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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • 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.