corner and into the oratory, you will stand before the renowned Michelangelo Merisi (better known as Caravaggio) largest and only signed piece – The Beheading of St John the Baptist. Later we make our way to Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples, located on the southern coast of Malta. These prehistoric temples date back to 3600-3200 BC and are some of the oldest known free-standing structures in the world. Step back some 5500 years with a visit to the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temple sites. The temples were excavated in 1839 and are thought to have been built to worship a type of fertility goddess. To put their age into perspective – they are around 1000 years older than the pyramids at Giza and Stonehenge. Who knew!?
Day 11 – May 29th, 2024 Valletta – Gozo
With an early start today, we head to the island of Gozo, also known as the smaller sister island of Malta, is a hidden gem nestled in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm-hearted locals, Gozo offers a unique cultural experience that attracts visitors from around the world. Visits today will include the Citadel and capital of Gozo, Victoria. The XWEJNI Salt Pans, the Wied Il-Mielah Window, and Xledni Bay. Heading back to Valletta late afternoon, enjoy our last group dinner together in a magical location.
Day 12 – May 30th, 2024 Malta – Home
Today your Sicilian and Maltese adventure comes full circle as we depart this lovely island of Malta, homeward bound.