Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and explore the Norman Palace in Palermo and visit the duomo in Monreale. Experience the ancient temples of Agrigento and enjoy a guided touring in Syracuse and Taromina. Ascend to the base station of Mount Etna with a local farm visit with lunch and wine-tasting. Traverse the Malta Channel by catamaran, see local artisans at work in the Ta’ Qali Craft Village, and attend a cooking class of regional Maltese specialties. Visit the Ggantija Temples and enjoy a winery tour on Gozo.
1 Depart the USA
Depart the USA on your overnight flight
to Palermo, Sicily.
2 Palermo, Sicily
Benvenuto! Upon arrival, you’ll be met by
a Mayflower Cruises & Tours representative and transferred to
your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to begin experiencing
the local surroundings. This evening, join your tour Manager and
fellow travelers for dinner at the hotel. Meal: D
3 Palermo / Monreale
Begin the day with a discovery of
Palermo, home to Byzantine mosaics, Arabesque domes, and
frescoed cupolas. During the guided tour, visit the impressive
Norman Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Torre
Pisana (Pisan Tower) is home to the Astronomical Observatory
since 1791 and one of the last surviving castle towers of the
area. The ornate interior of the palace’s chapel features amazing
glittering gold mosaics depicting biblical scenes and inlaid marble
floors. See the Royal Apartments and King Roger’s Salon with
its magnificent decorations and animal mosaics. The outside
of the palace is also stunning with its exotic garden, laid out
like an art exhibition.
The Ficus Macrophylla that ‘embraces a
domestic pine’ is the centerpiece of this tranquil setting. In the city
center, visit the famous Ballaró Market, the city’s busiest street
market and a fascinating mix of sounds, scents, and local life.
Enjoy lunch on your own in this bustling area before departing
for Monreale. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of
Monreale is one of the most beautiful Norman churches in Sicily
and its greatest cultural treasure whose Byzantine mosaics are
among the most magnificent in the world. Return to Palermo for
an evening at leisure. Meal: B
4 Agrigento and Valley of the Temples – Taormina
Departing Palermo, travel to Taormina with sightseeing enroute.
A guided visit of the Valley of the Temples, one of the country’s
most historical attractions, showcases an outstanding example of
Magna Graecia art and architecture. Encompassing the ruined
ancient city of Akragas, it’s highlighted by the stunningly wellpreserved
Doric Tempio della Concordia, one of several ridgetop
temples, resembling the Parthenon in Athens.
Continue to Piazza Armerina with free time for lunch on your own
in this art-filled city. Arrive in Taormina where dinner is included
at the hotel this evening. Meals: B, D
5 Syracuse and Taormina
Journey by coach to Syracuse
for a guided walking tour in the old town of Ortygia, a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and the ‘historical heart of Syracuse’.
Explore the Archaeological Park of Neapolis and see the
majestic ruins of the Greek Temple of Apollo. Discover the
mythology tied to the legendary Fountain of Aretusa, see the
Greek Theater, one of the largest in the world, with seats carved
out of living rock and the Roman Amphitheater which was home
to duels fought by gladiators.
Visit the Latomia del Paradiso and
marvel at the Ear of Dionysus – a cavern famous for its acoustics
and the sheer beauty of nature. Return to Taormina for a guided
tour of this city spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain.
Visit the ancient Greek-Roman theatre, still used to this day, and
see Mount Etna in the distance.
See the Duomo – the symbol
of the city, the main square and stroll along the Corso Umberto.
You’ll have time to browse in the local shops before returning to
the hotel for an evening at leisure.
6 Mount Etna
Depart the hotel by coach for Mount Etna –
the highest active volcano in Europe. Ascend by coach to the
base station Rifugio Sapienza at approximately 5900 feet, from
where you can explore the now extinct ‘Monti Silvestri Craters’.
Admire a variety of landscapes created over the centuries that
now represent a unique place where nature, culture and history
combine. After visiting the volcano travel to a local farm for a
visit of the vineyards followed by a wine-tasting and lunch of
traditional cuisine. The remainder of the day is free of planned
activities. Meals: B, L
7 Sicily – Malta
It’s time to depart Sicily for Malta. At the
port of Pozzallo, board a high-speed catamaran for the journey of
approximately 90 minutes across the Ionian Sea. Travel to Valletta
for a guided walking tour of this capital city. As a UNESCO World
Heritage Site, it’s an open-air museum. While strolling through
the streets, notice how the city is modern while preserving its past.
The ruins of the opera House, ravaged by bombs in WWII,
have been transformed into an open-air concert venue. Modern
designer stores are intermingled with those selling locally produced
handicrafts. View the Grand Harbor from the terrace of the Upper
Barrakka Gardens and see the historic towns of ‘Three Cities’
in the distance. Walk past Auberge de Castille, the office of the
Prime Minister, and see St. John’s Cathedral. At the end of the
tour, arrive at the hotel for check in and dinner. Meals: B, D
Today’s experience is a cultural immersion into
local life. Along with the local guide, arrive at the Ta’ Qali Crafts
Village located in the former RAF wartime airfield. Observe
as local artisans create beautiful items from glassblowers and
goldsmiths making filigree jewelry to sculptors and lace-makers.
Continue to Dingli where the limestone cliffs tower over the sea
for a visit to a local farm and a traditional Maltese cooking class.
While exploring the farm, select and harvest the ingredients to be
used in the class as you prepare a 3-course menu and dine on
your creation for lunch. Meals: B, L
On the final day, explore the island of Gozo, a short
ferry ride from Malta. Rich with lush green landscapes and rolling
countryside dotted with traditional villages, Gozo offers a relaxing
pace. Board the waiting motorcoach and arrive at the Ggantija
Temples, the oldest free-standing stone structures in the world and
a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Continue to the famous Saltpans
where the coast is characterized by a checkerboard of rock-cut
saltpans protruding into the sea. In Gharb, visit a winery and meet
the owners who talk about what makes their wines so unique.
Afterwards, sample their vintages along with some local snacks.
Continue to the capital of Victoria for a visit of the Old Citadel,
rising above the capital and dominating the skyline. Return to
Malta by ferry for some free time before enjoying a farewell dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
10 Malta – USA
It’s time to bid ‘arrivederci’ to Sicily and
Malta as you depart the hotel on the transfer to the Valletta
airport for your flight home. Meal: B