My husband and I are booked on a late February 2018 Best of Sicily Tour. We plan to arrive in Palermo from the US on Saturday morning and the tour doesn't begin until Sunday at 3pm. Looking for ideas of places we can see that won't be on the official tour. Thanks for any input!
While there is a lot to do in Palermo for a few days before the tour starts, you could take a day trip to Cefalu. It's about an hour trip from Palermo; a quiet, picturesque seaside town with a beautiful beach (nice for just walking in February), plenty of good places to eat and a beautiful cathedral. I took this tour about the same time you are going and while we had a couple rainy days, the weather was mostly pleasant. I loved the tour so much, I took it twice (slightly different itineraries). I am sure you will get plenty of other options to keep you busy!
I would try to see the Capuchin Catacombs, although it's not for everyone (but certainly unique)
Here are a few recommended in the pre-tour info on this site. I went on this tour in late November and it was one of the best of the 14 RS tours I've been on!
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Palermo that we do not do as a group: Cappella Palatina, Teatro Massimo (closed Mondays), Marionette Museum, Museo Archeologico Regionale A. Salinas, Palazzo Abatellis, Capuchin Crypt, Palazzo Mirto, Galleria D'Arte Moderna (GAM).
We also loved the Palazzo Reale, Cappella Palatina, and the Vucciria Market. The market is just a couple of blocks from the tour hotel - away from the train station. (If you're staying at the Ambasciatori.)
Also take a walk down to the harbor.
We loved Palermo, and never lacked for something to do there.
We got there Saturday, but from Rome. We walked a bit and ate dinner—a recommendation from Lonely Planet—great. Sunday was Palm Sunday, so busy in Palermo, but interesting. Took a walk from Lonely Planet—got lost a couple times (added to the fun) then it was time to get together. A friend arrived 3 days early and went to Cefalu. He liked it, but with only 2 half days, enjoy Palermo.
We were in Sicily this summer , it was wonderful. Walk around visit the opera house, see the cathedral,
If the Palatine Chapel ism’t included, definitely visit it. Magnificent.
I really enjoyed Cefalu, but I wouldn't think of doing that right after a long-haul flight! Book into the tour hotel for the night, and get settled in. Then explore the city at your own pace. The Palatine Chapel is indeed worth a visit.
Did you get a package of tour information from RS yet? Ours almost always has a list of places that the tour will not be seeing so that folks can see them on their own if time allows. We will be taking the Sicily Tour in May so warm things up for us (our 16th RS tour).
Thanks Everyone. This will be our 3rd RS Tour and we have heard lots of great reviews for this tour so we are looking forward to it. I hadn't seen the list on the pre-tour part of the website so that reference was helpful. Will be sure to check out the cathedral. Still waiting for the official final tour docs but they should be coming soon. I usually use the RS books to orient myself about the country but I don't really care for the Lonely Planet book format they suggested for Sicily.
We took this tour this past October and LOVED it!! You’re going to have an incredible time.
We spent a week on the Costa Brava and Barcelona before we flew to Palermo. We arrived in Palermo at noon the day before the tour. We went to the hotel and then had a late lunch (Arancino) and just poked around Palermo. There is SO much to see. I wished that we had spent some time in the Ballaro market. Although the tour walks through the market, there is no time to stop and shop; it’s literally a walk through.
We took the recommendation of the hotel and had dinner at Casa Del Brodo. It was really simply prepared food and so delicious.
I really enjoyed the archeology museum in Palermo as well as the Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio and the Palazzo dei Normanni e Cappella Palatina. These are all within walking distance of the hotel where the tour begins, assuming the hotel has not changed.
A good map and some good walking shoes, and you're good to go! :-)
When I took the Myway Alpine tour a couple years ago, the pretour package had a lot of additional and very helpful information including a more detailed day-by-day itinerary. When I took the Greece tour a few months ago, the only things in the package that added to what was on the tour website were the hotels and participants names.
Have you looked at the Pretour planning on the tour's web page? Click on "tour FAQ" to get to the login page - you may find more info there.
This is a great tour. In Palermo we went to the Galleria D'Arte Moderna. It provided an interesting introduction to Sicilian art and history. As is typical in Europe, modern art is anything after the 18th century. We stayed at the tour hotel before the tour started (Ambasciatori) and used the Lonely Planet guidebook to find a nearby restaurant. We were seated at a large table with a couple on vacation from Northern Italy. Their English was not strong (neither was our Italian) but we still had a good time.
We also loved the Galleria D'Arte Moderna. And there are a couple of oratories in Palermo with wonderful stucco art inside. We spent two full days before the tour, and three or four more after the tour in Palermo, and never ran out of things to do.
That was when the tour both began and ended in Palermo.