Circumnavigation of Sicily

Mediterranean Cruise

  • Island Sky
  • Luxury Expedition Ship
  • 100 Capacity
  • 13 Days
  • 2014 View Departure>
    • 2014
    • Aug 29 Fri
  • Price from
  • $8,970

Summary : Experience an in-depth Sicily expedition as you delve into one of the most fascinating islands in the Mediterranean. In Malta, visit Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural masterpiece. Follow ancient trade routes aboard the Island Sky, charting a course for the Roman theaters and villas of Taormina, Piazza Amerina, and Lipari. And, of course, no Sicily and Palermo tour is complete without food and wine! Stop at several vineyards, visit local outdoor markets, and savor the best local cuisine. Cin, cin!

Activities : Culture, Hiking

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Prices from
$8,970 to $14,570

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Itinerary
Day 1
Depart USA

Depart on your independent flight to Valletta, Malta.

Day 2
Valletta, Malta

After breakfast, explore historic Valletta, Malta’s enchanting capital city built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. Explore the fortress, ramparts, churches, and the national museum, then continue to the Tarxien Temples, monolithic edifices built between 3000 and 1900 B.C. Embark the Island Sky this evening.

Day 3
Valletta / Embark

After breakfast, explore historic Valletta, Malta’s enchanting capital city built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. Explore the fortress, ramparts, churches, and the national museum, then continue to the Tarxien Temples, monolithic edifices built between 3000 and 1900 B.C. Embark the Island Sky this evening.

Day 4
Agrigento, Sicily / Licata

This morning, enjoy a guided tour of Agrigento, a World Heritage Site. The exquisite architecture of the Valley of the Temples dates back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. and includes the Temple of Zeus—the largest Doric temple from Greek antiquity. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings you to the Butera Winery and Villa. After a lunch of delicious Sicilian fare, accompanied by local wines, continue on to Licata for a short tour of the town center.

Day 5
Mazara del Vallo / Selinunte / Marsala

After breakfast, disembark in Mazara and drive to the sprawling 7th-century B.C. site of Selinunte. Local guides lead you through these Greek ruins to the Sanctuary of Demetra Malophoros and the Acropolis. Return to the ship for lunch, then drive to Marsala for a walking tour, including the Regional Museum that houses a Carthaginian shipwreck. Make a stop at Cantine Florio, one of Sicily’s ancient wine estates, to enjoy local specialties accompanied by Marsala wines.

Day 6
Trapani / Erice / Segesta / Monreale / Palermo

Step ashore in the thriving fishing town of Trapani for a visit to the bustling fish market. Then depart overland to visit Erice, a charming medieval village perched high on a mountain-top with stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Alternatively, visit the ruins of Segesta, once the center of the ancient Elymian civilization, and home to a magnificent Doric temple. Both groups will enjoy a typical Sicilian lunch near Monreale, then tour the fabled Cathedral, built in 1174. Hailed as Italy’s most beautiful Norman church, the interior is covered with mosaics, gold leaf, and stone intarsia. The rest of the evening is at leisure for you to explore Palermo, as the Island Sky remains pier-side overnight.

Day 7
Palermo

Palermo is famous for its jumbled and picturesque streets punctuated with ornate Baroque churches, domed Arab mosques, and glittering Byzantine mosaics. Visit the impressive 12th-century Cathedral and the Palatine Chapel in the Norman castle; today the building serves as the seat of the Sicilian government. Highlights of your walking tour through the town center include the Massimo Theater, Quattro Canti, Town Hall, and Martorana Church. Board the ship this afternoon for a sunset cruise along the northern coast of Sicily.

Day 8
Cefalu

Situated on the northern coast, Cefalù is of Greek origin; its name, meaning “head,” derives from its position below a precipitous rocky headland. A walking tour includes the splendid Norman-Arab Cathedral, begun in 1131 and famous for its glittering Byzantine mosaics; a medieval wash-house; and the Osterio Magno, the 11th-century residence of King Ruggiero II. Lunch is a highlight today as you join a local chef at Tasca Lanza Estate who will teach you how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes. There will also be time for wine sampling and a chance to explore the lovely grounds of the Estate, or to simply relax among your scenic surroundings.

Day 9
Lipari, Aeolian Islands / Stromboli

Take a walking tour through the center of Lipari to reach the impressive fort, built in 1556 upon the ruins of an ancient Greek acropolis. Within the fort walls you will find the superb Aeolian Archaeological Museum and the lovely Norman St. Bartolomeo Church. Visit a local pizzeria for lunch and an interactive pizza–making demonstration. In the early evening the ship cruises past active Stromboli Volcano for sunset photos, with the chance to watch for the Stromboli “fireworks” as darkness falls.

Day 10
Mt. Etna / Taormina

This morning, board coaches for an excursion to 9,500-foot-high Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. Take a cable car up Etna’s pock-marked slopes, then continue in 4x4 vehicles to reach the main crater at 9,000 feet, with the opportunity for a short hike. In the afternoon, a walking tour of charming Taormina takes you to the 3rd-century Greco-Roman Theater, renowned for acoustic effects that make it a favorite concert venue to this day. Then take a stroll along the lively pedestrian-only Corso Umberto and explore its many narrow off-shooting lanes that lead to pretty piazzas lined with shops.

Day 11
Catania / Morgantina

Visit the famous morning fish market in Catania’s town square where a colorful variety of local products are on display. An inland drive takes you through a series of photogenic villages to Piazza Armerina, famous for its superb Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale. Enjoy lunch at a Sicilian restaurant near the Greek site of Morgantina, then tour the ruins and visit the small, but excellent Aidone Museum. Return to Catania with free time before dinner on board, or choose to enjoy the local cuisine on your own, and perhaps sample some of the wines from the many vineyards nourished by the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Etna.

Day 12
Syracuse / Ortygia

Founded by the Corinthians in the 8th century B.C., Syracuse was one of the most powerful Greek cities—defending its sovereignty against such rivals as Carthage, the Etruscans, and the Romans, who later overtook the city, followed by the Arabs. Begin at the Saint John Catacombs with their maze of underground passageways then drive to the Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus; the Ear of Dionysius, a grotto with an extraordinary echo; and the massive 15,000-seat Greek Theater. Return to the ship, at port in Ortygia, for lunch, before striking out for a walking tour of the old town. Highlights include the ruins of the 6th-century B.C. Apollo Temple—the oldest in Sicily—and the Piazza Duomo, built around the ancient Temple of Minerva (Athena).

Day 13
Valletta, Malta / Disembark / USA

Disembark in Valletta this morning and transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.

Notes

Included:
Accommodations in hotels and on board as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals and all group meals on land, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; group transfers; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000)*.

Not Included:
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.