2022 Dates Coming Soon
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $7098
Private Room: $9098
Explore Palermo’s great restaurants, architectural treasures, and seductive streets
Visit Corleone, the namesake of the famous Godfather family
Relax on the beautiful beaches of Taormina, a world-class resort
Watch a romantic sunset from the charming town of Cefalu
View Mt. Etna, Sicily’s active volcano
Take a cooking class in a classic 18th century home and finish with a delicious Sicilian feast!
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, has attracted visitors and invaders to its shores for centuries. Romans and Carthaginians, Arabs and Greeks are among those who have left their historic footprints here. Archimedes taught here; St. Paul preached here; and centuries later, filmmakers glorified Sicily and its notorious mob families and colorful traditions. Now it is our turn to leave the mainland behind and be a part of history.
We’ll start in Palermo, a bustling city with roots tracing back to the Phoenicians. Then we head to Cefalu, a traditional, picturesque fishing village dramatically set on a promontory overlooking the sea. We’ll enjoy time in Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Sicilian Baroque style. We’ll explore several villages in the southeast of Sicily, a region ripe with olive trees, historical sites and culture. We finish with four days in Taormina, world famous for its beaches and dramatic coastline. With Taormina as our base, we’ll see the famous amphitheater of Siracusa, journey to the top of Mt. Etna, and take part in a cooking class. The reward for our labors culminates with a delicious meal served in the 18th century Sicilian rural home where we prepared our own meal. There is so much to enjoy in Sicily, and we have chosen some of the best, but you may want to come back for another taste!
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to Palermo! At the airport, we will be met by our driver and transferred to our hotel. The tour starts this evening with an orientation and our Welcome Dinner near our hotel.
Day 2: Palermo City Tour – Monreale
After breakfast, we will enjoy a comprehensive tour of the city with a local Palermo guide. We’ll see the Teatro Massimo Bellini, the Palazzo dei Normanni (Norman Palace) and the beautiful Palatine Chapel built from 1130 to 1140. Then we will stroll in the open-air market of La Vucciria, recalling the Moorish influence on the island.
In the afternoon, we will take a short drive to Monreale, situated on a slope of Mount Caputo about a thousand feet above sea level. This location will offer lovely views of the surrounding valley. The centerpiece of Monreale is the magnificent cathedral and adjoining Benedictine cloister courtyard consisting of 228 columns, some inlaid with amazing Byzantine-style mosaics. This evening is free to enjoy a restaurant of your choice in Palermo.
Day 3: Erice – Segesta – Boat Ride
Today we’ll visit Erice, stunningly located on a cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian coast of western Sicily. Formerly the ancient city of Eryx, Erice was an important religious center devoted to Aphrodite and later Venus. We will stroll through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets and narrow pathways.
Later we will visit Segesta and its 5th-century Greek temple, set deep in a ravine. Then we will make our way to the tiny island of Mozia, located just off the coast near Marsala. We will enjoy a lovely boat ride (weather permitting) to visit the island and explore early Phoenician ruins. This evening we will be free to explore the area on our own.
Day 4: Cefalu – Agrigento Valley of Temples
This morning we will leave Palermo and head east. Our first stop will be in the historic town of Cefalu; located on the Tyrrhenian coast. This town is among Italy’s finest beach destinations for those who enjoy sand and swimming. Later on, we will continue to Agrigento, where we will visit the Valley of Temples.
Day 5: Piazza Armerina – Roman Villa deal Casale
This morning we will leave Agrigento and stop en route in the town of Piazza Armerina. Here we can admire the Roman Villa del Casale, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The immense villa dating from the 3rd century is adorned with rich and colorful mosaics. We will stop for lunch in Enna and then continue our journey to Syracuse.
Day 6: Syracuse – Island of Ortygia
This morning will enjoy a tour of Syracuse (Siracusa), once the most powerful polis (city-state) in the Greek World. Among our stops will be the Greek Theater, a 5th century BC amphitheater carved out of the existing rock, then the old island of Ortygia, the baroque heart of the city. We will have the afternoon at our leisure.
Dinner tonight will be at one of the most characteristic restaurants in the old town.
Day 7: Val di Noto Region
Today we will explore the Val di Noto region, including the towns of Noto and Modica, both completely rebuilt after a 1693 earthquake. In Modica, we will visit the magnificent Church of San Giorgio. We will also sample some of the Sicilian culinary delights. Tonight will be spent in Syracuse, and this evening’s dinner is on your own.
Day 8: Catani Walking Tour – Taormina
Today we will leave Syracuse and head northeast to Taormina for a three-night stay. Along the way, we will stop in Catania for a walking tour and luncheon then continue to Taormina. Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant.
Day 9: Taormina Walking Tour – Greco-Roman Theater
In the morning we will enjoy a guided walking tour of Taormina which will include a visit to its Greco-Roman theater. Afternoon and evening will be at your leisure so you may take in the sights that you choose.
Day 10: Mt. Etna – Villagrande Estate
This morning will involve an excursion to Mt. Etna, the most active and largest volcano in Europe. Enjoy the views as we drive up to a vantage point and visitors center; a great spot to admire the 5500-foot Silvestri Craters. We will then continue via Unimog with a Mount Etna Volcanologist Guide. On the way back, we will stop at the Villagrande estate for a luncheon and wine tasting. Tonight we will return to Taormina for an evening of leisure.
Day 11: Sicilian Cooking – Farewell Dinner
This morning we will visit a restored villa for a demonstration of Sicilian cooking, followed by lunch with wine pairings. In the evening we will get together and enjoy each others company at our farewell dinner.
Day 12: Transfer
After breakfast, transfers will be provided from Taormina to Catania (CTA) airport for your flights home or to join us on our extension to the Naples region.
Price includes: Group transportation between Palermo and Taormina for local sightseeing; Accommodations each night in accordance with the tour itinerary; Breakfast each day, 3 lunches and 5 dinners as noted in the itinerary; Entrance fees for sightseeing, accompanied by knowledgeable guides; Transfer from Palermo airport to hotel on arrival day; Transfers from hotel in Taormina to Catania airport for those departing on the final day of tour or joining extension; All hotel service charges, government taxes, porterage, and gratuities for drivers and included meals HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from starting and ending points; 7 lunches and 6 dinners; Gratuities for guides and Hanns Ebensten Travel tour director; Personal items including: alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices
$2000 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
Price includes: Group transportation for local sightseeing; Accommodations each night in accordance with the tour itinerary; Breakfast each day, 2 dinners; Entrance fees for sightseeing, accompanied by knowledgeable guides; Transfers from hotel in Taormina to Catania airport and transfer from the hotel to the airport on last day of post-tour; Flight from Catania to Naples; All hotel service charges, government taxes, porterage, and gratuities for drivers and included meals HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation from ending point to home; 3 lunches and 1 dinner; Gratuities for guides and Hanns Ebensten Travel tour director; Personal items including alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices
$2398 per person in double occupancy
$3398 Private Room (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
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Stay longer and enjoy Naples: October 9 to 12, 2021
Day 12: Naples
Upon arrival check-in at our hotel located in the heart of downtown Naples.
In the afternoon, we will meet our local guide for an informal guided walking tour of the old town, with a chance to enjoy some of the most famous Neapolitan pastry delights such as sfogliatella and baba’. Evening at leisure.
Day 13: Pompeii
We will start our day with a visit to the Naples Archaeological Museum, then continue to Pompeii. At the end of the visit, we will drive back to our Naples hotel for the night.
Day 14: Amalfi Coast
Today’s highlight will be a visit to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the natural beauty of this corner of Italy, driving along one of the most breathtaking thoroughfares in the world.
Later this evening, we shall meet for our farewell dinner in Naples.
Day 15: Farewell Italy
After breakfast, we will have a private transfer to Naples airport for our international flights home.
- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
This is a leisurely-paced trip. Our guides will lead us on half-day walking tours, sometimes on uneven cobblestones. Transportation between destinations is by private motorcoach.
- Where does the tour start and end?
- This tour starts in Palermo, Sicily and ends in Taormina.
- What will the hotels be like?
- We stay at 5-star hotels; sometimes 4 if that's the only hotel in the area.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174