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Relaxing Break Between Best of Sicily and Best of South Italy RS Tours ???

We just booked our next RS tours for 2016....Best of Sicily (April 10-20) and Best of South Italy (April 25 - May 7).
Hoping to use the break between the tours for some relaxation plus take in a few additional sites. We thought Sorrento as a home base would be an option but would love your recommendations. FYI... in the past few years we have taken several RS tours including Heart of Italy and 21 Day Best of Europe. Looking now to explore the southern portion of this amazing country ! Thank you in advance for your feedback, Tess

Posted by
681 posts

We combined these two tours five years ago - a great combination! Our S. Italy tour ended in Naples and we spent an extra night there before going to Sorrento for several nights. Our tour had stayed in Sorrento, but we wanted a little more time there. We stayed up above town at Il Nido. We loved our time there! Then, we took a ferry to Capri, where we stayed for three nights at Hotel La Tosca, a budget hotel with a 4-star owner. He basically mapped out a schedule for us and we followed it completely. It was a wonderful visit! We took the train down the coast and over to Taormina, where our Sicily tour began. You'll love these tours!!!

Posted by
107 posts

Most relaxing part of Italy to me, at least in April, was northern Italy and specifically Bellagio. It can be timely done from Southern or eastern Italy with a train ride. The mountains bordering Bellagio were literally purple hued in the mornings. Just chilling and looking at the scenery would rejuvenate you for the 2d leg of the bus tour. Just a suggestion. Far less hectic than would be Capri or Sorrento.

Posted by
15644 posts

You end the first tour in Catania and begin the second one in Rome. The best connection is a flight between them. What about staying in Sicily? Or seeing another part of Italy? You could fly to Bologna. It's a good base for day trips to Padua, Ferrara, Ravenna, Modena and others. I just wonder if there's enough in and around Sorrento to fill the time without duplicating what you'll see and do later on the tour.

Posted by
1446 posts

You start in Palermo, then finish in Catania (April 20), with the Off-Season version of the Best of Sicily tour, correct? Then you meet up in Rome for the next tour, which ends in Naples.

The first tour does NOT include Taormina at all... not... nope!

Yet, by mid-April, Taormina is already in full swing for receiving visitors. IMO, Taormina is NOT to be missed for a Spring/Summer/Fall visit to Sicily. The nice thing about the end of April is that it is not too busy yet.

It would be a real shame to go to Sicily and miss staying in Taormina for a couple of days. Catania is a good place for doing a train or bus daytrip from (to another of the 'Hilltop' towns that your guide skipped on Day 8 - like Modica, Noto, Sciccli, etc. - or to Acireale or even back to Siracusa for the day). Also, bad weather can impact your Tour day to Mt. Etna - you can then have a back-up plan on going back from either Catania, or just as easily from Taormina.

Assuming that you have 5 nights, here is what I would do in your shoes:

1 night - book one extra night in the Tour's hotel in Catania.
- plan a day trip on your own, or book a tour.
- Post a question on the Italy Forum for "Catania Daytrip Suggestions"

3 nights - Taormina.
- Take the direct bus from Catania to Taormina.
- Post a question on the Italy Forum for "Taormina Suggestions" (hotels, etc.)

1 night - journey to Rome (see options 1 & 2)

Option 1:

1 night - book one extra night in the next tour's hotel in Rome
- Take the direct bus from Taormina to Catania Airport
- Take a midday/early afternoon flight from Catania to Rome

Option 2:

1 night - book the overnight direct train from Taormina to Rome Termini in an 'Excelsior Doppio' private sleeper cabin for two. For April, you would be able to book this in February.

I like your idea of spending extra days in Sorrento. However, given what is covered in your tour, you really wouldn't need many extra days... maybe 2?? It would make much more sense to add these in at the end, since you do finish in Naples (or stay 2 extra nights in Naples itself). To me, this makes more sense, instead of detouring to Sorrento in the middle IMO.

Have fun figuring it all. Seriously though, your focus should be Sicily for the extra nights.

Posted by
68 posts

Thank you for the wonderful feedback. Diane's suggestion of Taormina really peaked my interest. I will follow her advice and post a question on the Italy Forum on hotels, BBs or VRBO options for Taormina.