Sicily & Malta Vacation Tour: A Mediterranean Getaway

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Total Trip:

10 Days
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Countries Visited:

Italy, Malta
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Places Visited:

Palermo, Monreale, Agrigento, Syracuse, Villa del Casale, Caltagirone, Valletta, Mosta, Mdina, Victoria
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The islands of the Mediterranean bring the history of Western Europe and North Africa alive while accentuated with gorgeous beaches and bustling daily life. Embrace the beauty of the past while you engage with contemporary culture during your custom tailored Italy tour. Ancient Greek temples decorate the valleys, and fortress walls protect antique harbors from invasion while Roman villas and grand Basilicas display contrasting traditional mosaic techniques. Marvelous coastlines lead to hilltop

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Day 1

Palermo – Arrive at the Vibrant city of Palermo, Sicily’s Capital

The city of Palermo bustles with life across the golden cobblestones and the dynamic historical architecture. In the morning, the aromas of pomegranates and persimmons drift through the stalls of the Ballaro Market as fishmongers highlight their daily catch with displays of squid, ruby prawns, and giant marlin. Date palms rustle in the breeze and the exterior of the Norman cathedral glints along the crenulated walls and arabesque windows. Before taking your first wander of the streets, your flight will land at Falcone-Borsellino Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival.

Travel into the heart of the captivating city that embodies the soul of the Mediterranean Sea with its comfortable climate, soaring palm trees, and preserved architecture that express the various cultures and kingdoms that have passed through the island over three millennia. Your hotel will provide a mix of enchanting antique 16th-century architecture with modern luxury as the old cloister at the heart of the hotel features an opulent trickling fountain. In the summer, a breeze drifts through the courtyard and carries refreshing mist beneath the encircling arcade in the tradition brought by Arab kingdoms.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

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Day 2

Palermo – Relish a Private Full Day Tour of Antique Palermo and Monreale

The Ballaro Market returns to life in the morning as it winds around the narrow cobbled lanes southeast of Palazzo dei Normanni. The welcoming sound of merchants calling to passersby accentuates the aroma of spices. The ambiance feels more like a North African bazaar than a European market as olives marinate in oil and red pepper flakes and cheese mongers offer samples of crumbly pecorino or soft caciocavallo. After breakfast, your guide will greet you in your hotel lobby ready to lead you through the remarkable preserved history of Palermo.

Baroque palaces line the wide boulevards as the beautiful square of the Four Corners was created in the 17th century at the point where the city’s two major streets converge. The buildings concave at their edges and features niches decorated with rippling fountains. The upper stories hold Classical Greek columns and regal sculptures, with the uppermost floors crowned by female patron saints. After discovering the rich history and shimmering gilded mosaics of the Cathedral, you will continue to Monreale, a Norman structure built in the 12th century. The structure highlights the artistry of Eastern Byzantine design through the exquisite mosaics found along the Basilica floor that encompasses nearly 68,250 square feet. You will follow the linear stories that tell the stories of the Old and New Testaments, leading from the nave on the south wall through the central aisle.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Agrigento – Visit Medieval Erice and Sweet Marsala en route to Agrigento

In the morning, the sunlight will wash over the golden façade of the Norman Palace as the square stone blocks and blind arcades support the prominent Pisana Tower, the last of the original four towers. You can hear the bustling sounds of the market returning with the new day as the aromas of rich espresso and bruttiboni, an almond cookie, emanate from the cafes. After breakfast, you will leave the city behind and venture to a marvelous villa in the captivating Sicilian countryside. You will find hints of orange and lemon citrus as they drift through the air on your drive to Erice, located along the western coastline.

The village sits atop the summit of Mount Eryx at 5,400 feet above sea level, and the preserved medieval walls continue to protect the town while offering sensational views pf the Mediterranean Sea and the expansive valley below. You can wander along the narrow, winding lanes and follow in the footsteps of the ancient cult of Venus that dates back to the Greeks, and Phoenicians before them. The castle of Venus wraps around the crags at to the right of the Trapani Gate at the furthest point of the triangular plateau as the public park provides a spectacular panorama along the terrace.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Agrigento – Discover Ancient Greek Ruins on a Guided Tour of Agrigento

Wake up to the sound of date palms rustling in the country breeze while the hills roll along the horizon that is draped with olive orchards, almond trees, and vineyards. At breakfast, you can indulge in a frothy cappuccino accompanied by the orange flavor of an arancia candida, a donut ball stuffed with candied orange peel. Your guide will greet you at your hotel before escorting you to the heart of ancient Sicily at Agrigento, a magnificent valley of strewn with Greek ruins. The marvels of the ancient world contrast with the high-rise blocks of the nearby contemporary city as nearby, the Tempio di Concordia rises atop the ridge with well-preserved Doric style.

Bare rocks along the hillside once acted as the defenses to the city, and the structure itself dates back to the 5th century BC with a beautiful symmetry as six columns line up on parallel sides. The pagan temple became a Christian church in the 6th century AD represented in the way the columns were walled off and how the cella became the central aisle. The western side of the archeological park offers the image of Zeus. The original stone structure shattered millennia ago but was once the largest of the temples in the valley and across Greece. A copy of the massive statues known as telamons lay on the ground and was created to support the grand structure of the temple.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Syracuse – Find Roman Art and Greek Remnants around Syracuse

Farmers tend to the olive trees each morning before the Mediterranean sun reaches its zenith. The farmers use large posts to rustle the olives free from the branches, and can also be found standing on ladders to pick the olives stuck between the thistle leaves. Nets are spread across the ground to help catch the fruit as it falls to ease the struggles of the harvest. After breakfast and a morning walk to take it all in, you will set out towards historical Syracuse, a city known for its preserved catacombs, amphitheaters, and fortifications. Before reaching the city to enjoy its blend of ancient history with contemporary life, you will stop at the captivating Roman palace of Villa Casale.

The surrounding woodlands open along the valley and give way to the remains of the Roman treasures. The incredible grounds date back to the reign of Marcus Aurelius with interconnected buildings that are spread across more than 38,000 square feet. A 12th-century landslide covered the villa and preserved the floors nearly 330 feet below ground until its excavation in the 1950s. Wooden roofs covered the mosaics for protection and highlighted the fragile yet vivacious state of the colorful artwork. In the Chamber of the Ten Maidens, you will find a work of 10 women active in sports, from weight-lifting to disc throwing while a woman in a toga offers a crown and palm to the victor.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Valletta – Enjoy the Scenic and Relaxing Ferry from Sicily to Valletta, Malta

The pasticceria in Syracuse fill their display cases with gigantic cannoli and the bright colors of cassata Siciliana, a sponge cake soaked in liqueur and layered with thin slices of ricotta with candied fruits or chocolate. A layer of almond paste and egg white icing coats the top and the sweetness of the cake balances the decadence and slight bitterness of a strong Italian espresso. Papyrus reeds grow in the ancient spring of Fonte Arethusa as ducks and geese linger in the water and feed on the roots of the historical plant, which is one of only two places in Europe wild papyrus grows.

After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you to the port at Pozzalo to board the ferry bound for Malta. The turquoise Mediterranean Sea turns rich cobalt as water splashes from the hull of the boat and casts droplets over the windows. The scent of cappuccino and espresso fills the lounge as the wind blows over the seating along the open top-deck. The ferry will slow as you reach the historical city walls of Valletta while the golden hues contrast the bright blue water.

The Siege Bell War Memorial overlooks a promontory that frames the entrance to the port and commemorates the 7,000 soldiers who died during the World War II Siege of Malta. Children and old men alike sit on the steps that lead to the water and cast their lines into the sea. You will disembark from your ferry and meet your private transfer while will transport you to your gorgeous five-star hotel.  Located beside the enchanting heritage sites of Malta’s capital city, your accommodations will provide distinctive luxury and breathtaking views of Marsamxett Harbor.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

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Day 7

Valletta – Explore the Artistic and Architectural Charms of Valletta

The island of Malta exemplifies the luxury and history of the Mediterranean as the capital retains its 16th-century elegance under the decree by the Knights of St. John that the city represents a place for gentlemen. The scent of sweet tea accompanied by a warm cheese pastry will fill the dining room at breakfast before you set out on a guided tour to discover the beauty of the city by the sea. You will begin your exploration at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, which represents the wealth and prestige of the Knights of Malta.

The mission of the organization was to protect Europe and the Catholic faith from Ottoman Turks, and the modest exterior gives way to a nave that shimmers like a jewelry box. The gilded walls characterize the flamboyance of Baroque style in the 17th century and lead to the sensational paintings that fill the ceiling. The works depict the life of St. John the Baptist above the 400 marble stones inlaid across the floor decorated with Latin epitaphs. Nearby, the Upper Barracca Gardens blossom around a portion of the old fortifications and the quiet, shaded lane leads to the colorful flowerbeds, trickling fountains, and rows of historical arches. The viewpoints around the garden look out over the Grand Harbor and across to Vittoriosa, and at noon each day, a traditional ceremony commences with members of the Malta Heritage Society firing the cannons in salute.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Valletta – Delight in a Half-Day Expedition to Mosta and Mdina

The morning returns with light that washes over the 13th-century Parliament building. The two large stones look suspended in the air as you set out to explore the island’s rugged interior landscape and the captivating town of Mosta. The splendor of the dome church crowns the plateau, and the structure dates back to the 19th century, funded by donations from the locals. The blue, gold and white interior surround the reminders of the bomb that fell through the rotunda in 1942 during the Second World War. The bomb failed to detonate, creating the Miracle of Mosta.

Six columns support the portico to resemble the Pantheon in Rome. The dome stands 200 feet tall and is visible from a great distance of the island.  Continue to Mdina, a city that glistens with white walls atop the peak of the highest point on the island. The first settlement appeared nearly 4,000 years ago with the Phoenicians, and when the capital shifted from Mdina to Valletta, the commerce around the streets faded to bring a quiet, ethereal ambiance to the streets. Maltese doors feature regal doorknockers adorned with lions on the heavy wooden frames.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Valletta – Treasure the Island Landscape as you Tour Victoria, Capital of Gozo

Wake ready to board the morning ferry bound for the island of Gozo and its capital city of Victoria. The scent of fresh espresso fades beneath the seaside aroma as the less than four-mile journey across the water feels as though it takes you into a world far beyond the reaches of Malta. Small farms decorate the green hills that lead to narrow inlets and sandy beaches. Peaceful bays harbor charming fishing village as Homer’s Odyssey referenced Gozo as Calypso’s Isle, which now offers peaceful ambiance, delectable restaurants, and enchanting outdoor cafes. The rugged coastline overlooks the crystal clear turquoise waters while pathways reach the edge of the promontories and down into the secluded coves.

The medieval city of Victoria fills the hilltop and look down on the sun-drenched hills. Sandstone buildings shine with gold, and you can see how the Ancient Romans first settled on the plateau, giving way to Arab colonists in the 9th century and the Norman kingdom in the 12th century. The narrow lanes create a maze that winds through the heart of town that was created to confuse aggressors. The 17th-century Cathedral of the Assumption rises out of the center of Victoria with a façade built in the Maltese Baroque style while Corinthian pillars frame the doorway. On the coastline, you will stop to view the Azure Window at Dwerja Bay ad the dramatic landscape contains a stunning nearly 200-foot tall seaside promontory with an open window carved out of the limestone.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Valletta – Depart for Home

The narrow lanes of the historical city by the water will fill with the aroma of decadent coffee emanating from the popular cafés. The white façade of one renowned cafe gives way to an intimate dining room with a display of cheeses and meats shipped from Italy, along with cakes and sandwiches made fresh daily. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel in central Valletta as you are ready and escort you to Malta International Airport for your flight home, marking the end of your sensational Mediterranean holiday.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the preserved ancient temples and artifacts of Greek life in Sicily in the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento
  • Immerse yourself in the gilded nave and halls of Monreale Basilica and see the remarkable mosaics that decorate the more than 68,000 square feet
  • Take in the spectacular colors and opulent features of the Villa Casale, a home to lavish, unspoiled Roman mosaics
  • Wander along the medieval lanes of Erice, located on a triangular plateau, to find confectionaries, marvelous vistas, and remnants of the Temple of Venus
  • Travel to Mosta with a guide to learn about the Miracle at Mosta inside the magnificent domed church during World War II
  • Stroll the nearly silent streets of Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta, where the marvelous architecture and serene setting will captivate you
  • Explore the incredible coastal landscape of Gozo Island where a 200-foot tall cliff features a naturally carved window that looks into the Mediterranean Sea
  • Relish the culture of Sicily on an in-depth tour of Palermo as you visit the antique architecture, engage with the celebrated art, and wander the vibrant markets 
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Detailed Description

Historical splendor, delicious cuisine, and a well-preserved culture will bring the marvels of Sicily and Malta to you during your 10-day tour of Italy on the coast of the Mediterranean. You will immediately find grace and beauty abounding upon your arrival in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Your private transfer will greet you at the airport and escort you to your gorgeous hotel at the heart of the historical city center. You will have the remainder of the day at your leisure to enjoy the luxuries of your accommodation and stroll through the vibrant streets of the old city.

Wake the next morning, and your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby and take you on an engaging tour of Palermo’s cultural history that spans thousands of years. Enjoy the elegance of Norman architecture and the prestige of Spanish kings, along with the preserved Arab traditions of the market before you continue to Monreale to discover the gold-leaf mosaics in the magnificent Basilica. Venture the next day to Agrigento, with a stop in the cities of Erice and Marsala along the way. The former contains medieval walls and lanes that lead to ancient temples while the latter is known for growing grapes for dessert wine and producing delectable treats. Settle into the comforts of your countryside villa for the remainder of the evening, and then move the next day to dive into the Valley of the Temples to walk among the oldest and best-preserved Greek temples in Sicily.

Journey next to Syracuse with a stop en route at the captivating site of Villa Casale and view the incredibly maintained Roman mosaics before touring the ancient sites of Syracuse, including the amphitheaters and temple remains. You will then take the fast ferry from Pozzalo to Valletta, Malta the following and enjoy the scenic view of the treasured antique harbor. Your private transfer will collect you after you disembark and lead you to your opulent hotel near the center of the capital city. The next day, your guide will take you on a fabulous half-day tour through the streets of Valletta to visit the lavish churches and impressive palaces and gardens that overlook the water.

Travel inland the following day to visit the Church of St. Mary and learn about the legend of World War II before strolling the peaceful, whitewashed streets of Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta. Travel on the fast ferry to the island of Gozo the next day to enjoy the treasured citadel of Victoria. Visit historical temples and view the marvels of the coastline before returning to Malta, and then conclude as your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you to Malta International Airport for your flight home. You could also work with an Italy tour operator to extend your stay and enjoy another region of the country before flying home.

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Starting Price

$2745 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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