Sicily Grand Tour

15 days
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3.9 / 5 from 8 reviews >
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Comprehensive two week round island tour discovering Sicily's best towns and UNESCO sites

The variety and richness of Sicily's heritage is unparalleled - nowhere else have the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish and Italians left such an indelible historical legacy. On this incredible journey we sample the island's best UNESCO heritage sites, impressive archaeological treasures, quaint villages and its diverse landscape. With so much to see and do, a two week itinerary is ideal for those who want to cover the whole of the island at a reasonable pace. With sufficient time on our hands, we can also venture inland into the heart of Sicily, for a visit to the world famous UNESCO mosaics of Piazza Armerina.


  • Baroque towns and ancient Greek temples
  • Piazza Armerina's impressive mosaics 
  • Special guided tours led by local guides

Key information

  • 14 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels, all en suite
  • 15 days land only / flight inclusive
  • Sightseeing on foot and 2 daywalks
  • Group normally 6 to 18, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus 
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and 1 wine tasting
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers (if booking group flights or alternative flights arriving before or at the same time as the group)
  • Special guided tours in main UNESCO sites and cities

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visa or vaccinations
  • Local city taxes (approx. €30)
Call for general departures:
00 97150 5550 445
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


  • Day 1

    Start in Catania.

    The first two nights will be spent in a comfortable central hotel.

  • Day 2

    Excursion on Mt Etna, Europe's highest active volcano; afternoon wine tasting.

    After breakfast we enjoy a spectacular guided walk on Mt Etna, Europe's highest active volcano. We hike up past several old lava flows to be rewarded with a dramatic panoramic view of the volcanic landscape (1 to 2 hours walking, approx.5 km). You are strongly advised to take a waterproof/windproof jacket, a warm top and to wear long trousers. In the afternoon we enjoy a delicious wine & cheese tasting in one of the area’s famous wine cellars. Overnight in Catania.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Morning sightseeing tour of Catania; afternoon drive to Syracuse and visit archaeological park.

    This morning we enjoy a guided tour of this eclectic city. We start from the historic heart of the city, Piazza Duomo, and wander through the main streets, most of which boast several buildings which are a triumph of Baroque style such as Palazzo dei Chierici, Palazzo degli Elefanti and the Duomo (cathedral). We continue via the central fish market, one of the biggest in Italy, and admire the array of bright colours and peculiar smells, accompanied by the unabashed shouts of the fishmongers selling their fresh produce. In the afternoon we drive for approx. 1 hour to the city of Syracuse, once the most powerful city-state in the Greek world and briefly capital of the Byzantine Empire. Here we take a guided tour of Neapolis Archaelological Park accompanied by a local expert guide. The sight is situated in the northwest of Syracuse and is famous for its spectacular ruins, but in particular for the Greek theatre that dates back at least to the 5th century BC. The Roman amphitheatre, built in the 3rd century AD is also very impressive: 140m long - it is one of the largest to be found anywhere; overnight in Syracuse.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Free day in Syracuse.

    The day is free to explore the lovely island of Ortigia, Syracuse's historical heart. We recommend starting from the Piazza del Duomo, a delightful pedestrian square and home to the wonderful Cathedral. The island measures just 1km by 500 metres and can be all easily explored on foot. Restaurants, trattorias and bars abound and it is especially nice to sit out on the western side, warmed by the sun and with a view over the sea. The afternoon is free for further independent exploration. We recommend a visit to the great archaeological museum Paolo Orsi, boasting an extensive collection from the pre-Greek, to the Greek and Hellenistic eras and up to Roman times. Close to the museum you can find the Catacombs of San Giovanni, a maze of tunnels niched with early Christian tombs hidden beneath the flower-filled ruins of a Norman church. Overnight in Syracuse.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit the UNESCO Baroque towns of Noto and Ragusa.

    In the morning we leave Syracuse and head to the town of Noto (approx. 45 mins), which since 2002 has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto'. The striking architecture is a result of the the major earthquake that struck Sicily in 1693. The old town of Noto was almost completely destroyed, and it was then reconstructed with a special design which was intended to be functional but also harmonious. We explore the small town on foot, wandering around the narrow streets, admiring the golden-coloured stone buildings and the fantastical facades and balconies. After lunch we drive to the town of Ragusa (approx. 1 hour), considered one of the most picturesque towns in Sicily and also one of the UNESCO-listed Baroque towns of south-eastern Sicily. Ragusa became particularly famous in recent years as one of the main filming locations for the Sicilian detective drama Inspector Montalbano. The town is split in two parts, and while the upper section offers some noteworthy architectural delights, it is the smaller Ragusa Ibla below that really draws visitors. The historic centre is compact, making it easy to explore on foot in a few hours.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore town of Modica; transfer and overnight in Piazza Armerina.

    We start our day with a visit to Modica, another of the area's UNESCO-listed Baroque towns boasting some fine architecture, picturesque views and historic lanes. The chocolate made in this town is one of the most famous products of Sicily and was discovered by the Aztecs in Mexico and brought to Sicily by the Spanish during the 15th and 16th centuries. Luckily, we will have the chance to sample it during a visit to the town's main chocolate shop. In the afternoon we drive north (approx. 2 hours) to Piazza Armerina, a historic town nestled in the heart of Sicily, and enjoy a pleasant stroll in its charming centre.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning guided visit in Piazza Armerina; see the UNESCO mosaics collection of Villa Romana del Casale.

    Today starts with a guided tour of Piazza Armerina and continues with a visit to the famous UNESCO listed Villa Romana del Casale, considered the best heritage site in Sicily by many visitors. This is one of the best-preserved villas built during the Roman Empire, boasting extensive and almost intact examples of mosaics spread over 3500 square meters. These extraordinarily vivid mosaics, probably produced by North African artisans, portray scenes of daily life, including the famous tableau of girls exercising in their bikinis. We return to Piazza Armerina in the afternoon; those wishing to explore further can choose to visit the impressive archaeological site of Morgantina, approx. 40mins drive from the hotel (optional, payable locally). The fascinating ruins of Morgantina, an ancient Greek city which continued to thrive in Roman times, still preserve major Greek structures, including the sanctuary in the Agora, the public grain store and the theatre. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Visit the Valley of Temples in Agrigento and archaeological sight of Selinunte.

    Today is one of the longest travel days as we make our way south, first stopping in Agrigento (approx. 2 hours transfer) and then continuing to Selinunte (approx. 1hr 20 mins drive) where we stay the night. In Agrigento we will visit the iconic sight of the Valley of the Temples. A guided tour will allow us to discover and learn the history of this splendid archaeological park, which consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between approx. 510 BC and 430 BC. In the afternoon we explore Selinunte, one of Sicily's great Greek archaeological sites. Situated in the south-western corner of the island, the park incorporates Greek temples, ancient town walls, the ruins of residential and commercial buildings, countryside paths and zones yet to be excavated. Overnight in Selinunte.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Explore the island of Mozia by ferry and drive to the hilltop town of Erice.

    An hour’s drive north and a short boat ride bring us to the island of Mozia, an interesting archaeological site in western Sicily, located between the towns of Trapani and Marsala. The site was once an important colony of Carthage, the Phoenician-founded city in North Africa, with a small museum and extensive ruins to visit. In the afternoon we continue (approx. 1 hour drive) to the picturesque mediaeval hilltop town of Erice, set in a stunning location approximately 800m above sea level. It is not surprising that thanks to its strategic position Erice was occupied by many civilizations; from the Greeks and Carthaginians to the Romans and the Arabs and finally the Normans. We enjoy some free time to explore the town's narrow lanes on foot, and perhaps enjoy some down time and a drink in one of the panoramic terraces at sunset. Overnight in Trapani.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Half day walk in the nature reserve of Zingaro; visit ruins of Segesta and drive to Palermo.

    This morning we take a break from the cultural highlights of the island and head to the coast to explore one of the best examples of idyllic Mediterranean landscape on foot. Stretching along the coast for 7km between the lovely village of Scopello in the east to San Vito Lo Capo in the west, the Zingaro Nature Reserve boasts some stunning walking trails with views out to the cliffs and the azure sea, coves and pristine beaches. We take a leisurely walk for up to 3 hours (including stops) along beautiful coastal trails with the opportunity of a quick swim before returning to the bus. In the afternoon we make our way to Palermo, but not before stopping in the ancient city of Segesta (40 mins drive), founded around 1200 BC by the mysterious Elymians. Here we visit the Greek theatre and the well-preserved 5th-century BC Doric temple, set on top of a hill and surrounded by mountains. Overnight in Palermo.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Morning tour of Monreale and its Duomo; afternoon guided visit to Palermo.

    We start our day with a half day excursion to Monreale (30 mins drive each way) to visit its extraordinary cathedral, considered the greatest example of Norman architecture in the world. An extensive area of the interior is covered in gleaming gold mosaics and features an interesting combination of Norman, Byzantine and Islamic art created during Sicily's most glorious era. Later in the afternoon, a local expert guide will take us on a walking tour around Palermo's historic centre revealing some of the most iconic monuments of this city, including Quattro Canti, Pretoria Square and Marina Square. Overnight in Palermo.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Free day in Palermo for further individual sightseeing; drive to the picturesque fishing village of Cefalu.

    The day is free for further individual exploration of Palermo's historic centre. A great way to spend the morning is by heading to one or two of the main street markets (Ballarò, Capo or Vucciria) where the legacy of Palermo’s past as a commercial port continues to manifest itself. Palermo’s Muslim history has made an imprint on the bazaars of the town: bustling, crowded, and full of all kinds of treasures. A morning at the markets is without doubt the best way to connect with the real lifestyle of the locals. Late afternoon we transfer to the lovely fishing village of Cefalu (approx. 1 hr 15 mins). Overnight in Cefalu.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day in Cefalu.

    Today is free to soak up the charming atmosphere of Cefalu. We recommend to start the day with a visit to the impressive Norman cathedral, home to elaborate Byzantine mosaics , and the restored twelfth-century cloister. Continue with a stroll through the winding mediaeval streets of the historic centre and stop for lunch near the picturesque harbour. In the afternoon you can relax at the sandy beach, take a walk to the hilltop Rocca offering superb views and old fortifications or visit Cefalù's town museum, the Museo Mandralisca. Overnight in Cefalu.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Full free day in Taormina.

    This morning we drive to the elegant and fashionable town of Taormina (approx. 2hrs 40mins). On arrival we enjoy a short orientation tour through the town's picture-perfect alleys followed by a visit to the Greek theatre dating back to the 3rd century BC and offering splendid coastal views. The remainder of the day is free for optional activities: if you are looking for a break from the crowds, head to the lovely public gardens. You can also consider a walk (one hour each way) or a bus ride to the neighbouring hamlet of Castelmola. Those looking to relax in the sunshine may decide to visit Isola Bella, a tiny island located in a small bay on the coast just below Taormina. Activities such as cooking classes may be available on request. Overnight in Taormina.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and a wine tasting on Mt Etna included.

Sicilian cuisine is a melting pot of all the different cultures that existed on the island, from the Arabs to the Normans. The island itself is incredibly fertile, enjoying a perfect climate which is ideal for the cultivation of fresh produce such as olives, oranges, lemons, eggplants, tomatoes, pistachios, almonds, grapes, and more- not to mention all of the seafood, tuna and swordfish fished off the coast. The result? A cuisine that is fresh, varied, and absolutely delicious! Sicilian wines are also superb and known to be strong and syrupy, like Marsala and Moscato. During the trip the leader will always be on hand to recommend the best restaurants and cafes for meals. In the evening she/he will often be organising optional group dinners but participation is entirely optional.


Is this trip for you?

This is a comprehensive itinerary, with a few relatively long days due to the distance we cover. This itinerary has been designed to give more time to visit the key sights compared to our 9 days' Treasures of Sicily tour. There is a lot to see in Sicily and some of the days will feel busy, however the overall pace will be relaxed and on most days there will be free time to explore. All transfers are by private air-conditioned minibus allowing us to enjoy comfortable and flexible journeys. You will walk mostly in cities and towns and although not strenuous, the amount of walking on some days can be considerable. Please note that due to traffic restrictions in place in a lot of the historic centres visited you may have to carry your suitcase over cobbled pavements, although the bus will be leaving you as close as possible to your hotel. Please also be aware that sometimes hotels don't have a lift but local staff can help taking your luggage up and down the stairs. The excursion on Mt Etna is on foot and we walk for up to 2 hours on hilly-to-steep terrain of dried lava, rocky ash and sand. A second walk will take place in the Zingaro Nature Reserve, where we will walk for up to 3 hours (including stops) along idyllic Mediterranean coastline. Both of these walks are optional: there are cafes not far from the trails, where you can sit and wait for the rest of the group, should you prefer not to take part. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
00 97150 5550 445
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


3 and 4-star hotels

On this trip we use different comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels, and occasionally comfortable B&Bs. Some hotels have been selected for their warm hospitality and typical Sicilian character and others for their convenient location close to the historic centres we. All rooms have en suite facilities and Wi-fi and some hotels have a pool. Below is a list of the hotels normally used for this tour although please be aware that occasionally these may change to others of similar standards. If you wish to obtain an up-to-date list we recommend contacting our Customer Operations team three to two months prior departure.

Catania: Hotel Dimora de Mauro

Syracuse: Hotel Aretusa

Ragusa: Hotel Orologio

Piazza Armerina: The group may be split into different comfortable B&B’s or hotels (such as Suite D’Autore, Kimera, Dimora del Conte, HomeHotel); which supports the Albergo Diffuso (scattered hotel) sustainable hospitality concept, created in Italy in the 80’s with the aim of reviving small historic centres and to reuse uninhabited houses which were vacated as people moved to cities. Please be aware that whilst we endeavour to only use good quality properties, the accommodation may occasionally differ in size, décor & view.

Selinunte: Hotel Admeto

Trapani: Hotel Vittoria Trapani

Palermo: Hotel Crystal Palace

Cefalu: Hotel Tourist Cefalù

Taormina: Hotel Isabella

Call for general departures:
00 97150 5550 445
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2019
    Marion Watkinson

    Tour of epic proportions

    The only criticism of the trip was that a number of hotels which were a good standard and a wide variety of styles and locations had very poor breakfasts of mainly cakes and issues with the rooms. Plumbing problems air con not switched on and difficult to control. One hotel set in a cave was wonderfully appointed in an ultra modern style but the toilet flush was problematic and plaster dropped all over the floor and beds and our hair and faces due to the damp. More attention to detail is needed on the part of management. I was very pleased overall and the tour certainly lived up to expectations in all other respects. This is a very expensive tour and difficult to justify but I loved all the places we went to and would certainly go back for more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say as it’s all so inspirational but probably the mosaics and the engineering achievements in construction of the temples and villas. The museums offered a staggering array of artefacts especially the one housing the Morgantina findings. Sadly a grass fire prevented us from seeing the site itself but do go on this optional visit if you can.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mileena was passionate and knowledgable about all aspects of the tour. A geologist by profession and a highly experienced tour organiser. A real gem of a guide which was all I had hoped for from Exodus and the reason I chose this tour over other companies offering cheaper options.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes. June was not the best choice for sightseeing as it was unbearably hot but good for the beach visits if you have time. Mileena advised that November could be good for both activities but the weather is so unpredictable so difficult to generalise. There are many steps to visit the baroque churches in tour but hop on hop off buses and land trains can get you to see most places if you have trouble with knees and feet. You need incredible stamina for this tour but no more than most Exodus trips. I found it easier than my previous excursion to the Greek islands last year rated grade 1 and this was grade 2.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes a fabulous island green and the scenery rewarding. It was cheaper to eat out than Italy and the wines better. There’s more variety of places to eat. I’d like to go again on a different itinerary with more seaside venues where it’s cooler.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Chris Pope

    Excellent tour

    Do this tour! Excellent itinerary, no early starts, relaxed pace but full on interest, guided tours and "guided" free time to wonder, excellent guide, Tiziano and driver Allessandro, great group of 6 people, great food at local restaurants that had lots of character, really good choices. A couple of hotels could have been better standard but they were ok and in a great location so its a choice that I think worked, plus I wasn't there for the hotels. That said a few great hotel picks in the mix too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too difficult to choose one moment or place as it means "downgrading" all the other equally great places on this trip. If I have to pick one great one...….. its too hard! I can list the bottom ones - Zingaro walk could easily have been left out - not a great walk; the Mt Etna walk was a stroll on a windy hillside and didn't give any feel for Etna, its there to pass the time while any of the group do the optional summit excursion. (My following tour was a week walking on the Volcano trip so its not that I don't like walking!) All the rest of the itinerary is equal first.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tiziano and the driver Allesandro were both great. Good company, very cheerful, very helpful. Tiziano was always available and preceded each free time with an orientation tour and suggestions ending at the coffee shop where we could find him with any questions (we also had his mobile number)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If like me you are a bit fed up of long bus journeys on similar tours then this tour is great for you, the 14 days allocated means there are no early starts or long bus tips, I think the longest was 3 hours the rest were really short allowing enough time for a short sit down before another wonder around. The expert guides were all excellent. There is a lot of easy walking but easy really depends on your view of walking I guess. I don't want to steal another travellers comments but his app after about 10 days told him he had walked 70km - sounds like non stop walking but it really didn't feel like it -don't be put off you can walk around a lot or not according to your preference - the coffee shops are great!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of my best trips. A great mix of destinations with guided and free time.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Roslyn Harry

    Fabulous tour with the best guide ever Milena and a wonderful driver Alessandro

    The 15 day tour of Sicily was absolutely fantastic. The best tour guide ever, her name is Milena. A wonderful driver Alessandro. I felt that it was a pretty comprehensive tour of Sicily seeing all the highlights plus more. Fabulous food in restaurants where we ere taken by Milena. Verdict EXCELLENT.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to single one out.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of walking and many steps, some steep.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A must do for any lover of Italy.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    suse sprenger

    sicily grand tour

    fast paced, every day a different town, our guide exceptional, hands on, helping beyond whats expected, every town we had a few hours private down time,first class transportation, charming driver,interesting accommodations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    evening walks through Oritiga, Piazza Amerina, and Erice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Milena was the most outstanding group leader I have ever had the pleasure to meet in my 20 years of travel, knowledgeable, good natured, caring on a personal level, without overreaching, making everyone happy and comfortable. on the long rides, giving commentary on scenery, history, any topic, but at the same time, letting people rest, sleep, and then introduce us to a new town. taking us out for dinner,as a group or letting people do their own things and helping them to find a suitable restaurant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    must be able to carry your laguage up or down stone steps to the hotel , or inside hotels. walking in towns up and down cobblestone lanes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    our group of 13 was the perfect size, everyone very compatible.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Marilyn Murray

    Marilyn's Review

    A really interesting holiday with lots of variety -loads of archeology and history, lovely churches, quaint hill top towns, nice coastal towns, main towns Catania(pretty) and Palermo(busy), mount Etna, very good group leader and local guides, a comfortable coach, good driver and of course great weather. I feel I have definitely seen the best of Sicily. The accommodation unfortunately was disappointing except for hotels in Catania and Cefalu which were great. We had very damp rooms on two occasions, a B&B, quite basic tourist and tired hotel in Palermo etc. The holiday was not cheap and was advertised as having 3/4* hotels so I expected something better than we had. I would rate it as Very Good if the accommodation had been better.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Villa Romana in Casale - wonderful mosaics ; seeing(amazing views) and being on mount Etna

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - very knowledgable and enthusiastic about archeology and Sicily in general. Good fun as well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a busy schedule.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Better with more time in Noto and Cefalu(even finish up here)- both lovely and less or no time in Catagirone which apart from the steps was a bit boring. Taormina was ok but quite touristy. It would have been better however if we had a nicer and more accessible hotel especially as it was our last stop.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Exodus would like to thank Marilyn for her review, but we regret to read that she was disappointed with the quality of some of the accommodation. For this season, we have changed several of the properties in which groups can expect to stay, which we trust will prevent future clients experiencing similar disappointment. An updated list of properties can be found under the accommodation tab on our ADG tour webpage. We have also revised transfer time to allow clients more time in Cefalu. We are glad to read, nonetheless, that Marilyn found the hotels in Catania and Cefalu to be great! – Marta Marinelli, Product Manager.

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Rob Pearson

    Indeed a Grand Tour of Sicily

    A good introduction to a wonderful island - its culture, cuisine and history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Selinunte - walking around the ancient streets of this ruined city gave a real perspective of how the city could have looked and functioned.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. A challenging role, as it was the first time the tour had run!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow! Plenty of free time for extended exploration. In Palermo, don't miss La Zisa, a Norman castle with ornate Moorish design. In Syracuse, the Catacombs of San Giovanni are the largest in Italy outside of Rome - recommend queue up for the after-lunch guided tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Being the "first" tour, we could have expected some hiccoughs but there were none of material note. We were fortunate that the agriturismo had been double booked and so we spent a night atop Erice which was a magnificently lofty alternative. The tour does not involve much "programmed" walking, and whilst there was plenty of free time for leg stretching, more walking would have been preferred. The hotels were varied and on the whole were adequately comfortable; the only exception was the hotel in Palermo which we found unclean and in need of refurbishment. More time in Ragusa and missing out Caltagirone, and less time in Palermo and more time in delightful Cefalu would have been much appreciated !

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Thank you Rob for taking the time to provide us with feedback about your time in Sicily; we are sorry to read, however, that your stay in Palermo was disappointing as you found the hotel to be unclean and in need of refurbishment. We are glad to say that we are now using the Hotel Mediterraneo in Palermo which we trust will ensure future clients will not have a similar encounter. We realise this cannot alter your experience, but we hope it shows we have taken your feedback on board. – Marta Marinelli, Product Manager.

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Lucy Fish

    Beautiful Sicilian Sights but tour requires some tweaks

    We saw many of the must see sights and picturesque towns of Sicily, enjoyed tasty dishes especially the ice creams and granitas and had some time to wander around places and soak up the Sicilian way of life. We were on the first Grand Tour of Sicily so were anticipating some issues could arise. Future trips will only benefit from having a much smaller group (say max. 12 people). Much of the accommodation, restaurants, roads and some sights were on the small scale and our group of 17 people meant difficulties with accommodation type/quality, logistics and group meals. Also some changes to the itinerary (e.g. length of time spent at certain places) will only serve to improve future customers experience of Sicily, enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the Sicilian way of life, culture and history. I enjoyed my time in Sicily and thanks to our local Exodus guide feel I experienced much of what Sicily had to offer (& was on my wish-list). So if you want to see a varied heritage played out in archaeological treasures and picturesque landscapes coupled with a good dose of sunshine (we were very lucky) and tasty dishes (such as cake for breakfast - always good) then Sicily is the place to go. I just hope Exodus will reduce group numbers and not trip length.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many 'wow' moments, that only the number of photos taken can attest to, and special memories made on this trip. I really enjoyed wandering around picturesque Ragusa, plus being a Inspector Montalbano fan meant it was like being on the set. Seeing the back of Palermo cathedral for the first time was a wow moment just because it was so different to everything else we had seen. The byzantine and roman mosaics at Monreale and Piazza Armerina were very special and a lot to take in. Walking around Etna and through Zingaro Nature Reserve was a lovely experience and not to be missed. Wandering through the medieval streets (lots of steps) and enjoying the Baroque sights (everywhere you look) in Noto, Modica, Palermo and Catania were a joy. The sheer scale of some of the Greek and Roman archaeological towns/amphitheatres are a sight to beyond. Charming seaside town of Cefalu was a nice place to relax just wish we had longer.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Milena was a very good leader and coped well with a relatively large group and the problems (especially logistics getting to accommodation and for group meals) that this entailed. She was extremely knowledgeable about all the places we visited and travelled through. She was very enthusiastic about helping us learn more about Sicilian culture and history plus she had lots of geological knowledge which I found very interesting (but maybe not for everyone).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Find out about potential group size before you travel and hope that you have a small group as that will only be a benefit. Possibly take a small travel pillow as many of the beds/pillows were rock hard. If you have limited mobility or problems with stairs, be mindful that there are lots of steps, cobbles and slopes in the places we visit and even in accommodation itself. So might not always be easy going and you may need to request a room on the lowest floor possible in accommodation as there is not always a lift. Be patient as service can often be very slow in restaurants and sometimes quicker meals can be had in cafes if you need a snack. Don't miss out on the chocolate in Modica or the group lunch (very tasty, local only to that area) also make sure you experience the Etna walk and along the coast Zingaro NR. If you are a keen photographer - take a spare memory card or 2.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Sicilian sights you see on this trip I would rate as very good and in some cases excellent in certain places. But the overall trip I currently rate as good purely due to the difficulties faced by a large group and the quality of accommodation used. After a long day of sightseeing all we wanted was a clean and comfortable room to relax in before the next full day but this was not always possible due to the available accommodation (i.e our group was sometimes spread around different B&Bs/hotel) and the simple logistics of reaching either our room (e.g. up to 1 hour wait) or the sights themselves. Suggest itinerary is tweaked so we stay 2 nights in Ragusa and Cefalu, 1 night in Taormina, leave Palermo at lunchtime so to reach Cefalu early afternoon, miss out the steps of Caltagirone entirely and spend bit longer at Roman mosaics of Piazza Armerina and lovely Modica & Noto.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Exodus would like to thank Lucy for taking the time to review her trip. We regret to read, however, that she found the size of her group to impact on the enjoyment of her holiday and that she would have preferred to spend longer in some destinations. We have been operating tours in Sicily with a maximum group size of 18 and this is the first time we can recall receiving feedback of this nature. We have addressed the logistical issues which arose on this departure due to having a larger than expected bus to transport the group and we hope that going forward, future groups will not encounter similar challenges. We have also revised the transfer times for 2018 to allow clients more time in destinations such as Cefalu. We will continue to closely monitor the feedback we receive about the set-up of the itinerary to ensure we are maximising time in the areas which clients let us know they enjoyed visiting the most and will consider making adjustments to the itinerary as necessary.– Marta Marinelli, Product Manager.

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Jamie Higgs

    Sicily Was Grand But Tour Needs Tweaking

    Sicily was beautiful and this tour provides an excellent taste of this lovely island, but, tour groups for this trip should be limited to a maximum of 12 people, as 17 is too many for this trip and resulted in numerous logistical problems. The bus was too big to fit down the narrow roads, meaning that we were frequently dropped a long way from our destination and had to walk the remaining distance, including carrying heavy luggage. A smaller group would have enabled a smaller vehicle to be used that could get closer to hotels and sites. Most of the destinations are small towns and do not have large hotels, meaning that a large group has to be widely dispersed across various accommodation, which takes lots of time and logistical effort to organise. When you're tired after a long day's sight seeing you just want to get to your accommodation and not have to lug your stuff for miles and then wait for ages whilst all of the logistics of who stays where are sorted out. Some of the accommodation also appeared to have been changed at the last minute to accommodate our group size and we were disappointed by the quality of some of the accommodation, which did not meet our expectations. The hotel in Palermo was dirty, and the hotel in Taormina had poor standards and served us stale croissants for breakfast, along with random leftovers from the previous evening. Some of the beds were terrible, with the bed in the hotel at Syracuse being like a slab of concrete. Restaurants in Sicily are also not geared up to cater for large parties and we encountered numerous issues with the group meals, including, in one case, waiting over an hour just for drinks. Two and a half hours later some people in the group still did not have food and many of the orders came out wrong. This was the worst experience, but it wasn't unique. Sicily also has towns with many steps and slopes, and a lot of the guest houses do not have lifts, meaning that you have to carry your own suitcases up flights of stairs. This is something that needs to be considered if you are a person of limited mobility. However, many of the towns are truly beautiful and we did enjoy the trip despite the above problems.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We loved Ragusa and wished we could have stayed an extra day. The Roman mosaics near Piazza Armerina were truly spectacular and a highlight of the trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Milena worked incredibly hard and did a very good job, but we felt that she was hampered by the size of the group and the issues that resulted from that.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the group size before you go. Bring your own pillow if you want a good night's sleep If you like chocolate make sure that you buy some of the delicious chocolate from Modica!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus need to review this trip and make modifications to ensure that travellers have a good experience. We did enjoy the trip but it could have been much better with a smaller group size, smaller bus, better standard of accommodation in some places, and more research from Exodus to identify events such as the Erice car race (an annual event, so not a surprise) which prevented us from getting to Erice for many hours and caused major logistical problems. The group size needs to fit the country, and the group size on this trip did not.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Exodus would like to thank Jamie for taking the time to review his holiday in Sicily, although we are sorry to read that his experience was impacted by a larger than expected vehicle being allocated to his group. We realise that this unforeseen issue created some logistical challenges during the trip, such as accessing sights in the historical centres, but we are confident that going forward future groups will not be impacted by a similar issue. This is the first time we can recall concerns about the size of the group being raised and we are confident that our leaders are well used to managing groups of up to 18 clients very well; we acknowledge, however, that Jamie would have preferred a smaller number of travellers and we will continue to closely monitor the feedback we receive regarding group sizes. – Marta Marinelli, Product Manager.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 00 97150 5550 445