11– 18 April 2018
All the single rooms have been booked but there are are a limited number of double/twin rooms available for this holiday organised in conjunction with Riviera Travel.
Contact Clive Hooper Elm Bank, 52 Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 4AB. 01684 562214
Eight days and seven nights on a half board basis with en suite accommodation in two excellent 4-star hotels, including return flights, airport departure taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, and guided tours of the Valley of the Temples, Villa at Piazza Armerina and Monreale. A tour manager will accompany the group in Sicily throughout the holiday.
Day 1 ARRIVAL We depart from our designated pick-up points to travel to the airport for our flight to Catania. On arrival a coach will take us to our four-star Hotel Kaos where we stay for three nights with breakfast and dinner.
Day 2 VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES This morning we visit one of the wonders of the ancient world: the amazing Greek remains in the Valley of the Temples. There are six of them in total, situated largely on a ridge looking out to sea and visible for miles. The best of them, Concordia, similar in design to the Parthenon in Athens, is captivating and almost perfectly preserved, with just the roof missing. We enjoy a guided tour of the site and can also visit the excellent museum, displaying finds from both the temples and surrounding area, including a unique collection of vases. Before returning to the hotel, we also visit Agrigento itself, with its medieval atmosphere, with tiny stepped streets and quiet shady piazzas overlooking the Mediterranean.
Day 3 MONREALE & PALERMO Today we travel along the scenic north coast of the island to visit the magnificent 12th century Benedictine Abbey at Monreale, with its cloisters, and outstanding medieval mosaics covering almost the entire interior and depicting stories from the Old Testament. From the roof, there is a superb panoramic view of Palermo and the surrounding countryside.
During the afternoon we visit Palermo, which under Saracen and Norman rule became one of the most important cities in Europe, famous for the wealth of its court and as a great centre of learning. We visit the 10th century Cathedral before returning to our hotel for dinner.
Day 4 PIAZZA ARMERINA & TAORMINA We leave Agrigento and take the drive to the small town of Piazza Armerina, for a guided tour of one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries of the last century was made: a 4th century palatial Roman villa, buried for centuries, where you can still see the remains of pastel-coloured frescoes on the walls, and the magnificent mosaics, showing animals and hunting scenes. We then travel on to Taormina, one of the most beautiful towns on the island where we stay in our four-star hotel for four nights with breakfast and dinner.
Day 5 FREE DAY Today we are free to explore Taormina as we wish. Retaining much of its medieval charm, wonderfully situated on a high balcony, facing Etna and overlooking the sea, it is renowned for its beautiful gardens and charming atmosphere. Today, its main street is lined by smart, designer boutiques and exclusive jewellers, with the tiny side streets, lined with family-run restaurants. Taormina’s greatest claim to fame is its amazing theatre, a legacy of the ancient Greeks and still in use today.
Day 6 SIRACUSA Today we take the drive to Siracusa, once one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, even rivalling Athens: its most famous resident was Archimedes. There is an extraordinary Baroque Cathedral incorporating an ancient temple, with a lovely interior, and just opposite is the Bosco Palace. The old port area is extremely attractive and very traditional, full of small fishing boats unloading their catch. We shall be free to explore the old town at the eastern end of the city, called Ortygia; actually an island, connected to mainland by three bridges. We have the option to take a boat trip around the bay before returning to the hotel.
Day 7 MOUNT ETNA Dominating eastern Sicily is Europe’s highest volcano, Etna, and this morning we take the drive to as near to the snow-capped summit as possible. As we near the cable car station itself we can enjoy extensive views over the whole area. Subject to certain regulations, we have the opportunity to take the cable car, jeep and guide to explore even higher levels. We return to our hotel during the afternoon.
Day 8 RETURN FLIGHT At the appropriate time a coach will return us to the airport to take our return flight home after a very varied tour.
Cost £969 per person, plus UK coach transfers of approximately £50, and based on two people sharing a twin/double-bedded room; single room supplement £159.
Contact Clive Hooper by telephone to check availabilty.