Explore the fascinating island of Sicily from two locations, offering a remarkable blend of cultures and rich heritage with exceptional opportunities to explore Palermo and Taormina in depth.

Starting at: $4,390 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Greek theater of Taormina with Mt. Etna in the background  The Palatine Chapel, Palermo  The Greek temple of Segesta  The famous mosaics within the cathedral at Monreale  Palermo's Cathedral  The view of coastal Cefalú  Mosaic ceiling in the cathedral in Cefalú  The Romanesque cathedral of Cefalú  The castle of Erice   Temple of Concord, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  The baroque cathedral of Ortygia, Siracusa  The Greek theater of Siracusa  Coastal view near Taormina  The famous Greek theater of Taormina

Palermo and Taormina

A Stay in Sicily

10 days from $4,390

Explore the fascinating island of Sicily from two locations, offering a remarkable blend of cultures and rich heritage with exceptional opportunities to explore Palermo and Taormina in depth.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Spending two weeks staying in two sites was really good... it meant far less packing and repacking and less fatigue. Our group was very congenial, and that was one of the high points if not the high point of our trip.

- Stephen B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

At the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Sicily reflects a fascinating blend of cultural influences—from the Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Normans to later civilizations. Explore this fascinating island from two locations, staying in the upscale hotels of the Mercure Palermo Excelsior City in Palermo and the Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace in Taormina.

Highlights Include
  • Palermo and Environs: Stand in wonder before amazing mosaics in Palermo’s Palatine Chapel and Monreale’s stunning cathedral. Venture to the historic medieval hill town of Erice where you’ll see the Castle of Venus and panoramic sea views. Discover the picturesque fishing village of Cefalù, home to one of Italy’s most important Romanesque cathedrals.
  • Taormina and Environs: En route to Taormina, explore the Greek temples of Agrigento and the Roman Villa of Casale at Piazza Armerina. During your stay along Taormina’s beach, take the cable car to visit the upper village and the famed Greek Theater. In the ancient Greek town of Syracuse, once a strong rival of Athens, tour the Old Town of Ortygia and the archaeological park with a Greek theater and Roman amphitheater with perfect acoustics.
  • Enrichment Program: Learn about Sicily’s crossroads of cultures and learn about prize-winning virgin olive oil during lunch at a family farm.

Spending two weeks staying in two sites was really good... it meant far less packing and repacking and less fatigue. Our group was very congenial, and that was one of the high points if not the high point of our trip.

- Stephen B.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on an overnight transatlantic flight to Palermo, Italy.

Day 2 — Palermo

Smithsonian Journeys travelers will arrive at Palermo Airport and transfer to the upscale Mercure Palermo Excelsior City hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, you will receive a customized Welcome Kit with general information about Sicily, as well as maps of Palermo and Taormina. Your Smithsonian Journeys travel director will be available throughout the tour to assist you. This evening, gather at the hotel for a welcome reception and dinner where you’ll meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and fellow travelers. (R,D)

Day 3 — Monreale and Palermo

Breakfast is served in the hotel each morning during your journey. Begin the day with a presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Strategically located between Europe and Africa, Sicily has long been at the confluence of many cultures. Begin exploring with a drive to Monreale. See breathtaking views of the Conca d’Oro valley and visit the Sicilian Romanesque Santa Maria la Nuova cathedral that showcases one of the world’s largest and most exquisite displays of mosaics. A guided walk through a local market reveals fresh produce and fish from the morning’s catch.

After lunch, visit Palermo’s Cathedral where Gothic, Moorish and Norman architectural styles mirror the city’s history. The Palatine Chapel is decorated with mosaics combining Islamic and Christian motifs. See the exotic Arabic exterior of St. John of the Hermits and the neoclassical Teatro Massimo. Later, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner. (B,L)

Day 4 — Erice and Segesta

Discover Erice, Sicily’s center of ancient Elymian civilization. The town, situated in western Sicily, is known for its Phoenician walls and the Castle of Venus. See the Norman Duomo, a Romanesque masterpiece. Meet friendly Sicilians at lunch served at Fattoria Titone, a traditional working olive farm and learn how their award-winning olive oil is produced. There is a sampling of the olive oil, and you can ask questions about the farm. After a buffet lunch, continue to Segesta, situated in lovely countryside with a spectacular Doric Temple and Greek Theater, it is the grandest and best preserved of all Sicily’s Hellenistic monuments. Later this afternoon, attend a fascinating presentation on the heritage of Sicily. (B,L)

Day 5 — Cefalú

Travel to the picture-perfect fishing village of Cefalú, situated between the Tyrrhenian Sea and a craggy limestone promontory. Explore the town’s historic highlights including a 12th-century Romanesque Cathedral regarded as one of the great churches Europe. The afternoon is at leisure, so let your interests be your guide as you explore on your own. Later in the afternoon, attend a lecture by a local speaker on the Costa Mostra (Mafia) and its impact on the community. After the lecture, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an exchange of ideas and lively discussion. This evening, dinner will be served at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 6 — Palermo and Taormina

Depart Palermo for the drive to Taormina. On the way, visit Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, built by the Greeks around 582 B.C. Discover the 6th-century Temple of Hercules, the well-preserved Doric Temple of Concord, and the unfinished Temple of Jupiter. Continue to Piazza Armerina and the Imperial Villa del Casale, a Roman country house embellished with more than 12,000 square feet of exquisite mosaics and a World Heritage site. After your arrival in Taormina, check-in at the upscale, seaside Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace where accommodations await. This evening, dinner is served at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Taormina

Start the day with a presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Tour Taormina, situated high atop Monte Tauro, that offers a commanding view of the sea and Mount Etna an imposing World Heritage site. First settled by the Greeks, Taormina flourished during the Middle Ages. Taormina’s most famous monument is its Greek Theater, rebuilt by the Romans in about 200 A.D. The theater has near-perfect acoustics and still is used today. This afternoon join a Sicilian Pizza-Making Class followed by a pizza lunch. Later, join Smithsonian Journeys friends in the Travelers Corner for conversation and camaraderie. Later, enjoy dinner at a popular restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Siracusa

Discover Siracusa, a World Heritage site, founded in 734 B.C. It was the most powerful of Greece’s overseas colonies and a direct rival to Athens in splendor and power. Plato lived here and taught his philosophy. Explore Siracusa and the Old Town of Ortygia. Continue to visit the antiquities located in the Archeological Park including both the Greek and Roman Theaters. Late this afternoon, attend a presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B)

Day 9 — Taormina

The day is at leisure so that you can follow your own path and explore on your own. This evening join friends and fellow travelers for a Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner at the hotel featuring lively Sicilian musicians. (B,R,D)

Day 10 — Depart for Flights to U.S. Gateway City

Depart the hotel for Catania Airport and your return transatlantic flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)