Southern island outposts
Head south to the warm waters of the Mediterranean, and discover two contrasting islands set in the blue seas between Europe and Africa. Together, Malta, its colourful present-day capital, Valletta, bustling atop its spectacular natural harbour while its predecessor, Mdina, keeps timeless, silent sentinel inland, and Sicily, with its ancient cities, hill towns and smouldering volcano, provide the perfect backdrop for a fascinating tour.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly from the UK to Malta
Fly into Malta International Airport where your Tour Manager will be waiting to meet you. We’ll transfer you to your hotel in the delightful Qawra area of St Paul’s Bay and, depending on the time you arrive, you may then have time for a stroll along the seafront to enjoy the views across to the little island on which the St Paul was shipwrecked, before sitting down to your first dinner at your hotel.
Day Two: Included Valletta tour
The first of your tour’s included excursions explores island capital Valletta. You’ll begin with a visit to the award-winning Malta Experience audio-visual presentation, and also visit the Auberge de Castille - former home to the Knights of St John and now the Prime Minister’s office - and the colonnades, fountains and shaded walkways of the lovely Upper Barrakka Gardens.
Day Three: Optional day trip to Gozo
Stay in the hotel and relax, today, or join our excursion to Malta’s smaller sister isle, Gozo. After a short ferry crossing to the quaint port of Mgarr, you’ll spend the day exploring the islands Neolithic temples and burial mounds, and visiting some delightful coastal villages.
Day Four: Included Mdina and Rabat coach tour
On today’s full-day tour you’ll travel inland to Mdina, the ancient, fortified former Maltese capital, to explore its beautiful Silent City of narrow streets and stone-built houses. The tour also includes a visit to the grotto at Rabat, where Bellini’s statue of St Paul depicts the Apostle’s shipwreck on the island.
Day Five: Catamaran ride and Syracuse tour
You’ll have an early start, this morning, as you board the fast catamaran for the 90-minute crossing to the Sicilian port of Pozzallo. From here we’ll head a short way up the coast to Syracuse. Once one of the centres of the ancient world and home to the inventor Archimedes. You can still see remnants of the city’s great temples of Athena and Apollo built into the city’s cathedral or surrounded by tranquil gardens. After a short orientation tour you’ll have time explore or enjoy lunch before our coach carries you further up the Sicilian coast to your second hotel, in Giardini-Naxos.
Day Six: Spend a day relaxing
Set on the coast below the lovely hill town of Taormina, looking out over the Ionian Sea, Giardini-Naxos is a colourful beachside resort with a seafront promenade packed with cafés and restaurants. A low-key archaeological museum and some excavations here mark the site of the first Greek colony on Sicily, and a local bus connects the four resorts collectively known as Taormina-Mare with the hill town above.
Day Seven: Included Mount Etna and Taormina tour
Surrounded by a vast natural park, Mount Etna is Europe’s highest active volcano, and the views it offers, especially on clear days, are spectacular. Flower-decked Taormina is no less alluring, its Greek Theatre – cut into the mountainside and used by the Romans for gladiatorial contests – competing for the audiences’ attention with astonishing views along the coastline to Etna.
Day Eight: Included Godfather tour
Step into a landscape made famous by one of Hollywood’s most famous films, as you visit the unspoiled village of Savoca - the location used as Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. Bar Vitelli is still open, and virtually unchanged since Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone visited, and you’ll find cinematic memories everywhere, including St Nicholas Church (setting for Corleone’s wedding to Apollonia) and in nearby Forza D’Agro. Your day will also include the chance to learn about the Sicilian Mafia and the fight against organised crime on the island.
Day Nine: Optional Agrigento tour
Spend the last day of your holiday relaxing in and around Taormina Mare, or perhaps to join our last optional excursion and discover Agrigento and the Valley of Temples. This vast area was once the great city of Akragas, and boasts some of the finest and best-preserved Ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece. Described as “the most beautiful city of mortals” Akragas and its magnificent temples were laid out beneath a ridge on which an acropolis once stood, and from which the lovely medieval town of Agrigento now surveys the scene.
Day 10: Fly back to the UK
Say goodbye to your Sicilian hosts, today, and board our coach for the transfer to Catania Airport where you’ll catch your flight home.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately three hours.
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.
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.
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.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the 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.
Passengers travelling on tours departing after September 2018 will be offered different excursions on Days Four, Six and Seven. Please see the itinerary for further details.
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.