Sicily

Tour Dates:
September 27 - October 13, 2022

$5,950

Day 1: DEPART US
Day 2: PALERMO

Arrive in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. You will be welcomed to this beautiful and ancient island and transferred to our elegant and modern boutique hotel.

Depart in the afternoon for a relaxing tour of nearby picturesque Monreale. Tour the great cathedral and stroll the cloisters of the Benedictine monastery, known for its mosaics and Norman architecture that dates back to the 12th century. Return to the hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner of your choice from the many nearby cafes. Here you will find local wines and Sicilian craft beers to accompany regional dishes and tastings of local cold cuts and cheeses, all prepared with fresh products. Sicilian cooking is known for its use of fresh and natural foods and ingredients coming straight from the island’s ecosystem.  Thank Mt. Etna’s rich, volcanic soil that helps produce many “super foods” such as extra virgin olive oil, fruits, legumes, vegetables, berries, tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, garlic, figs, basil, etc. One-third of all organic farms in Italy are located in Sicily. (B)

Overnight at an exclusive boutique hotel in Palermo

DAY 3: PALERMO

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today in Palermo begins in its multi-ethnic markets, the meeting places of cultures, foods, aromas, and colors. They are centers for the city’s famous street food and accessed through the ancient gates of the city. Later, a tour the cathedral and the magnificent Pretoria Fountain.

For dinner, choose from any number of trattorias located near our hotel.

(B)

Overnight at a boutique hotel in Palermo

DAY 4:PALERMO

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy the day at leisure in Palermo.

(B)

Overnight at a boutique hotel in Palermo

DAY 5: AGRIGENTO

Breakfast at the hotel in Palermo.

Check out and travel to Agrigento.

On the way, a stop at Segesta, site of a majestic temple ruin, amphitheater and archaeological area. Probably founded by the Elymians who came from Asia Minor and settled in Western Sicily at the end of the second millennium B.C., Segesta’s architectural style was later influenced by Greeks, Romans, and Muslims.

Next, Erice, a wonderfully preserved medieval town in the northwest of Sicily, at the top of Monte San Giuliano. The town overlooks the city of Trapani and offers a breath-taking view of the lower western coast towards the Egadi Islands, where sea salt is made. On a clear day, the African coast is visible. After a visit to the Norman Castle and the Duomo, stroll through the cobblestoned streets fragrant  with the aromas of baking from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is known. The walking tour ends with a must-stop to visit Maria Grammatico’s Pastry Shop to taste a variety of sweets.

Lunch is at leisure in Erice.

Along your journey to Agrigento, we admire the Salt Pans of Marsala.

(B)

Two nights at a luxury hotel and spa in the valley

DAY 6: S. Angela Muxaro

Our day to experience, “La Dolce Vita,” just like the Sicilians.

After a drive to S. Angelo Muxaro, a small village with an ancient history, overlooking the Platani river valley, our tour begins with a walk along the picturesque village lanes. We stop to taste cheese produced daily by a local family and to visit a bakery to sample “pani cunzatu” (bread with local olive oil and pepper), almond cookies and honey. This is one of the oldest bakeries in Sicily, which still uses a woodfire oven to prepare fresh bread every day for locals.

Next, we purchase ingredients for your pizza making class at Fontes Episcopi in the late afternoon.

Private wood-oven cooking class

In Sicily, the wood oven has always been an important element of community. In Sicilian the verb “Famiare” means to light a big flame in the oven until the top turns white. That’s the sign the oven is ready. Our class will prepare “cuddirunedda”, or “hard wheat flour little pizzas,” where you indent the dough with your fingers to allow the olive oil to settle in. These are seasoned with spiced tomato sauce, garlic, anchovies and grated pecorino. Guests participate in the various phases, from the preparation and rolling of the dough, to the seasoning and baking. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Valley of the Temples

Three Nights in Siracusa

Breakfast and Check out.
10.00 a.m.
Pick up and leave to the Valley of the Temples.

Enjoy a private tour and picnic lunch at the Kolymbetra Garden.

Drive to Siracusa.

Arrive in Siracusa and have dinner at leisure. (B,L)

Two nights at a boutique hotel

DAY 8: SIRACUSA, ORTIGIA

After a leisurely breakfast, a late morning walking tour of Ortigia with our guide.

In the afternoon, a visit at leisure to the Archeologic Park of Syracuse. The archaeological site, situated in the northwest of the town, is home to a staggering number of well-preserved Greek and Roman ruins and artifacts. The main attraction is undoubtedly the Greek theatre that dates back to the 5th Century BC. Its cavea is amongst the largest ever built with 59 rows that could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. (B)

DAY 9: Trekking at Vendicari Natural Reserve

Breakfast at the hotel.

Meet your driver and guide at the hotel lobby and depart for a special excursion.

For anyone holidaying in the southeast of Sicily, the Vendicari Nature Reserve  shouldn’t be missed. Its beautiful beaches are amongst the least frequented in Sicily, at least by humans but not by wildlife. Situated on the southern-most part of Sicily’s east coast, Vendicari is a mixture of lagoons (pantano), sand dunes, rocky coastlines, and sandy beaches. Vendicari offers a wonderful environment for a good seaside walk with only the sound of the waves, birds, and the wind for company.

Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Box Lunch is included. (B, L)
DAY 10: TAORMINA, SAVOCA, FORZA D’AGRÒ

Three Nights in Catania

Breakfast at the hotel.

Check out and drive to Taormina / Catania

Full-day tour of Taormina, Savoca and Forza D’Agrò

After breakfast, a tour of Taormina, including the ancient Greek theatre that is still in use today, followed by a tasting of Sicily’s traditional cannoli before a short drive to Savoca and Forza D’Agrò. You may recognize these little towns if you have seen The Godfather, especially at the Castello degli Schiavi, a scene location in the film, and during our private tour with the Barone Platania.

DAY 11: CATANIA

Breakfast at the hotel.

Boat tour of Catania and Cyclops Coast Tour
9.30 a.m. – 1.30 pm
Transfer to Catania Port for a half-day boat tour of Catania and Cyclops Coast by Caicco. With stops for snorkeling and swimming, weather permitting.

Transfer back to the hotel.

(B, L)

DAY 12: MT. ETNA

The best way to experience Sicily’s largest and most active volcano is on a jeep tour. Mt. Etna is credited with providing the rugged backdrop and the fertile soil for the many surrounding wineries. Enjoy a walk around the volcano before riding up the northern side of Mt. Etna to a lovely winery for tastings and a light lunch. (B, L)

DAY 13: CEFALU

Three Nights in Cefalu

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out, then departure for Cefalu.

Traveling along the northern coast of Sicily and depending upon the weather, we may stop at Milazzo, the ferry port to the Aeolian Islands.

But our main destination is Cefalu, a seaside historic town, known for its Norman cathedral, a 12th-century fortress-like structure with elaborate Byzantine mosaics. Relaxing in this picturesque little city is easy with the dramatic backdrop of the Tyrrhenian Sea and its reputation for beautiful sunsets and unpretentious charm.

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. (B)

Two nights at a luxury hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea

DAY 14: CEFALU

Meet your guide and drive to Castelbuono, a charming medieval town on the Madonie Mountains. Enjoy a walking tour through the historical city center and admire the medieval castle.

Lunch will be served at a local farm with honey tasting.

Afternoon at leisure in Cefalu.

(B, L)

DAY 15: Cefalu

Breakfast at the hotel.

Meet your guide and drive to Cefalù.

Cefalù has been a favorite location for movies and commercials since the 60s.  A walking tour through  the historic city center offers the following attractions: the marina (old fishing port); the ancient wash house; the medieval gate along Vittorio Emanuele Street; and via Bordonaro with its old houses and little shops selling crafts, coral and hard stone jewelry, and antiques. Also, fine local foods such as fresh baked bread, biscotti, manna, and dried fruits are available.

The main square Piazza Duomo is the perfect place for photography. Here, you can lose yourself in the scene of an archetypal Sicilian square where tourists mix with locals relaxing at the cafés. Stop at a coffee shop to taste a cappuccino or an espresso accompanied by local cookies. Don’t forget to sample the delicious ice cream or a refreshing granite (Sicilian style sorbet). Cafés also serve appetizers and wine in case a more substantial treat is desired.

Nest, visit the grandiose Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015, it is famous for its mosaic of Jesus the Savior and the Almighty. Walk down the main street of Corso Ruggero and make a short detour to see the secret part of the old town at the foot of the imposing La Rocca.

Lunch is at leisure. Return to the hotel.

Day 16: DEPART FOR U.S.

Early morning check-out and transfer to airport in Palermo for flight back to U.S.

In Sicily, we stay in luxurious boutique hotels with a focus on delicious food and local culture. Our accommodations range from lush countryside vineyards to exclusive hotels in the heart of the towns and villages we visit. Stay in rooms with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea or ancient Roman ruins.

Biotrek’s small group tours are custom designed to reflect the local character and shared traditions of the countries we visit. No matter if this is a family vacation or an independent traveler experience you will love sunny Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful, prosperous, and tourist friendly countries in all of Central America, and is less than five hours flight time away from the Washington DC area. You and your friends and family will experience a natural kingdom of lush rain forests and pristine beaches; tiny blue indigenous frogs, giant leather back turtles, hummingbirds and iguanas; screaming howler monkeys, crackling lava and crashing white waves: Costa Rica attractions offer a breathtaking array of sights and sounds! Your Costa Rica guided travel itinerary can include whitewater rafting, a rain forest canopy tour, hiking, boat tours, active volcano exploring, snorkeling, and relaxing at the beach all while enjoying one of our many fabulous eco- lodges. You choose!

Costa Rica has a long, proud history of ecotourism, claiming one of the most developed conservation programs in the Americas and enthusiastically invites travelers to experience its treasured landscape. On your Costa Rica trip, you’ll learn the essential meaning of the country’s motto, Pura Vida – “Pure Life.” Experience nature travel at its best!

From untouched secluded beaches to canopy walks, volcano hikes and tropical spas, Costa Rica has just about something for everyone. But don’t take our word for it. We invite you and your entire family to EXPERIENCE it for yourselves!

The Osa Peninsula --  In his book, "Osa: Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea,” Dr. Trond Larsen describes it like this: “In a remote and lush corner of southern Costa Rica lies a realm of giant trees, potbellied spider monkeys, harpy eagles, prowling jaguars and herds of white-lipped peccary. This is the Osa Peninsula and there is no place in the world like it.” We will visit Corcovado National Park, the crown jewel of Costa Rica's extraordinary, world-renowned national park system. Corcovado is the last remaining large and sustainable lowland rainforest in Central America. You will see for yourself why National Geographic calls this region, “One of the most biologically intense places on earth.”

Arenal Volcano and the surrounding area is one of the most exciting experiences you will enjoy on your small group vacation in Costa Rica! Our hotel offers breathtaking views of this active volcano which has periodic eruptions and lava flows. All of this can be seen glowing in the night sky from the hotel grounds. There are beautiful gardens and walking trails to explore as well. Whether you are vacationing with your family, friends or are one of out independent travelers there are many activities available. These include a hike on the lava flow through the rain forest and to a magnificent waterfall. There are many birds and animals to see on your hike as well. A cruise on Arenal Lake at sunset is a great experience and great for photographs. In the evening relaxing in a hot spring surrounded by tropical gardens is especially relaxing. The day boat trip through the Cano Negro preserve is rewarding with continue sightings of a great variety of birds, monkeys, iguanas, sloths, alligators and turtles. This refuge is considered one of the richest in biodiversity in all of Costa Rica!

Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
Includes
  • Private luxury Mercedes Bus (wifi, water and wipes on board) as per itinerary
  • Accommodation in hotels 4* and 5* as per itinerary
  • Private English speaking tour guide for all the itinerary and entrance fees
Exclusions

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • **International Flights booked separately. Please call for quote.
  • **Customary end-of-tour gratuities for the guide and driver.
  • **Drinks not included

This program should be considered as a sample only – please keep in mind that your tour may vary, depending upon availabilities, weather, etc.

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • Rates based on Double Occupancy
  • Single Supplement Applies
  • Subject to Availability
  • All Prices subject to change
Alt Text