• Welcome to Palermo
  • Erice Sunset View
  • Marsala Salt Flats
  • Agrigento
  • Ragusa
  • Syracuse
  • sicily-mt-etna
    Mount Etna
  • Sicilian Wine Tasting

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

Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days Tour

from $1,995 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

Rick Steves' most popular off-season tour immerses you in the culture, cuisine, and history of Sicily. On your spring or autumn ramble across the island, your Rick Steves guide will introduce you to the tasty pleasures of local fruits, pastries, and traditional cooking, Italy's brightest pottery and boldest wines, Europe's most amazing ancient Greek ruins, the steamy power of Mount Etna, and picture-perfect hilltop villages. Join us for the Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days!

You also may be interested in the late spring, summer and fall departures of our Best of Sicily in 11 Days tour.

Dates & Prices

2016

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 2428 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 and Cloister tour • Segesta • Erice orientation walk • Trapanese regional tasting • Sicilian pastry lesson • Marsala Salt Flats boat cruise (weather permitting) • Island of Mozia visit • Valley of the Temples tour • Agrigento Archeological Museum tour • Villa Romana del Casale • Ragusa orientation walk • Sicilian cooking class • Chocolate tasting • Hill town visit • Neapolis Archaeological Park • Puppet Theatre performance • Museo dello Sbarco tour (WWII) • Catania fish market tour • Wine tasting at Sicilian winery… 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, Berber Jews, Gothic, and Norman tradition, 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 that perfect 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, before driving to the bustling port town of Trapani and checking into our hotel. After an evening orientation walk, we'll set you free for dinner. 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 ancient Phoenician island of Mozia and learn about this bygone civilization. Then our guide will explain 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. This evening find that perfect terrace, savor your favorite apertivo, and watch the sun dip below the horizon. 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 also tour the vast collection of artifacts at Agrigento's Archaeological Museum. This afternoon we'll head to our tranquil countryside hotel. You'll have plenty of time to soak in the scenery before tonight's hearty dinner together. Sleep in or near Agrigento (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Roman Mosaics and Ragusa

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. This afternoon we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch in the countryside. On the road again, we'll head to the hilltop town of Ragusa. After we check into our hotel, we'll take an orientation walk through Ragusa, where you'll be free for dinner. Sleep in Ragusa (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Charming Ragusa

The day is yours to wander along Ragusa's narrow streets and soak in the simple pace and traditions of everyday Sicilian life. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of this delectable hill town. Tonight we'll gather for a Sicilian cooking lesson featuring the region's traditional recipes. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 8: Hill Town Visit and Ortygia

This morning we'll experience the ancient technique of chocolate making, introduced to Sicily by the Spanish colonists. Then we'll take a drive to your guide's favorite hill town in the Ragusa region. After free time for exploring and lunch, it's on to Syracuse, in ancient times "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all." This evening we'll take a walk through the city's historic old town on the island of Ortygia, ending with a lively performance of Sicily's traditional puppet theatre, where language is no barrier to entertainment. Sleep in Syracuse (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Syracuse, Past and Present

This morning we'll experience the roots of modern drama with a tour at Syracuse’s impressive Neapolis Archaeological Park, where an ancient Greek theatre is carved into the rock. Then 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. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: War, Wine, and Catania

After breakfast, we'll head north to Catania, where 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. Then, after a tour of Catania's famous fish market, we'll take a drive up the slopes of Mount Etna to a local winery. We'll gather tonight back in Catania for a farewell dinner, to say arrivederci, share travel memories, and toast to new friends. Salute! Sleep in Catania (1 night). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

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 shuttle bus or taxi. 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 (Off-Season) 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

Susan

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 04/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour included some wonderful cities including Raguso, where most tours are unable to go due to size. Our guide, Tommasso, was the perfect choice to lead us around his beautiful island. I would recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siracusa. What a city. I'd have liked to have had more time in that great city."

Chuck

Evanston, IL

Tour: 04/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't think there was that much to see in Sicily, but with an outstanding guide, a bus, and 20 tour buddies, it was a rich experience that I would recommend to anyone. Little did I know that, after World War II, Sicily very nearly became the 49th state of the United States.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say the visit to the catacombs. So many dead people so elaborately posed. Another WOW moment was discovering that a glass of wine in a restaurant actually costs less than a bottle of water. Who would've thunk it?"

Nicholas

Newport Beach, CA

Tour: 04/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the places we went and the food we ate. Thomaso was very informative and made everyone feel welcome. I made friends with some of the other tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed when we went to María Grammatico's school of cooking."

Sharon

Oshkosh, WI

Tour: 03/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Suzanna was just top notch. I have been on 6 RS tours and she was one of the very best. So organized[INVALID]she got us into sites early so we could see everything before the rest of the Italian world got there and there was never a glitch in any of our arrangement that I perceived. She is a very hard worker and a fantastic representative of your company. She also had such a way of explaining the Italian heart, viewpoint and history. I got so much out of this tour. Stacy was great to have with us too

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was blown away by the historic sites--Greece really has just piles of rubble in comparison to Sicily"

Martin

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 03/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour fulfilled my expectations in every way, and then some. It was extremely well planned, organized and led. Our guides, Suzanna and Stacy were superb, in terms of their knowledge of the history, geography and political environment, as well as their careful attention to the numerous logistical details. I was also very impressed with how much we were able to learn from the various site guides. The bus driver, Salvatore, also deserves kudos for his exceptional driving skills.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaic floors of the Villa Romana del Casale -- so well preserved and so strikingly beautiful, after two millennia exposed to the elements!"

Paula

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 03/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was not what I expected. It's fertile, mountainous, and important in the history of the ancient world. I'm glad I visited and learned more about Sicily. Sicily is not as crowded as busier tourist destinations. We were able to see the sights, people watch, and savor the food in relative calm. The itinerary, the guides, the tour members were all great. I enjoyed the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moments included learning about Sicily's former glory. Remnants of these times include: Mozia and its ancient salt flats, the stunning Greek theater in Siricusa, the luxurious Villa Romana del Casale, the Arab-Norman palace of La Zisa in Palermo."

Gregory

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a very good time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trapani's salt pans tour was very interesting."

Moira

San Luis Obispo, CA

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Bob and I had a really special, great trip to Sicily.. beautiful country! The food was super good-the wine tastings were stupendous! Our time was well planned-just enough time to ourselves We could not have had a better guide! Jamie's a Pro.. ;

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sun come up over the horizon in Syracuse as we practiced our Tai Chi before our beautiful breakfast!"

Kirk

Chicago, IL

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I have used Rick's guidebooks on several trips, this was my first R.S. tour. Of course, the trade-off with group travel is flexibility, but I greatly enjoyed the tour, the group and the experiences, which in all likelihood I would not been able to arrange on my own. Overall, a wonderful experience. I'm sure I'll be signing up for another R.S. tour soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed touring Villa Roma del Casana. I have been fortunate to see some other Roman mosaics, particularly in the ancient cities on the island of Cyprus, but these were far more extensive and in much better condition than imaginable. Amazing that they exist. And, of course, it's hard not to mention the phenominal luncheon and cooking class at Maria Grammatico's."

Phil

Salem, OR

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the Romana del Casale and the beautiful mosaics depicting everyday life of a roman family. The mosaics were brilliantly colorful and alive with stories and depiction of roman culture."

David

Kingsport, TN

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed exploring an area of italy i had not been in before and seeing the similarities and differences. The food and wine was wonderful. i enjoyed trying some Sicilian and Italian craft microbrews, primarily in palermo. the history was also quite interesting as i did not appreciate the great influence of arabic culture nor the extent that sicily figured into greek history. the people in our group were great to travel with and our guide was outstanding. Spring was a great time to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the parade of statues for the easter celebration in Palermo with music playing that could have been lifted from the godfather movies. or Seeing my first phoenican historical site."

Grace

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful fun-packed trip in 11 days. Our guide Jaime was outstanding! The group was great too! As usual, lots of "magic moments".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the puppet show! Also, the valley of the temples, and the cooking demos."

Rebecca

Roslindale, MA

Tour: 03/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves Tour. Overall, we were impressed by the Rick Steves organisation and blown away by how much we learned. The high quality guides were key to our learning experiences. We lived in Geneva for 11 years and have spent our lives in positions that required extensive global travel. We 'thought' we were doing a good job of learning about where-ever we were, but the bar is now quite high. We also very much enjoyed ALL of our travel colleagues and bonded over shared values.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was a series of 'wow' moments - with our local guides. We had no real idea of the depth of history in Sicily. Our guides brought that history alive."

Leonard

San Diego, CA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't know what to expect on this tour since Sicily seemed like a lost cousin to it's mother Italy. I spent a great amount of time on the web site www.bestofsicily.com reviewing history, food and culture, a good primer. Sicily's foreignness to Western and European culture was always evident. The constant maneuvering of narrow streets, tiny cars and steep steps created a foreign mental focus and appetite for adventure. The island reality of "separation" was a constant specter.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Capuchin crypt was disturbing to me personally, being a former Capuchin. I thought it distasteful. Later upon reflection I realized it more Culture Shock than disregard and I dismissed the problem. The morning view of the sea from the roof of the hotel in Ortygia was unforgettable with fishing boats outside the breakwater in crystal blue water. The fireworks Easter morning in Cicli among the thousands gathered for the dancing Jesus was crazy fun."

Mary

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have to couch my comments with 4 previous trips to Italy (on my own w/ Rick's books)and a previous RS tour of Spain, which I enjoyed more. Other areas of Italy were more appealing to me. But not knowing much about Sicily was the reason we took this tour. This tour provided for many interests from architecture, to world history (advancing & declining powers/domination), to culture and current life. Loved the time in Palermo, Erice with Maria, the pastry chef & time at the Etna winery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Day 1 - visiting Countessa & Counte Federico's palace. Her tour, enthusiasm, and genuine warmth was felt by each of us. She really set the tone for the Sicily experience."

Andi

Franktown, CO

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second off season tour to Sicily and it was every bit as wonderful and amazing as the first one.The itinerary was significantly different this time so I was able to revisit some familiar places and see new ones. For me, Sicily is one of the most desirable destinations in all of Europe. The people, food, wine, ancient Greek and Roman sites and the more current historical sites are all incredible and this tour made it possible to visit Sicily (again) with a minimum of fuss and muss!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wows to mention all but if I have to choose, here are two. I have twice now found the Catania Museo Storico della Sbarco WWII museum moving, evocative and a definite "wow". So much history here I had never known about the Allied invasion of the island and what an important and strategic target it was during the war. In addition, being there during Semana Santa was absolutely a WOW moment."

Larry

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The final meal."

Wayne

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There are always special events included in Rick's tours that would be difficult to duplicate for independent travelers: The Palazzo Federico visit in Palermo, for example. And the special lunch with Maria Grammatico. And the seasoned, hand-picked local guides. And the Azienda Agricola Monte Serra winery visit. We happened upon three Pasqua processions (Trapani (twice); Ragusa; Scicli) which were very special. Overall, a most enjoyable trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the midst a serendipitous Pasqua celebration in Scicli, as a break from non-stop pasta, I ordered a hamburger at a sidewalk café. As the band, drum corps, and bearers suddenly roared by, my sandwich arrived. It was an elongated cheeseburger, about 4" x 10", with the fries and condiments already inside. I ate every bite while we all laughed."

Judy

Everett, WA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is hard to know where to begin. First and foremost I would like to thank our wonderful guide Nina. She was everything and more making our tour extra special. She found wonderful adventures that were a plus to all the promised ones on the tour pamplet. I am trying to put together my picture album with 3 pictures from each day.....so hard to chose. Being there on Easter week was beyond words. All the parades of icons through the streets day & night was an amazing experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the WWII museum on our way to Catania....it was a very emotional experience in the simulated air raid shelter....not to many dry eyes. Our plus adventure was to tour the actual air raid undeground shelters that the people slept in at night only emerge to see more destruction of their beautiful county and lives lost. Must say a few words about the feasts that we enjoyed with all the native foods.....Lucky for us we walked 6-7 miles of hills each day."

Hilda

Orlando, FL

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a solo female traveller and had an awesome experience. Safety was a major concern in planning my trip. The tour provided the safety net I needed for outmost comfort. The tour guide was exceptional, very knowledgeable, caring, well organized with a good sense of humor. All the towns and sites were historical and cultural marvels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The luncheon at the winery was especially memorable. I loved the energy and diversity of Palermo."

Zan

Astoria, OR

Tour: 03/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour was more than I had expected! The sights were beautiful and the access to the museums and other institutions was outstanding. The food was more pleasant than I had hoped. The scenery and plants were fascinating.The tour members were friendly and helpful. The buddy system worked out well. I enjoyed the history of the region with the stories of the myths and the linguistics that Jamie included in his talks. The radio system worked well. The tour was too short to enjoy all of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about the history of Sicily and the various civilizations that lived there was the most interesting part of the tour. The places were interesting and the people were friendly and helpful."

Toby

Brookline, MA

Tour: 03/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lovely tour! Lots of archeology, which is a particular interest. Great pace, saw so much, but never felt rushed or bored. Guide (Jamie Gould) was informative, funny and energetic. Wonderful group of participants - a warm and friendly vibe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count!"

Howard

Avon Park, FL

Tour: 03/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie was inspirational, informational, and very personable. He elevated our experience. The tours, the hotels, and the food were awesome. I thought our first Rick Steve's tour was great; this one was fantastic. I feel like I learned so much about Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was more than one. The demonstration and lunch at La Pasticceria was fascinating. The Vineyard tour and lunch at Baneti's was heartwarming. The cooking school and dinner was a treat. The Easter processions in Trapani stole my heart and is the best of the Wow moments."

Lynne

Astoria, OR

Tour: 03/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily in the Off Season was a fabulous adventure. It was a wonderful educational and fun experience with a great guide and interesting new "friends". This trip had a great mixture of amazing archeological sites, local traditions and markets, wonderful food and wine and a good dose of laughter.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The size and design construction of the telamone from the Tempio di Giove at the Museo Archeologico."

Jacob

Waynesboro, PA

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Highly educational. Immensely fun. Sarah was an excellent guide both in terms of her broad knowledge of Sicily but in herding the group (not an inconsequential skill). Sicily itself was worthy of the attention. And the group itself was wonderful. Five stars all the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult a favorite wow moment they were continuous and diverse beginning with the tour by the Contessa the very first evening, the history of the Phoenicians, the many Greek temples, the cooking lessons from the nun's nipples to the rice balls, the rehearsal for the Good Friday procession, the tour of the little church by the 11 year old lad, the winery experience on Mt. Etna. Wow was contiuous."

Jan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary, tour events, and other tour members all were great. Sicily is an amazing place!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing the stairs in Ragusa lower town to the upper town - incredible views and a wonderful experience having coffee in the main piazza; then meeting a group of young people (about ages 12 - 14) who were giving tours of their church. They explained the chapels and the history of the church in English (theirs was quite good) with great conviction and earnestness."

Dan

St Augustine, FL

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A perfect mix of activities and free time while minimizing travel time on the bus. Sicily's mountains, lemon groves, and sparkling sea combined with the rich history, architectural treasures, Greek temples, Byzantine mosaics, and great food make it a winning destination. And if you have a fun group to share it with makes the whole experience over the top.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Segesta. On the top of an arid hill, surrounded by colorful wildflowers, stands a Greek temple that is propped up by 36 Doric columns. Well preserved and remote which make the experience more enchanting. A very impressive sight!"

Ronald

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned and guided by a knowledgeable leader. The food was great and abundant. Most accommodations were delightful. We got to see all the high points as planned. Very friendly locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The temples at Agrigento on a sunny day were magnificent."

Jerry

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 03/06/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily is enchanting. Each of our tour destinations was a unique experience and added to my overall understanding of the many cultural influences that have shaped Sicily. These influences are reflected in the food, art and architecture of Sicily's cities, towns and villages. Palermo was an excellent starting point and our hotel location provided many opportunities to visit Palermo's amazing old town which set the stage for the rest of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cattedrale di Monreale was breathtaking."

Barry

Richland, WA

Tour: 03/06/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was excellent, and different from what I'd expected, but in a good way. A variety of different sites, guides, food, and experiences - and I enjoy all of them very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a single moment. My top three, not necessarily in order, were the cathedral of Monreale, the ruins at Agrigento, and the mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale."

Robert

Portland, OR

Tour: 03/06/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Valley of the Temples was the most memorable site."

John

Lynbrook, NY

Tour: 03/06/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

our 5th rick steve's tour certainly lived up to the standards that we have found makes these tours the best. From the tour guide to just the right amount of tour time and free time to great restaurants and fine hotels is why we keep going back and will continue to do so.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For my wife and I this journey started as a family search for the birthplace of my grandfather and the origins of the family surname. Leaving a few days early we accomplished that goal with great success discovering my grandfathers town and the family mausoleum containing my great grandparents, So I guess we could say it was the people of Sicily. But I have to mention the great tour group we had. Great People,Friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to everybody."

Mary-Lee

Abbotsford, BC

Tour: 03/06/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found Sicily a fascinating destination with layers of history that unfolded as we travelled. The food was delicious. I particularly enjoyed the cooking lessons: with Maria helping roll the almond cookies and in Ragusa making arancini. The group of travellers were fun and the guide, Stephanie, was so good with logistics as well as with providing lots of background on life in Sicily, the history, architecture and art.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. But the golden mosaics in the cathedral at Monreale set the stage for the great trip that followed. The Vallley of the Temples, the Villa Romana del Casale and its mosaics, the fun puppet theatre performance in Siracusa - how hilarious, etc., etc. All the activities on this tour were of a high standard."

John

Titusville, FL

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

good tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"winery agrigento"

Joyce

Titusville, FL

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was very good! I have travelled with Rick Steves books, backpacks and my husband as guide many times to Europe, but with no guide for Sicily we chose to do a tour . I loved having someone take care of travel , details and planning , loved making new friends and dinner companions, loved having a personal guide to make each experience come alive! I also loved the extra excursions not possible if not on a tour, as palazzo, winery, pastry luncheon and class, and chocolate shop visit..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably at least two. The first days personal tour of Palazzo Federico outstanding and the last days tour and lunch at Benanti Winery on the slopes of Mt. Etna excellent."

William

Boalsburg, PA

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the wonderful variety of this tour. Every town we visited in Sicily had something different to offer in terms of culture, history, food, scenery, and even hotel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moments were at religious sites, specifically the beautiful cathedrals and the Greek temples. Siracusa's church, formerly a Greek temple, then a church, then a mosque, then a church again, was amazing from afar and up close."

Jan

Houston, TX

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was wonderful! The sights, the people and the FOOD! The best food we have ever had on any European Trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list!"

Karen

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As past RS tours have been, this one was fantastic. The time of year, the destinations, the tour guide and guides and the friends we made. Sicily would not have ben on my "must go" destinations, but wow!!!1 So much history, so much architecture, so much good food. I could go on and on. It is so hard to believe there is so much history still standing and it amazes me how countries all tie into other country's history. The hotels were centrally located and quite up to date.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At first, I thought the church at Monreale would be the wow moment. Then it was the Valley of the Temples and then the next stop would be it. Everything was great. Maybe that first cannoli. I never knew ricotta was good. The food was out of this world."

Jane

Seattle, WA

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an excellent tour. Although it was an offseason tour in Sicily, the weather was overall good. Our guide (Nina Bernardo) was phenomenal, fellow travelers were congenial, our bus driver (Antonio) was great, and we had all the sights & history of Sicily to beguile us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, there were so many...our lunch with Maria Grammatica, mosaics at the Roman Villa near Piazza Armerina, the island of Ortygia in Siracusa...all the destinations were very worthwhile visiting."

Andrea

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the moment the tour started until it ended Nina led the group into new discovery events. Sicily is so historically and culturally rich that talented guides (group tour leader and local) make the experience extremely rich. One of the many benefits of the tour is seeing things that one would be unable to do alone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is no one event. From Monreale, through the Valley of the tombs, to coastal towns it was all beyond expectations. But I can't leave out the spectacular in situ mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale - beyond belief in rich detail and beauty! On a less specific aspect, it's a "wow" that these tour groups bond so quickly with each other and the tour leader. That bonding makes for a very good trip. And then there is the food!"

George

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Experiencing Sicily was incredible. It was much more than I expected. Nina was a wonderful guide and tried to meet all our needs and desired experiences. The Sicilians are beautiful people. We had so many different types of experiences which means that all interests were addressed. The food and wine was great, unique in so many ways. Prices were so reasonable. The fresh fruit and vegetables were great. Great oranges. Particularly liked the off season--good weather and few tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Monreale, Roman villa and Greek ruins were great. Part of the wow was due to Nina."

Gerald

Houston, TX

Tour: 02/28/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was wonderful! The sights, the people and the FOOD! The best food we have ever had on any European Trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list!"

Arthur

Ridgecrest, CA

Tour: 02/23/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour. We had done the "Best of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria two years ago. We really enjoyed that tour, and

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agrigento! The temples and the archeological museum were great. The Roman Villa with the mosaics is next. However, I would say that all of the stops were great, and we enjoyed them all."

Linda

Westchester, CA

Tour: 02/23/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As Alfio said, it took a couple of days for our group to become an "Sicilian family" but once we learned names and personalities, we were family. I felt that I was traveling with a "friend" who was sharing his favorite places. The native guides added to the knowledge base of the town/site. I liked the headphones. Remind the guides, when walking through crowded places and they are pointing out something to wait until the GROUP has seen it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each town had it's "wow" moment from the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, views of temples from a distance and then up close, puppets, street markets, mosaics. Finding the identical talcum powder, purchased on an earlier trip (15 years ago) to Italy. YES!!"

Mark

Auburn, NY

Tour: 02/23/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

ALFIO WAS THE BEST! This tour allowed me to connect with family members I never knew existed (in Naso). This tour brought me a greater appreciation of my ancestral homeland. However, primarily I was able to share this experience with a true Sicilian like Alfio that shared his passions with his group. I loved learning about the history of Sicily, and I most enjoyed the many personal connections Alfio has made with the people from the many areas we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To rate this category is unfair at best. This entire experience was a series of WOW moments! I have been back home for 7 days...and there is no place in the world I would rather be than Sicily! If you force me to pick one...I particularly enjoyed the Salt Pans in Trapani, our boat ride to the Isola di Mothia and our lunch on the island. What a beautiful day and great experience."

Ray

Longmont, CO

Tour: 02/23/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found this tour of Sicily to be very enjoyable and educational. The sites, museums, winery, cities and towns were wonderful to visit and experience, and the history was amazing. Our tour guide (Alfio) was extremely insightful, sociable, and helpful to all of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say that the personal tour of the Palazzo Federico in Palermo was the most unexpected and notable "wow" moment for me. In particular it was a pleasure meeting the Count and Contessa; she was very hospitable and personable in showing us her home. The Count was also very entertaining for me as he showed us all of the historic photos of his amazing experiences as a Formula 1 racing driver, his cars, and trophies."

Steven

Tampa, FL

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour and introduction to Sicily. As with all of the Rick Steve's tours- I can depend on the quality, organization and accommodations and the experience and know I will have a great trip.

Fran

Elwood, IN

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed learning about the history of Sicily, and seeing the Greek and Roman ruins. The food was WONDERFUL. I especially enjoyed the oranges and the tomatoes. Stephanie took us to a wine bar in Syracusa that we really enjoyed. It was an "extra" that anyone could join or not. Wonderful place.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Valley of the Temples. Just amazing that there was so much still there. I also really enjoyed the cooking lesson in Ragusa."

Elizabeth

London, ON

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My overall experience was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment was the time I looked at the view from the hotel rooftop after we arrived in Palermo."

Ronald

London, ON

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

First of all, I'm "uncomfortable" with your rating system... for me "Outstanding" is a description I rarely use, "Very Good" exceeds my expectations, and "Good" is all I'm looking for. If you need to re-calibrate my responses to reflect your interpretations, feel free to do so. In summary, I enjoyed the tour. I think I got value-for-money. I would consider future tours with the Rick Steves organisation. I would recommend them to others that might like the same style of touring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well actually it was when we landed at Palermo airport,stepped outside for the first time in almost 24 hours and after 8,000 km of travelling, and saw the massive Gibraltar-like cliff near the Palermo airport. When I saw that, I said "wow". On the last morning of the tour I had a similar experience viewing Mt. Etna in the morning sunshine from the UNA hotel terrace. I guess I was there mostly for dramatic scenery."

Willis

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the tour very much. We'll always remember Sicily and will probably take more Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at the Roman villa, and the winery & vineyard tour on Mt. Etna."

Roxanne

Central City, NE

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not knowing much about Sicily I found the whole trip very interesting. I love history and all of the information that we received was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To see all of the Greek and Roman ruins was really quite an experience. it seemed that they have taken very good care everything. The cathedrals were simply beautiful. I really enjoyed the visit with the countess. She was really gracious and it was very interesting to see her home."

Stephen

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our guide, Stephanie, was excellent. She was friendly, helpful and always willing to answer questions. She had very good suggestions for our free time activities, and she provided excellent narratives to the places and people we visited. Salvatore, our driver, was also very helpful and attentive. We had a great deal of fun on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of all the places we visited the ruins at Agrigento were breathtaking and our tour guide provided a very good explanation of the site. People-wise, our visit with the Contessa Federico was another wow moment. She was gracious and gave us a wonderful tour of her palazzo."

Marci

Seattle, WA

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved visiting Sicily on a Rick Steves 2014 tour so much I signed up again. I chose this off-season tour primarily to see the Western region and SE baroque towns. The itinerary, the sights, food, local guides and guide/ fellow tour members created a fascinating, off-the-beaten track, fun time. Travelling off season was a joyful discovery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Boat excursion across the salt-flat channel to Mozia Island. The entire day of walking the isolated shoreline, imagining a vibrant Phoenician town, its subsequent destruction by Greek enemies, expat englishman John Whittaker's purchase of the island, and our wonderful rustic lunch in a Whittaker Foundation house was my favorite moment. Blue, blue skies, salt-flat windmills, calm channel waters and an island to ourselves, it was marvelous."

Wendy

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 02/21/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized and included a variety of sights and experiences. The off-season tour was great - very few lines for entry into popular sights. The itinerary is well planned for a good balance between group and on-our-own time. I enjoyed all our destinations and every sight we visited. The tour group was great - everybody had read Rick's cautions and tour philosophy and understood that the tour is ACTIVE. It's fun to travel with like-minded folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not expect abundant wildflowers and blooming almond trees in February! I really liked the tour of Palazzo Federico by the Countess and the walk through Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. The World War 2 museum in Catania was very meaningful."

Lauren

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' tour, but I have a lot of travel experience. I was totally impressed. The selection of places to stay, the schedule, the experience of Sicily was amazing. We decided that we wanted to focus on one place in Italy, and this tour was perfect. We wanted the more in-depth experience instead of hopping around to see the highlights (and more common) tourist spots in Europe. Wow, the food was amazing, the accommodations fantastic, the tour guide was stellar.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed every day, but Monreale Cathedral took my breath away. I am a photographer, and could have spent hours more there. The mosaics were stunning! Also the Erice cooking school luncheon, where they celebrated my husband's 60th birthday with an amazing buffet and a almond marzipan cake! To see my photos of the Monreale Cathedral, go to http://www.laurenheerschap.com/p1049813194 By the way, we are photographers local to Shoreline, WA."

Sara

Lakehead, CA

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great trip. Excellent guide. Nice companion travelers. Only drawback was not getting coffee before and during meals. Also for Italy which rolls up it's sidewalks between noon and 3pm, our introduction to the sites we could return to took up the morning and the sites were closed when we could return. Not sure what could be done about that. Still and all, trip was wonderful. Food really great; bus and walking tours very nice. Accommodations were as good as could be expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing 240 steps from lower Ragusa to upper Ragusa. Didn't believe I could do that."

Gerry

Campbell, CA

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily has revealed itself to be a a fascinating treasure featuring great food, wonderful people and a rich diverse cultural history. We thoroughly enjoyed the Grecian ruins, the cooking classes, the interesting and varied churches, the delicious sea food, the cannolli and especially the lack of crowds because of the off-season schedule for this tour. Totally worth it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Count Frederico's palazzo was fascinating from the family heirlooms to the mafiosi squatters, to the newly revealed 18th century painted frieze they found under a false ceiling to the Count's man-cave room filled with memorabilia from automobile races from 60's to current times. As an auto enthusiast, I was floored by his "hidden" collection of photos, goggles, medals, trophies and autographs from decades of European motor racing. What a collection!"

Frank

East Dennis, MA

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the Sicily trip very much.The group as a whole was wonderful -- very congenial. Susannah ,our trip guide, did a great job I would hire her myself--. Always in charge, preempted a lot of potential questions and just an amiable traveling companion

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the trip to the vineyard in Catania very much. The trip to the sand flats and Mozia was also high point for me. I can't forget the mosaics in Villa del casale."

Henry

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. Susanna, our guide, did a wonderful job of presenting Sicily in 11 days. We saw everything from big cities to rural countryside; Greek, Phoenician and Roman ruins; glorious churches and artwork; open air markets, museums, and cooking presentations. She introduced us to wonderful restaurants, a lovely winery, varieties of olive oils and chocolates. We really got up close and personal with so many places in Sicily, leaving us with lifetime memories. Great group of fellow tourists

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick, but the city of Ragusa, an amazing medieval city, wowed me constantly. Susanna gave a day on our own to explore. Every corner turned was remarkable. If I ever get back to Sicily, I want to spend a week there."

Gisook

Connelly Springs, NC

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, I'll do it again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How beautiful scenery and rich history every towns we visited, and most of all food!"

Richard

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was probably our best Rick Steve's tour so far! Our guide made Sicily come alive and our group were all fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments on this trip, but the most impressive moment came on the tiny island of Mozia where we learned so much new information about the ancient people that lived there."

Carlotta

Portland, OR

Tour: 02/16/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was all that we had hoped for and more. Palermo wasn't quite as seedy, Erice was even more beautiful, Ortigia/Siracusa was breathtaking. We were lucky in our timing -- February, but warm and sunny, few other tourists. We were very lucky in our fellow travelers -- not a grump in the bunch. The depth, literally and figuratively, of history and culture was amazing. The food, given that we live in food city, Portland, was sometimes but not always outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the second day of touring some of the most beautiful and intact ancient ruins in the world, the smaller things and personal moments took over. I loved the sandwich maker at the market in Ortigia tailoring each sandwich to his customer. I filmed him. He was performance and edible art. Susanna took us there after one of our outings."

James

Endwell, NY

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an outstanding adventure. Sicily is a marvelous place with wonderful people, food and wine. The History of the island is just amazing. Our tour was masterfully constructed and led by Alfio who couldn't have been more professional Most of the people we met had already been on a number of Rick Steves' tours which is a compliment in itself. My wife and I enjoyed our first Rick Steves tour, but it will not be our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WWII museum in Catania. I found it to be very moving and the lay-out and displays were 1st class. I think this is my "wow" moment because it was so unexpected."

Robert

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Except for an allusion to The Kingdom of the Two Sicilys in long-past European History courses, and occasional, more-recent references to the Mafia, my knowledge of Sicily has been zip. The depth of history revealed at the places explored on your Rick Steves Off-Season Sicily Tour have gone a long way toward filling that void!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Michelin Two-Star Ristorante Duomo in Ragusa kindly replied to me a month before the tour that they could not seat us on my requested date because they would be "resting until March 1st". As it turned-out, that certainly did not matter because of the uniformly fresh and lovingly-prepared food everywhere we dined. If one really enjoys fine dining, that alone is reason enough to do this tour."

Julia

Columbus, OH

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This, my first RS Tour, was an illuminating introduction to the ancient architecture and contemporary food and arts culture of Sicily. The early-Feb. timing was lovely[INVALID]almond trees in bloom, cool but usually sunny days, a congenial and mature group. Our guide was both professional and well-versed and patient, bringing much humor and congeniality to the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In sights, the tour to the Valley of Temples outside Agrigento with excellent guide MIchaele was a stunning experience, but so were the wonderful mosaics in the Villa del Casale. But the lunch with Maria in the hilltop village of Erice was equally memorable, and sumptuous."

Richard

Rockport, MA

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific tour leader, Alfio. Excellent itinerary and hotels. Extraordinary food and wine. Surprising historical sites. Best driver in Sicily (Salvatore).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch at the winery on the flanks of Mt. Etna was delicious and informative."

Laraine

Harwich, MA

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed the various components of the tour. It was a good mix of historical highlights, good meals/good wine and fun cooking/food-related activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour and dinner at the Mt. Etna winery was a stand-out. Loved the Benanti Vineyard wines! The grounds were interesting as was the owner - and the room where the dinner was held was elegant and warm. Also the day at Agrigento was fantastic - the temples were amazing as was the archaeological museum tour. The local guide was very knowledgeable."

Geraldine

Port Ludlow, WA

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very well-planned tour. We saw such wonderful sights and learned so much. The tour cities and sights were well-chosen. I came away from the tour unable to stop talking about it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to decide here, but I think the cathedrals and ruins awed me the most."

Shannon

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 5th Rick Steves' Tour, and it was great! The beauty of the land, the amazing food, the ancient temples and mosaics, and of course a great tour group and guide! I wasn't sure what to expect visiting Sicily, but I loved it all and can't wait to return. One of my favorite Rick Steves' Tours so far!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a few! One of my favorites was seeing the Roman Villa Del Casale in Piazza Armerina, it was so beautiful and spectacular, and since it was the off season for most of our visit our group were the only people there! I also loved our day in Agrigento seeing the temples and museum, our local guide really brought everything to life, and it was easy to feel a connection with the past. Also, every group meal was a "wow" moment, the food was mind blowing!"

Anna

Endwell, NY

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the Welcome dinner to the winery lunch/tour on Mt. Etna, this trip was a marvel from beginning to end. Alfio is an extraordinary guide to this historic and beautiful island, and Salvatore, our driver, negotiated the narrow streets and hairpin turns skillfully. 11 days barely did justice to the ancient splendors of Sicily. I cannot recommend the Off-Season Sicily Tour highly enough. Every hotel was lovely, staffed by charming people. Each destination was perfectly chosen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cathedral in Monreale; the Doric Temple in Segesta; meeting Maria Grammatico, the most famous pastry chef in Erice; the Phoenician island of Mozia; the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento; the Villa Romana del Casale; Ragusa's hills and charming hotel with wonderful host, Giorgio Di Stefano; the Museum of the 1943 Landings; the food; the wine; the people. Brilliant."

Paolo

Lindenhurst, NY

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was amazing from start to finish, our tour leader Alfio was so passionate and and informative, a true histotian ! Hope to see him again and will definitely be joining another Rick Steves tour :-)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Telling you was all WOW"

Kristopher

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 02/07/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was extremely well planned and run. The guide was exceptional. So much fantastic food we had. I will recommend Rick Steve's tours to anyone now. Pretty much total satisfaction.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sang with Contessa Alwine Federico at her palace in Palermo."

April

Portland, OR

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our tour leader, Donald was wonderfully informed about the history of "everything". Hence our bus rides were one long history class! And though I enjoyed this information, I thought it was a little bit too much. The places we visited throughout Sicily were great. I could have done without so many churches and maybe added a few art museums or galleries. There was not enough down time. I think in 11 very full days of bus rides, and touring, I would have appreciated a bit more solo time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral at Mon Reale. And watching Mt. Etna begin to errupt. I loved the salt beds and boat to the Phoenecian ruins. But the added museum at the end of that was too much."

Laurie

Austin, TX

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The variety of travel experiences surprised me. It was a trip I will never forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Making almond cookies with Maria Grammatico in Erice."

Susan

Alcoa, TN

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a tour I would not have thought about doing but signed up because it was great timing for us to end an extended stay in Europe. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Sicily is different from any other place we've been, and it was spectacular. No crowds, no hot weather (some a bit too cold, but RS can't control that!), and as usual, we went places and had experiences you can only get on a Rick Steves tour. Several places were closed for the season, but we had plenty to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The eruption of Mt. Etna on our last day of the tour. It was spectacular to see but of course, won't occur on subsequent tours most likely. So I'll add the dinner we had at the Bananti brothers' winery on the slopes of Etna the night before the volcano came back to life. Food was great, and so was the wine."

Michael

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We did both Sicily and Italy My Way(April/Sahara Corfield)in 2015. We loved both Italy and Sicily. We discovered we are definitely My Way or Our Way tour participants.The MW tour gave us the time to enjoy the area and the people at our leisure. We felt that the Sicily tour was too structured and did not allow enough free time for us to explore on our own. Designing a tour must be impossible. Finding a balance between seeing the important sites and not exhausting the tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had the day off from the tour in Ragusa on Sunday. We had a leisurely breakfast and strolled to the Piazza Duomo. A new Archbishop had been appointed and the locals were celebrating.On the Duomo steps were a large number of children. They sang, a young boy read something in Italian, and the children released pink and white helium balloons, followed by millions of silver Mylar confetti strips in the air. We attended Mass followed by lunch and gelato in the piazza. A prefect day in Sicily!"

Christopher

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour went pretty much exactly as I had wanted and expected. Working in Roma, and not wanting to be in Sicilia during the summer, I didn't have as much time as I usually take when I follow your itineraries. I have done nearly all your tours solo because your great advice has inspired me to go for it, but Sicilia seemed the perfect place for guides and transportation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have lived in Italia for a while, so that alone gives me a "wow", especially if I'm a little cranky! But most of Sicila is just more of the southern Italia that has been my home. Siracusa was my favorite sightseeing, with the Greek theater followed by the Roman amphitheater, and the Cave of the Big Ear wowed me."

Dorothy

Olympia, WA

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour seemed too busy - not enough free time. I loved all the small towns but didn't enjoy Palermo or Catania. The quality of the food wasn't as good as on my village Italy tour. The quantity served was excessive with lots of food wasted. The breakfasts were all really good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The skill of our bus driver was the biggest wow - he dealt with terrible traffic and tiny roads. I also loved the valley of the temples and being at the Agriturismo."

Elizabeth

Portland, OR

Tour: 11/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

These tours are always very good - hotels in good locations, good food, and good mix of seeing historical sights and other sights (like a cooking demo or winery etc), generally good group of other travelers and good guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the buffet group lunch and then the cooking demonstration where we watched cookies being made (and then got to eat the warm cookies we'd helped to roll) and then continuing up to the town of Erice where you could buy more cookies - only wish I'd gotten more - yummy! Also enjoyed walking over to see the sunset on Ortygia(and appreciating the fact that it was so beautiful that we could see a sunset after a rainy start)."

Kathy

Everett, WA

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! Very nice Hotels in good locations. Varied historical sights, Museums and wineries to hands on experiences. Great local Guides, fabulous food, exceptional Guide & bus driver, marvelous group of people...did I mention the fabulous food? We just needed another day or two towards the end of the tour to see Cantania, without eliminating anything like the trip to the winery. I would have liked to have seen more of Cantania and maybe some of Mt Etna, especially the lava flows, add a MT hike

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one!Everything about Ragusa,esp evening walk with a full moon over the Cathedral dome. The water and full moon view from my room at Hotel Domus Mariae in Syracuse? Or the fantastic Thanksgiving meal Alfio arranged for us? That I enjoyed with a great group of people including Alfio and our driver,Arillio. And how do you choose just one of the magnificent Cathedrals? The Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Monreal Cathedral, the Duomo in Siracusa, all breathtaking. Segesta's temple & Teatro, amazing!"

Scott

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves Tour and it was a good one. It was fun, interesting and enjoyable from start to finish.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list here. At least one per day."

Marianne

Portland, OR

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steve's tour, and once again delivered the incredible experience I was hoping it would. All of the cities and sites we visited, the hotels, the dinners, our guide Alfio was top notch!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the archeological museum, looking at a vase created several hundred years before Christ was born, and the images and letters on it were as clear as day. It was utterly amazing."

Wayne

Englewood, CO

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were so surprised by Sicily. The beauty, the history and the cuisine far exceeded anything we had expected. Our guide, Alfio Di Mauro, obviously loved his native land and did an absolutely marvelous job of presenting Sicily past and present to us. As we took the off-season tour I hope we will be able in the near future to take the regular season tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Thanksgiving Dinner that Alfio arranged for us in Siracusa. I won't attempt to describe it but just to say among many outstanding meals it stood out."

Linda

Englewood, CO

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was so so wonderful I realized I knew nothing about Sicily. Afio is such a wonderful teacher so smart. I loved it from the first night. The tour group was such a good match all curious intelligent fun and such good travel partners. The hotels were lovely and the food beyond delicious. I loved learning about the 4000 years of history different cultures and the " Personality " of Sicily. Our Bus Driver was so very competent always with a smile and dressed so professionally.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were actually quite a few but I was most touched that Alfio arranged a Proper American Thanksgiving Dinner for us. It took a lot of planning with the CheF at the Restaurant. We gave him a standing ovation! We had turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and other delights. The Pilgrims would have been proud !!!"

Ruth

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was beyond expectations. Alfio is knowledgeable, funny and an all around great leader. He is particularly good at making the longer bus rides a learning experience. His knowledge of food, wine, olives and agriculture in general was superb. He has a great sense of humor that kept us laughing. It seemed like every day there was a new surprise. I loved the lift down the mountain at Erice, the lunch at at the market in Syracuse, the surprising beauty of Palermo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of them Probably my biggest "wow" moment was the temple at Sagesta, lunch at Erice and the ride down the mountain."

Barbara

Orleans, ON

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had such a wonderful time on our trip! Going off-season has very definite advantages. Great weather and limited crowds. Alfio, our guide, was very knowledgeable and accommodating, well versed in the history and culture. The sites were breathtaking, the food incredible! The accommodations were unique and centrally located in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments! Seeing the Greek temples in various locations, but most memorable in the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. The pastry making demonstration was such fun, as was the cooking lesson. Alfio also went to incredible lengths to provide our group with a Sicilian "Thanksgiving Dinner". What a memorable evening!"

Brent

Orleans, ON

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time on the Sicily tour. The people are friendly & very helpful when you are trying to navigate interesting street & alleys. The food & wine was consistently excellent and very plentiful. I never felt hungry but I was ready to try something new & exciting. My fellow tour members were easy to talk to & I enjoyed our times when we shared many travel experiences. Finally, our tour guide, Alfio, was informative, entertaining & very innovative in making this tour a total success.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the Valley of the Temples was a personal "WOW" moment. I was amazed at how these huge structure were built over 2 thousand years ago & how they are mostly still standing against time & the elements. Special honours goes to Alfio's planning of a Sicilian version of a US Thanksgiving dinner in Syracuse. What a special night!"

Thomas

College Station, TX

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good balance of free time and guided tours. Great on history and archaeology of the island, good food and wine and a well run tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Siracusa: 3rd century BCE temple made into church, with a Norman apse and two Baroque ones."

Susan

College Station, TX

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have loved every RS tour we have taken, but this one was something special. Sicily is a magic place and visiting it is like a Doctor Who adventure. I felt we traveled in time as well as space. Traveling in the off season also had it's special charm. Because the sun sets so early in late November most of our walking tours was in the twilight or early evening and this added to the magic. Alfio was great and was always looking for ways to make us feel our experience was unique.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing up to the new city in Ragusa (~335 steps) and looking down to the old city was number 1. Number 1' was the cathedral in Syracusa."

Ellen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time RS Tour participants. The experience was beyond our expectations. Everything was excellent. Right balance of group activity and personal time. We travel for the scenery and food which did not disappoint. More Ricotta please!! Alfio, our guide, was superb (enthusiastic, passionate, affable, knowledgeable) in guiding a nice group of travelers. Aurelio, bus driver, was top-notch!! Sicily was beautiful and full of history (we were inspired to read up). We will be back for more :))

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to choose from, but the one we will forever remember was the Thanksgiving dinner that Alfio and Osteria da Seby in Siracusa concocted. What a feast to the eyes and taste buds!! Who needs cranberry sauce with that delicious cherry tomato jam? Sicilian seafood, pumpkin risotto, turkey falsomagro, and pistachio mousse cake... Don't think I can ever enjoy the usual American Turkey dinners in the future. Lol... Thanks a lot Alfio!!"

Nancy

Dayton, TN

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip led by an outstanding tour director. This was my first Rick Steves trip and it was above and beyond my expectations. I look forward to another trip in the near future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose only one. There were many!"

Christine

Coal City, IL

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I waited a lifetime for this opportunity. My expectations were huge and they were surpassed. Everything I thought I would see was more beautiful, more grand, and more exotic. I touched ancient stones, walked in antiquity, learned of brilliant men in all their ingenuity, creativity and cruelty. I met and mingled with people who are beautiful to see and hear. When you couple that with the grittiness of cities like Palermo and Catania you can understand why I chose Sicily. It had it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thanksgiving day was the second best day of my life. I laughed more in that single 24 hours than I have this passed year. Alfio worked hard for at least 2 days preparing a special feast of incredible food for us. I saw a thrilling puppet show. Enjoyed an impromptu Sicilian style lunch of great, simple food, wine, dolce and laughter. People new we were a RS's tour because we were having so much fun together."

James

Palos Park, IL

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Honestly, THE BEST vacation EVER because of the food, history/ancestry, the cost, and the tour guide (Alfio). The weather was MOSTLY tepid. (hear we had good weather) We did have a range of weather from quite warm to cold and very breezy sometimes. One DOWNPOUR. (bring umbrella) Seat rotation was NOT strictly enforced, but recommended (about half way through trip). (Might be a concern for other tours, but Alfio made an effort to talk with everyone and I have no desire to "sit up front").

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Monreale Cathedral was splendid (D-2). I very much liked the "Salt Flats & Motya" tour and guide (D4). Cooking Class was welcomed (D-7). Liked the town of Syracuse (D-8/9). Also very much liked it's cathedral. The "Puppet Show" was a nice bit of local flair too (D-9)."

Victoria

Lufkin, TX

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three things made this a great experience: 1. Alfio, he is just a great tour guide. Happy, interesting, informative, enthusiastic about his Sicily, but more than that, Alfio understood how to pull the group together and help us enjoy sharing the experience with others. 2. The fellow travelers: Your tour has attracted travelers who are enthusiastic and energetic - like the things we have learned from the Steves book training. 3. Special tours not accessible to private travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too hard to pick just one. I will mention the beautiful hospitality of Maria Grammatico and her gracious staff... And the excellent tour and meal at the Benanti Winery. And Countess Alwine's a Capella singing. There were more."

Bill

Lufkin, TX

Tour: 11/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 10th trip to Italy and 4th to Sicily. About hald work and half personal We had experiences that individual travelers cannot access....the tour of the Palazzo, the lunch with Maria Grammatico, the cooking class in Ragusa.... THe selections of hotels and the meals were great. Alfio did an outstanding job. His knowledge and enthusiam for Sicily is infectious. I am recommending Alfio to my traveling friends. Thanks for a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dinner in Siracusa that Alfio arranged for Thanksgiving evening. He and the owner of L'Osteria da Seby did marvelous work to arrange a special meal for us. I rank it as one of the best Thanksgiving meals I've had. The lunch at the Bennati Winery and the lunch at Maria Grammatico's were also wow moments also."

Debra

Hainesville, IL

Tour: 11/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was very well-balanced. We saw historic sites and churches, but we were also engaged in a large number of close-up activities and casual tour events. The visits to locale town markets were fun and fascinating. Cooking classes, the puppet show, and the vineyard luncheon rounded things out nicely - with just enough free time to make for a comfortable pace. As advertised, this tour connected us with local culture for a fuller understanding of Sicily, its people and its history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour was packed with moments to remember. The mosaics at the Cathedral of Monreale were like nothing I had seen before and the views of Palermo from the town were stunning. The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento was amazing, and our local guide did a good job of bringing the artifacts and ruins to life for us. For an art history lover like myself, this was a big "WOW"."

Paul

Hainesville, IL

Tour: 11/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about the trip was outstanding. Our guide, the hotels, the food, the sites, the cooking lessons, the education and whole cultural experience were wonderful! We enjoyed everything and are very excited about planning our next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to pick just one. The churches in Palermo, Monreale, the Greek ruins in Segesta, visiting Trapani, Agrigento, the visit to Villa Romano del Casale, the duomo in Regusa, lunch in Noto, Ortygia, the vineyard near Mt. Etna, the puppet show and all the street markets, each day was better than the day before."

Susanne

Sequim, WA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

very, very good

Patricia

Cedarburg, WI

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having Sicilian roots, I was excited to finally experience my dream.This was a great trip-I was awed by the sights, and educated/ enlightened by all the information. The itinerary was great- but we added 2 days on the end of the trip for Taormina and I would like to see that added to the Off Season trip.How could one not change as a person after experiencing a country as amazing as Sicily? Enjoyed both cooking classes- cookies w/Marie G and antipasti @ Ragusa hotel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All my WOW moments are related to a person- Tommaso, our guide. His passion for Sicily is so obvious and so infectious. His Sicilian pride was catching- and Mamma Mia, did I catch it! His commentary and knowledge about Sicily made me love Monreale, ruins @ Segesta, Valley of Temples @ Agrigento, Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale, wandering in Ragusa Ibla, the city markets, the salt flats @ Trapani, Monica chocolate factory, puppet show in Siracusa. Every day was my favorite moment!"

William

Bloomington, IN

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour. Great group of like-minded travelers on our tour. The itinerary and guide's experience opened up more opportunities than we would have discovered on our own. I knew little of Sicily prior to this tour and was impressed with the lush, agrarian landscape; the friendliness of the people; the Greek and Roman ruins; the blending of so many different cultures in architecture & food. Tour had a nice mix of structured & free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing smoking Mt. Etna for the first time."

Galen

Cedarburg, WI

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, we had an amazing guide, Tommaso, and the local guides were fabulous. Tommaso has such passion for Sicily which is very infectious. The tour could be longer as we were not ready to come back home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each and every time we visited ruins of ancient times, I was wowed."

Robert

Hawi, HI

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Third Rick Steves' tour (Greece, Turkey).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Valley of the Temples"

Julie

Portland, OR

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best tour ever! It was well-paced and packed with great experiences. We (Larry & myself) felt we got our money's worth and more. It was so nice to have the transportation and travel decisions taken care of so we could really focus on the surroundings. We would definitely take a Rick Steves tour again. Only sorry that this is the only off season tour available as the lack of crowds is a real plus. Nice group of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being reunited with our luggage in Trapani, 5 days after arriving in Italy. Big thanks to Tommaso & Travel Guard! Every day was a Wow moment, seeing the amazing variety of architecture & history on the island. It was heartening to see the culture's appreciation of quality & design. Most memorable is the freshness and deliciousness of the food. Walking through the open markets to experience the reverence towards the highest quality of food was a very rewarding experience. And gelato!"

Ronald

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This event in my life ranks as one of the most enjoyable and satisfying. I will always remember and cherish the time spent with this group of extremely wonderful and interesting individuals. Our Tour Guide Tommaso opened the history of Sicily in an exciting and factual presentation that will remain with me for life. Tommaso's very enjoyable and electric personality added the spark required to educate and entertain a group of 24 individuals for 12 days of remarkable adventures. Thank You??

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was the experience of the very special meal and cooking class of Marie. The table of food brought back childhood memories of our family's holiday dinners. The love of Sicilian food was reestablish for me at this event and I will start my endeavor to prepare meals of this quality in the future. Mmmmmmmmm ??"

Jacqueline

South San Francisco, CA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour. We stayed at excellent and well located hotels. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The food was great. We saw many wonderful sites. The local guides were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed seeing the ruins, especially at Segesta and Agrigento."

Wayne

Nashville, TN

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Met and exceeded expectations. Wish we could have stayed longer and spent more time (I am especially interested in the Greek sites and museums [INVALID] but all the more impetus to return for more on another trip). Great hotels, great food, sufficient free time, fantastic guide, smart and fun group...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots to mention, but two for me: 1) The two-story giant statue of Heracles recovered from the temple dedicated to him and reconstructed in the Museo Archeologico near the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento (and the realization it was one of many statues of that size on the perimeter of the original). Awesome to contemplate. 2) Coming for the first time on the Baroque front of the Duomo Cathedral in Ortygia brilliantly bathed in late-afternoon sun. Magical."

Brian

Olympia, WA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot recall anything negative to say about the tour, except that it was too short. Sicily is so wonderful that one should spend as much time there as possible, however, visiting in November may not be as uncomfortable as the summer months might be for some. Everything and everyone Tommaso introduced us to were so beautiful and awe inspiring, and the Sicilians are working so hard to build their country into the modern era while preserving their magnificent heritage. Everyone was so cheerful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is so much there, the entire experience is a WOW!! Every choice Tommaso made, his knowledge of the country and his ability to enable us to appreciate it from the perspective of his love for Sicily is priceless. The people and their food and their passion for their existence is the energy one feels the entire tour.I felt as though playing my essential role as visitor completed the grand design of Sicily for the moment I was there."

Joanne

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour to Sicily was amazing. Ricardo was a perfect guide and so knowledgeable. He helped to make our group a 'family' and we became very close in our adventure. This is only our second Rick Steves tour, but again, I was most impressed with the coordination of our travel, the accommodations, and the wonderful rapport with all the vendors and people we got to meet. A very unique and complete introduction to Sicily, its history and its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess I would have to say it was the Villa Romana de Casala where they have discovered those wonderful mosaics covering the entire floor of the Villa. So old, so colorful, and so well preserved, (thanks to Mt. Aetna or the earthquake, not sure which! Beautiful!"

Cynthia

Hayward, CA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

How do you avoid using AMAZING when describing a Sicily tour experience such as we had with AMAZING Riccardo and AMAZING Savannah? We also got a little extra fun when your sales reps Cynthia and Brooke joined us! We did not expect to receive such 1:1 attention and support. My 84-year old mother and 87-year old stepfather were doted on and felt very special. This was their last foreign travel experience due to long flight times, etc., and one they will never forget. Thanks so much, 'Cinzia'

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You mean BESIDES those amazing breakfasts every morning?! I think my first sighting of the temple in Segesta. My late Sicilian grandmother spoke of playing on the ruins in her backyard as a girl and I didn't believe her. Now I do. Monreale was also WOW. Unbelievable. And Marie giving us cookie-baking lessons! And the marionette show!"

David

Bend, OR

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the tour was very good. I thought Richard did an excellent job. He tried very hard to educate as well as entertain. The one time i asked him to go above and beyond for me he did quickly and thoughtfully.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the valley of the temples, but I don't think i had a wow moment. Everything was enjoyable and enlightening."

Bonnie

Swampscott, MA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time in Sicily and felt that I got a real feel for the country. Sicily had a lot more to offer than I thought it would. I thoroughly enjoyed the food, the wine, the company of tour members and the beauty and history of the place itself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think there was a particular "Wow" moment, but rather a lot of little ones. I was amazed by all the archeological sites in the country and all the layers of history that resulted from being invaded so many times."

Lewis

Bluffton, SC

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, Virginia is AMAZING! Truly a brilliant person, unbelievably knowledgeable in Italian history, art, politics, food and mores as well as being an extremely competent tour guide/leader. Build a wall around her and make sure you don't lose her! The tour- our first with Rick Steves'-totally exceeded our expectation in terms of # of meals and events that were included and the quality of the hotels. We thought it was a terrific value. And lest we forget, the driver, Massimo, was awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a "Wow"."

Frederick

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time. We selected the "Sicily in 11 Days Tour" because we thought that travel to Sicily was not something we were likely to attempt on our own. We were not disappointed. The tour combined just the right mix of history and current events, museums and markets, and food, wine, and local delicacies. Plus, our tour group was exceptionally congenial - congeniality abetted in large part by Virginia, a talented, knowledgeable, and inventive guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had too many "wow" moments to limit to one. There were the cathedral in Monreale; the temple and theatre in Segesta; the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento; the Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina; the markets in Palermo and Catania; and the wonderful meals all along the way. We especially enjoyed seeing wedding guests, all elegantly dressed, followed, at some distance by the bride and groom, as they strolled from church to reception on a Saturday evening in Ragusa."

Mary

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We did this tour following the South of Italy. It was wonderful and we look forward to a return. The backdoor experience really fit our travel style.The itinerary is comprehensive and we felt that while it was the off season tour, we saw a good portion of the island.There were many unique experiences such as the lemoncello tasting, gelato making,and chocolate factory visit and cooking class in Regusa which contributed to the regional experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dining terrace at the Palermo hotel was a wonderful segway into visiting Sicily. Such a spectacular view. The visit to Piazza Armerina and the Roman villa of Casale was spectacular. The visit to Agrigento and the view from the nearby hotel. Visit and lunch at the Benati winery on Etna. Actually the list doesn't stop! Just about every place we visited was a jewel."

Margaret

Whitewater, WI

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about Sicily's history of religious tolerance. It reminded me that it is possible for us all to get along, and gave me hope for the future."

Paul

Whitewater, WI

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best of the four outstanding RS tours we have now done. Virginia was an absolutely wonderful tour guide, the group chemistry was very good and Sicily is one of the most interesting and beautiful places we have been. All arrangements were flawless. Special kudos for our bus driver also: he was very skilled and had a wonderful sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As always, there were more than one, however, three come to mind: 1. seeing Monreale Cathedral and hearing the story of its construction in such a short period of time with good relations among many ethnic and religious populations was a real eye-opener for me. It is truly a beautiful building - an artistic marvel of mosaicsl. 2. Seeing Mount Etna for the first time from a distance. It is impossible to overstate its size and beauty. 3. The Villa Romana del Casale and its mosaic floors."

Gary

Oakland, CA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour from start to finish. Virginia was superb, professional, intelligent, caring, and fun to around. Tremendous knowledge of Italian history, culture, politics. Would highly recommend her for any RS tour of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed the luncheon and dessert cooking demonstration in Erice. The luncheon at the winery near Mt. Etna was special, also."

Kaaren

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can I say everything? Food and wine, of course, were amazing. I loved all the food stalls and markets - and then of course the landscape of Sicily. So beautiful!"

Mary

Novato, CA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really wasn't sure I'd love our trip to Sicily but had an absolutely wonderful time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the cooking class, the tour of the chocolate store and how chocolate is made and the World War II museum."

Richard

Richmond, VA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed everything about this trip: the itinerary, the guide, the hotels, the food. It was superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I walked onto the terrace the first morning for breakfast and saw the skyline of Palermo juxtaposed against a deep blue sky. It was wonderful!"

Florence

Chaska, MN

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip is beyond my expectation. I learned a lot of Italian history from Virginia and other local tour guides. Virginia was very patient and always with smile. The places we visited were all so special. It was really a treat for both mu husband and me. This is our first trip with Rick Steves. It won't be last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The winery visit was my favorite. The place was so special and we could not find it without going with the tour. The food was also very good."

Michael

Chaska, MN

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We could never had planned such a trip ourselves. We saw so much because all the details of transportation, food and entertainment were taken care of. Our group was very compatible we were all retirees and had similar backgrounds, that made for enjoyable interactions with all of us. Virginia was like the daughter that all of us wished we had, she was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Greek ruins with their history was the wow."

David

Novato, CA

Tour: 10/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip... an awakening to many facets of ancient history... Greek and Roman ruins were highlights... took hundreds of photos. Enjoyed walking the narrow streets and stopping into shops, and churches, and restaurants.. hooked on gelato... loved all the seafood. So many special experiences that we could not arrange if we were by ourselves traveling.. the special winery tour, wine tasting, and lunch on the hillside of Mount Etna... and many more

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The salt flats"

Kathryn

Everson, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the two strongest tours I have every taken. The itinerary was diverse, interesting,and well paced. I now LOVE Sicily. Guide Tomasso Pante is the best guide we have ever had. His itinerary, activity, and local guide choices excellent. We visited various physical environments: cities and towns, country and seaside, mountains, antiquities. Best for me was learning about contemporary Sicilian social, economic, and political life as well as history. Viva Sicily!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The war museum in Syracusa, in which we entered a bomb shelter and a simulation of what it was like to be under attack. Seeing a Greek temple over the hill. Listening to our Guide explain so clearly that we all understood and appreciated."

Elena

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was really well organized. History learning, enjoyment of beautiful Sicily nature, tasting a great food, talking with people- everything was really greatly balanced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit of Palazzo Federico; Visit of Villa Romana del Casale. Maria 's baking class and lunch!"

Ellen

Zurich,

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I highly recommend this tour! Sicily's history is fascinating. So many groups passed through leaving their mark...Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Spaniards, Normans, and more. Tommaso and the local guides did an excellent job of bringing that history to life. There was a nice balance between cities and small towns and enough time in most places to explore on your own. The late April weather was nice, most places were not crowded, and lots of flowers and trees in bloom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was wonderful! Highlights for me were the Cattedrale di Monreale, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and the extraordinary mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale. Also enjoyed the lively, colorful fish market in Catania."

Pat

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having taken a Rick Steve's Tour before, I expected it to informative and fun. I was not disappointed! Our guide Tommaso, a Sicilian native was exceptional! Knowledgeable,a great sense of humor, with proper care and concern for everyone. This trip was with 25 travelers,unlike my previous trip of 12 persons. I was a bit concerned that it would not be as intimate, but we all got to know a bit of each other, had good karma,laughed a lot and traveled together well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views were fantastic! Visiting many of the ruins that were built some 450 BC was awesome! Also getting to have 2 'hands on' cooking classes was really fabulous! The trip to the winery, the WW2 museum, the visit with the Count & Countess were all great, just great! Every town we visited had a charm and valued point of interest not to be missed! I have and will recommend this trip at every opportunity!"

Gayle

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. The variety of activities, quality of food and hotels, and excellent bus driver (Guiseppe) made our Sicily experience outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hmmm - I was "wowed" by how beautiful the countryside is - sea-level flat lands, valleys, and mountainsides are covered with beautifully tended vegetable fields, fruit orchards or olive groves."

Jack

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We would not have gone to Sicily if not for an invitation from a friend to spend her 70th birthday with her there. We had the most incredible experience - the weather was perfect, the spring flowers were in bloom, and the incredible diversity in the towns we visited was astonishing. Our companions were all great friends by the end of the trip, and Tommaso was an outstanding guide - a proud Sicilian with a fantastic sense of humor and a commitment to helping us experience the wonders of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think, surprisingly enough, it was when we went to the salt mining places outside Trapani. I say this for two reasons - first, because when I read the itinerary, this seemed like the least interesting part of the tour, but it was fantastic. Second, because we learned that there was a Phoenician/Carthagenian (I think) colony on the island of Motya for over 400 years - pretty sobering for us who think the much briefer experience of American democracy justifies our feelings of superiority!"

Paul

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An off season tour was a winning idea. Great weather every day, beautiful flowers, and all without the in season crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman mosaics, Norman cathedrals, Arabic workmanship, Baroque churches, Greek temples, Carthaginian settlements, a synthesis of great cuisines, art of all types: a history of Europe, all in one region."

Barbara

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide, lots of information and good humor, hotels all good, meals wonderful, group of people very pleasant and fun to be with, arrangements seamless

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Winery meal, views of Mt. Etna"

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was probably the best I've ever taken. The itinerary was perfect for the trip's duration. We saw very interesting things, participated in truly fun and interactive events, and were given just enough free time to stretch and breath between destinations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was that there were several "wow" moments throughout the tour. The architecture, food, people, interactive events, and constant excellent care were totally worth the tour's cost. I'd sign up again in a minute."

Helen

Chapman Act,

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RIck Steeve tour and I found it to be very informative thanks to NIna, Jacqui and Lilyanna. It was also very entertaining thanks to a tour member who was quite a character and had us all in fits laughing at his stories and comments. I also enjoyed the two cooking classes, the opportunity to sing Waltzing Matilda in a small amphitheatre along with Peter my husband and one only other Australian on the tour. This is something I would never normally do in front of a crowd.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "wow" moment was the afternoon spent in a beautiful location up in the hills of Erice where Maria the former orphan brought up in a nunnery prepared a delicious Sicilian feast for our afternoon lunch. My husband is a fussy eater and there was nothing at that lunch that he did not like. This was followed by a cooking lesson on making local cookies which we were then allowed to take home. What a wonderful experience that was."

Glenn

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful Guide ! Great Itinerary. Extremely enjoyable tour members. Happy balance of planned events and unstructured time. More upscale hotels than we might have chosen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of the group and individual dinner opportunities. Loved lunch at the Mt. Etna Winery ! But all were good in their own way."

Janet

Washington, DC

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, I had a great time, met wonderful people, ate great food, and learned a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really, it was all "wow" for me! I cannot choose one thing, but some things stand out. For me, the highlights were Monreale Cathedral, Agrigento Valley of the Temples, the Villa Romana del Casale, and the Museo dello Sbarco in Catania."

Michael

Washington, DC

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour! We had a lovely group of people from all of the US and 3 folks from Australia. Our group bonded very well and we generally enjoyed each others company. I had done the Best of Sicily tour 3 years ago and this tour covered many new areas of Sicily. It was great to do both tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Even though I had been to the Villa Romana Del Casale before, it was only partially opened due to ongoing renovations . It's a fantastic site and so impressive to see the extensive mosaic floor nearly intact."

Paul

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily is fascinating. Amazing history. Good food and wine, and a fun cooking lesson. Beautiful scenery. Complex and interesting society. Big cities, small towns, rich agricultural land, rural settings, Mt. Etna. We got to experience (and learn about) these under the leadership of an excellent guide. We stayed in comfortable hotels, ate tasty meals. The guide provided enough structure to keep us busy and interested. We also had time to explore places on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several 'wow' moments: Visiting the cathedral and cloister at Monreale. Visiting the incomplete Greek temple at Segesta, especially the views of it from the walk down from the theater. The cooking lesson. The mosaic floors in the Roman villa. The Greek temple that got build into a church, in Siracusa, with the columns still exposed on the inside and outside of the church. The amazing fish market in Catania."

Kathleen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all aspects of this tour especially with our great tour leader, Nina. The mosaics were amazing. The cookie class and cooking class were fun and delicious. The history and Greek Temples exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really was blown away by the Pupi Theather and show in Syracusa. The family has maintained such a wonderful tradition."

Marstin

San Anselmo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the moment Nina met us, we knew all would be well. Humor and enthusiasm in great abundance, Nina is great example of an extraordinary tour guide. "Friend" might be a better description, for she readily joined in all we did and clearly had made meaningful contact with all the Sicilians we encountered. She was a real blessing to the Rick Steves' Sicily tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I pondered this known question; answers are not easily described. Sicily is so rich in history much of it is well-preserved. Nina never let our attention stray from the forays of Frederick II and the "fortune" he left in offspring - From the temples at Segesta, spectacular mosaics at Villa Casale, a tour by and in a real contessa's home, Trapani with its windmills toiling to bring salt water to make salt, the charm of Sircusa - ancient harbor and history - in the end it, was all a wow moment."

Linda

San Anselmo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way. Sights, food, accommodations and the folks on the tour, including guide, were all outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments but I will say my WOW moment was Nina, our guide. She is so knowledgeable and humorous and kept us on track. In terms of sights, Villa Romana Del Casale was spectacular!"

Peter

Chapman Act,

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great on many levels - the guide, the group, the sights, the activities, the food, the hotels, the experiences, and the way the tour was structured and run. This was our first Rick Steve's Tour, but it most likely won't be our last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but probably seeing the famous 'bikini girls' mosaic and the other mosaics that allowed one to time travel back to roman times and see what life was like then."

Diana

Tigard, OR

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This off-season tour of Sicily was fabulous. Nina was a wonderful and articulate guide, and it was helpful that she is an American who lives in Italy, which allowed her to convey the cultural and historical aspects of Sicily as seen through an Italian-American lens. I was in Sicily to research family history, so Nina's weaving of Sicily's history and culture helped me understand the reasons my grandparents emigrated from there and how those values affected their life in the US.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult one to choose from 1) the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and 2) the Roman Villa mosaics. Really, everything was truly wonderful, but those 2 stand out for me."

Deborah

Henderson, NV

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing, and I would take another Rick Steve's tour, tour guides were fun and informative--Donald was Great! This was my first guided tour and I'm sure now I will compare any and all to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say I have just one, WOW to the winery, puppet show, cooking school, I just had so much fun and learned so much Trapani was wonderful also."

Malcolm

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First I need to say that soon after receiving the request for an evaluation I wrote a very detailed one but lost it due to an issue with my computer, while I was tweaking it to fit in more wording. My evaluation was without exception very positive, so it wouldn't have been much use in improving the tour. This second try will be shorter. .............. This tour ranks with the best I've taken, from the guide to the very carefully designed and tweaked program and Sicily itself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first was the Palermo palazzo tour, later displaced by views of the Segesta temple walking back from the theater. There were others later, but not quite as "wow"."

Barry

Plain City, OH

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was outstanding. The tour guide, the sites and the activities that we would not normally have if taking the trip on our own. The tour of Count Frederico family home in Palermo, Marie's candy making class and the winery tour were all well organized and very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All historical sites were a "wow" moment for me. I go on trips for the history and cultures of the areas."

Weather

Sicily/ Palermo

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 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.

Most tour members will arrange to fly into Palermo and out of Catania ("multi-city" on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, a train or bus trip, and possibly additional overnight stay in Sicily.

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

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

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