• Palermo
  • Hilltop Erice
  • Trapani Salt-pans
  • Agrigento
  • Villa Romana del Casale
  • Syracuse
  • Mt. Etna from Taormina
  • Sicilian Wine Tasting

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour

from $2,595 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

Rick Steves' most exotic tour in Italy will immerse you in the distinctive culture, cuisine, and history of Sicily. On your eye-opening loop around the island, your Rick Steves guide will introduce you to the hearty welcome and home cooking of a Sicilian family farm, the steamy power of Mount Etna, Italy's brightest pottery and boldest wines, Europe's most amazing ancient Greek ruins, and slow sunsets from picture-perfect seaside villages. Join us for the Best of Sicily in 11 Days!

You also may be interested in our Off-Season Best of Sicily in 11 Days tour.

Dates & Prices

2016

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Sicily come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 21 group sightseeing events • Palermo walking tour • Palazzo Federico tour • Monreale Cathedral tour • Sicilian pastry lesson • Trapanese regional tasting • Erice orientation walk • Segesta • Marsala Salt Flats boat cruise (weather permitting) • Tour of the island of Mozia • "Valley of the Temples" tour • Agrigento Archeological Museum tour • Villa Romana del Casale • Syracuse Ortygia island neighborhood walk • Puppet Theatre performance • Museo dello Sbarco tour (WWII) • Wine tasting at Sicilian winery • Mount Etna volcanologist talk • Taormina walking tour • Taormina's Teatro Greco tour • Sicilian pizza demonstration • Catania orientation walk...and more
  • All group transportation from Palermo to Catania
  • 10 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2–4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2–6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2–8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Sicily

We'll gather at our hotel in Palermo at 3 p.m. for a welcome meeting. Then we'll begin our Sicilian adventure together by joining a contessa for a personal tour of her family's home, the Palazzo Federico. We'll end our evening getting to know one another at a "Welcome to Sicily" dinner together. Sleep in Palermo (2 nights). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Palermo and Monreale

Let's meet our coach and driver, and head up to the hill-topping town of Monreale, renowned for its Arab-flavored cathedral, blending Byzantine, Arab, Jewish, Gothic, and Norman traditions, heritage, and art. We'll tour the cathedral's interior of glittering, golden mosaics as well as the story-telling columns of the cloister. Then we'll return to Palermo, where we'll take a walking tour of Palermo's back streets, churches, and colorful street markets — all spiced with an evocative whiff of Africa. Then we'll set you free to explore more of this exciting, energetic city, and discover a tucked-away trattoria for dinner on your own. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Ancient Segesta and Mountaintop Erice

This morning we'll head toward the island's western coast, stopping at the ancient Greek site of Segesta to meander through its magnificent Doric temple and hilltop theatre. Then we'll continue to the enchanting medieval mountaintop town of Erice. Believed by Romans to be the home of Venus, Erice eventually evolved into a center for Christian convents and home to heavenly pastries (which we'll learn about and taste). This afternoon we'll enjoy a tasty lunch that includes the region's specialties: sun-dried tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, and Marsala wine. We'll take an orientation walk before setting you free for the evening. Sleep in Trapani (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Salt Harvesting and Seaside Trapani

Today we'll drive down to the Trapani "salt-pans" — a coastal wetland and nature reserve where sea salt has been harvested for nearly 3,000 years. We'll tour the Phoenician island of Mozia, and learn about this bygone civilization. Then our guide will teach us the history and process of salt harvesting as we tour the area by boat. You'll be free to spend the rest of your day exploring the seaside town of Trapani or return to Erice by scenic gondola lift, enjoying sweeping views of Trapani and the Egadi Islands on your way up. Whether you spend your evening in Trapani or Erice, find that perfect terrace, savor your favorite apertivo, and watch the sun slowly dip into the sea. Boat: 1 hr. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate

Day 5: Ancient Agrigento and Country Living

This morning we'll take a magical history tour through the ruins of Agrigento, one of the richest of the Greek colonies and a thriving democracy 2,500 years ago. We'll focus on Agrigento's "Valley of the Temples" — the largest, best-preserved collection of ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself. This afternoon we'll head to our tranquil countryside hotel. You'll have plenty of time to soak in the view or head to the beach before tonight's hearty dinner together. Sleep near Agrigento (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 6: Roman Mosaics and Syracuse

The Romans also colonized Sicily, which we'll learn about at today's first destination, the Villa Romana del Casale. Here we'll spend much of our morning surrounded by the world's most rich and colorful collection of Roman mosaics — including the time-bending "bikini girls" mosaic, discovered less than 60 years ago. On the road again, we'll stop to visit a working farm with its owner, followed by a midday feast. Then it's on to Syracuse. This evening we'll take a walk through the city's historic old town on the island of Ortygia. Sleep in Ortygia (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Syracuse, Past and Present

This morning we'll learn more about Ortygia and take a closer look at this small fishing island. We'll explore the local market, stroll through centuries in the Cathedral of Syracuse, and marvel at the masterpiece of the Piazza del Duomo. The afternoon is yours to wander through Syracuse's delightful jumble of Greek, Roman, medieval, and Baroque layers — or settle on a quiet park bench with a harbor view. This evening we'll meet to enjoy a lively performance of Sicily's traditional puppet theatre, where the language is no barrier to entertainment. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Mount Etna, Wine, and Taormina

We'll begin our day with a short drive up the coast to Catania, where we'll take in the breathtaking view of Mount Etna, while learning more about the volcano with a spirited presentation by one of the University of Catania's volcanologist. Next we'll visit a winery on the slopes of the mountain, where we'll enjoy a tour through the vineyards and taste some of Sicily's deservedly famous wine before heading to Taormina. After we check into our hotel, we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk. This evening, join in the local passeggiata to feel the pulse of Sicilian culture, then find the ideal people-watching spot to enjoy your gelato and dinner on your own. Sleep in Taormina (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Seductive Taormina

This morning we'll take a walking tour of Taormina and its remarkably situated ancient Greek theatre, which is still used today for open-air performances. This afternoon you are free to luxuriate in this cliff-hanging, old-world resort town. Wander through its elegant gardens, posh cafés, and shops, ride a cable car down to the beach or explore the nearby mountain-top village of Castelmola. Any way you slice it, you'll have a ringside seat to savor il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), Sicilian style. This evening we'll meet up for a Sicilian pizza-making demonstration followed by dinner together. No bus. Walking: light to moderate (your choice).

Day 10: Colorful Catania

We're off to Catania, nestled at the foot of Mount Etna, where this morning we'll tour the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily (Museo dello Sbarco). We'll learn how, nearly a year before D-Day, Allied troops found themselves fighting against — and at the same time liberating — their Italian adversaries. After a brief neighborhood orientation, you are free to wander through Catania's famous fish market, admire the baroque architecture of the grand Piazza del Duomo or enjoy people watching in one of the city's many cafés. We'll gather together tonight to say arrivederci, share travel memories, enjoy the freshest Sicilian food, and toast to new friends. Salute! Sleep in Catania. (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light to moderate (your choice).

Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Catania's airport by train or shuttle bus. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Sicily in 11 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Scramble around ancient sites with rocky paths and slippery stairs.

Reviews

James

Lewes, DE

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Caught a cold on way to tour. First few days were uncomfortable, but guide and assistant guide were consistently helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Greek artifacts."

Jerilyn

Vashon, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first "tour" experience, and we were impressed with the organization, the excellent tour guide, wonderful, passionate experience of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My appreciation of mosaics was deepened for sure, and the Mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale were so beautiful and inspiring.--I think they were my "wow' experience, however just one of many. I was so impressed with Sicily's history on the world stage."

Murray

Vashon, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was every bit as good as expected (compared to 2 previous Rick Steves tours). I knew what to expect and Tommaso came through with great information and site visits.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 3000+ year old theaters on ridges overlooking the oceans."

Thomas

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide. Well orchestrated. Events as listed in the itinerary went well above anticipated such as planned dinners, and wine tasting. (Continuing my comments in item 16). Wish we had known that very early travel arrangements could be made from Cefalu to make a 6:30AM departure from Palermo all coordinated by our guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day after we arrived in the evening, we went up to the terrace at the hotel for breakfast. The beautiful weather and the view went well above what I anticipated. It was the first - 'Wow, we are in Sicily"."

Jill

Vashon, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The choices of places to visit fulfilled all my hopes for the trip. It was a big treat to have a native Sicilian guide who made the history come alive. He also gave us a real flavor of the country by telling us stories of Sicilian life. Typical of other Rick Steves tours we have taken, there were many special times when we met with people who actually live in Sicily, and shared food and drink with them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming up the hill from the parking lot in Segesta and seeing that well-preserved Greek amphitheatre in such an incredible setting was a real thrill. My eyes filled with tears. It was such a moment!"

Patricia

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was interesting, engaging, and stress free. We were able to meet local people and visit places that we would not have found without being on the tour. The tour included a balance of historical sites, natural beauty, the arts, and local foods.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Valley of the Temples with a talented local guide who made the site come alive."

John

Dunwoody, GA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good tour leader, good hotels (except for some showers), good food, good wine, good selection of sights to see, good transportation, and did I mention good wine!_

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Valley of the temples."

Carol

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with all the other Rick Steves' tours that we have taken this tour exceeded our expectations. We had experiences that we never would have had on our own. (dinner with the countess, Maria Grammatica, lunch with another countess) The talk by the volcanologist was very interesting and informative. The only downside that I experienced was the constant traffic (cars and motorbikes). Even in the small villages we had to be on the lookout for a car or motorbike when we were walking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought it would be breakfast on the terrace on our first morning in Palermo. The view was amazing. Then, we had dinner with the countess at her villa. However, I think my favorite "wow" moment was dinner overlooking the Valley of the Temples. The view and food were outstanding."

Carol

Las Cruces, NM

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sicily was varied and busy. It was a good experience, Tommaso was a great guide.

Greg

St Paul, MN

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time and enjoyed nearly every moment of the tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The plaza and cathedral of Siracusa is awe inspiring."

Kathryn

Dunwoody, GA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first rs tour after 20 years of travel using rs travel books. We were very happy with our choice and would try another tour in the future. The people we met were all very nice and easy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first favorite " wow" moment was the evening at Palazzo Federico in Palermo."

Catherine

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am always amazed by RS tours. I come away enlightened and enriched. Sicily is so varied with it's grungy cities, yes, Palermo is rich with history but rather rough around the edges, to the beautiful country side of rolling hills and farms to the charming seaside villages. Our guide, Tomosso, and the locals experts we met along the way were so passionate about Sicily and they all shared their love and knowledge with great enthusiasm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by the Contessa and her lovely home in Palermo, the Palazzo Fredrico. She shared her home on such a personal level and presented us with such a fabulous spread of food and wine, it was wonderful. What a unique experience!"

James

Vashon, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first "tour" experience, and we were impressed with the organization, the excellent tour guide, wonderful, passionate experience of Sicily. We realized the Rick Steves tour took us to places and provided experiences we would not have been able to do on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My appreciation of mosaics was deepened for sure, and the Mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale were so beautiful and inspiring. I think they were my "wow" experience, however one of many. I was so impressed with Sicily's history on the world stage."

John

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th R S Tour and, like the others, it was great. It is the first tour that I would not gladly do again, not because of any problem with the tour or guides, but because Sicily just isn't that interesting. Specific suggestions: Get out of Palermo as quickly as you can. It is an ugly city and the low point of the tour. If the tour could start in Catania then limit Palermo to a lunch and walking tour, then on to Erice, I think the whole tour would be much better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Segesta ruins; view on the drive up to Erice; Agrigento ruins, lunch with the countess, wandering the streets of Syracuse, Mt. Etna winery, Taomina."

Elinor

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was incredible. Alfio was an exceptional tour guide and we had a wonderful time visiting Sicily. We have been on three RS tours before this. Each was enjoyable in different ways, but I would say this one was the best overall experience: activities, food, guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is challenging to come up with one favorite "wow" - here are several: The day we spent visiting Segesta, Maria Grammatico, and Erice. I really enjoyed the geologist's talk in Taormino all the cooking classes the puppet show visiting the WW2 museum the food: Linguine Limone! Alfio and and a couple of tour members singing to us from the ampitheater at Segesta"

Pamela

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Saw everything I needed to see. Alfio has a passion for his country and for history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't realize how beautiful Sicily is."

Alice

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was fun and interesting. The group was less compatible than other groups I have traveled with. Many of the could not manage the activity level of the tour, and that affected the entire group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The World War II museum in Catania. Alfio had an in depth knowledge of the history of WWII, and could make the exhibits come to life."

Tammy

Woodland Hills, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was awesome to see so much of Sicily. Alfio was a great guide and so knowledgeable about everything! He had the best stories. It felt like we were always eating, and sooooo much food. But it was all delicious. It was nice that everyone in the tour group was friendly and got along. We all seemed to have the Rick Steves spirit!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"meeting a real live contessa at her house was awesome! and then we met another one later on the tour!! cool. that's something i would not have been able to do touring on my own. and the winery on Mt. Etna was truly amazing"

Sharon

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fascinating to see all the layers of history co-existing in Sicily - so many cultural and artistic styles and influences. I appreciated getting a sense of how/why Sicily is different from the rest of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick only one - I really enjoyed staying in Erice. Another highlight (unexpected) was the WWII museum in Catania, which Alfio was very knowledgeable about. Another standout, on my own time, was the Capella Palatina in the Royal Palace in Palermo - really outstanding!"

Carol

Surrey, BC

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Liked going to Contessa's house and Mama Gramtica's

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Greek ruins at Agrigento."

Frank

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was great and the project leader was fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Greek, Roman and Phoenician sites"

Kaoru

New York, NY

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized. Tour Dept was always available to answer questions, they provided clear instructions on when/where to meet the grp, and the tour proceeded seamlessly (no doubt due to all the preparation behind the scenes) All the members of our group were so kind, friendly, funny, and interesting. I really enjoyed spending my vacation with them. The cities we visited were a nice mixture of big cities / coastal towns / hill towns. Great intro to Sicily

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In this order: seeing our first greek temple and theatre in Segesta, followed by walking through the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and finally entering the Duomo in Siracusa and being able to touch the walls of the Duomo that incorporated the remaining columns of a greek temple. Segesta - the bonus was sitting in the theatre while Alfio & tour members gave an impromptu concert"

Paul

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every member of this group was personable, interesting, friendly, considerate, and interested in learning all about the sites and activities included in the tour. Even our time on the bus, which some might consider the boring, was entertaining and memorable... thanks to our guide Mari, our driver Mario, and my traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day had it's own "wow" moment. But overall, the most exceptional part of the tour was the exceptional engineering and mastercraft of past cultures in building the ancient castles, palaces, buildings, walls, streets, and infrastructure. The workers back then may not have been well educated, but they obviously took pride in their work and built things to last for centuries."

Kathryn

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great balance of being taken care of and being left alone. Lots of good shared experiences, but lots of free time, too. Tour leader was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The pasta served by the countess."

Philip

Orleans, MA

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was a much richer travel experience than I had imagined.Tour provided an interesting breadth of guided experiences balanced by a sufficient amount of "explore on your own" time. Our time in Sicily was enriched by the wonderful group of people we traveled with. Mari and Mario (our driver) provided professional service while maintaining a personable friendship with the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Palermo hotel. Dining on the 6th floor terrace the evening before the tour started."

Linda

San Leandro, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a really great time. Virginia was wonderful! She has a great personality, is very well informed, fun and engaging. The other participants on the tour were great as well. Everyone got along. The accommodations were great, bus transportation great, and the various locations that we went to were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Eurice was amazing. The food and pastries made by Maria were marvelous! I think she made the best egg plant I have ever tasted! The hill town was beautiful and very romantic. It is really hard to pick just one wow moment. The entire tour was amazing!!!!"

Jay

San Leandro, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very informative. Learned about a lot of history of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is so many "wow" moments. Seeing Mt Etna, Eating specialties in the different locations."

Darlene

Gresham, OR

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the variety of experiences & the opportunity to mingle with locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Foresteria Baglio Della Luna where we stayed near Agrgento."

Carole

Pottstown, PA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great guide, great group, fantastic scenery, and even good weather!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Views climbing up La Rocca"

Joyce

Chemainus, BC

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Erice in the clouds."

Susan

Oshkosh, WI

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about our trip to Sicily. First of all, our guide, Virginia, really made the experience memorable. She is well organized, energetic, fun, knowledgeable, and passionate about sharing her love of Italy. She took a real interest in each person and often suggested free time activities that she knew we'd be interested in. Our travel partners were welcoming and friendly. We were amazed at the beauty of the mountains, sea, and countryside. We had plenty of free time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were especially moved by the visit to the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily in Catania. My father had been in on the invasion of Sicily and rarely talked about the war. We learned so much about what his experience must have been like. Other "wow" moments would be the visit to the contessa's home, our orientation walks through the towns, our dinner and visit with Maria, the famous Sicilian pastry chef, the lunch and visit to the farm, and the unique hotels where we stayed."

James

Gresham, OR

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was wonderful. The sights, the good company with other travelers, our wonderful guide. . . it all was a delight. I found the walks among the population to be very interesting, par- ticularly on small back streets in the towns and villages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment(s) was seeing the Michelangelo masterpieces at the Seisteen chapel and his sculptures."

Nona

Merion Station, PA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very well organized and all of the logistical arrangements were very well [INVALID]d. Jamie is a very knowledgeable tour group leader and was attentive to all of the details involved in making this a smooth and trouble-free experience. Additionally, I was very impressed by the fact that "local experts" were brought in to speak to us at each tour stop. And I really enjoyed the tour's unique experiences, such as the visit to the contessa and the visit to the winery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the trip to the Villa Casale."

Joseph

Huntley, IL

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fun people. Incredible tour guide, Jamie. Need more time at the World War II museum in Siragusa. Felt abandoned in Chefalu as a end point to the tour. Perhaps an over water segment would have been nice, then bus back to Palermo - from Chefalu. I missed the absent segment from the heights of Mt. Etna, bet the sights would have been spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The magnificent home with all the 62 rooms of mosaics, in Armenian I believe, superb"

Mary

La Crosse, WI

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As I have experienced on other RS tours, the tour members were congenial and the guide was terrific. Jamie is funny and knowledgeable. I learned a lot about the history and art of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of wonderful museums and events, but my "wow" moment had to be the Roman Villa of Casale. I have seen Roman mosaics in other countries, but 62 rooms of it was just astonishing."

Roslyn

Monroe, NY

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed Sicily for its fascinating history and wonderful food. Especially taken with Sicily's importance in the ancient world. That so many peoples left their mark on this land is fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wonderful experiences offered: Palazzo Federico (personal stories and history and current times of Palermo) Maria's pastry presentation interwoven with her personal history Benanti's (father and son) presentation provided an insight to their wine making efforts and worldwide success."

Gail

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie is a wonderful guide. This is my 6 th tour with Europe through the Back Door. The people I met were very nice, they usually are. . I'm sorry to hear that Cefalu wouldn't be part of the tour next year, but I understand why. I also understand that it's more practical for tours to spent 2 nights inTrapani rather than Erice. However I was fortune to be in one of the last groups to spent 2 nights in Erice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Villa Romana del Casale. I also liked Orygia better than Taramina."

Byron

Radford, VA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met and exceeded my expectations in every way possible. Jamie, our guide, was outstanding as he framed the beautiful island of Sicily. The natural beauty and rich history along with remarkable people, food and wine made for a awesome and memorable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moments of the trip were the rooftops of the hotels we visited. We spent many evenings as a couple and with friends enjoying the breath taking nightscapes visiting and sharing a glass of wine."

Stephen

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We (my wife and I, who are veteran travelers) would have to say that this Sicily experience, our first Rick Steves Tour, was one of the best travel experiences of our lives. Jamie was a passionate tour guide as he was able to deliver on a daily basis historical, cultural, culinary information and experiences to delight us. He interwove all this with an impressive appreciation for all aspects of the wine scene. Jamie was careful to balance his management of the team, never showing favoritism.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two. Exploring the scenic town of Erice on the mountain top after spectacular views on the bus ride up.Also, the educational wine tour and luncheon at the Bentani Winery on Mount Etna. Everything was first class and all Sicilian, leaving us with a nice hope for the economic future of the region."

Frances

La Crosse, WI

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I came to Sicily for the history and to explore the crossings of cultures, and I learned even more than I had expected. I appreciated the fact that the tour was organized chronologically, so that we visited the oldest artifacts first, and then the sites in order. I also really enjoyed the wine and food theme, with the demos and the tastings. I felt that our group of 28 was a little too big, and sometimes over-stretched the resources available. Even 24 would have been better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was amazed by the mosaic floors at the Villa Casale. I have admired fragments of Roman mosaic floors in museums, but to see 62 rooms of mostly intact mosaics was astounding."

Erminio

Monroe, NY

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Was pleasantly surprised by Sicily. Palermo's gritty character was more than balanced by some of its unparalleled historical and cultural riches. Tour should be a little more organized. Itinerary said we would be staying at an "agriturismo" hotel and we did not. Itinerary said we would "experience the roots of modern drama at Syracuse's impressive Neapolis Archeological Park," and we did not (the guide offered to pay for taxis to go there but generally discouraged it.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maria Grammatico's bake off and delectable meal in Erice. Benanti's winery also excellent."

Michael

Corte Madera, CA

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first tour with a tour group ever so it took a little getting used to. Overall we had a terrific time. I got sick (pneumonia as it turns out) and I was dragging myself around but still really enjoying the tour, the tour guide (Mari), and the group. When I finally realized that I just couldn't climb another flight of stairs, Mari leaped to the rescue, and had a doctor me at the hotel. From there to the hospital, tests, and medication and Mari was a tremendous help.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All things Siracusa. The cathedral/greek temple, the fish market, The event tour guide for the town."

Charles

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Didn't know what to expect--Have done mostly independent travel, do not think of ourself as "Tour People". Had a great time and enjoyed getting the history of the different places rather than just looking. Enjoyed inter mixing with other similar kinds of people who also enjoy traveling

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure that Sciliy tour had a wow moment but did greatly enjoy the tour!"

Sharon

Edina, MN

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with our other 9 Rick tours, this one was well planned, balanced between free and guided time, full of educational information, and filled with must-see sights as well as unique "Rick" experiences. And then there's the food!! Great guides and adventurous fellow travelers are constant hightlights of his tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at the villa in Agrigento: WOW!! Sitting on the beautiful garden patio, sipping a pre-dinner drink, overlooking the Greek temple ruins on the adjoining hilltop and the tiny village below, and chatting with other tour members, are not-to-be-forgotten memories of the wonders of Sicily. A delicious dinner was served in the lovely dining room with views of the setting sun. The accommodations were first rate and we kept saying, "Is this really a Rick hotel?" YES! it was."

Carol

Toronto, ON

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Happy New Year! Despite my delay in completing this form, I did really enjoy the tour. It was generally well paced, provided a nice mix of historical and contemporary local activities, and time to wander on our own. The group on the bus was very compatible, no doubt simply by being on a Rick Steves tour, we were all of like mind. There were no groupings of more than two people within the tour which seemed to allow subgroups to form and reform easily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not have a single wow moment but rather a group of them. Mari took us to a number of places and meals that would have been more difficult to do on our own including visiting the Countessa in Palermo, Mario Grammatico in Erice and the estate lunch just before we got to Syracuse."

Carolyn

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were actually a little blown away by how much we liked this, our absolute first-ever group tour. It was really very liberating to let someone else "take the wheel" for a change! We enjoyed lots of opportunities that we never would/could have arranged on our own (Contessa's palazzo, Benanti Winery visit, farm lunch, almond cookies and dinner with Maria Grammatico). This far exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A lot of mine involved meals! Dinner in the piazza the first night, after visiting the Contessa's palazzo; the gorgeous tavola fresca spread laid out in Erice at Maria Grammatico's, the lunch at the farmhouse; the antipasti and Etna wines at Benanti winery. I enjoyed seeing all of the sights, of course, but we could probably have covered much of it on our own (albeit with a lot more effort). The events that allowed us to interact with Sicilian people are what we'll remember most."

Helen

Highland Beach, FL

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed this tour immensely. Virginia was excellent, fun and informative. It was a nice mix of ruins/history and museums and activities such as wine tasting, cookie/baking demonstration and pizza demonstration as well as enough free time to wander/do whatever we wanted. The travel time was not prolonged between sites.The food was good(I do not eat seafood and they were able to accomodate easily.We had a great, interesting and friendly group of people on our tour which enhanced the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I got to see Etna smoking/steaming from my hotel window. It had been raining and covered in clouds and upon awakening I opened the curtin to let light in the room and there it was! Then gone from sight very quickly."

Rob

Pinellas Park, FL

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour leader, Virginia was great! We enjoyed Sicily because it was so unique in its history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the place where my Dad landed in 1943, to liberate Italy."

Grace

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I very much enjoyed the itinerary of this tour and how many different places were included. I would have never seen as much or learned the history of the areas we visited if I had not taken this tour. The local guides were informative and displayed knowledge of the history and area. Our tour guide, Virginia was so great! She was energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and so much fun! Our bus driver, Mario was skilled, professional and so nice. We were in great hands.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one "wow" moment, but I really loved the incredible Roman ruins and beautiful Sicily coastline. Not to mention great food."

Dennis

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very positive experience and would seriously consider another tour.

Dene

Pinellas Park, FL

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sicily has such a diverse culture. It was fun to learn about an area of the world I really didnt know alot about.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment came a few days into the tour. I thought "Wow! This is a great group.""

Roy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An extraordinary adventure filled with history, discovery, wonderful food and excellent company. Our guide, Virginia, was able to share her knowledge and love of Sicily while expertly guiding us through the beautiful island. Virginia's appreciation and understanding of the complex past and present added a wonderful dimension to the tour. We simply had a great time and hope to return to the magical island in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agrigento and The Valley of The Temples are breathtaking. The Greek ruins, the lovely museum and the beautiful Baglio della Luna Hotel. We could not have asked for a more satisfying day or night as our brief stay was simply delightful. The entire adventure was filled with "WOW" moment, large and small, but Agrigento holds very special memories of great friends, great food, and great discovery in a lovely pastoral setting."

Paul

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. Sicily is beautiful and Virginia was able to expertly guide us through the twists and turns of the frenetic cities as well as the pastoral country side. Learning both the ancient and modern history of Sicily added to the overall experience and I came away with greater appreciation of Sicilian culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The magical central plaza on the island of Ortigia. As the sun set and the lights warmly illuminated the majestic surroundings I was taken away by the beauty of the city at night. The street performers, children playing football and families strolling about [INVALID]d an unforgettable evening."

Christine

Waikoloa, HI

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

fabulous...Virginia our guide was unbelievable, she sold me from the start of Rick Steves Tours!!!!! I would love to have her as my guide in all tours. Amazing does not even begin to describe her personality, her help fullness her social skills....WOW WOW Wow

Favorite "WOW" moment

"how everything was taken care of how help full knowledgeable Virginia our Guide....WOW"

Joseph

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

If an Army travels on its stomach, a tour group travels on it stomach and clean clothes. I strongly suggest that in each city where the group stays for more than 1 night, you locate a laundry that can clean and dry clothes and return them before the group departs. My wife and I washed clothes in our room every two nights. This caused us to lose at least one hour of vacation time each time we did laundry.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour guide was excellent; the tour members were excellent; the bus driver was excellent; the sites we saw in Sicily were dull. Monreale should be dropped in favor of more time in Palermo. Erice is worth only a half-day stop at most. Trapani should be skipped entirely. Agrigento area is worth more than 1 night. Cefalu should be skipped so that the tour can end in Palermo. There was no WOW moment."

Christine

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour was overshadowed by the fact that my husband became ill and had to spend 2 days in the hospital in Trapani.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Mt. Etna spouting off a little was definitely a "wow" moment."

Robyn

Grayslake, IL

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a good tour. We were the youngest couple by about 20 years which was too bad, but worked out ok. This was our first tour and I think we may do another. Great hotels, great guides. I do wish we had a bit more free time in a few places, but overall the use of our time was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The valley of the temples was my favorite day. The guide was awesome Michaele I believe was his name. The hotel at night looking at the lighted temples was breathtaking and the history was great."

Susan

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Had no expectations. Enjoyed everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing Sicily. We got to do a little bit of everything."

Anne

New York, NY

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I waivered between very good and outstanding. The best unexpected parts were the Benanti vineyard, the cookie factory, and the Federico family palace. Hotel selections were good with the exception of Cefalu which is not going to be on the tour next year anyway. Amount of free time was adequate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments: Monreale Cathedral (never realized how big it was), Cappella Palatina (not on tour unfortunately), Siracusa Cathedral with original temple columns, Cefalu mosiacs."

Marnie

Hartford, CT

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Many, many interesting places to see. A terrific tour guide. Nice people on the trip. Several useful procedures, such as "buddy system," rather than counting off that saved tme.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Norman Churches and their mosaics, especially the Capalla Palantina. Some of the most striking churches we've ever seen, and in particular, unlike most other churches in Italy or Europe."

Susan

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great...exactly what I wanted: Informed guides, a high level of activity, fun new experiences that I probably wouldn't have engaged in otherwise (a puppet show, a war museum), and a variety of alluring activities provided (ancient sites, beautiful seaside villages, a visit with a contessa). There were so many more wonderful experiences packed into these 11 days than I could have planned and executed on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say...too much beauty everywhere...."

Ronald

Oshawa, ON

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are veteran solo travelers and have always followed the dictum that no amount of planning is too much. We were uncertain about touring with a group. This tour exceeded our expectation in every way. Above all else was the realization that so much value is added that we would never experience on out own. You don't get a private visit to a palazzo on your own. You don't get a demonstration from Maria Grammatico on your own. If your are travelling solo you won't have the private guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaic floors at Villa Casale"

Lora

West Nyack, NY

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the cities and places that we saw. I believe that it was a well represented selection of Sicily. The other tour members were well traveled and fun to be with. Our tour guide, Sarah Murdoch, did not always live up to my expectations, as also some of the other guides hired at other cities. There could have been better assistance with planning activities to do on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Taormina for the first time."

Diane

Claremont, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Italy, let alone Sicily. I had some "black and white" photos in my head of narrow streets with washing hanging from balconies which is what I imagined I'd find. This island, now modern, stylish, charming, and yes, somewhat geared to tourism in the sections we visited, also showed us by way of buildings, food, art, people its complex past. The cultural mix is, for me, the most exciting discovery on the tour, and Sarah really taught us what to look for and appreciate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough. I loved our time at Maria Grammatico's pastry demo, at the winery, at the contessa's farm villa, and the contessa's city dwelling. Perhaps for me my first wow was striking up a conversation with a "real" Italian who asked me to take a photo. I could actually understand her story (born of Canadian father, Italian mother, father killed in Russia, mother inherited land) even though I don't speak Italian--only Spanish. What fun!"

Lauri

Pinehurst, NC

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Since this was our first tour we did not know what to expect. The tour exceeded any expectations we had. The group was very compatible and easy to get along with. The guide was very knowledgeable and, with one exception, the hotels were more than adequate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were quite a few but since I just have one choice it would be baking with Maria Gramatico."

Mario

Langhorne, PA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

NOTE: The questionnaire responses are for both myself and my wife, Rosemarie, Sicily was a wonderful surprise: Its history was a lot more complicated, and old, than we had been aware of and the country had much more to see and marvel at than we had been aware of. Overall, it was a very rich--and, on several days, very hot--experience. Also, one of your more rigorous tours both because of the weather and the amount of worthwhile things to see in do in the time period allotted. Loved it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gotta give you more than one. Mario[INVALID]The mosaic floors at the Ville Romana del Casale and the reconstructed "giant" in the Agrigento museum. Rosemarie[INVALID]The Palermo skyline as seen from our first hotel (the Ambasciatori), looming Mt. Etna, and Valley of the Temples."

Karen

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As indicated in the promo this is a very active tour. I enjoyed the variety of activities. The hotels were comfortable and accommodating to our needs. The air conditioning was especially appreciated since it was so hot. The other travelers in our group were interesting and fun to be with. Sarah worked hard to bring us a real Sicilian experience and gave us lots of valuable background for the sights and history of he island.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose from the many fun experiences, but I did especially enjoy the farm lunch on day 6. It was one of those things one could not have done as a lone tourist. The owner of the farm was so welcoming to us and the luncheon delicious."

Walter

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I feel that the tour covered the important places and gave me a good favor of the island. The tour leader added language helps and hints to round out the trip. I wanted to hear and see the history of this island and I did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The roman villa with the mosaics near Syracuse."

Paul

Pinehurst, NC

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The experience was as good, if not better, than expected. The hotels were all good (king sized beds, a/c, etc.), except for the one in Cefalu which was a bit dated. I was surprised at the number of meals included in the tour, all of which were good to excellent. Sarah did a good job with her knowledge of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing on the hotel deck in Taormina overlooking Mt. Etna. Absolutely spectacular."

Adrienne

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour ever and I had the most amazing experience! First of all, Virginia was an excellent guide. She is fun, helpful, patient and had so much knowledge to share regarding the history of Sicily and Italy. I had no idea I would learn so much about Italy's history, art, architecture and politics. Additionally, transitioning from city to city by bus was organized, comfortable and safe. The food...Oh the food was just amazing! My tour mates were wonderful and enhanced my experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I truly enjoyed the food and the varying scenery of Sicily. I have many wow moments. The Valley of the Temples was just breathtaking. Pastry making/dinner with Maria Grammatico, the farm house lunch (My favorite meal of the trip!), Mt. Etna winery tour and lunch and the pizza making demo and tasting were fun and activities I would not have had the opportunity to do without this tour. I loved the view from Taoromina and getting in the Mediterranean in Cefalu. A must!"

Joseph

Annapolis, MD

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Many sights to see and the guide knew much information about what we were seeing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the smoke coming from Mt Etna."

Nancy

Edina, MN

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour based on a friend's recommendation. If anything she understated how much fun it would be to take a Rick Steve's tour. Each day was filled with interesting sites, people and of course food. The days were active but there was also time to just relax and enjoy the scenes around us. I know I will be planning another trip with your company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many that it is difficult to pick just one. The very first day there was our visit with the contessa and the tour of her home. I was especially surprised when we were able to visit Motya and see Phoenician ruins before we toured the salt flats. Finally meeting Maria Grammatico and eating the food she and her staff prepared for us. All of that was just in the first 4 days. The "wow" moments just kept coming."

Dorothy

Hopkins, MN

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Virginia, is a delightful blend of fun, interesting historical and political background, very clear instructions, and "Surprise!" The 21-person group was intelligent and interesting and positive. No "grumps."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single moment. I loved the following: The countess's tour of the Palazzo Conte Federico. Monreale--the history and the beauty of the cathedral. Walking around Erice. The funicular. Ortygia--the delightful puppet theater and the question and answer session after. Shopping at the Pypyrus Shop and at Circo Fortuna in Ortygia. The Musco delle Sbarco, the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily. Wading in the Mediterranean."

Dana

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded all my expectations. All the touring, and meetups with local guides went seamlessly. Every activity was well prepared and paced. Each of our local guides were delightful. I can't say enough about Virginia. Through her gentle education, I learned alot about Sicily while on the bus

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That Starbucks named it's 20oz drink after the italian number for 20...who knew? all the amazing food, wine and dinner at 7:30pm....what a life"

Harold

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Comprehensive tour of Sicily. This was just what I was looking for on a one-time visit to Sicily. The tour leadership was excellent, the organization and pacing was good for a mostly middle-aged group of 21. Accommodations were hit and miss but acceptable for the most part, considering that few events involved the hotels other than sleeping and breakfast. The local guides we met at several locations added very little to the experience. I felt our RS guide could have done just as good a job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The opportunity to walk through the local markets in several town on the tour. The unscripted visits to these markets was the best interface with the locals on their turf and gave me the best impression of the local's life and culture."

Miriam

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had an excellent tour guide, Virginia, and a very pleasant group of people so that made for a very good experience. The tour was nicely set up, with a good variety of interesting outings. We saw ruins and old temples, but also saw cities and cathedrals and countryside. There were cultural connections with the wine and the food of Sicily,and the old customs like the puppet theater in Syracuse. There was a nice balance of organized excursions and free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amphitheater in Taormina, which was in a great setting."

John

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We never thought Sicily would be so interesting and fun. Our guide, Virginia, was absolutely terrific....high energy and always a smile. This tour took us to places we would never have gotten to on our own. The local guides did an excellent job of educating us on the local sites. The food was great EVERYWHERE. Having Wifi access even helped me conduct some business on the tour...nice way to pay for things.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Valley of the gods was very impressive. Never would have guessed how strong an influence the Greeks had on Sicilian history."

Joyce

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth tour and as usual my expectations were exceeded. My daughter and I both had a wonderful time. The triip was the perfect mix of being educational and fun.this particular group of people really bonded as a close unit which was especially wonderful. Virginia was an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it would be a toss up between the World War 2 museum and the puppet show. I loved the museum because it was a a powerful emotional experience. And I loved the puppet show because it was such a unique cultural experience. But I also loved the Roman house! Awesome!"

Patricia

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I would recommend Rick Steve's tours. There was a nice balance of free time, v.s structured activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at the Roman villa were fascinating."

Donald

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was as advertised, and the Greek and Roman ruins were amazing, as were the towns and villages where we stayed. The tour guide was exceptional and her discussions of the places we visited provided a solid context and background for the detailed presentations of the the local guides. Overall I had a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The massive size of the Greek temples was particularly memorable. The architecture, painting, and interior decoration of the cathedrals was truly spectacular."

Cristin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time to Europe and the tour and our guide Virginia was Wonderful!!! We learned a lot from her and had lots of fun!!! We think she is your BEST guide. We can't wait to experience more of your Fabulous guides and hope they are as Amazing as she is! You company has a Wonderful representative. She needs a Big bonus!!! We were very sad to have the trip end. We enjoyed every minute on our trip and will tell all our friends to take trips with your company! Thank you, Thank you

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was WOW!!!!"

Michael

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, like previous tours with Rick, I was "solo" but only for the first minute. We had a very cohesive group that mixed well. The tour was filled with great sites, adventures, community meals and enough free time to enjoy. Virginia, our guide was outstanding in every way. The hotels were well located, unique, clean, well equipped and had air conditioning which in Sicily in September was welcome. It was great in every way.

Viviane

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, great driver. Loved the variety of sights (I am a retired architect)ad experiences (cooking, baking, winery, lesson in vulcanology). The only thing I would have liked to see is one of the potteries where they make and decorate the plates, figures etc and for which Sicily is famous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I always wanted to see Segesta and Agrigentum and they did not disappoint although it was pouring rain in Segesta. Sicily was so much more interesting in it's geography and history than we expected."

Robyn

Dayton, OH

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip out of the country, my first trip with a tour company, and my first trip with Rick Steven's tour! I was very pleased on all accounts. Rick Steve's tour was recommended by a friend of mine. I loved the fact that the hotels were in the heart of the towns. This made for easy access to everything. I enjoyed getting to know my traveling companions too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Piazza del Duomo in Ortygia in Syrcuse. We came around the corner and it looked like a painting with the deep blue sky, a wedding party on the stairs having their picture taken, people eating/drinking at outside cafes, families enjoying time together, a youngster playing the accordian on the Dumos steps for tips,& horse drawn carriage rides. The pizza, wine, & gelato we had while "people watching" made for a very enjoyable evening. Even in our dreams we didn't imagine a scene like this."

Bill

Stilwell, KS

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a good tour. A lot different from the rest of Italy. Cefalu was somewhat disappointing. I think it would be a good idea to spend two nights at the last city, because you usually only have about five hours before the final meal to experience the town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The valley of the temples was impressive. Palermo was a very dirty and trashy city."

Gary

Nipomo, CA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I was somewhat apprehensive about Sicily (because friends of ours had been, and didn't have a great experience as independent travelers) our experience on this tour was very different. When it was over, I came away saying 'this was the best tour I had ever been on'. Our guide Mari, was extremely knowledgable in history, art, architecture and politics. I especially enjoyed learning a new Sicilian word from her each and every day. Sicily is a wonderful place, we will go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fabulous mosaics in Villa Casale Romano, and the food."

Silvia

Nipomo, CA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Bellissimo, bellissimo, bellissimo!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"going up an extremely winding road in the pouring rain to reach hilltop Erice....our driver Massimo was fantastic!"

Karl

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved everything about it: the history of the place, the people we met, the food we ate and them company of the people in our group. very knowledgeable tour guides and lecturers everywhere, from historical places to Mount Aetna to the winery we visited. Excellent bus driver too. Enough free time to do things on our own. I liked all the hotels with the exception of the last one where we had a very small and dark room.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the temples in Agrigento, they were just awesom. Erice and Cefalu hat their very special cachet which we appreciated even more because friends of us in Palermo had driven us around in the area of Madonie before the trip."

Cynthia

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, Mari! Great group of travelers! Great mix of activities! And did I mention great gelato -fig, raisin, pistachio!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale were magnificent! And we had ample time to wander and look at them on our own. While we sat huddled in the shelter in the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily, my mind went to "The Book Thief" recently read in my Book Club. Contessa Alwine was so welcoming and personable on our first night in Sicily (Palmero). The Arab-flavored cathedral in Monreale with the golden story-telling mosaics were impressive."

Christine

Littleton, CO

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We really enjoyed the wine tasting at the vineyard. We also enjoyed the puppet show because it was different and probably was not something we would have found on our own. We wish we could have stayed in Trampani instead of Eriche. In fact, I saw no reason to go up to Eriche. There are other scenic high vistas elsewhere. We liked the WWII museum very much. The hour we spent in the square afterward was just a big tourist trap. I would have preferred another place of interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our last tour of Italy was only 1-1/2 years ago. We found Sicily much the same. The wow moments were probably the food which was all great."

Gale

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt that the experiences that were planned for the tour and the tour guides were excellent. Going to several small cities along the coast was also advantageous given the fact that it was quite warm in Sicily at the time of the tour. I especially enjoyed going to the cookie baking and pizza demonstrations. Equally enlightening was the talk that the volcanologist gave us. Overall I had an amazing trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the people on our tour given the fact that I got to know them well..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was in Taormina as my family is from this city. The small town flavor of this seaside town and the public gardens were spectacular along with the ancient arena."

Merlene

Sunnyville, CA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exhausting, but amazing. I loved the varied activities, getting to know my fellow travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I suppose it was visiting Taormina and learning insights into my possible heritage."

Phyllis

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour of Sicily was actually more than I had expected. From the overall design and shape to the thought given to menus and wine, this tour surpassed all expectations. Jamie, our guide was witty, amiable, and available for questions. Expert guides at each of the sites encouraged a deeper understanding of the culture, while time was also availble to just stay in place and "soak in" the Sicilian sun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a strenous day - getting to Agrigento is an effort and the heat that day was oppressive. I was sweaty and hot, hugging the edges of the trail for any bits of shade. And then we rounded a corner. The guide was silent. And we stared - the main temple came into view and it was massive, beautiful, magical and THERE, right in front of me. 2,000 years old and still powerful. It's a moment I will never forget."

Alexander

Dover, NH

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very good tour. Relaxed, informative, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was the "valley of the Temples" in Agrigento."

Laura

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two thumbs up! Our guide was wonderful, tour mates wonderful, too. Comfortable transportation, very nice hotels, overall it inspired confidence in me as a traveler to enjoy every minute.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although every day was fabulous, the Benanti Winery, Taormina, lunch with the Contessa, and the valley of the temples in Agrigento were "wow" moments for me."

Judy

Littleton, CO

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip was unbelievable!!! Everything was so well planned, our leader Mari was exceptional, kind, helpful and a delight to be around. Our driver was so nice and all the people on the trip were such a joy to travel with. I have been on 8 of his trips and I would have to say this was one of them at the top!! Thank you Rick Steves', your tour office and your wonderful leaders!! Bravo!!! P.S. My husband who went on the trip said "Ditto". He can't wait to go on another trip.

Nils

Omaha, NE

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleasantly surprised the trip/ tour and it surpassed my expectations. Wonderful value. I thought that as a member of the group I was very lucky in that there were no bad eggs. Everyone was interesting and got the momentum going by being prompt and engaged. Mari was superb! I can't say enough wonderful things about her. After this experience I'd be more than likely book a future Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The last meal at that amazing seaside restaurant in Cefalu, eating a supurb meal while watching a glorious sunset on the Mediterranean with new friends/ fellow Rick Stevens travelers (nerd-wads). I thought to myself "Wow, what a wonderful place to say goodbye to some remarkable fellow travers!" What a gift the journey had been."

Ann

Houston, TX

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After hearing Rick Steves lecture in Houston and being impressed with his philosophy of traveling, we were inspired to take our first Steves' tour. It exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one "wow" moment. I liked the contrasts found in Sicily, from the foggy medieval mountaintop town of Erice to the beautiful coastal resort of Taormina. Beyond my expectations were the series of Greek temples at Agrigento and the Villa Romana del Casale."

Demetria

Newfoundland, NJ

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It far exceeded my expectations. We usually travel to Italy on our own but this trip changed our experiences of organized tours. Mari our guide was a delightful, enchanting woman who enriched us with an insiders view of Sicilian life and language. Stopping in Trapani after tour in morning was boring. Everything was closed. Church of Purgatorio with lifesize stautes not worth the stop. Preferable would have been to return to Erice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Erice, Valley of Temples, Countess's villa, Maria Grammatica, farmhouse-not usual tour experience"

Julie

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Even though I was the youngest person on the tour by an average of twenty years, I still had a great time. I really enjoyed the cultural immersion piece of the tour as well as nerding out on art and history with the different tour guides. It was also a great way to become acquainted with my Sicilian heritage before meeting distant relatives for the first time. I would have appreciated some optional/informal group dinners or activities during free time as I was the only person traveling alone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the time at the Benanti winery. I would have loved to have spent a more leisurely afternoon there. It was such a treat to tour the vineyard and then taste superior wines. Sometimes tours take you to mediocre wineries. Benanti is first class and seriously a superior wine. The antipasti served with the tasting was delicious and paired well with the wine selections."

Olivia

McArthur, CA

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Coverage of the island of Sicily was extensive, the information provided, while overwhelming in its volume, was given in such an entertaining and interesting manner that I forced myself to stay awake on some of the longer bus rides just to be sure I didn't miss a word of Jamie's mix of historical facts and myths.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am a scenery person, and there many "wow" moments riding up to mountain top towns and gazing down at the azure Mediterranean. The view from the top of the Greek Theatre in Taormina. The glittering gold mosaic of Jesus was another. The bigger than life and well preserved Doric Temple in the middle of nowhere. The meals at the home of the Baroness, at Mama Maria's and at the Benanti Winery. Sorry, I couldn't pick just one!"

Gerard

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sicily was very interesting and I'm glad we chose it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No great "wow" moments just overall enjoyable."

Corrine

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't put into words how wonderful the Rick Steve Sicily tour was in every way! It exceeded my expectations and in the future I wouldn't want to travel any other way. The cultural experiences were so unique and varied. We learned so much on sites, and while traveling. The hotels were unique. The food was fabulous. The other travelers became family. And last and most importantly, our tour guide made our trip personal, fun, and complete.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments. I was so surprised to find the town of Enrice built high on a mountain surrounded by stone walls. I loved the winding cobble stone streets, the flower basket balconies , and I loved the experience of learning the dying art of Sicialian baking. There were too many "wow" moments, at least one in every town: lunch with the Baroness, exploring ancient vineyards, cable car travel up the mountain from Trapani to Erice, making pizza, watching a puppet show."

Herbert

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We went to all the sites. Our guide was spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maria's dinner was the favorite wow."

Vincent

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we saw the temples."

Patricia

Albany, NY

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

They knew where to go what to see, and how to get there!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Toramina!"

Gina

North Syracuse, NY

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was wonderful. This was the first time that I had done a tour with a company and I was very pleased with the organization that was involved, the places we went, and my tour guide. It was very pleasant to not have to worry about anything regarding transportation and hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was being able to experience the wonderful island of Sicily with my family and the wonderful people that were in our tour group."

Alistair

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

All good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agrigento - valley of the temples"

Robin

Chagrin Falls, OH

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sicily was wonderful, so was Jamie. We did so much, walked a lot every day, learned more than I can possibly remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It all was a wow. I had no idea how many cultures made Sicily what it is. But the most powerful moments were those learning about WW II and the part that Sicily played in the war."

Kelly

Simsbury, CT

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Fun tour. I enjoy the Rick Steves format and would do it again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dinner with cooking demonstration by Maria. Fantastic food in a beautiful setting."

Robert

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Valley of the Temples"

Deborah

North Syracuse, NY

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I fully enjoyed the experience. My only regret was that I didn't take a journal with me to remember all the places ,the time went by fast and we saw so many things. It was a wonderful experience and I have been telling everyone that they should look into a tour for them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every hotel terrace was a WOW . Beautiful views from every balcony and every the bus rides had beautiful countrysides."

Gary

Mcarthur, CA

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide, Jamie, enhanced the visual experience by filling in all the spaces left open by the sometimes long bus rides. At the end of the tour I was completely satisfied that I had seen Sicily, felt it's culture and learned about it's history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the town of Taormina most."

Nancy

Harrisonburg, VA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations in terms of what we saw, who we were traveled with and where we stayed. The tour guide, Mari, was wonderful. She gave a nice mix of history, current politics, and personal stories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several: Erice was magnificent; seeing Mt. Etna steaming was a thrill, and climbing to the top of the mountain at Taormina was great."

Cassandra

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves' tour and it won't be our last. The history, the group, the city visits were all outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my "wow" moment was our visit to the "Valley of the Temples". The history of those ruin was hard to wrap my head around. The salt harvesting in Trapani was excellent as well, oh but wait seeing the active volcano of Mt. Etna, oh but wait... it was all a "WOW" moment for me."

Ray

Alachua, FL

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was everything one could want: An outstanding itinerary, a great guide, friendly and fun travel companions, great sights, seas and mountains, beach days, excellent food and wine, friendly Sicilian people, a friendly and safe bus driver, a clean and comfortable bus and more excellent food and wine...when can I go back?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I like water and mountains, I thought it was a "wow" that every hotel had a rooftop terrace or levels of terraces and the sea was visible at each hotel. But the "big wow" had to be the view of the sea and Mt. Etna from the terrace at the Taormina hotel."

Lynn

State College, PA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were very lucky to have an extremely simpatico group. We gelled right away and were fortunate to have the wonderful Mari as our guide. I was worried about being a solo traveler, but I found that members of the group made a point to included me. Unfortunately the schedule was challenging to me physically, but Mari never made me feel that I was holding up the others. I managed to keep up. I was extremely impressed with Mari's knowledge as well as that of the local guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch with Contessa Giovanna and the tour of Mosia."

Diana

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Italy was not my first choice for a tour, however, what I found was that Sicily is almost a different country entirely. I really enjoyed learning about the history, seeing the variety of architecture, and learning about the culture. The tour did a great job of mixing a variety of experiences without over focusing on one particular things (like churches for example). Probably what made it special and so interesting was Mari, out guide and her personal connection to the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wow" moments to limit to just one. Several things: the temples, the mosaics, the fish markets, the views and so on."

Donna

Naples, FL

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was everything we hoped for from a Rick Steves tour. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable about everything Sicily. The other tour guides complimented the information and offered hands on experience that was truly remarkable. The food and extra activities only enhanced our trip. We wanted to see Sicily experience the history culture and food and we did!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Siracusa that encompassed the true esense of Sicily's past and present. Of course making cookies at Maria's will always bring a smile to our faces"

Karla

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. We took your advice and arrived a day early; got a chance to walk around Palermo and rest up before the tour began. The tour was a wonderful combination of sights (cities, countryside, small towns) planned activities and free time and group meals and an opportunity to go out on our own. I found the pacing of the tour perfect; not rushed anywhere and wonderful not to be on the bus too many hours when we travelled between sights. A wonderful first Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to choose.... The rooftop terrace in Palermo.. The contessa's palazzo... The view of Mt Etna.. The Valley of the temples.... The War Museum in Catania (I would have never chosen to go and it was a favorite part of the trip for me!) The Ocean views from our bus rides up skinny mountain roads (the driver was excellent; better him than me) The salt fields at Trapani I could go on and on...."

John

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific first tour with Rick Steves!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moments were both included meals... The Luncheon at the hilltop town of Erice where we were treated to a sumptuous feast of local foods and then got to make cookies. The Baroness' in the hills of Lentini who prepared a fabulous late afternoon repast in her converted barn and on her grounds."

Eduardo

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Before joining the tour, My wife and I drove around Sicily covering some of the places we would not during the Rick Steves Tour, and before coming to Italy we did a lot of reading about Sicily. In light of this, the Rick Steves Tour was very enriching and a great learning experience. Jamie the Tour Conductor is very knowledgeable about the span of Sicilian History and its culture from ancient times to the present. He brought Greco-Roman Mythology alive in situ wherever we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visits to Palazzo Federico, Monreale, Villa Romana del Casale."

Irene

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed our tour of Sicily because we were able to appreciate the different layers of antiquities. The expert guides provided relevant information to appreciate the significance of the different sights. The varying pace of free time combined with guided tours to historical sites and museum plus the various well chosen meals and insights into Sicilian life made the tour experience memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The valley of the Temples in Agrigento was a wow moment. Also, the talk by Boris, the Volcanologist was wonderful. Maybe an optional tour with Boris should be offered to see Mt. Etna."

Bruce

Auckland,

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Doubt that the tour could have been much better. Comprehensive choice of diverse places to visit, excellent tour guide, flexibility on the day and good accommodation for the price.( we seemed to get rooms with a view most times! Had a lot of fun being the "odd ones out from down under". Jamie was able to play on his knowledge of "Kiwis". After years of touring other parts of Italy we wonder why Sicily doesn't feature more strongly as a top place to go.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics in Monreale Cathedral that feature water scenes. Particularly the one with Christ pulling the sinking Peter up out of the lake.The artists ability to create the feeling of transparency in the waves was gobsmaking. The story about sourcing the mosacic artists to come and work over the relatively short construction period must be unique too."

Bill

St Louis, MO

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

RS tours are always a great value and the way to see a country. RS handles all the details so I can sit back and enjoy. Great not to worry about tipping.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Agrigenta and the professor who led our tour group. The temples were amazing. Taormina was my favorite stop. Between the pizza and gelato and the view of Mt Etna from our excellent hotel, how could this not be the "wow" place?"

Maureen

St Louis, MO

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour met most of my expectations. This was my third RS tour and surely not my last! Very nice group of people and accommodations were very good with one exception. We covered a great deal of Sicily and the days were long but interesting. Italian people were always very friendly and pleasant to us. Our guide, Jamie, has an encyclopedia on his shoulders and amazed us with his vast knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"T A O R M I N A Just loved this town. Could spend a week there. The lunch at Erich was one of the best I have ever had anywhere. Food was outstanding and served in a beautiful setting."

Joseph

Winston Salem, NC

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful combination of amazing locations, friendly travelers, extraordinary experiences and a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many we coined the term, "wow fatigue." The views ascending to Erice would be near the top of the list, as would the first glimpse of Mt. Etna with her vent plume. Also the lunch spread at Erice. Really too many to mention as Sicily is such a beautiful place."

Vincent

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My brother and I, both retired, decided to go on this tour together, and we're so glad we did. This was our first Rick Steves tour and our first visit to Sicily, where our grandparents came from over a century ago. We had no idea just how beautiful Sicily is, and the tour showed us so many aspects of this wonderful island. It was a terrific experience, thanks to a well-planned itinerary, a first-rate guide, great food, and a congenial group. I would do another Rick Steves tour in a minute.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose one, but here are some highlights: Great food. Walking through history at the Greek and Roman ruins and the ancient churches. Fantastic mosaics. Great scenery, like the unbelievable views from Erice, or the seacoast and beaches, or Mt. Etna on that rare day when it wasn't shrouded in mist."

Christine

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful tour. Would suggest two changes: on Day 3-4, stay for two days in Trapani instead of Erice. During day 3-4 just go up to Erice for 1/2 day to have lunch with Maria and tour the city. Tour should end back in Palermo, since everyone has to fly out of there. It was a little odd that we all had to figure out how to get from Cefalu to Palermo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Ortygia and Taormina. Loved the wine tasting at Mt. Etna. Loved the Greek temples."

Carol

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Would have appreciated some "beach time", any "beach time" Most days were too filled with activities, very limited personal time Some redundancy between the RST guide orientation and the city guides, i.e. Palermo and Taormina Too much time spent in Tripani at the salt flats and island museum Erice was charming but not worthy of spending more than an afternoon

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "bikini girls", the Valley of Temples, Maria's Cooking School and wine tasting on Mt. Etna"

Michael

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The itinerary was will thought out. The accommodations were acceptable, what we expected. Nothing fancy. I know that a lot of "free time" is built into the tour. But I think that there were times that I'd have liked to wandered around with the guide. Say we had the afternoon off in Siracusa, maybe Tommaso could have offered an optional stroll about with him as a guide. Anybody who wanted to explore with him would be free to do so- or not.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An of the schedule Greek tragedy we attended in Siracusa. Simply wonderfully."

Cheryl

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fifth Rick Steves tour and I must say it was the best one yet. When asked I always state that each tour and country are so unique that I can't choose a favorite. The country and itinerary were fabulous as were our traveling companions. Loved the hotels, restaurants and sites, our bus driver Antonio was the best. Not once did I feel pickpocket vibes or unsafe and we wandered everywhere.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Valley of the Temples Taormina Villa of Casale, really helped to have Tommasso guide us through Touring through a Palazzo with the Contessa who lives there!"

Ron

Escondido, CA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour, we not only saw things we would never have experienced on our own, but learned things about everyday life in Sicily from the great guide Tommaso, who is a must if you tour Sicily. We certainly enjoyed a backdoor experience visiting people and places we would have not seen on our own tour. The folks on the tour were all compatible and great fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick just one item as almost everyday supplied a "WOW" moment from start to finish, however I would pick the Roman mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale, which were just huge in scope and on location out in the rural landscape."

Susan

Escondido, CA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first tour and I have a very positive impression. At first, I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of togetherness, but I got used to it. There was less free time than I expected. There was a reasonable balance for duration of visits to sites. While I could have spent the day at Roman Villa Casale others enjoyed other sites better. It was a very worthwhile experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed Roman Villa Casale, WWII museum, and the volcanologist talk. I enjoyed the Etna vineyard visit and lunch at the Contessa's house."

Susan

Eugene, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Tomasso was a very entertaining guide. He brought to life much of the history and lore of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maria's cooking class was great. The best bread on the trip."

Sharon

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a first of this kind of tour for me and I was very impressed with the organization, the group, the places we visited and the knowledge we gained from this visit to Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to choose one "wow" moment. Syracuse and Taormina were places of special interest to me. The tragedy at the Greek theatre was amazing and just sitting in the square in the evening in Syracuse was delightful. The puppet theatre was a delightful surprise. The winery tour at Mt. Etna was especially memorable and the lecture by the volcanologist superb. Our guide, Tomamaso, was one of the biggest "wows" of all. The visits with the countessas were also great."

Janine

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Sicily tour was wonderful! Sicily is much more varied geographically and culturally than I had realized, and its complex history and mix of cultural influences came to life on the tour. I think that Sicilian life happens behind walls, and Tommaso, our guide, gave us the chance to see behind the walls. There is so much to experience in Sicily that I'm tempted to take the tour again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the passegiatta in Ortygia as the sun went down. Walking along the Valley of the Temples. Glimpsing steaming Mt Etna from the terrace in Taormina when the clouds cleared. The mosaics at Monreale, Capella Palatina, and Piazza Armerina--such different styles of the same technique. Learning to make cookies at Maria Grammatico's. Walking through deserted Erice late at night. Standing on the uppermost level of Teatro Massimo in Palermo. The list goes on!"

Judith

Orangeville, ON

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Our group was congenial and considerate and fun to with. Personally I now know I am not a 'bus tour' traveller but prefer to travel on my own and hire guides as we go along as my travelling friend and I have done many times in the past. However, this did not detract from the general excellence of this specific tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, however, having the chance to see a Greek Tragedy in Siracusa was phenomenal. Seemed it pulled all the history together as we sat in the Teatro Siracusa overlooking the landscape. This was a magical moment for me and a wonderful "extra"."

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great group, an excellent leader, and a very good time. It seems that Sicily is only now developing all of the things necessary to make it a tourist draw. We didn't have a lot of local interaction, and most Sicilians did not have a command of English (nor we of Italian), but the interaction we did have was most pleasant. Palermo was big and dirty with not a lot of attractions so we were glad it was our first stop so that everything got better from there on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite part was at Agrigento. The ruins were fantastic and I could have spent lots longer in the Museum. It was amazing to imagine oneself walking in the same paths of the ancient city. People-wise, my "wow" moment was meeting two couples in Ortygia, none of whom spoke English, who actually 'walked' us to the best restaurant of our trip."

Diane

Whitefish, MT

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed the "off the beaton path" experience of Sicily. What an incredible island ! So full of history, wonderful people, gorgeous scenery and amazing cities and hill towns. We also had a great group to travel with and the BEST guide, Tomaso. He went out of his way every day to make our trip wonderful and interesting. Totally exceeded my expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many WOW moments on this tour. Once again Tomaso was full of unexpected surprises that really made this tour special. So I am going to choose the Piazza Armerina Morgantina and all the amazing mosaics of the beautifully restored Villa of Casale. Steaming Mt.Etna was also a jaw dropper,"

Rick

Tampa, FL

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and it met or exceeded all of our expectations of Sicily. Great guide, great group and great fun. Just a little rushed compared to the first two: Southern France and Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dinner with Maria Grammatico at her school. Wonderful evening. Beautiful view, warm hospitality, outstanding meal and wine and warm and inviting hostess."

Janet

Bellmore, NY

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The towns and sites that we visited were well-chosen to give a good picture of what Sicily was like. Most towns were medieval walled cities with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The historic sites were spectacular and interesting. Tommaso was knowledgeable and funny, and I always felt safe with Antonio driving the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The one thing that really surprised me was when I walked into Santa Maria Della Rocca above Taormina and saw the ceiling made out of the mountain rocks. It was just totally unexpected and beautiful."

Marcia

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In a word, awesome. The variety of sights (temples, churches, gardens, beach towns, bigger cities)and cultures (evident everywhere, especially in architecture and food)is amazing. I wish this tour had been a few days longer. We saw a lot, but there was much more to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was a "wow" moment every day! Many of them have been noted in other comments on this tour, so I will mention one that's not in the brochure. I loved Erice. Wandering around the gardens under the castle at night was a magical experience; it was like being in another world. Oddly, at about 10:00 p.m. it was completely deserted. Another eye-opener for me was Palermo. Wandering through the streets and alleys and suddenly coming upon an amazing building or charming fountain was a revelation."

Catherine

Stuart, FL

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a pleasant mix of various differing sites, topography, history, winery, "agra tourism", private mansion, country hotel and city hotels....we liked the diversity of the meals offered and the opportunity to see locals making pastry and pizza the "Sicilian" way. Enjoyed the amount of free time mixed into the tour as well as the opportunity for walking, in spite of the necessary time on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Erice andTaormina offered unexpectedly beautiful settings. Our trip to a traditional vineyard provided an added appreciation on the intricacies of growing grapes and producing fine regional Sicilian wines. Greek ruins at Agrigento were stunning."

Paul

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide was very thorough and personable. The lodging were better than expected ,toy were clean the staff very helpful. The hotel locations were central and appropriate for the tour. The tour length was good. The sites were well worth seeing. Safety was never an issue.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Some of the hotel roof top views were fabulous."

Joanne

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Traveling with a small group is the best way to experience such an interesting location as Sicily. The history, scenery, food, climate, people are great to share with others. Seeing Sicily with local guides deepens the entire experience. all of the locations we visited were remarkable. Our guide, Mari, was absolutely delightful to be with. Several individuals had lost luggage from the trip over and Mari was relentless in helping them. She added greatly to the total experience with her knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day had its moments. However, when we were at the Ear of Dyionysius cave two of our comparis sang to show how the echo would project. It was magical!"

Steven

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide and group were the best. Our bus driver added to the experience with his skill and personality. The tempo with a constant moving from one event to another made the time go fast, but with enough time to take in the sights and enjoy them. So, the itinerary was more than what I expected and luckily Sicily has many interesting sights with the history to back it up. Mari, the guide, was very knowledgable and was able to answer even the worst questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sight, Villa Romana del Casale was the most interesting. Mainly because it is so well preserved and the crowds were manageable. Because of the planning it fit into our busy schedule and was the highlight of the trip."

Christopher

Chicago, IL

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had done one (non-Rick Steves) tour some years ago and were not overly happy with it. But we know some Rick Steves alumni and decided to give the Sicily tour a try. It was great -- an excellent mix of directed sightseeing and time to ourselves; a knowledgeable guide who yielded gracefully to local pros, had good suggestions for how we might use our free time, and was not afraid to say "I don't know"; and hotel accommodations that were surprisingly good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a favorite "wow" moment -- there were many! But I think I'll have to go with Monreale, the amazing cathedral near Palermo that was built in -- 15 years! We saw many cathedrals of comparable size and glory in Sicily and in our own subsequent five days in Florence, many of which took not years but decades -- sometime centuries -- to build. None was finer than Monreale, built in 15 years. Now that's a "wow!""

Ralph

Simsbury, CT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was terrific! The sites. Our guide. The food. The bus and driver. Only thing not to like was the ineptitude of the people at the Palermo airport, at the lost and found office, who ended up keeping my bag there for the entire eleven days of the trip. Only at the end did they reveal that I had not signed a release authorization ... Which, in fact, they had never presented to me. These people caused a great deal of frustration for three of us on tour, and also for Mari.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pin down. Have to say "Segesta" followed by the Roman Villa."

Michael

Billings, MT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip overall exceeded expectations. Great itinerary that only a group of this size could do. Some of the old towns had very limited lodging and transportation was all on foot. A larger group would have had major logistic problems.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mine was the hunting lodge with all of the mosaics. To think that they were so well preserved and from roman times."

Carol

Billings, MT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved Sicily. The tour seemed so complete, and the pacing was to our liking. The lodging was in the middle of the old towns which made walking easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Greek temples and the great food!"

Kathy

Windsor, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

In general the tour delivered what it advertised. This was my first tour and I generally enjoyed it though I am not certain I will do another. Still processing....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I most enjoyed the roman mosaics at villa romana del casale. Unfortunately we had vey limited time there, due to the schedule."

Lyn

Oakland, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Benanti Winery, lunch at the Contessa's country house"

Mike

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The sights were amazing, the food was great and our guide was excellent. We enjoyed ourself very much

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were actually two wow moments. The Cappela Palatina was extraordinary. The space in the chapel was filled with figures in gold and other precious gems. We were fortunate to view the chapel early in the morning and very few people were there and we were not rushed. It was an amazing experience. The second wow moment was ville Romana del Casale. I expected to see interesting mosaics. These were by far the best Roman floor mosaics I have ever seen."

Dianne

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved this tour. It is a wonderful mix of ancient history, current history and natural history with Mt. Etna. Our tour experienced some frustration which I will address later.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it's hard to pinpoint a wow moment. I especially loved the amazing mosaics in the churches -like Monreale--and at the Villa Romana del Casale."

Marguerite

Nesconset, NY

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A trip of a lifetime for me. My paternal ancestry originated from Augusta, Sicily. An experience like no other in my life. This tour was so wonderfully packed with true Sicilian cultural and historical experiences. The time available was so well planned. Very excellent introduction to each destination by our tour guide, Tommaso. Lots of "on your own" time to fully explore personally chosen adventures and food options.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one. Maria Grammatico's baking school was surely a wow!!! Loved participating in the making and eating of her famous treats. I am afraid that after eating from the most delicious dinner spread she provided, I was really ruined forever from eating "street arancini." The food was so fresh and elegant. Also, enjoyed Maria's demo on filling a cannoli properly. Top Shelf Experience. The Sicilian Puppet Theatre was great fun and a very impressive experience, too."

Mary Lou

Everett, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was a surprise!! And it was wonderful! Our group was very cohesive and fun. I enjoy the tours so much. The bus driver, Aurelio, was outstanding, and his driving on those narrow, windy roads was amazing. Tommaso had special "toilet" stops for us that also included espresso, gelato. and food opportunities. Loved the trip, and I learned so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wows"!! The mosaics in the churches and at Villa Romana del Casale were quite beautiful and so marvelously crafted. Then our special times and meals at the farm (I did not want to leave!) and the Benanti Winery, and the cookie making with Maria at Erice followed by the best meal of the tour. When you live in the US, which is so young, all the antiquities and ruins of older civilizations are very humbling and unbelievable to see."

Jimmy

Everett, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All aspects of the trip exceeded expectations! Tommaso and Stacy were informative, attentive to details and prompt! The hotels that we stayed in were clean,very attentive to requests and well located. Our coach driver went above and beyond to meet our needs. The provided meals were good to excellent! As on our last tour with you in England and Wales the choice of activities and sites we visited were very good.The guides in various sites were also well informed and pleasant.Weather was excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The city of Taormina was breathtaking!"

Augusto

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour itinerary was generally, and most of it, very interesting. Unfortunately, there are plenty of interesting sights that could not be seen within the time allotted. On many occasions the free time occurred in the early afternoon. when many interesting places were closed. To be fair to participants and guides alike, the Tour should be done either in 18 days, or otherwise be offered as two different tours, dividing the country into two sections (East and West?).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sicilia as a whole was amazing!"

Marta

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was exciting and Sicily is fascinating. However the trip felt rushed and guide and participants felt the strain of the busy schedule. Due to the distances to be covered traveling by bus, in spite of early starts, the group reached destination when churches and shops were about to close,or closed. Very frustrating. If the task is impossible to accomplish, it should not be offered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taormina, Montreale, The Valley of the Temples, Villa Romana del Casale, Mount Rtna."

Brian

Pretoria,

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organised and provided an overall experience of Sicily.It also allowed one the freedom to explore independently. A most enjoyable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman mosaics at Agrigento and the visit to Maria Grammatico (Erice)."

Michael

Ocean Park, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I never thought about Sicily much and my wife chose the tour. I found the tour one of the best vacations I ever had. The scenery was beautiful, learning about Sicilian history was fascinating. Tomasso took us to see things I doubt other Rick Steves tour would see and provided many extras which made for a once-in-a-lifetime tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not a food person but the food on this trip was incredible. The variety, the quantity and the quality were just great. The cities we visited were so beautiful."

Larry

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The time in Palermo was well spent - would have been nice to have the first days' program the day before so you could visit the opera house and other areas not on the tour. Tommaso - an excellent guide- my wife is a vegan (plant based food) and he made certain there was an above average lunch/dinner she could enjoy. Stacy also very helpful assisting us with getting/checking on transportation at the end of the tour. She was wonderful with our blind traveler.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maria Grammaticas' workshop and restaurant. She invited all to make her cookies, had assistants to explain the process and served a wonderful meal in her business establishment - totally unexpected."

Pieter

Pretoria,

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily at its best! One of the best tours that I have taken.The tour has been well organised, with a well balanced take on all cultural aspects of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There have been quite a few "wow" moments on this tour, however on the top of my list are: Villa del Casale, with it's incredible mosaics and the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento.On a more cullinary note the dinner at Maria Grammatico and the gelato in Agrigento."

Alex

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations of Sicilia, beatiful place on earth. Tour was well organised. I travelled with different companies in the past as Globus, Insight and etc. Smaller group in comparison Globus and others makes a big difference. Food provided by tour guide was very good. It was our 1st expereince travelling with Rick's Steves company and were are looking forward to travel with this companyin the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting Contessa in Palermo and visiting her beatiful castle in middle of city. To have opportunity to see historic place not only at museums in but at place where very interesting people live and have life conversation with them I consider the highlight of whole tour and what you remember for years."

Weather

Sicily/ Palermo

Palermo Weather

Planning Tips

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Italy: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews, and articles, plus recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Meridiana (www.meridiana.it) is the only airline that operates a non-stop flight from the US (JFK) to Palermo. All other flights to Sicily require at least one connection, typically through Rome, Milan, London, Amsterdam or Naples. 

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.

For information about traveling by train, read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Sicily before your tour begins, use the Sicily guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Palermo that we do not do as a group: Cappella Palatina, Teatro Massimo (closed Mondays), Marionette Museum, Museo Archeologico Regionale A. Salinas, Palazzo Abatellis, Capuchin Crypt, Palazzo Mirto, Galleria D'Arte Moderna (GAM).

Packing

This tour has several opportunities for swimming so you'll want to pack a swimsuit and a lightweight microfiber towel.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.