Sicilian Secrets 2018 – Tour of Sicily and Malta
Discover the hidden treasures of the charming Sicily & Malta with this 8 days / 7 nights guided tour. Departures every Tuesday from April 3rd to October 30th.
Day 1 – Tuesday: PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)
Sicilian Secrets Tour of Sicily & Malta provides independent arrival at the hotel in the charming city of Palermo (optional private transfer on request). In the evening meet our tour-leader and your travel companions and enjoy welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2 – Wednesday: PALERMO – MONREALE – MARSALA (hotel in Marsala)
After breakfast in hotel, the morning will be spent visiting the capital of Sicily Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay at the foot of Mt Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, there is a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past, including an elegant opera house. We will visit the wonderful Arab-Norman Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, mirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Ruggero II in fact employed both Byzantine, Muslim and Latin workers. Continuing our walk we will admire the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with XVI century sculptures. Along the visiting day we will have a stop for a food surprise in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco. Free time for lunch. Later on we will proceed to Monreale to visit its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! In the afternoon we will continue to Marsala in whose port Garibaldi landed in 1860. Visit of a prestigious wine cellar and wine tasting. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 3 – Thursday: MARSALA SALT ROAD – SELINUNTE – AGRIGENTO (hotel in Agrigento)
This morning the tour will continue along the charming and well-known Salt Road: the west coast of Sicily with many salt marshes, which have given rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world. Between Trapani and Marsala they are now protected, in part because of the interesting birdlife, and also as important sites of industrial archaelogy. On the way you will see the nice Island of Mothia (situated at the centre of a large lagoon in Marsala, known today as ‘Stagnone’), and the famous Salines and windmills. Departure to Selinunte to visit the largest Archaeological Park in whole Mediterranean and World Heritage Site. Surrounded by a splendid landscape near the African Sea, we will walk among the rests of the ancient Greek city. Free time for lunch. Transfer to Agrigento and visit of the Valley of the Temples stated World Heritage Site, where among hundreds of almond trees, the rests of the ancient Akragas rise. It was defined by Pyndar “the most beautiful city of mortals”. Once one of the most prosperous of the ancient Greek cities on the island, Agrigento presents a remarkable series of Doric Temples of the 5th century. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia” and the “Temple of Heracles”. Accommodation in hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – Friday: PIAZZA ARMERINA – RAGUSA – MODICA – VALLETTA (hotel in Malta)
Proceeding on we will reach Piazza Armerina where we will admire the splendid polychrome mosaics of the famous Villa Romana del Casale, World Heritage Site. The complex, which has some of the most extensive and most beautiful Roman mosaics known, is a World Heritage Site. This majestic villa, belonged to a member of the Roman Senatorial aristocracy, hosts prestigious mosaics representing mythological and historical episodes and scenes of hunting and entertainments. After free time for lunch, departure to Ragusa Ibla and visit of its historical centre cradle of Sicilian baroque, with its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful square of the Dome and the “giardino Ibleo”. Used as a location of the extremely popular Police Inspector Montalbano Tv series, it is today stated among the 44 Italian World Heritage Sites. This little precious ancient city, well known thanks to the Commissario Montalbano television series, hosts more than 50 churches and many baroque architectural treasures. Free time in the Ragusa city center. The group will continue with our driver to Modica, a treasure chest full of Baroque treasures and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll conclude the visiting day with a tasting of local products. Transfer to Pozzallo harbour, boarding on the catamaran to reach Malta. Arrive in Malta Valletta and private transfer to your hotel. Free dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Saturday: VALLETTA – MDINA (hotel in Malta)
After breakfast in hotel, our guide will lead you through an half day excursion discover the treasures of the charming capital Valletta. You will visit the wonderful Casa Rocca Piccola ancient palace of the sixteenth century belonged to the Maltese nobility and still today private residence of the Marquis De Piro; proceeding on you will visit the Cathedral of St. John where we will admire the beautiful “Beheading of St. John the Baptist”, Caravaggio masterpiece and continuing the Barraca Gardens from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the picturesque port of Valletta. Later on you will visit the Grand Master’s Palace, nowadays seat of the Maltese Parliament. Our tour continues on to Mdina, the former capital of Malta. You will visit the Cathedral of St. Paul and then you’ll have free time to walk along its lovely streets and discover its viewpoint from which to enjoy a splendid view. After the visit, transfer to your hotel. Free afternoon. Overnight at your hotel.
Day 6 – Sunday: COTTONERA – MARSAXLOKK – BLUE GROTTO – DINGLI – GOLDEN BAY (hotel in Malta)
This morning the tour continues with a full day excursion with private driver to discover the beauty of this magical Island. You will reach Cottonera also called “The Three Cities”: the three fortified cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua. Afterwards you will visit the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk whose waterfront is decorated with traditional colorful fishing boats called “luzzi”. Free time to stroll along the streets of the city centre and browse among the stalls of the famous local market. Continuing you will visit the town of Wied iz-Zurrieq where you will embark on an excursion sea towards the famous Blue Grotto, a beautiful and picturesque natural cave whose system of caves surrounding reflects the fluorescent colors of the underwater flora. Our tour will continue on board of a private vehicle in the direction of Dingli through the Maltese countryside. Then, the tour goes to Golden Bay in Mellieha, one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. Free time to enjoy the place and for a refreshing swim in its crystal clear waters. Return to your hotel. Overnight.
Day 7 – Monday: COMINO – BLUE LAGOON – GOZO – MALTA CAVES (hotel in Malta)
After breakfast in hotel, our driver will pick you up for another day of excursion in the Maltese archipelago. You will be accompanied to Bugibba, where you will board on a comfortable boat for a fantastic mini cruise. Sailing through the north of the Maltese coast to the island of Comino; you will stop at the famous Blue Lagoon for about an hour. Time to take some pictures, sunbathe and have a swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or if you prefer, you can relax in the bar of the boat which is equipped with drinks and snacks. Afterwards you will reach Gozo for here a visit of about 3 hours, discovering the most charming places of the island: Ta ‘Pinu, Dwejra and the capital Victoria with its historic market square and the Citadelle St. Georges. At the end of tour, you will return on board to circumnavigate Comino and visit the famous caves. Return to Bugibba at late afternoon. Transfer to your hotel and overnight.
Day 8 – Tuesday: MALTA
After breakfast in hotel, check-out and end of our services.For organizational reasons or due to force majeure the itinerary may be modified.
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